A Restless Journey: Meeting with Local Houston Metal Band, Insomnia

The following post is an old review I gave for my friend’s band, Insomnia, about 2 years ago when I decided I wanted to be a music and movie critic. Today I’m not sure if Insomnia is still around or if the band broke up. As for me, I still want to be a critic but right now I’m just an amateur critic/writer (hehe) 

I already had brief knowledge of Insomnia from my good friend Devin, who plays Bass in the band and had invited me to countless shows to which unfortunately I was never able to attend.  However I was lucky enough to hear two of their songs on YouTube(Looking Back & Redemption) and despite the poor sound quality of the video, the songs were actually pretty well done; especially since the songs were written by the band themselves and not just a cover.

After failing to attend their concerts and my frustration with not being able to hear more songs from them save for the two songs on YouTube, I decided to go on a quest to watch them practice. So I contacted my friend Devin and thankfully we were able to pick a day where I could see them.

When I first got to where they were going to practice I’ll admit, I got a little lost on the highway and was a bit frightened that I’d end up in a bad neighborhood. As if that wasn’t that bad enough, the lead singer of the group, Jesus Perez, told me they were going to be practicing at “an abandoned tire shop” (I later learned that it was owned by Devin’s father so it wasn’t completely abandoned).

Once I reached their “studio”, I shook hands with each member of the band as we exchanged names and introduced ourselves. As individuals they seemed like fine gentleman and were very eager to show me their skills. As soon as our quick introductions were made they amazed me by playing one of their newly written songs, Fallen, for me. I had only been there for three minutes and I was already impressed.

Despite the deafening noise in the room, I couldn’t help but cheer when they were done. They all seemed to enjoy playing music with one another and as a spectator I wanted to hear more. While the band mates were discussing which song to practice next, I requested that they play one of the two songs I had heard on YouTube, Redemption, and they reluctantly agreed. After seeing a song being played that I hear almost every time on my IPod, I must say it is very rare to find a band that can play incredibly well on a recording and live and Insomnia is definitely a band that can do both.

Once the song was over, Devin began playing a few notes on his bass that caught my attention. I had no idea what song that was from but I rocked my head back and forth in enjoyment and noticed that Lead Guitarist, Mario, began matching the notes and the two were playing in sync with each other. Once they stopped, I asked what song it was they were playing and I couldn’t believe them when they said they just made the beat up right then and there.

With that said, it was obvious the band members were excellent as a group, but I was curious as to how they are individually. So I sat with each one of the four band members and spoke with them briefly about their aspirations and influences. Before I go into more detail about their answers, I want to address that they all want to continue pursuing music; a difficult and competitive dream to pursue but their ambition is very admirable. I first spoke with bass player, Devin Galicia whom as stated before, introduced me to the band in the first place and could touch hearts with his answer to my question about his future:

Me: “So you’re number one career you wanna pursue is that, you wanna be a Rockstar, right?”

Devin:  “Yeah.”

Me: “What makes you wanna be a Rockstar?”

Devin: “I guess I always dreamed about it when I was a kid.”

Next I interviewed Drummer, David Canela, the youngest of the band members at the age of sixteen but also the most humorous. Usually people don’t take the time to appreciate the drummer but after my failed attempt to play the drums at one point in my life, I know now it is not simple at all. At one point I actually saw David toss one of his drumsticks in the air and catch it without missing a single beat during practice of their song:

Me: “When you become 18, what do you think you wanna be when you grew up?”

David: A Rock Star.

Me: “Okay and what makes you wanna be that?”

David: (Points to band mates in the studio) “Those guys in there.”

                 Then it was the Lead Guitarist, Mario Gonzalez’s turn to talk. Not to pick favorites but I had already taken a special liking to the way he played in the band and as a result couldn’t wait to speak with him. During our conversation he admitted one of his secrets to his guitar playing:

Me: “How did you learn to play guitar?”

Mario: “Self-taught. I just sat down and just tried it. My first time playing it I hated it cause I couldn’t play it and I was just like, ‘damn it! I can’t play the simple chords’ so I put it down and it gathered dust for about a week. I was just looking at it and I’m like, ‘no I have to pick it up, I heard another Dragonforce song and I had to pick it up. So I picked it up, and I finally started learning more. And then, a guitar instructor wanted to play with me. And I guess he taught me a little bit on finger independence cause he made me do a lot of chords while I was playing. So he kinda subconsciously taught me while he was telling me to play the rhythm. So I was playing the rhythm and I was moving my fingers and that was giving me more finger independence and before I knew it, my fingers would move a lot quicker and more stronger pretty much.”

Last but not least, the Lead Vocalist of the band, Jesus Perez and I began conversing and after having a delightful conversation with him, I felt passion in his heart that could inspire many with his attitude. At a young age Jesus’ father, who started out with nothing, gave him a guitar one Christmas and since then he has been playing and has had a deep love for music ever since. When asked about his thoughts on how far the band would go he responded:

Jesus: “The rate we’re going on right now, [become one of the] top local bands probably.”

Me: “Really?”

Jesus: “Yeah”

Me: “That’s impressive.”

Jesus: “Just right now we’re trying not to get too high [in our thoughts] and concentrate on the music. You know? Keep it together and get the music out first and then everything else later.”

Me: “And I think that so far it seems to be working. I mean I heard “Looking Back” and I thought, ‘holy crap, this band is actually not that bad.’ ”

Jesus: “Yeah and one of the top bands from Houston, Series Six, called us; they said, ‘oh you’re one of my favorite Houston bands’ and every time we play shows, people always wanna play shows with us, it’s like, ‘oh wow, we’re kinda good I guess.’ “

After speaking with every band member individually, it was time for me to get the band together and see how they interact with one another without music playing in the background:

Me: “How did you guys meet?”

Mario: “Well me and Jesus actually knew each other in ninth grade, but we never really jammed.”

Jesus: “My ex-girlfriend gave him my number.”

Mario: “Yeah, his ex-girlfriend actually gave me his number and said, ‘hey you two should jam’, And one day he came over to my house and he came up with the question ‘you wanna like, make a band?’ and I said, ‘sure’ “.

Me: “Okay, so since you guys knew each other from ninth grade, when did Insomnia start for you guys?”

Mario: “It all started when Devin came along actually.”

Jesus: “Yeah they were arguing on Facebook.” (Chuckles)

Mario: “Okay, here’s pretty much what happened (interrupted)”

Devin: “He said ‘Bass is unnecessary’ and then he ended up being about ten minutes away maybe even less on a good day.”

Mario: “I think Devin wanted to kick my a** at first.”

Jesus: “At first, you were talking nothing but trash.”

Mario: (laughing) “At first, like I would always bust his ba**s because I saw on like a band level that bass and guitar would always bicker at each other and they would just always like mess around with each other and that’s why I’d always mess around with him so much saying, ‘you’re just a bass player blah blah blah blah’ and he’d go, ‘well you’re just a lead guitar player, I’m louder than you’ and I was just like whatever and we soon came to the agreement that I’m better.”

David: “I think this band started by fate; so many things had to happen in order for it to be created.”

Jesus: “[David] was an accident”

David: “I was an accident…”

Devin: “He definitely was an accident”

(All laugh)

Me: “So the band name started with who?”

Mario: “Jesus. He called me at three in the morning and it was a school night. Three in the morning on a school night and I’m always up at three in the morning. I’m always up, I don’t really care; I’m nocturnal I guess. And he calls me going, ‘dude! The perfect band name.’ and I’m like, ‘what is it?’ ‘Insomnia.’ And I’m like, ‘You called me at three in the morning just to tell me that? What if I was asleep? He’s like, ‘were you?’ I’m like ‘no’ and he’s like, ‘exactly! You have insomnia!’ “

Me: “So what genre of music do you guys play? Is it Metal? Cause I hear different beats when you guys play.”

Jesus: “Metal Punk-ish. Look, we don’t even know.”

Mario: “Our genre is Insomnia. I guess I could say that. It’s that cause it’s just like so many things combined.”

Me: “And who writes the songs for the band?”

David: “Jesus is the main songwriter basically.”

Mario: “Yeah and I like to help him out, in terms of the riffs that we make up. But it is mostly him.

Devin: “Even though Jesus is the main songwriter, Mario really pushes him to be more creative. Even though, he’s probably the most creative one out of all of us.”

Jesus: “See, my thing is basically like, I’ll write something then show it to Mario and he’ll touch it up, show it to Devin, see if he likes it and then show it to David to make sure it all goes together.”

Me: “So if you guys disagree with each other, what happens?”

Jesus: “When we disagree, we all just argue until something happens.”

              Truth be told we all got a little off topic cracking jokes from time to time, it was extremely difficult not to laugh with them. Nonetheless, the conversation I had with the band as a group and individually, proved them to be very wise young men that all want to pursue their dreams of being musicians together. And though they are aware of the challenges on their journey, they are willing to lose sleep in order to be the best they can be. As drummer David Canela said when asked how he responds to those that frown upon his goals of being a musician: “You haven’t heard my band yet.”

A blurry photo of the band playing incredible music togetherA blurry photo of the band playing incredible rock music together

-Mr. Writer

Originally Written on the 15th of June 2012 at 8:21 P.M. 

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