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Exclusive Q&A with AJ Davila



1. I read that your brother died when you were 3 and your parents divorced at 7. You were raised by your mother. I was raised by my grandmother. I think being raised by primarily women gives men a certain level of sensitivity. Do you feel that transcends in your music?
Absolutely…my mother has been my biggest influence in my life and my mayor adviser. I have been surrounded by the best women in the world and that’s a blessing. Tthey have that six sense that men don’t have. My Father was absent and was a bad influence, my cousins in jail, my friends that grew up with me were in jail or dead … If it wasn’t for the great values that my mother, aunts, and grandmother put on me, my life will have been way different. They showed me how to survive and be strong, they never let me be a sucker … they showed me how to fight but also to have respect for life and the world that surrounds me. Most importantly, they respected the way I am has a human been and they let me be. All those great values will be forever in me and the way you see life…that includes my music.

2. How would you describe your music?
Its music from the heart…honest and real. I talk of my life and all the things that affects everything on it, good or bad.I learn more from the things that cause me pain. Its rock and roll in every single meaning of the word. Pure energy and strong hooks….I love catchy music…Even if its dark and crazy, it will always be catchy.

3. What’s your process? Do you sit in the studio until a song is done or is it done in pieces?
I always start with the vocal melodies, that’s the basis of all my songs. My grandfather gave me this tape recorder when I was a kid (my favorite equipment that I own) and I record everything on it. I visualize the song on it and do like a pre-production kind of thing and later, I re-arranged the song in the studio. Its like painting an idea on a canvas. Vocal melody, chords, bass, guitars, piano and then the arrangements…I flows with that till i’m happy and the magic flows.

4. Some of our readers are music heads and would love to know what equipment you use to create your Music. What’s your studio set up like?
My set up its very simple, I record everything in my room but that’s what make me really happy…I had recorded in big studios, but nothing compares to the sound I get in my living room. My main weapon is audition 1.5 ( I will never change it for any other recording program) I use a mackie onyx 12 channels board (love the pre-amp on it ) I use a mic condenser that Jay Retard gave to me and a old shure mic for the guitars. For the guitars I used a peavey sheffield amp that I own since 92, a gibson sg and a fender telecaster. I use a lot a akaI mpc 2000xl ( my fav instrument in the world) a korg karma and alexis keyboard. For bass a thunderbird and for this record I used a lot a rickenbacker bass. For monitors Alesis.

aj davila terror amor album5. How was working on this terror / Amor album different then working on the Davila 666 stuff?
With Davila 666 we recorded everything in 2 weeks or a month…it was more of a straight forward approach that I love but with this record I gave me the chance to think more about me and how I really felt with my life. I took my time, no rush. I worked with a lot of people that I admire on this record and the list its endless . I experimented a lot with different sounds that I always wanted to work with and that gave me the happiness that I was looking for.

6. What was the most fun song to work on on the terror / Amor album?
Working on all of the songs was the most fun that I wanted to have on my record…they are my babies, but if I have to choose it will have to be “2333” with Mercedes Oller, Sergio Rotman and Johnny Bwoy and “Ya Se” with Juan Cirerol and Dax Diaz (R.I.P) That last song its the most important to me. That last song I worked with Juan the basics via Skype for 5 hours drinking and talking about life, with Mario, Mario and Juanto of Fantasmes doing the basic tracking and with Dax he came to my house to record and we went to my hood and we went to my fav local bar and have time with my uncles and my family. We wen to record and arranged the song drinking with my grandfather (god bless his soul R.I.P) and our friends from the Plastic Pinks (our friends and brothers from Miami)….its the most fun I ever had doing a song with my friends! God Bless Dax and MI Abuelo….I miss them with all my heart!!

7. Was there one where you kept going back to tweak stuff because you wanted to capture that little unique sound on it?
I have ocd with music, I have this theory that you have to record and mix everything in a day (doesn’t matter if you are 35 hour awake). All the songs changed with the collaborations so they took extra time, but ” Ya Se” took a lot of time because of all the people envolved in the song…we wanted to make our own “Velvet Underground” crazy song.

8. I post a lot of press releases from nacional records and feel like they really love and back their artists. How’s your experience been with them?
Its been one of best experience that I had with a record label!! They are my family( Tomas, Jennifer, Canyon, Phoebe, Lucia, Bernie, Jaime, Tommy, Melody, Noah) and I love them just the same as I love Sean and Lee of Burger Records , Larry Hardy of In The Red, Chris Roberts and Jaime Farkas of Vice Music,my booking agent Peter Davies, who is been a father figure to me and I love him with all my heart! Lots of the things that I know and I have learned about the music industry its because to him. Love u Peter or as I call him Dad! I Feel really happy to have all this amazing people in my life in music…its a blessing!

9. So what’s after this terror / Amor album?

I will be playing “Supersonico” Festival in Los Ageles, California, Oct 11 and Tour the USA and Canda in October and November part of the Burger Records Caravan of Stars with Pangea, The Coathangers, Natural Child, Dum Dum Girls. I also have been recording a lot in Mexico with my friends of Cardiel (Venezuela) O Tortuga(Mexico) Carmen Costa ( Argentina y Mexico) Crocodiles (USA) Boris from De Nalgas (Mexico) and CachI from Lavandervile (Mexico). I just made a remix for Denver (Chile) “Medio Loca” and made a song with Natalia Clavier (Thevery Corporation) for The Red Bull Session. Its going to be a hard working year.

10. If you could describe yourself and your music “twitter style” in less then 140 characters what would that be?
Music to make your girlfriend dance, scream, take her shirt out and party like crazy all night!!


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10. I love asking this question because the answers vary so much. But if you could record with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Damm it will have to be Marvin Gaye (RIP)… mother introduce me to his music when I was a baby and it change my life!! He is one of my music idols….we are trouble makers and we have the same taste for good soulful melodies. David Lynch will make the video!!