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Hether Interview


1. There’s Bedroom pop and Garage Rock. Wanna start a band with me and we’ll call it Bathroom Jazz?

Haha I’m into that. I used to leave this drop 2 jazz guitar voicing book in my bathroom to read, which was a pretty funny unintentional pun. If u know what Drop 2 voicings are- then that will probably be funny to you.

2. What have you been listening to lately?

Lots of guitarists like Charlie Megira, David Zé, Hendrix, John Dwyer, Leon Michels, some Zam rock stuff, some Turkish stuff, idk Spotify is awesome u can find almost everything on there, and what you can’t find there is usually on YouTube. I have musical adhd

3. What is more impressive? Having a website where I interview musicians, or being able to dunk a basketball? (I’m trying to impress a girl, but I can’t dunk)

Being able to dunk a musician while interviewing a basketball would be impressive to me

4. What are you currently looking forward to?

Well, I think like everyone else, I’m looking forward to some sense of normalcy again, but other than the obvious, I’m looking forward to so many things, like making music with my friends, playing shows, getting better at responding to this specific question in interviews, and living life healthily and fully

5. Which fictional location would you most like to play a show at?

I'd like to play Black Sabbath covers at the castle in Edward scissor hands for all those moms, just ripping tony iommi licks while Edward cuts my hair

6. Which Disney villain do you think you could take in a fight?

I’d try and take Ursula but she’d prob strangle me

7. Worst piece of life advice that you can give me?

Scroll on your phone all day, listen to what others have to say about your art, don’t Pursue your passions and be a robot like the man tells you to

8. I’ve been obsessed with Cher for like the past year and a half. Any chance that you’d do a cover of “Believe”?

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever listened to Cher but since you asked nicely sure why tha f$&k not

9. Which conspiracy theory are you convinced is true?

Hahah I mean, everything is a conspiracy to a certain extent. It’s just a matter of believing what you’re told. I think that nasal spray isn’t addictive and doctors just don’t want you breathing well all day cuz they’ll go outta business, jk

10. What band has inspired you the least?

I'd love to be that guy who’s like “u can find inspiration in anything if you listen hard enough :)” but it’s not true. There’s some music I think is dangerous to listen to. Like steely dan. I will never listen to that shit


(Photo by Joaquin Barta)

Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Magazine: To start things off, can you introduce yourself and give us some of your musical background?

Paul Castelluzzo (Hether): Hi I’m Paul I’m 26, I started playing guitar when I was probably 6 or 7, this guitar company Córdoba did some seminar or something and brought all these acoustics to our school for some music program thing and I was stoked on it. My older brother played guitar also, punk stuff ( now he’s a full time musician playing jazz and old time music from the 30s and beyond) I just would always play. I loved classic rock and punk stuff. But as I got into high school I was getting into jazz and old time blues stuff. Not the gross white guy blues. But like Elmore James and stuff. But then I got bored of that and wanted to play more complex harmonies and melodies. So I started transcribing a lot of Charlie Parker melodies, the first one I learned was Donna Lee, then from there my jazz phase took off. I played in big bands and stuff, it was kinda fun. But I got sick of how lame jazz musicians are and wanted to make rock music again. So here I am ? Idk there’s a lot more to it than that but I’m bad at remembering my life haha

I read that you were about to attend school for music in NY, and the same week you were packing to move you got offered a job as a studio guitarist. Did you expect to break into the music industry so quickly?

Yes, I was going to drive to New York and apply to music schools because I thought that was what you’re supposed to do. But now I cringe at the idea of paying top dollar to learn stuff that can’t really be taught. I think it’s a whole scam. But that’s another convo. I wasn’t expecting anything. I didn’t see much for myself at all, I just wanted to make a living doing music. That’s all. So I played church gigs, taught guitar lessons. It was chill. Then things just started happening because LA is like that, it’s got its ups and downs for sure. But it’s definitely a cesspool for opportunities and misfortune

I also read that you did odd jobs while working as a studio musician like playing guitar at a pentecostal church and driving for Lyft. What was that experience like?

It was humbling for sure. The Pentecostal church was creepy as hell and the pastor was like Vladimir Putin’s twin. But it payed my rent and let me eat Trader Joe’s microwave burritos. Lyft was cool too, I liked meeting random people, but driving a stick shit from Pasadena to Santa Monica in rush hour with 3 stinky jocks in your car for 2 hours kinda killed my vibe haha.

What do you think has helped you grow the most as a musician/artist?

I’d say, honoring the past musicians, artists, recording engineers, composers etc. bodies of work, really studying and listening. If it’s not a joy to you then turn it off. Music isn’t homework, it’s a positive obsession. Also realizing that you never really find yourself, you only accept yourself. Then take that and run with it. Accept, grow, repeat.

What was it like to get to work with Romeo Santos?

Honestly the most fun thing ever. I was the only white guy in a 150 man operation of Dominicans and Puerto Rican’s. They’re the best, I love everyone in that band. I had some of the guys come to my families house while we were in town on tour and cook my parents this Dominican soup called sancocho, my dad loved it. The music wasn’t my favorite thing, but I learned to love it. Bachata is super beautiful music, and if you listen to the guitar tones, they sound just like Mac DeMarco.

You’ve worked with tons of other artists on their music as a guitarist, but what does it mean to you to be able to work on your own songs and your own project? What does that mean to you?

It’s cool, it’s a great thing to be able to play on someone’s song. It’s fun and rewarding. But at the same time haha, I’m kind of sick of playing guitar/ various other things on people’s music that I don’t even like. The key is to to Work with people You jive with. And that’s it. You lose yourself by being a musical commodity for others peoples visions. Most people don’t even know what they want. But are still aggressive about it. I’m down to work with people who love the music, and care about the things I care about.

You’ve toured all over the world as a guitarist and played arenas and huge venues, but played your first show as a frontman early last year. What was that experience like?

It was alright haha. The performance was sloppy, the crowd was the best though. I’m looking forward to really stepping the live aspect up once We’re not stuck in this lock down

Speaking of your own project, Hether has a new EP coming out soon! How do you feel about that?

I feel cool about it. They’re just demos, sketches, sonic whatever’s. Every song was written recorded and mixed in a day for the most part. If ppl dig them cool, if they don’t, cool! I just like making music, getting sounds, and being a nerd. I don’t think I’m gonna be the next Justin Bieber, nor do I want to be. I just want to make art that people connect with.

Is there a track that you’re most excited for everyone to hear?

Odiar! It’s radio spelled backwards. Me and my friend Kosta recorded that in 30 minutes. I had him drive down from la, and I fired up the tape machine, played it to him and he learned it in 10 minutes. We cut it on the first take.

Was there anything specific you were listening to while making the EP?

Lots of John dwyer, ruban Nielsen, jay reatard, Pink Floyd, Tim Presley, erkin koray, so many! But mostly tryna listen to my self

Do you have a favorite part of the music making process?

Recording!!!!! I love it. Writing music is fucking boring. I like getting sounds, the NEW music after sticky thumb is going to be a harmonically, sonically, and extraterrestrially lifted to a new plane. I’m excited

(Photo by Joaquin Barta)

What are your goals for 2021?

To stay healthy. Quit nicotine. Keep staying as inspired as I am right now. And if I am not, then practice acceptance rather than self ridicule. Life is ducking hard, none of us asked to be here. There’s no road map. It’s all so weird. We’re floating in this unexplainable dark void, yet we stare at how many likes we got on our selfie. Zoom out and things become quite laughable

Any advice for someone thinking about pursuing music?

Do it because you can’t live without it, stay true to why you’re doing it, do it with people you trust, learn how to play a fucking instrument, learn how to be a nerd. So many get into it because it’s the easiest thing to do now. Just pull up a garage band drum loop and plug your guitar in di, sing about how your girlfriend fell asleep next to you. Bam! I’m an artist!

No. Art is fucked. It’s gonna suck your soul and spit it back out of your ass.

What can we expect to see/hear from you in the near future?

More music. Less Instagram posts. More art. Less bs


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