Today: a rare look at Fernando Villalobos, high-energy percussion engine of Dulcimerhead and man of many genres. You'll find him playing with Dulcimerhead at the Sharon Temple one day, and playing with Skorched at the Kathedral's “Glory Through Steel” Metalfest event the next.
“I don't know what made me want to play drums,” he says. “All of a sudden when I turned 14 I decided I must play the drums. I'm happy that I came to that conclusion. It's helped me get through a lot of times that I wouldn't have gotten through otherwise.” His parents gave him his first kit for his 15th birthday on the condition that he take lessons. He's come a long way since then, adding a djembe a year later, and recently acquiring a digital kit which he says is making it a lot easier to record demo CDs with both his bands.
Skorched is bringing out their first demo this month!!! Go get one at their gigs. And Dulcimerhead is releasing Dark Mandala this month!!! Just don't try listening to them at the same time...
So, the obvious question is – Dulcimerhead and Skorched sound um, extremely different in their musical approaches. Are they? Fernando laughs. “Aside from the obvious – that with Skorched I am pounding the shit out of a drumkit and with Dulcimerhead I am playing a djembe in kind of a trance – with Dulcimerhead I tend to be very relaxed, while playing with Skorched is like an electrical charge and I'm really revved up. The crowds may look a little different, but they do mix back and forth a bit!”
A Skorched gig is like taking a blast from a firehose of sound – they can really play! But I have to ask, on behalf of all the moms out there, what the heck is up with “death metal” and “black metal” as a musical genre. It sounds morbid. Should I be worried? Fernando laughs some more. “The music is extremely abrasive and lyrical content does tend to be violent and obscene, but typically the people who listen to it are very nice people! It's like watching a very gory horror movie or reading a graphic horror book. It's almost like poetry; it's pretty cool but to the outsider it's scary.To those who understand it, it's another form of art.”
Fernando says the metal community is the best he's been in, because the bands all tend to support each other. “They like to come out and see each other play, enjoy good music and good company. If a band needs a replacement member in an emergency, people will pass the word in the community and make sure they find what they need. His philosophy is basically “Mutual respect among musicians and enjoyment of the music.” His preferred music includes Slayer, Pantera, Chimaira, Meshuggah, Arch Enemy, Strapping Young Lad, DevilDriver, Fear Factory and many others.
His first band was Toxic-Culture, which he started up at age 17. Then at 19 he started playing with Heavily Medicated, a band that played regularly and got an enthusiastic following locally, opening for Strapping Young Lad in 2006. He met the two guys he would soon be playing with in Skorched – Tim (guitar) and Darryl (bass) – in a band called Shangrila. Fernando spent some time going between the two bands, but eventually he and Tim and Darryl formed another band called Krakatoa, which then morphed into Skorched. Their singer Sid and Devin on guitar rounded out that lineup.
To find out more about the whole Skorched phenomenon, check out myspace.com/skorchedmetal.
“What's great about Skorched is that we get along great and enjoy playing loud, heavy, fast music together,” says Fernando. The band members all bring skills to the band that make it work, he added. Many of the band members have day jobs or families that make it tough to find practice time and recording time. However, they are getting some good shows and the demo is a real milestone for them because they did it all themselves.
See them in Toronto at Lee's Palace February 25th!
Fernando's plan for world domination: “conquer the world through music, make my living through music! I promised myself that one day music would free me from my day jobs.” His day jobs have not just been tough, they've been dangerous. He is a certified welder with 4 years experience, and after 4 years he's had enough. “I've been set on fire about 13 times,” he laughed, and began reminiscing about a particular day when his not-so-fire-resistant overalls went up in flames. “I felt hotter than usual and smelling smoke, but I was running a bead and I couldn't stop – when I was finished, I took off my mask and found the front of my overalls had caught fire and the flames were creeping up my chest...maybe thats why I was given the name INFERNO.” He moved to working in home renovation which was going well until the recent economic downturn hit his employer hard. To bounce back financially, he is currently planning to explore even more new musical territory when he launches a kick-ass rock cover band with Skorched bandmate Tim – their working title is End of Silence.