Totimoshi Talks “Avenger”

Totimoshi has been keeping busy with touring, recording, and otherwise spreading their hard-to-catagorize amazing music. Having recorded their latest album “Avenger” on their own over the last two years, Totimoshi is finally touring to promote it’s release earlier this month. I caught up with them in New Orleans to talk about the trials of releasing “Avenger,” another recording done as a split with their main influence The Melvins, and just where they think the music industry is headed. A transcription is below the film footage.

Buick McKane: How are y’all doing today?

All: Good.

Buick: So how’s the tour been going so far?

Tony Aguilar: Um, good, bad, and everything in between. Like, there’s good shows and there’s very rough shows. But it’s everything to be expected. It’s really our first time trying to headline in fourteen years. It’s fine.

Buick: Rough as in the crowd or….

Tony: Yeah, yeah. ‘Cause everything else is easy. We all get along really well. We’re doing alright, everyone is eating, so we’re happy.

Buick: Eating is very important when you’re on tour. You could be starving on tour; that happens to a lot of people.

Tony: Yeah, it’s happened to us.

Buick: Well you’re on tour for your album “Avenger” which has just released. How’s the response been so far?

Tony: So far, the write-ups have been great. It had really good reviews. People that have heard the record have just been raving about it, so we’re very happy with it. It’s great. It’s good. We’re really proud of it. It took a lot of work.

Buick: Right, and it took a lot of work because your label kicked you off.

Tony: Yeah, basically our label said they weren’t going to put it out, so we ended up recording it in, sort of, increments. It took about two years to make it. But it’s kind of good; I think that the way it came about, the way that it manifested…it’s really natural, it’s really organic. I like the process, I kind of like it that way, so you’re not really pushing some product out there. You’re just allowing music to happen.

Buick: Do you think you would continue with that or be back on a label?

Tony: Well, we’re on a label now. A label called At A Loss put it out. And they have a lot of awesome bands, they’ve worked with a lot of really good bands that we really like. So we’re really happy about it. It’s not a huge label, but it’s a different time and age. I don’t think that that matters as much anymore.

Buick: Right. Where do you think the music industry is headed? How is music changing?

Tony: I think the music industry is headed to the toilet. I mean, I don’t see music changing that much other than that it’s obviously going to take it’s normal progression to what direction music goes. But the industry is definitely changing a lot. People are getting music for free now; you don’t have to wait to get instant gratification, as far as music is concerned. So that obviously changes. I mean, when I was a kid, I remember ordering my first Robert Johnson album, and it took three weeks for it to come. I was all excited, it came in the mail. It came bowed, so I had to put it under my bed and wait another two weeks for it to even straighten out so I could actually play it. This entire time, I had never even heard him, only read about him, and finally, the day I got to listen to him was one of the most magical days of my life; all that anticipation. In a way, I kind of feel sorry for kids about not having that anticipation about music. It’s just instant, instant gratification rather than waiting and waiting, and finally getting the joy at the end of it.

Buick: Right. What do you think about streaming songs before an album comes out? Does it devalue the album even more or just add to the excitement?

Tony: I don’t think anything can devalue art because, once it’s finished, it exists in the world. There’s nothing you can do about keeping kids from streaming records. If you they’re going to take it, they’re going to take it one way or another. I used to dub records from friends on cassettes when I was a kid. So, it’s not like I didn’t do it in the past. But it is taking some money out of some artists’ pockets. It’s harder and harder to make a living as a musician. That’s the sad part about it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to try to….I don’t know. What do you think?

Meg Castellanos: I think that we just need to find more creative ways to put music out there. We’re making limited edition vinyl, hand-numbered stuff that they’re making from scratch. People want that because they want something that’s special. And there are a lot of collectors out there. People are seeing a huge resurgence in vinyl because of that. And just for that whole retro thing, too; kids are fascinated by records, you know, because it’s not something they were used to having. But, yeah, I just think that you need to be more creative in putting out specialty items. And they are worth more money, and you sell it, and they’ll go sell it on Ebay and make twice the money that you did in the first place. So that’s what’s happening.

Buick: And some kid’s going to be really happy because he thinks he’s getting something extra special because it costs so much. That’s economy, right?

Tony: Sucker born every minute.

Buick: Exactly. Well you also have another album coming out called “Waning Divine.” Can you tell me more about that?

Tony: Well, it’s vinyl. It’s a seven-inch split with The Melvins, our favorite band of all time. And we were lucky enough to put out a split with our favorite band of all time. The Melvins, on their side is….

Meg: “Suicide in Progress” live, and our side is actually the last song of “Avenger.” So it’s not something that is exclusive; it already appears on the album that’s coming out. But this is on vinyl, split with The Melvins, on Volcom Entertainment. It’s coming out in January, but we actually have it for sale on this tour.

Tony: The cool thing is Toshi [Kasai], the same guy who produced our record and recorded our record also did The Melvin’s record on the other side. So it’s all one similar thing. It’s so cool, it’s like a big family.

Buick: Right. That’s cool that you can be really close to your biggest influence.

Tony: Yeah, definitely. Love those guys. And also Dale [Crover]does some singing on the record, too. So we’re all really close.

Buick: That’s awesome. So anything else y’all would like to say?

Tony: Buy our record, support live music, go to shows…

Tony: Yeah, don’t eat yellow snow.

Buick: We don’t have snow down here.

Tony: Don’t eat yellow mist.

Buick: I think that’s sage advice to go out on. Thanks so much.

All: Thank you.

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Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.