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PABLO ANTON

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio

Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC, with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013, playing recurrently in different venues and rock bars across the city with different bands. After arriving in DC, he founded and released an EP with the short-lived band Hundredth Nomad, and is now currently the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl.   

 

Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that showcases original material ranging from the slow, down-tuned to a fast-paced kick in the teeth. If one insists on drawing a line to the familiar, BDP has drawn sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torche, and Nirvana. The band has built their reputation on a powerful live show, playing and headlining notable DC area venues like Black Cat, Rock&Roll Hotel, Velvet Lounge, and The Fillmore Silver Spring, sharing the stage with renowned acts such as Steel Panther, The Parlor Mob, The Answer, and A Thousand Horses. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they have also toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as different cities across the East Coast such as Hoboken, NYC, Philadelphia, Richmond and Baltimore.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013. He is now the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl, and Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that draws sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torch, Nirvana. It's just a powerful sound that you heard there. The band has built a reputation on powerful live shows. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they also have toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as cities throughout the East Coast. I've shared the stage with Pablo a couple of times, and this man is a prodigy on guitar. Listeners, it is [crosstalk 00:00:53] with great pleasure that I introduce Pablo Anton. Here he is.

Pablo:     Thank you.

Brian:     Now you were just going to talk about it. You were just touring in Mexico. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     We were. Yes. We did a two-week tour in Mexico. We flew there on March 21st and then we played a show at Caradura, which is sort of like the Rock & Roll Hotel equivalent of Mexico City. We were there. We were supposed to tour with ... Well, we were there touring with two other bands, one from Costa Rica named Akasha and another one from Mexico City as well named Driven. This all happened the weekend after the Vive Latino Festival, which is like the Lollapalooza down there.

Brian:     Oh.

Pablo:     These two bands had just played there and then were going on a two-week tour of the country, and so we joined them. The show in Caradura in Mexico City was just amazing. We had the opportunity of having my very dear friend and one of the best musicians I've ever played with, Tonio Ruiz, join us on stage for a song. That was definitely [crosstalk 00:01:59].

Brian:     Wow. For those who don't know who Tonio Ruiz is, how would they recognize him?

Pablo:     Tonio Ruiz is the lead singer and guitar player from a nu-metal band in Mexico called Qbo. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:02:14]. Powerful stuff. You were down in Mexico for a total of ... How long was the tour?

Pablo:     It was a total of two weeks. We had four shows, and in between ... We had two shows one weekend and then two the other, and in between we rented a hangar at an old airport field where we shot our new video for our latest single, Shame, which I am hoping will be ready soon.

Brian:     So there's a new music video coming.

Pablo:     There's a new music video coming soon.

Brian:     Actually, you can say it was filmed in Mexico too.

Pablo:     Yes, and it features me.

Brian:     And it features Pablo.

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     There it is. Yes. I love it. Now we touched on it earlier, but let's talk about being an immigrant, an immigrant musician, and being an immigrant in DC. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     Yeah, for sure. As I was saying, I've been in this city for four years. I moved here for a job, for an office job, four years ago. I'm also an economist, and so I got an offer to work here for sort of like a multilateral and working in financial inclusion issues. When I moved here, I was actually kind of disappointed. I used to live in New York before moving here. I have to say, my perception of DC was very narrow and colorblind.

      I thought that everybody was just like ... With all due respect, just like a bunch of bureaucrats that worked either for the federal government or for public institutions or multilaterals, and there was no culture. There was no artist community or something that made the city interesting. At first, I was kind of hesitant of moving here, but then when I finally moved here, I discovered, out of chance really, out of a friend of a friend who told me about Flashband, my life changed completely and so did my perception of DC.

Brian:     Well, first, I got to say that, yes, I don't think you're way off in that people's perceptions about DC, that I don't think you're the only one who has that perception, because there is this, it's only a government town and all the people here are either working for the government in some way, shape, or form, and that maybe culture isn't a thing. That's one of the things that we talk about on this show is that actually that's so wrong, because the music community here is incredible.

Pablo:     I know.

Brian:     All these great minds do it, and so Flashband, you said? You heard about it through Flashband. For those who don't know what Flashband is, talk about that.

Pablo:     The founder of Flashband, Neal, hates when I call it this, but it's basically like speed dating for musicians. It's like [crosstalk 00:04:49].

Brian:     So it's speed dating for musicians. What's that like? Talk to me.

Pablo:     Well, they basically jam you in a rehearse space with five other musicians for 15 minutes, and then you have to switch to a different rehearse space. Then you just have to jam and meet as many musicians as you can. Then at the end of the event, they make you select your bandmates, like your temporary bandmates, out of all of those small jam sessions that you have. Then after that, you have to come up with a three-song set list with two covers and one original song. Then you have to go on stage and present it at a Flashband showcase. I did it only once, but it was-

Brian:     The whole process takes like ... It's a month, right? Or it's something like that? [crosstalk 00:05:32].

Pablo:     Yeah, I think it's like three weeks only, and then-

Brian:     Awesome. Speed dating for musicians. Okay. Being an immigrant then, you came from Mexico, from Mexico City?

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     You came up.

Pablo:     Well, I came to the US to study my master's degree at Columbia University in New York. Then from Columbia, that's when I got the job offer to move to DC and came down here. I didn't know what to expect, but I was really ... After I was introduced to the DC music community through Flashband and I found it, and I started my own band, and I started having shows, and I started meeting more musicians in the community, I was just blown away by just the massive support that this organic movement in the city has. It's sort of like a grassroots movement where all of the different bands that are involved are open to sharing and to promoting and to supporting one another to ... Yeah, for the benefit of everybody. That's just something that I found that's so amazing and so impressive compared to what the music community's like in Mexico City, which is where I come from.

Brian:     That's because Mexico City's community is different?

Pablo:     Yeah, well, the situation down there is pretty different, because basically the media in general is basically controlled by two large, massive media corporations that are down there. The type of music that they promote and the type of events that they promote is basically more attuned to like pop music in general, so there's not a lot of promotion of local artists that want to venture into different subgenres like rock or metal. That's definitely an issue when you're trying to be like up-and-coming artist in Mexico City.

      There are [crosstalk 00:07:20] some outlets that are sort of like similar to this radio station, for example. We also have like a state-owned radio station that has other shows, like alternative music shows where you can find an outlet for the type of music that you do and you want to promote, but those, because there's only a few of them, those also become basically controlled by just a small group of people. If you're not a part of that small group of people, if you're not in connection with somebody that's part of that small group of people, there's really no way for you to promote yourself and promote your art. A lot of the venues down there also don't ... They don't give preference to original acts. Most of the bars down there basically prefer to have cover bands at their shows, [crosstalk 00:08:11] because it gets more people in and it's more money for them.

Brian:     That's probably true. That's true of many cities, and DC is evolving in that way, because there's more and more great original music played around town, but there's still a cover scene here. Cover bands are still ... They're coming into town. Now you're playing guitar for Black Dog Prowl. You said there were other bands, and now you're playing for Black Dog Prowl? How did that transition happen?

Pablo:     Well, after I did Flashband with my Flashband buddies, Jen and Zach, we started an original band called Hundredth Nomad that we had for around a year and a half. With that band, we started growing, and we started having more local shows. We started getting to be a little bit known and spread the word around. Then unfortunately, that band broke up about a week ago. No, sorry, about a year ago.

Brian:     A week ago.

Pablo:     No, no, not a week ago, not a week ago. It broke up in June.

Brian:     Okay.

Pablo:     Last June. Then when we broke up, a couple of months later, Josh from Black Dog Prowl approached me and told me that they had a show lined up in Hoboken, New Jersey, and that they needed a guitar player to fill for them. I said, "Yes, I'm not doing anything, so that'd be a great idea. I'll do it. I'll learn the songs." I was already a Black Dog Prowl fan. I met them two years before then at a show at DC9. I went to see a show by one of my favorite bands that's called The Answer, which is a rock band from Northern Ireland. They were playing with DC9 on a Tuesday night.

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     The place, it didn't have a lot of people there. I think we were like maybe 15 or 20 people in the audience, but then ... So Black Dog Prowl opened for The Answer at that show, and they really ...

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     They blew my socks off, like after that ... I really didn't even enjoy The Answer after that. After seeing them, I was like, "Okay, I'm done. I'm going to go have a beer. This is too much." I became a fan ever since. I approached the guys at the end, and I became friends with them. Things just naturally evolved from there.

Brian:     Wow. That's really cool. It's always fun to hear the stories about how this music community is so ... It's so vibrant, and there's a lot of movement that happens, like you have been in multiple bands. The more you get connected with the scene, the more you start to see the different musicians and how they jump, and they have different generations of bands and stuff come through. It's pretty incredible. Now, one of the things I always like to ask on these interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Pablo:     To who?

Brian:     The question is open-ended, and it's up to you, sir.

Pablo:     Say no to drugs.

Brian:     Say no to drugs.

Pablo:     I don't know, like [crosstalk 00:10:56].

Brian:     Okay, [crosstalk 00:10:56] have experience with that?

Pablo:     No, no, no, that's not what I meant. Nevermind. I was trying to tell a joke.

Brian:     Okay. Say no to drugs. That's a positive public service announcement from Pablo. Excellent.

Pablo:     Oh, if you mean advice as a musician in DC, I've actually given this advice to people. All of the time, I'm just meeting people that are here for bureaucratic jobs. Then when I tell them that I'm in a band, they're like, "Oh, dude, I used to have a band when I was back in high school or back in college. Those were the days. I haven't played in a while though. I really miss it." My advice is just get out there and do it. If you were ever a musician, or if you are a musician, then you have the same illness that I have, which is that if I'm not playing music, I'm not complete. I don't feel completely happy and fulfilled.

      If you have that same craving that musicians like me have, then you should definitely do something about it. The great thing about a city like DC is that there's multiple options for you to explore. If you want something that is low commitment or high commitment, and be in a band and tour, there's a wide spectrum of things that you can do. The lowest one, which would be Flashband, you should reach out and open a profile on Flashband. That's the way to get started.

Brian:     Awesome. If folks want to find out more about you and Black Dog Prowl, where is the best place to ... Where do they find you? Where do they go?

Pablo:     We have all of the typical social media accounts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. They're all @blackdogprowl. We also have a website where you can go to see all of our videos and stuff, which is www.blackdogprowl.com.