Part One: L.A.'s Tony Aguilar speaks on All Souls band and his sound

By Maddelynne Parker

Tony Aguilar is a professional musician living in L.A. who's been in multiple successful bands (All Souls, Totimoshi and Fatso Jetson) and now co-owns Eastside Rehearsal, a recording studio. Find out why Aguilar made music his life in part one of his interview with WXJM.

I know you've been in multiple bands before. What are you doing in music world currently?

"Presently, I’m in just one band. I’m just in All Souls, but I was also in a band called Totimoshi. Then I was in a band called Fatso Jetson, which was more like a kind of flamenco, ranchero sort of band. It was really fun to do. It kind of changed a little bit in a weird way, and then I started All Souls with a few of my friends two and a half to three years ago."

Could you explain a little bit about All Souls and what kind of music you make?

"Yeah, so it basically started with … when I moved to Los Angeles. Tony Tornay and I had been friends for a really long time, and so for years and years me and Tony threw around the idea of starting a band together. We both started it up when we were kind of bandless at the same time. Three of us started getting together with Meg, who’s my wife, and she was also the bass player for Totimoshi. Before we started playing together we sat at a table because we were all old friends and we talked about what we’d like to do if we were in a band together, how we would approach it. It was a very adult sort of way of proceeding. So, we kind of came up with a plan and we started writing together and that sort of birthed All Souls.

The first year was spent getting our sound, recording the record, and … we started the beginning of the tour before the album even came out. We did a tour with Fatso Jetson in the U.K., so Tony [Tornay] did double duty. We opened the show and Fatso Jetson would close it, and we did about a week and a half to two weeks in the U.K. going all the way from London to Scotland."

Wow, so you’ve actually gone quite a distance with this band?

"Yeah, you know, and that’s one of the things we discussed before we started the band. We sat a table and we’re all touring musicians. We all wanna tour. This is what we wanna do — we wanna travel. You know the thing is in this day and age … the way the record industry is sort of layed out with a lot of people stealing music online, really the only way for a musician to try to make a living is literally by playing live shows. It’s something you have to do as a musician. There’s no way around it."

All Souls: From left, Tony Aguilar, Meg Castellanos, Tony Tornay and Erik Trammell.

What genre would you put yourself in?

"We get put into the genre of desert rock a lot. I mean, Tony, our drummer, is from one of the quintessential desert bands. I mean, Fatso Jetson is considered the godfathers of that whole desert scene.

We get put into that genre a lot and the whole stoner category because we end up playing with a lot of those bands. I don’t really consider ourselves a stoner rock band. I think we’re too progressive for that sort of sound, and I think punk sort of in the way that the Dead Kennedys and the Jesus Lizard. I guess we’re punk rock, too.

I feel like a lot of kids these days sort of think of punk rock as sort of being three bar, simplistic, kind of like Black Flags, Germs kind of sound which I don’t dislike. But there were also bands that were a lot more expensive than that and I think we fit into those categories. So, between those three: punk rock, desert rock and stoner rock. We fit somewhere between there."

How long have you been playing?

"I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old. I honestly have been writing songs since I was six years old. My dad listened to a lot of country music and I would write cowboy songs in my head. I would go from part to part to part and write melodies, and then I would remember the melody. Then, I would write another one, and I would put them together and sing songs to myself. But 13 is when I started playing guitar. So, my regiment was I would try to play six hours a day, so it was in three hour spurts. I would watch a sports game — I would either watch the Lakers or the Dodgers or whatever season it was, the Rams — and then while I was watching I would be playing scales continuously."

You were devoted.

"Yeah, that’s no different then the story of our guitar player. Erik [Trammell]’s phenomenal. He would do the same thing and play six to eight hours a day. You have to do that if you want to be an instrumentalist of any sort. You have to learn how to speak the language of music."

What artists inspired you when you were learning guitar?

"The reason why I picked up the guitar was because of Jimi Hendrix. I was just completely taken by him and Led Zeppelin. The town I grew up in, there were no music stores. I would read about music in magazines. We had a drug store that would sell tapes but they had a really limited stock of music, but I would go down there and look. They had Led Zeppelin I, which I bought.

My dad would give me two dollars a day to eat lunch at the local school and I would run home during lunch. We always had a very typical Mexican family pot of beans in the fridge, and I would just eat beans really fast and run back to school. I would save the two dollars and every Friday I would buy a record. So, I bought Led Zeppelin I, I bought a bunch of Hendrix stuff and it just completely took my mind over — just infatuated me and then it was just obsession trying to play my favorite players, which was always Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page."

Part two will be published next week.

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