Hey y’all, my name is Justin Johnson. I’m from San Antonio, Texas and I’ll be writing for The Farsighted. Since the TFB is based in Pennsylvania and I’m all the way down south, I’m going to be highlighting some amazingly talented, but as of yet undiscovered and/or recently signed bands out of the San Antonio, Austin, Central Texas scene. Sound rad? I hope so…
First up is a power pop band from Austin called Shadow of Whales. An unusual name for a band, yes, but in the interview, bassist Jeremy Boyum explains how the band met, the interesting way the band name came to be and other fun facts.
Before I get to the interview, let me just say that I love this band. I’ve seen them play a few times here in San Antonio and in a college town between SA and Austin called San Marcos. The first time I saw them, I had never heard of them. They were opening for a national touring act at The 1011 in San Antonio and I was blown away. Their stage presence was phenomenal and extremely entertaining to the point where I didn’t want their set to end. By the end, I really didn’t care if I saw the touring band play, I just wanted SOW to keep playing. As I’ve gotten to know these super rad guys, I love how humble they are, how they treat their fans (they love us) and how they are so passionate about what they do, one can’t help but feel inspired by what they do and the message they convey (listen to their song “Dream” or better yet, watch the music video on YouTube).
Let’s get to know Shadow of Whales…
Please give me a quick overview of the band-members, ages, instruments, who writes the lyrics and music, etc.
Josh Flores – age 25 – vox/rhythm guitar
Caleb Flores – age 21 – vox/drums
Jeremy Boyum – age 25 – vox/bass
JD Vazquez – age 21 – vox/keyboard
Chris Fraga – age 23 – vox/lead guitar
We all write the lyrics and music collectively.
Location of the band.
Please give me a brief history of the band-where you all met, how the band came to be. Band name? How did that come about?
JD had a dream where he was walking in the city and saw whales swimming/floating in the sky. One of them blotted out the sun and cast him in its shadow. It was such a humbling feeling that he remembered it when he woke up and decided to write a poem about it. We realize that the world is so much bigger than us and so is Shadow of Whales. We know we are blessed to be where we are and we want to stay humble and true to that.
How’d we meet? All of us in some way had a connection to Josh Flores. Josh met JD at a high school class he had been invited to speak at, he met Chris while recording one of Chris’ previous projects, he met Jeremy at a Bible study and through his previous band Invisible Target, and he met Caleb when he was born on October 7th, 1994 at Dell’s Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX.
Describe your sound to an audience that has never heard you before. Who might people compare you guys to?
Our sound is that of an indie/rock alternative with some pop influence. We’ve been compared on several occasions to Panic! at the Disco, Franz Ferdinand and the Killers.
Tell me about some big accomplishments of the band so far.
Our music has charted on the CMJ Top 200 and saw regular rotation in Starbucks stores across the US/Canada.
We’ve played at these festivals:
Warped Tour (San Antonio Ernie Ball Stage)
South by So What?! Festival in Dallas/Fort Worth
Red Gorilla Festival
Heart of Texas Rockfest
10/20 Race in Austin
Rockathon Festival at KU
We’ve opened for these acts:
Courage My Love
Run 2 Cover
Forever Came Calling
You, Me & Everyone We Know
A Lot Like Birds
What are some goals of the band? 1, 2, 5 years.
1 year: Without being too specific, we plan to master the Texas music scene and grow into adjacent states, while growing our YouTube following and our Patreon subscription base.
2 years: Play every state in the U.S
5 years: Tour outside the U.S.
Dream tour – 3 other current bands
Switchfoot, Family Force 5, and Walk the Moon
Anything unique about the band or members? One fun fact or quirk about each member.
JD eats absolutely everything with a fork and knife. Even tacos, chicken tenders, burritos, & hamburgers…
Josh has a zebra onsie
Caleb is basically Olan Rogers
Chris is the only one of us that was not actually born in the USA
Jeremy can’t pronounce random words correctly. For instance, he pronounces Coachella, “Co-ah-chel-ah”, Chorizo “Chor-ih–zoh” and Striped “Stripe-Ed” – also, he is the only white guy in the band.
Tell me about your releases. (Self titled EP, any upcoming releases) Who were these produced by? Give me a quick rundown of your process for writing material. Where can people find your discography?
We have an upcoming release each month this year through our Patreon, each will have different producers but most will be recorded by Josh Flores and produced by the band at Tragus Studios.
I know you have a Patreon campaign going on right now. Tell me about that.
That’s kind of a long story but I’ll summarize as best as I can.
We wanted to have a more direct connection to our fans in every sense of the word. We wanted the transaction of our music to be more direct, more special, and more impactful. We were also gripped with not being able to release our music to the general public so this helped that challenge.
We also wanted to offer our family something more than we’ve ever been able to offer and really give them the opportunity to truly be a part of this journey with us. We knew that releasing our music this way would mean we would have to work a lot harder ,but to us it was way more than worth it for what we could potentially do for our family.
It also took out the middle man. It took out iTunes, Spotify, and all the other places that took cuts of our music (typically a full cut because we haven’t seen anything from any of them) and put it into our pocket so we can actually use the “money” we make on our music specifically and put it towards something better for the band’s future and again, for this amazing family who has supported us from day one and that just keeps growing. I’m not saying Spotify isn’t useful (it is) or that iTunes isn’t important. (it is)—which is why we will release at least some of the music on an album or EP by the end of the year. iTunes still has the charts and Spotify is still useful for exposure and they have a great vision to help band’s gain new audiences. But we already have a sampling on those platforms (our first EP) so we felt we were in a good position to try this out.
Lastly, this puts ALL of the pressure on us, there’s no excuse here if it doesn’t work out and we wanted a challenge that would put us to this test. If it doesn’t work it’s because we didn’t make it work, we didn’t create the right kind of content, we weren’t present enough, or didn’t work hard enough to promote or push the music out. We can’t blame Spotify or iTunes or the industry. This is all on us. Luckily we have amazing supporters and partners that are willing to give us a helping hand and help us promote our music. We have the best fanbase in the world and I fully believe that this year will be big not because of us but because of those that believe in us. It’s truly humbling and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Who does your promotion, photography, videography? What roles do these types of medium play for the band?
I’ll exercise caution here because this will be a lengthy answer. Our team has grown so much over the last couple of years from everything being on us in the band to bringing in awesome partners like:
Jimmy Swan | Manager/Coach
We’ve been very fortunate to be working with Jimmy. He’s taken on a very significant role in coaching and mentoring us as young musicians/entrepreneurs and we’ve learned and benefited a lot by following his guidance. He’s also helped us make a lot of important choices in forming some of the below partnerships. If there’s anything I think a band should start with it is a coach or mentor who knows more than them.
Angela has been vital to helping us grow in our marketing tactics and spreading awareness about who we are to different publication’s audiences. It’s been a huge pleasure to work with her and we are incredibly grateful for everything she does.
While we don’t have an “official’ photographer, CeeCee would be as close as it gets. Our careers started around the same time that CeeCee’s started and we’ve worked together a lot as a result of being great friends and dedicated to our crafts. CeeCee has done a LOT of work for us and has been very helpful to bringing an ever-increasing amount of high-quality media to our fans.
Lasagnart | Band Artwork
Kind of in the same vein as CeeCee, Meredith’s career started around the same time as ours and her art-style has continued to grow as we’ve continued to grow as musicians. We’ve been fortunate to have someone like her doing art for our singles and albums.
Fox & Florals Productions | Patreon Media
A recent partnership we’re currently growing. Joy has been essential to some of the media that we’ve been producing for our official patrons.
Shadow of Whales Street Team
Again more of a recent foundation but growing at a very rapid rate. We’ve seen movement not only in Texas but from different places all around the US & beyond of people signing up to support us online and offline. It’s been such a humbling experience to work this amazing fanbase. It’s honestly weird to say fanbase because I consider all of them family haha.
Even with this amazing team we still do a TON of work. With a long history as a YouTuber, JD has done most of the videos on our YouTube and has started his own production company with that as a growing resume/portfolio. (Media Booth Productions) Josh is an audio engineer by day and that has been significant because it means we don’t have to send our music off to a studio to record or mix; that saves us a lot of money and time. Jeremy is very passionate about marketing and the music industry as a business so he spends a lot of time coming up with ways to get our name out; as a result he spends a lot of time working closely with Angela brainstorming. Chris is very good with physical projects and is really good at making things look great with inexpensive material; good examples are our recent light-up sign we carried around downtown and some awesome SoW look-alike puppets that may or may not be utilized in an upcoming video. Caleb has done a lot of technical work on our website and is currently working on a light show that we will use during our live performances. Aside from that we all write our music and lyrics collectively and spend a good portion of our time on that.
Where can people find all your stuff online – Facebook, Twitter, website, merch, upcoming shown info, etc.
Anything else you want to talk about?
The only other thing I could think to say is “Thank You!” We have so many people going to bat for us every day such as yourself, the aforementioned team and all of our fans. We could not be more grateful and more blessed. You guys are truly the greatest!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! It’s been a pleasure!
I had so much fun getting to know these guys and I hope y’all do too! This may be the first time many of you have heard about them, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll definitely be seeing and hearing more about Shadow of Whales in the future! Please check out all their links and give them some love as you see fit. And when you do, tell ‘em Justin sent ya!
Until next time…