El Paso Music Scene

Phil Candelaria (Pony Productions) Interview


by Charles Hurley

Phil Candelaria, owner of Pony Productions, is, well, the metal man, when it comes to bringing hardcore bands to El Paso. Booking almost exclusively at Chic's, Phil brings big shows here every month.

EPMS: How did you get started doing booking?

Phil Candelaria: Really, it was just motivation. I wanted to do more for the El Paso music scene, since it had been dying down the past couple of years. So I figured, if I wanted something done, who better to do it than myself?

EPMS: How many shows do you do a month?

Phil Candelaria: Well, it really depends on which month it is, but I would say, on estimate, about eight to ten a month.

EPMS: What percentage of the shows you do are hardcore? How do you categorize them, if you use another term?

Phil Candelaria: I would say, the majority of the shows I do are Metal/Hardcore shows, but I am open to doing any and all genres of music.

EPMS: What is the biggest mistake you see promoters make?

Phil Candelaria: Some people get into this business because they think it is going to make them a lot of money, and they forget the real reason they should be in it for... the music! This business is all about dedication, and a lot of the people who try to make it do not realize how much work and stress they have to go through on a daily basis.

EPMS: What is the biggest mistake you have made?

Phil Candelaria: I don't make mistakes LOL... All humor aside, I make a lot of mistakes, and I have dealt with them. Its really a "learn-as-you-go" process.

EPMS: What has been the hardest lesson to learn?

Phil Candelaria: You are not going to always deal with friendly people, and sometimes you got to check your pride and attitude at the door. I have learned not to take this business personal and try to make the best out of every situation, good or bad.

EPMS: What kind of music do you listen to?

Phil Candelaria: I am pretty diverse when it comes to music. (It depends on) what mood I am in. As a promoter, you have to have a good sense of not only what you like, but what people want to hear. Personally, I like Metal/ Hardcore/ Screamo.

EPMS: What kind of shows do you go to as a fan?

Phil Candelaria: I have gone to it all... I have seen Sepultura and Pantera live at the Coliseum, I have seen the Deftones three times two in El Paso and once at the Pan Am in Las Cruces..

EPMS: What venues do you go to to see shows, besides your own?

Phil Candelaria: Locally, I like going to the shows held at Chic's, Lucky Devil's, Club 101 and Wayside.

EPMS: Do you play any instruments yourself? Which ones?

Phil Candelaria: I used to do sampling and mixing for a band that I started in college, but I was never as good as most musicians out there. So, I guess it was humbling to me in a way, and it gives you a new-found respect for what these guys do, day in and day out.

EPMS: Are you a rap/hip-hop fan?

Phil Candelaria: Like I said before, I love all kinds of music, and hip-hop is just one of those genres that, if I am in the mood, I will listen to.

EPMS: What did you study at college? Where did you go?

Phil Candelaria: I am studying education right now, and I go to UTEP.

EPMS: When you finish your degree, do you plan on teaching? At what level? Do you plan on teaching in El Paso?

Phil Candelaria: I plan on teaching here in El Paso, at probably the high school level.

EPMS: What is the biggest show you've done?

Phil Candelaria: I have done a lot of big shows, but the first Job For A Cowboy show drew around five hundred people, and the crowd was just electric.

EPMS: Have you booked anybody that was such a hero to you that you couldn't keep your cool when you talked to them?

Phil Candelaria: Yeah, there were a couple of bands like that. You've just got to laugh sometimes, because it makes you feel like a kid at his first concert sometimes. An example was getting to book and meet bands such as Napalm Death, Deicide, Sepultura and Six Feet Under, just to name a few.

EPMS: What is the show that you'd really like to do in the future?

Phil Candelaria: There are a lot of shows that I would like to get my hands on, but it would be a dream to get something the likes of Slayer or Cannibal Corpse to El Paso. The Deftones would also be in that category as well.

EPMS: Do you have plans to do shows at venues larger than Chic's in the next twelve months?

Phil Candelaria: I am working at Chic's primarily, but I am going to start doing some of the larger shows that I am offered at Club 101.

EPMS: Would you ever be interested in booking a show in Juarez?

Phil Candelaria: Why not? They are like the best friend living next door, and to be honest, I do book a lot of Juarez bands in El Paso, such as Evellyng, which is doing a great job representing Juarez.

EPMS: Name a few local bands that have a chance to make it out of here.

Phil Candelaria: Triumph Over Shipwreck, Evellyng, Tonight Is Glory, Bowels Out, The Red Queen Effect are all great local bands in all different genres, but they bring it every time they get on stage. Check them out.

EPMS: You said that the El Paso music scene "Had been dying down the past couple of years." Has the local scene improved since you started booking shows?

Phil Candelaria: I think it has, I mean, there are bands out there that have stepped it up a notch in the recent years.

EPMS: What else needs to be done to improve the scene here?

Phil Candelaria: Well, I keep telling people, the more they come out to the shows, then the result will be even bigger bands wanting to come and check out what El Paso has to offer.

EPMS: No doubt about that. Thanks a lot for the interview, Phil!

Phil Candelaria: No problem, Charles, and really, thanks for the opportunity to answer those questions for you.

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