Charles Eddy interviews Galveston musician DJ Ellis, guitarist and vocalist for local math rockers Blast DAD. Photo courtesy of Blast DAD.
Charlie: Blast DAD is a 3-piece math rock band. How long have y’all been a band?
DJ: We started out in January 2013. I was 16 at the time. I had been playing with our drummer Victhor Resendiz back in 2011 in another band called Gnar World Order.
We wanted to do something a little different musically, so I started showing him songs I’d been writing and we went from there, picking up Alfredo de los Santos about a month or two later. The rest is history, or something like that.
What was it like growing up on the island and how has it changed?
Pretty dang crazy. A lot has changed since 2011 when Gnar World Order first started. There are so many more places to play, twice as many bands, more people coming to shows. It was a little weird back in the day, though, watching all these people I hardly knew get drunk and party and all I wanted to do was play video games and shred on the bass. The only thing that differentiates it from now is that I’m playing guitar.
What genres are you into, in addition to math rock?
I like all sorts of music, but I mainly like to listen to fastish energetic music like punk and rock, or perhaps even punk rock. I also like a little jazz and classical every once in a while to keep my ear sharp. Also, I frequently listen to video game soundtracks.
Are there any bands or music scenes in particular that inspired y’all to start Blast DAD?
A lot of local Houston bands that I had been seeing a few years prior to starting Blast DAD really inspired me. I mostly went to/played punk shows, and seeing all that live raw energy was pretty cool to me.
From rumours I’ve heard, you are a multi-instrumentalist. What instruments do you play? Do you approach them each with a similar energy or do you approach each instrument differently?
I can comfortably say I’m a guitarist, drummer, and bass player. Those are all the instruments I’ve played live and probably the only ones I’ll ever play live. I can diddle a little bit on piano, but I’ve never put much effort into really learning it.
What is the songwriting process for Blast DAD like?
I usually just diddle a song out in my room late in the night time until I have something to bring to the dudes. Then we play it and bump out the kinks.
What do your lyrics mean?
My lyrics are mostly nonsensical. I just try to make sure I can make all the words fit. I also have to make sure I can sing them and play at the same time, so sometimes lyrics that I have written get cut because my riffage is too much for my brain to juggle.
What was one of the earliest events that got you interested in music?
First local show I went to: Escatones and Darwin’s Finches at Fitzgerald’s. I remember myself and a bunch of other dudes carried a couch with the singer/guitarist of Escatones laying on it naked shredding his little heart away. I walked out thinking, “That was cool.”
Is there anything you would like to tell future musicians/future bands that are just starting?
Just don’t give up, I guess. If you genuinely enjoy playing music and it makes you happy just don’t stop. Sometimes you may get discouraged by others and what have you, but you gotta trudge through all the dumb crap and say, “Let’s play some music, dude, also maybe we could go grab a slice after this, that’d be tight.”
What’s your favorite guitar pedal?
I love all my babies equally. I couldn’t live without any single one of them. But chorus/delay with a light phase, mmmph, that’s a ten.
4/25 at La Playa (1828 Strand) with Peelander-Z
Blast DAD includes DJ Ellis on guitar, Alfredo De Los Santos on bass, and Victhor Resendiz on drums. Photo: Blast DAD