El Paso Music Scene

Soto (Words Like Knives) Interview

by Charles Hurley
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EPMS: What is your name, and what instrument do you play in Words Like Knives?

Soto: I go by Soto; I'm the vocalist for Words Like Knives.

EPMS: Where'd name of band come from?

Soto: Well, basically it stems from how words can hurt really bad sometimes, when you're maybe exiting a relationship, or even a friendship, or so forth. Words can really hurt like knives, that's basically where it stems from.

EPMS: Were there some particular words that hurt you, or somebody in the band?

Soto: It did come from a relationship I had, the ending of a relationship I had. A personal experience.

EPMS: How did the band come together?

Soto: Well, the funny thing, I used to be in a band called Fast and Far in Austin, and we played with a band called Lylah, a local (El Paso) band, and the drummer, Mikey Box, and the bassist at the time, Mike Wood, were in that band, and we played together in Austin and both of them really loved our music, and they really liked my voice.

It so happened that I left Austin, and they were back here in El Paso and Las Cruces, and I had moved to Santa Fe, and I saw Mikey Box's name on a message board for a local band. I can't remember who it was, but he contacted me and let me know they had always wanted to work with me, and they wanted to get a band back together. So, we started working together while I was in Santa Fe, and they were actually in Las Cruces. So, we were swapping files via the internet, until finally I moved back to El Paso, and then we started working live together. That was it.

EPMS: Is Words Like Knives based in El Paso now?

Soto: I'm here, and three other members of the band are in Las Cruces. It's kind of a weird setup. So, I'm here, they're over there. I guess that makes us local.

EPMS: The other members in the band used to play with Lylah?

Soto: Mikey Box, the drummer, and Mike Wood, both played with Lylah. This was several years ago, maybe three years ago.

EPMS: How long were you a musician in Austin, and what was that experience like?

Soto: I was in Austin for twelve years.

EPMS: Were you a musician all that time?

Soto: Yeah, I was. On and off, I was with several bands. It was great. When I first moved there, it was great because the size of the music scene wasn't as big as it is now, so it was easier to get around and find musicians and play in venues, but now it just seems like it's impossible. It's saturated with musicians now. But it was fun. I had a good time.

EPMS: Are you saying it's hard to find work there now?

Soto: It's hard to find places to play because there's so many musicians and bands there, they're booked constantly. That was the experience when I left. I left there two years ago. It's to the point that it just wasn't fun any more.

EPMS: If you were to describe El Paso as a music scene to someone from Austin, what would you say?

Soto: I'd say that El Paso is a scene on the verge of greatness.

EPMS: So, what's missing?

Soto: I think what is missing is venues. Live music venues. I really do. I think that the youth here in El Paso, they're hungry. They're hungry to be able to go out and view local bands and support them, but they just don't have the means to do it, as far as venues to go to, etc. That's why they're leaving the city, because of that.

EPMS: Do you specifically mean, venues for locals, or venues for traveling bands?

Soto: For both. Youth... music is a part of their lives. They want to go and see bands, even if it's a local band, or a band coming to town. There's not many places for them to go. To play, at least. I think that if we create more venues, it's definitely going to get the scene going.

EPMS: Do traveling bands passing through help local bands, or hurt them?

Soto: It definitely helps them. The reason for that is because a lot of these bands coming through town, they're fairly well-known, and local bands will jump on the gig and open for them, and expose their music to the fans of the band they're opening up for. So, it definitely helps.

EPMS: Helps to get more exposure for local bands?

Soto: Exposure, yeah, and also networking. These bands coming through, when they're in another city and need a band to open up, they may think of the El Paso band to open for them and bring them out there. It definitely helps.

EPMS: Give me the highlights of the history of Words Like Knives:

Soto: Basically, just being on stage everywhere we play is great, and every time we get on stage it's great. Great for us, and hopefully for the fans as well. There's no particular time I could say there was a highlight. Just every time we've played, it's been awesome.

EPMS: Have you recorded?

Soto: We have. We did an EP with Mike Major, of Sparta fame. It hasn't been released yet. The master tapes haven't been mastered yet. So, we're waiting to have that done, then we can release it.

EPMS: When do you anticipate releasing it?

Soto: I would say, probably in the next six months. We're probably going to be recording some more music here pretty soon. We hope to integrate them into songs we've already recorded.

EPMS: What does the future hold for Words Like Knives?

Soto: Hopefully, for us to play more locally and nationally. We'd love to tour the U.S., even Europe, if possible.

EPMS: Do you have a time frame for that?

Soto: I would say, within a year. We made a goal amongst ourselves for a year.

EPMS: Are you planning on doing regional tours?

Soto: We're hoping to. We just, basically for the last three months, we've been writing the music, re-doing our sound, and so forth, re-discovering our sound. I think we're almost to the point now we're ready to start touring and start playing. It's hard to say if we'll be doing it regionally. We hope to.

EPMS: What region would you be looking at?

Soto: I would say, most likely we'd go with Texas. You know, like eastern, like, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio. We'd love to play, heading west, like New Mexico, Albuquerque, maybe even California.

EPMS: What is the biggest challenge for the band in front of you?

Soto: I think the biggest challenge for us is just discovering our sound. I think we're realizing that right now, we're almost in it. We're just really comfortable with the way everybody plays, everybody creates music and writes. That has been our biggest challenge, but I think we've pretty much got it covered now.

EPMS: Thanks, I'll be talking to you soon.

Soto: Thanks. Appreciate it.