This is probably what you'd call a high-class problem, but it's becoming harder and harder to keep track of all the excellently excellent metal dudes running around Santa Fe. Given the surge in popularity within their scene (it's like the good old days!) and the exponential growth in local shows, touring acts and DIY venue space, it's important to search them out and talk about them. After all, they're some of the hardest working people operating musically in Santa Fe these days, and they take part in so many avenues of creation and production that it's imperative to pay them some damn respect. They've built a strong community of hard work, friendship and savage jams so heavy that everyone is just kind of like, "Whoa." With that in mind, here are five reasons to pay attention to Pascual Romero.
"I never really know what to say what it is we do," Romero says. "So I just say we're a music and media company."
The partnership between Romero and Ortiz Audio's Augustine Ortiz books and produces shows and is in the process of launching a service that fronts the recording costs for bands they consider worthwhile and recoups the money later on. It's an amazing way to give up-and-comers a leg up and shows that Romero has a lot of faith in the genre. Not only that, but Kronos has been responsible for shows from Intronaut, Phobia and tons more, so basically if you've enjoyed a metal show in the last however long, you can probably thank this dude.
"It took about 30 seconds into the first song for me to know it was something I wanted to do," Romero says of his vocalist position with his new band. Alongside As In We's Ben Durfee, Drought's Zac Hogan and Carrion Kind's Augustine Ortiz, Romero's impressive vocal range has made Dysphotic one of the most promising new local bands. They absolutely destroyed Dave Cave with their heavy, doomy riffs and ability to keep it grooving despite the droney pitfalls of the genre, and it's exciting to see what they'll do next. "Superband" is hardly too strong a term given this stellar lineup, and an album release aimed for this month certainly isn't hurting anyone. Discover these guys immediately.
Bands and Bands and Bands
When he lived in Los Angeles in the early oughts, Romero appeared with bands of all styles and sizes like Throne of Ashes, In This Moment, Groamville and others. Still, he grew restless with the constant touring and minimal payouts. "I wouldn't tell anyone not to try it out for themselves, but I'd just throw all my shit in storage and get out on the road for as long as I possibly could…it's one thing in your 20s, but I'm a husband and a father now, and you can't make money like you used to; these days you're almost better off taking a minimum wage job and just playing music for fun, because that's so much more rewarding." That's killer advice for new bands and fame-seekers alike.
Along with former Santa Fean Rick Carroll, Romero produces the podcast 16Miles2Hell. According to Romero, they talk "music, nerd shit, movies and sometimes political rants," and there's a new one every Friday over at rickcarroll.com/podcasts. If nothing else, these discussions prove exactly what we're talking about here—Pascual Romero is one hell of a talented guy who cannot stick to just one outlet.
"I had a really positive experience growing up here, and I have a strong connection to Northern New Mexico," Romero reminisces. These days, he helps out his activist father's org, the West Santa Fe River Alliance. The goal is to preserve land near the western parts of the Santa Fe River, and it doesn't get much more metal (read, punk rock) than preservation. Yeah, Santa Fe, that's right—you're welcome.