Interview with Diego Valadez of Anthea
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I feel like music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up watching MTV back when they still played music videos, and would frequently listen to the local rock station here in LA. My parents would also often take us to Universal Studios. The theme park would always play music in the background from composers such as John Williams, Alan Silvestre, and so on which really got me into film music in general. The combination of my love for rock/metal and orchestral film music was the basis for Anthea.
Growing up in LA, it’s probably only natural that there was a point in my life where I really wanted to be an actor. I believe if I weren’t involved in music, I probably would have pursued that instead.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Hiking, museums, going to see live theaters, spending days at the beach, bad movie nights with friends, reading, antiquing, etc. Anything can really influence my music. Nature, a piece of art, something that’s going on in my life, or maybe just a topic that I find interesting. Every song has its own story.
How long has your band been around?
We started out as a studio project but played our first live gig with an official band lineup in 2015.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Los Angeles. I’m not sure how much that has influenced us musically. Our sound doesn’t exactly match the rest of the LA metal scene. Maybe in a way, that is how it influenced our sound. By wanting to stand out from the crowd.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’m into Greek mythology so when it came time to name the band, I just took the name Athena and switched the letters around to form Anthea. Funny enough, I actually didn’t realize at the time that Anthea was a fairly common woman's name.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We recently opened for Quiet Riot at the Whisky a Go-Go in Hollywood. I was always a fan of QR and that kind of music growing up so getting to open for them to a sold-out crowd at such an infamous venue was a huge milestone and an unforgettable experience!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Actually, I just mentioned it, but it has to be the Whisky a Go-Go. It’s just such an iconic venue filled with tons of Hollywood history. If I were to choose a gig to one day play, the first thing that comes to mind is Wacken fest in Germany. Some day!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Sonata Arctica was the first band that I ever saw live and a huge reason why I started playing music in the first place. I would love to be able to play a show together someday. It would be poetic in a way.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Playing live music is such a phenomenal experience. I’d say to just keep at it. Whether or not your band “makes it”, you’ll never regret the experience, but you will regret never trying. Playing those early house parties when I was a teenager is still some of my fondest memories.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure I have some regrets but who doesn’t? It’s all a learning experience.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Illusion is probably one of the most personally important songs that I’ve ever written. Basically, I was internally struggling with my own depression. However, outwardly, I would present myself as this positive person, always making jokes and seemingly very happy. I had a hard time communicating how I was truly feeling. I wrote that song knowing that once it was released, I could no longer hide behind this illusion. It’s actually made a huge difference for me personally and I feel like I am now a lot more open about my life and emotions.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Lately, we’ve been closing our shows with the song “the Expedition.” It’s the only song on that first album that was more of a collaborative effort so when we play it live, I always think of those memories, sitting with our guitarist Marcos in my home studio and really putting that one together. I remember one part of the song where he said something like “what if you play something ugly on the piano there” and I jokingly said, “like this?” I then hit the record button and smashed all of the piano keys. We both thought it actually sounded pretty cool and that exact recording ended up on the album.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Usually, I like to write music alone in my home studio. I’ll record a pretty basic demo on my own and then send it off to the band. While they work their parts out, I flesh out the orchestral elements and write the lyrics. Then we come together and jam the new material a few times before going into the studio to record the official versions. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Dreams, a piece of art, or sometimes just toying around on the piano and stumbling upon something interesting.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We usually go for positive messages. Following your dreams with songs like Reach or Empyrean. Overcoming personal and emotional hardship with songs like Illusion or the Deceiver. Or life and the human experience as shown in songs like Tales Untold, Sapiens, and Memoriam.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Sure, nothing major but like with all relationships, band or otherwise, communication is key.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are gearing up to release our sophomore album Tales Untold, coming August 26th! We’ve put a lot of hard work into this one, self-producing, music videos directed by our bassist Eric “EJ” Guerrero, and I was very meticulous when it came to writing the orchestral elements of the record. Tales Untold feels like the album that we’ve always wanted to make! Beyond that, I’ve already started to come up with some ideas for a follow-up album! We have no plans of slowing down!
Music Video Tales Untold
Music Video Empyrean
Vinyl - https://bit.ly/TalesUntoldVINYL
Digital - https://bfan.link/tales-untold