Disciples Of Babylon Interview
By Kathy Lubary.
I recently had the pleasure of hanging out with the boys from Disciples of Babylon at the 2016 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. Anyone who's anyone attended this fabulous convention to see all the cool gear being introduced to the industry this every year. I was impressed with how friendly and cool the guys were. They looked in awe over all the incredible new gear. For musicians, this is by far the "Disneyland" for music and it's most definitely the place to be and be seen. I was excited to have an opportunity to interview them after NAMM. Here's a chance for all of us to get to know, Disciples of Babylon. Enjoy!
Q: Wow, you survived NAMM!! It was so great hanging with you guys. What was your experience like this year at NAMM?
A: Gui & Ramon: We had a great time at NAMM, I believe networking with the representatives of the brands we love and use when you have a good product yourself to give them, referring to our EP, makes things a lot easier. We got the chance to touch base and hang out with our sponsors from Klotz, an incredible cable company, and we are really grateful to be part of the Klotz family. We also wanted to thank Randy Fuchs and everyone over at Artist Relations as well as Lewitt Microphones. Besides the business side, NAMM was great, we saw a bunch of incredible musicians and had the chance to catch up with our musician friends from Europe, Latin America and around the world, it's great to hang out with them off stage sometimes! Lol
Q: I've heard you boys have quite the following! Is it true you & your fans have created the Babylon Society where you support different charities and spread the message of the importance of giving back to others? Tell me about this amazing movement as it's completely inline with our Raok Raven values/message about "Random Acts of Kindness."
A: BAND: Yes! Well we are working on it, we have amazing fans. Well we came up with the original idea for the Babylon Society as a movement that we could work together with our fans on. The idea is to support different causes whether it's a charity or cause, or maybe it’s our fans doing those, “random acts of kindness” for others or to unite to help one of our very own fans. It’s an idea that we are starting to develop more but one that we are very passionate about. We don’t think you can get into a position like this to be able to share your message to a lot of people and not try and help others. We think it’s a duty to try and make this world a little bit better anyway we can. This is in the beginning stages, and we really have some cool ideas that we want to develop for this and are excited for the future of it
Q: Congratulations on your new EP! This must be super exciting for you guys. Let's chat about the process you went through for this album. Was there any challenges?
A: Gui: I believe the biggest challenge for us, or for me at least, was deciding on the arrangement of the songs. When you work with great musicians and a great producer (Andres Torres) it's hard sometimes to make an arrangement decision, because every musical idea we had was different and amazing in their own way, but you can only use one one idea per song! But it was an incredible process, We can't wait to go back into the studio to lay down more songs and slap the bass!
Q: Disciples of Babylon is a unique and interesting name for your band. How did you come up with it?
A: Eric: Many years ago I was reading about the history of Babylon and in the text I was reading they mentioned a phrase the “Disciples of Babylon” in reference to the citizens of the city and I was so struck by that name that I immediately thought it would be a great name for a band. So I just tucked it away into my list of cool band names for the future, just in case.
The name ended up becoming a metaphor for me and us as the band in that I believe we are living in a modern day Babylon. Los Angeles, the US to me are all versions of Babylon. our country as a whole is going through many changes and in my opinion deteriorating at an alarming rate. I believe at some point in the near future, maybe not in our lifetime but relatively soon that if significant changes don’t take place we will enter into a revolution here. The country is so divided on so many issues and people are fed up with how the direction of our government is going in. We are currently in an election cycle, and in my opinion one of the scariest to date. The game is rigged and it is definitely not in our favor.
Q: How did you guys meet to form the band? Were you childhood friends? Or did you put a flyer up like Mötley Crüe did? ;
A: Eric: Well, none of the above LOL! Actually it was a video that I saw of Ramon. He posted a video of him playing a guitar solo on Facebook. It was from the band “Alter Bridge” the song was Blackbird I believe. I was stuck by how much feeling this guy was playing with and how amazing he played. He looked great, and I really base a lot of my decisions on gut instincts. I knew at that very moment that I wanted to start this new band. I immediately sent him a message (thinking that he probably thought that I was a crazy person) and I just told him that I watched his video and that I wanted to meet up with him to discuss idea for this new project I had. We met at the Starbucks on Hollywood Blvd right across from our former school (Musicians Institute) that Ramon, Gui & I attended and I gave him my pitch for the band. I told him I wanted to create the biggest band on the face of the planet. I wanted it to get back to the big show a la (KISS) and that I wanted to write huge anthems that would have the audience singing every last word back at us. We discussed the bands and music that we grew up listening to (which were practically the same) and after our conversation felt that a songwriting session was in the offing. We all went to the same school but Gui & Ramon went together at the same time, I had graduated a few years earlier than them so we never really ran into each other there only Ramon once before (that he does not recall) when I was at an event that I had been invited to do for the school and we spoke but it was brief. After our meeting that day we set up a day to meet and write. From the very moment we started we wrote “Arrived” our first song together which is on our debut EP ‘Welcome to Babylon’ we knew we had something very special. It was very easy and flowed really well. There was instant chemistry and the rest is as they say history.
After we had a batch of songs done we thought at that point we needed to start putting the band together. Ramon immediately suggested Gui as our bass player as they had played in some other bands around town together as hired guns. Gui came in with his trademark smile (that lights up any room he enters) and started playing and he fit perfectly. Gui is an amazing bass player, writer as well as singer which was a blessing for us as that was one of the criteria I was looking for was someone that can sing backing vocals. Gui came in and immediately contributed ideas and that’s how our other song off the EP ‘The Great Pretend’ came to be. It started as one idea and ended up evolving into this other amazing thing that we were blown away with when it was all said and done.
The drummer was the final piece of our puzzle in order for world domination to begin. Man, we auditioned and auditioned countless drummers around town and settled initially with Ray Rojo (which also went to MI) but shortly after we released the EP he decided that it wasn’t for him so we were scrambling to find a replacement. Ironically enough during those auditions Chris Toeller our new drummer was one of the guys that auditioned and we really liked him a lot. I believe it was down to Chris & Ray but we went with Ray cause the guys knew him from school. Ray is a great guy as well as a monster drummer and we were very fortunate to have him be a part of this project for the time that he was involved but to his credit he felt like it wasn’t for him and we talked about it and it was all good.
Gui and Ramon immediately suggested that Chris was the guy. At this point the three of them had become very close cause they played with another artist around town that they were hired for and became fast friends. Chris came into the audition and of course knocked it out of the park and we offered him the gig I think late that night or the following day after the audition. Chris brings another dimension into the band in that he is a producer as well as an incredible drummer.
I feel incredibly blessed and honored to be playing with these guys. The respect that I have for them as not only truly gifted musicians but as individuals and incredible human beings is just wonderful. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be making music with them but more importantly calling them my friends, brothers and family.
Q: What are your top three favorite bands for each of you?
Taking Back Sunday
Too many to mention that’s virtually impossible to answer for me cause I love so much music, but if I had to pick it would be: The Beatles, Journey & Rush
That's a tough question, because my musical taste is constantly changing and evolving, but the 3 bands that I always go back to, no matter how many times I've listened to them, are The Beatles, Metallica and Creedence Clearwater Revival
Q: Who are some influences in the music industry?
A: BAND: I think collectively as a band new bands that we like are: Royal Blood, Muse, Foo Fighters
Q: If you could tour with any band in the world, who would you collectively pick?
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? (Each of you answer separately & add your name best to answer.)
Gui: Mosquitos! For real, can we get rid of them please?
Ramon: I will put a plate of food for every body in this world.
Eric: Ending hunger, oppression and tyranny.
Chris: I would eliminate suffering in the world by replacing hatred and evil and greed with love.
Q: Favorite food?
Chris: Lou Malnati’s Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
Ramon: Jamon Iberico!
Eric: Vegetarian Pizza
Q: If you were stranded on an island, and you were able to take 1 item, what would you choose?
Gui: MOTHER-FLIPPING PIZZAAAAAA!
Ramon: My Guitar!
Eric: A solar powered iPod with every great song ever written.
Chris: Definitely a large storage container to use for shelter. However, if there were a limit on the size of the object, I would choose a heavy duty fold up tent instead.
Q: You guys have a good following. Any weird fan experiences yet?
A: BAND: We’ve definitely have had our share of some very intense fans, but we would say it’s the stories that some of our fans have told us about being bullied as well as a couple that wanted to commit suicide and that when they heard our music that it helped them get through it. Those are the ones that have blown us away, that are music would have an effect on someone like that. So we wouldn’t say they were weird but more profound and they give us a bigger
Q: Eric, I know you recently moved to LA. What do you think about Lala land thus far?
A: Eric: Well I’ve actually been in LA now for 10 years so it’s been a while now :). I’ve always loved LA. I always knew that I would be living here. The weather, scenery and energy that this city produces is just electric. You tend to feed off of the other people that are creatives in this town. Whether they are an actor, musician, comedian or artist it’s amazing to be able to get to hear other people’s story. It’s very inspiring.
Q: Has it helped your career a lot by making the move?
A: Eric: It most certainly did. I’m originally from Miami and I had already accomplished and did everything I could as an artist there. I definitely hit a brick wall and knew I had a choice, either stay in Miami and just spin my wheels for the rest of my life there or come to LA and have a go at it and be in a place that was more conducive to what I was trying to accomplish. It was a no brainer for me and it was the best decision I ever made. I basically started from zero again.
Q: How did you come up with the song Karma?
A: Eric: Karma was the second song that Ramon and myself worked on when we started writing together even before the band was put together. Ramon brought in that MONSTER riff and we pretty much finished writing and arranging the music together that same day. Lyrics came later but I already had a sense of what I was going to write about even before I actually wrote a single word. I tend to write depending on the vibe and feeling that I get for the song. This song had an obvious aggressive driving rhythm to it and so that immediately dictated and influenced where I was going to go with the lyrical content. We knew we had something very special with Karma and were excited as we knew that this would be the first single and song to introduce us to the world.
Q: Is this about an ex-girlfriend?
A: Eric: I’ll plead the 5th on this one. I like keeping the lyrics open to interpretation and let the audience draw their own conclusions.
Q: Will you be going to NAMM in the summer in Nashville?
A: Ramon: We don't think so. We’re good with one NAMM experience per year.
Q: So what's next for the band?
A: Chris & Ramon: We are working on a tour and in the very near future, we will be shooting the music video for our song titled “The Great Pretend” that can be found on our EP titled “Welcome to Babylon.” Later on in the year we will begin the writing and recording process for our next full length album to be released sometime in 2017.
Q: Any upcoming shows?
A: Ramon: We have plans to tour to support this EP, so we are currently booking dates as we speak for spring/summer.
Q: Since your great fans will be reading this interview, what would you like to say them?
A: BAND: We love you all so much and are incredibly grateful for all your support. Your encouragement inspires us and motivates us to keep writing new music and working our way to the top. We’re in this to make a deep global impact, and it would be impossible to accomplish without each and every one of you.
I really enjoyed my time with Disciples of Babylon. Funny, interesting, talented musicians that truly love their fans. I'd like to thank the guys from DOB for taking the time to do this interview and to hang out with Lil' Ol' me at NAMM. You boys truly RAOK and we wish you all the best of luck!
You can follow them on Twitter @disciplesofbaby. Their new EP Welcome To Babylon can be found on iTunes.