The Laredo, Texas based alternative metal band Stella Lost has been establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in their local scene for a few years now. They’ve stuck to their musical guns and after crafting their sound with their newly solidified their lineup, they were ready in 2015 to venture into the recording studio to put together their debut album Everything Old Is New Again for Pavement Entertainment. That appropriately titled album finds the band incorporating familiar elements from their influences all while putting their own creative spin on it to keep it sounding fresh and innovative. I sat down with rhythm guitarist Rudy Martinez who told me about the band’s musical journey and how Everything Old Is New Again became a reality.
Can you give us a little insight into how the band was formed?
Rudy Martinez: We formed in late December of 2011; it had been years since I had played a guitar and months before then I had received one as a gift. That kind of inspired me to get back into music, so late Dec I put an ad out on Craigslist. It was a very basic and simple ad, ‘artist looking for a band to join’ without a lot of details about the kind of music that I was into or wanted to play. Mike (Gutierrez) actually replied within a few days later and told me that he was a singer and wanted to meet to talk about the music that we liked. We met and talked; I told him that I just wanted to write straight up originals and not really cover anything. He agreed and we just clicked and it really progressed from there. We started looking for some band mates and it just went from there.
Is Everything Old Is New Again your first release as a band?
Yes it is; we’ve been around for about three and a half years, but this is the first thing. I know that in the beginning, we had been wanting to record, but we never really had the opportunity to go into the studio. We always seemed to have something come up that set us back a little bit, but once we overcame all of those obstacles we knew we were ready. We had the music and just decided to get our butts into that studio and do it. We’ve had so many people over the years asking when we were going to go in and record because they wanted to purchase some music, so we used that for motivation.
What was it like going into the studio for the first time and recording? Was it intimidating or what?
A little bit because with me and Mike, we had never really been in a studio recording fresh before. Our lead guitarist Ram (Salas) had some prior experience, so he kind of knew what we were getting into. He actually helped us and prepped us a few weeks before as what to expect going into it. He also told us how to practice so that we would go into the studio better prepared. The nerves were very present on that first day in the studio, but as time went on we got a lot more comfortable with things. Evan Warren was there in the studio with us and he was really cool and made everyone feel really comfortable and at home and once that comfort level started settling in then things really started to move quickly.
So, was Evan the producer of the EP?
Yes, his studio is The Foundry and he produced, mixed and mastered it; he did everything.
How did you end up working with him?
Our lead guitarist Ram had worked with him previously in a band that he was in. He told us that Evan was very cool and he loved the way that he worked and he thought that we should really go with him. Ram sent us a few things that he has worked on with Evan in the past and we thought it sounded really cool. So, we went down to San Antonio and threw down the tracks with him.
What can you tell us about the music scene there in Laredo, Texas where you’re based out of?
It’s very scattered where we’re from and the bands here kind of stick with their own cliques. There’s a metal core scene, your punk scene, your alternative scene and it’s not really unified, but it’s getting better. We’re hoping that as time progresses that everyone will work together as one and not necessarily individually.
Let’s jump back to the new album if we can and I wanted to ask you about the cover art which is pretty damn cool. Who put that together for you?
The art work is very important to us and I grew up in a time when you would go to the record store to discover new music and that album art was very important in that. Chris Brewington from the band Consider Me Dead actually did the art for us and I met him by chance through Instagram. I’m not even sure how I found him on there, but I was checking out his work and it was really cool. I saw he had a band and I checked them out and really dug the music; then I saw where he also did log and design work. We emailed back and forth a few times and I told him about our music and what we were writing about going into the album. I didn’t give him a lot of detail, but what he sent us really meshed with well not only with the name Stella Lost, but the music as well. We were totally blown away and very, very pleased with his work.
You mentioned the importance of artwork and musical influences are important as well. Who are some artists who helped shape your sound?
It’s very different amongst everybody in the band and with myself, I grew up listening to stuff like Metallica, Megadeth, Danzig and those are my main influences. They played a huge part in me wanting to pick up a guitar and learn how to do that. I know Mike vocally has a lot of Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder types of influences. Ram is a little younger then we are so he’s from that Cradle of Filth, Slipknot era and got him into playing guitar. Our drummer Rey is also really young, so he’s more into that Atreyu sound which motivated him to get behind the kit. Our bassist Rene falls into the same influences that Mike and I have.
What’s the feedback been like so far on the new EP?
Honestly, the feedback has been pretty overwhelming and it’s been very positive. People are really digging the music and feeling it and we’re so excited to hear that. Just to hear it from someone else’s point of view that’s not from the hometown or from Texas feels really great. Words can’t really describe how we all feel with how the music has been accepted so far.
You mentioned at the start of our conversation with the ad on Craigslist that you only wanted to do original material. Has they ever been a problem when you went to get booked for a show? I’ve heard that some establishments prefer cover bands and that they actually make more money that a band playing originals.
I’m not going to lie because it has happened and there are a lot of cover bands around here, so I feel like the original material bands aren’t respected as much as they should be. You have a few local venues here that are awesome who do like to give original material bands a shot, but there are some that don’t. It does make it a little difficult at times or if they do give you a shot, they say that they won’t pay you or let you charge at the door. They put up a vibe of ‘we don’t know if people are going to like you’ so they’re not willing to pay. It’s either that or we can play 90% covers and throw in a few of our own originals. We do have a few good ones who are willing to pay you though.
Well, I guess that’s a wrap! I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and I’ll give you the mic and let you sign off.
We want to thank everybody who has supported us and we really appreciate the positive feedback. We really encourage everybody to go to our website and they can find every bit of info on the band including where we’ll be touring and updates on the music. Again, thank you all so very, very much for all of your support.