Three years ago, I joined a “chill indie rock project” with no expectation other than making music with people. I answered a facebook post by Gilbert that said he and Brandon were looking for a drummer. Having never played the drums before in my life, I thought it would be something fun. After writing a few songs and playing some open mics, we quickly realized that my services would be better utilized if I was playing an instrument that I actually knew how to play. It was at that point that we convinced Luis to play drums for us, and I moved to the bass guitar. We had all of the pieces in place, and began making some noise in the garage of our beautiful home in Tempe.
The detached garage was perfect for noise making
We spent a lot of time goofing around. Playing some local shows and throwing parties at the house. Getting yelled at by older neighbors to be quiet, and stop “destroying the neighborhood”. We would play in the yard with Achilles the giant dog and eat pecans that had fallen from the trees. Irrigation water would flood the yard and create sink holes and plague us with swarms of mosquitoes. We all became the best of friends and created an oasis of time and memory in my mind that I will never forget.
The back yard at “Casita Bonita”
It wasn’t too long before we realized that the songs we had written were something special. They were completely honest expressions of everything we had been feeling during that time in our lives. Several themes became apparent in the body of music. Early childhood wonder and learning, being afraid and not wanting to grow up, realizing the struggles you will face in life, and learning how to accept and deal with loss and sadness. At the same time, we had to decide how to proceed as a band and manifest our songs into the physical world for people to hear. We knew that we couldn’t split the songs up. The idea of recording a few songs and releasing an EP would undermine the integrity of the collection of work we had made. And so, for better or worse, we set out on the possibly over ambitious task to record a full length twelve song album.
An early track list and a bad drawing of us on a sailboat
With nothing but excitement in our hearts, we found a recording studio just down the road from the house in Tempe. We took a tour and geeked out over all the cool equipment and imagined how pretty we would sound. Without much planning we started tracking the songs. It was disastrous. We had never played to a click track before and only practiced it slightly. We had no idea how we wanted the instruments to sound or what effects to use. Our engineer would bounce loops of guitar solos over top of the wrong song and forget to turn on the overhead drum mics. And Brandon’s voice and vocal prowess was nowhere near the level it is today. About halfway through recording, the studio was bought out and shut down. What we thought was a setback at the time turned out to be a blessing. We decided to start over.
Gilbert Ortega – Rock Musician
We took some time off, explored or songs further and even rewrote some. We practiced to a metronome like crazy. We mapped out all of the timing and tempo changes. We worked on guitar solos and vocals. And then we found another studio. One with anything you could ever want. The Neve console, the SSL board, the Neuman M49, the Matchless Clubman. A place perfect for creating a rock record with a vintage, human feeling. The Saltmine.
Mixing Roadbuzz on the SSL
It has been a long time in the making. I know that I have learned more about life, about my friends, and about myself from the process of creating this album than from anything else I have ever done. Our final product is something I could never have imagined, and I am so proud of my band mates and everyone who helped us make this record. I urge everyone with a desire to do something creative to just go for it. No goal is unobtainable, and the world needs real art now more than ever. We are set to release this thing, “Assembly” on August 25th. There will be a show at the Phoenix Center for the Arts that day to celebrate this amazing journey. I can’t wait to share this music with you.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the album ahead of time and help us with our final expenses of bringing this music to you, name your price and visit our go fund me page. https://www.gofundme.com/warriors-of-the-month-album-finally