Claudio Soto Interview
Q: Can you talk about your musical history?
A: Well, as many musicians, my musical history started really early, learning a few guitar chords when I was seven on an acoustic guitar that my father bought me. Then, I rediscovered rock music when I was a teenager, and realized that was a huge call for me. I started playing guitar obsessively trying to be as good as my idols (Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Steve Vai). I remember trying to practice eight hours per day since I read that that’s what’s necessary to become a good guitar player. I remember too renting a room where I practiced countless hours after I left home because my parents were disappointed about my obsession. I even went to college to study music for a few years. All of this, maybe, because I was trying to fill all the gaps, needed to be a good musician. But none of that was enough when I attempted to sing for the first time around six years ago. I was really unconfident about myself singing. It’s just that I couldn’t contain the necessity of expressing myself and for that I ended up not needing all the things I learnt in the past. It was just me and my joy and fears. I started writing songs not with a plan of achieving something specific. It was just what came out of myself. Even my guitar playing is very primitive because that’s the way I feel it. The guitar god kind of vanished in front of my self-expression.
Q: Your recent album Once is a solo effort. What was the creative process like?
A: I would say the creative process is all about luck. I can play guitar for hours trying to find something convincing musically and nothing comes out at the end. Some other days I have a song in just a couple of minutes. I know when that happens because I believe in what sounds right. For the album Once, a couple of songs were written during the recording process. They just felt consistent from the beginning. Writing the lyrics is a tough process to me. I always say something about myself and that process is sometimes a struggle. To put on papers my feelings, ideas, what I believe or my uncertainties is not a an easy task. Even when I sing them live I really get into what I am saying and it becomes real statements of who I am.
Q: You mention that Once is a personal album that reflects all your musical influence. Can you elaborate on that?
A: Mainly Once is a non-planned piece of work creatively. To have a song is victory to me. And in order to believe in it, to me, It has to have something of myself that can be reflected on a song. When writing this I feel kind of awkward because I don’t have cool musical influences to name. I am more into songs than rock bands. But If I have to name some of them I would pick a few. Nirvana songs, Royal Blood tracks or The White Stripes is the music I was listening when I recorded this album. Also a huge influence in my guitar playing is a friend with her band Francie Moon that probably I interpreted in my own way her way of playing chords. But at the end, what I took from her was her musical passion along with the rawness and honesty of her music.
Q: What was the recording process like? Can you talk about what tracking was like with you as the only instrumentalist?
A: Well, for recording I had plenty of time. After conditioning a room acoustically and getting the best equipment I could afford, I started recording the instruments one by one. When I had the instrumental parts of a song I tracked the vocals. I have to mention that when registering my voice I used a muted guitar with a rug so I minimized the noise of the instrument. I just felt more comfortable singing along with a guitar maybe because I rehearse a lot singing and playing at the same time. Kind of like, my voice gets out more freely than just singing in front of the mic. The guitar supported me physically.
Q: You recently started playing with a drummer. How has that changed the dynamics of the band?
A: This is huge change. It’s not anymore just me thinking and taking decisions by myself about my music. I am in the process of rehearsing right now with Ian Gomez on drums and I realized that It’s a social thing. Despite that I’ve played in bands before, sharing my music with another member is work to do. Many times I don’t think about structures of my songs but when I have to explain them to others being clear about the parts of the song makes things a lot easier. It’s not enough just to be passionate about the music. I have to communicate clearly my ideas too. Being just myself i can play my music the way I want. Having a bandmate makes things change a little bit.
Q: What else do we need to know about The Stolen Truth?
A: The Stolen Truth is the attempt to put live my solo work. At some point I’d like to get members really involved and I think that’s gonna happen when they realize that music is my passion and I can do almost whatever It takes to keep moving forward. My wish is at some point to create songs as a band and record them, along with playing live as much as we can. Ian is for now the drummer of the band. As long as I play music this band will exist. I don’t know other way of making sense of my life. Every step means a lot to me and I hope who stays with me experiences the same feeling. My goal is to make members feel part of it. I don’t want to take all the credit of what is made in this band. I wanna be part of a team, a small community where each of us is equally important.
The Stolen Truth will be opening for The Independents on April 28 at Green Door Music Hall in Northwest Florida.