Things that make the world go round; good music, gravitational pulls, & good people. We recently caught up with someone who encompasses pretty much all three.
The kind of guy that makes you want to smoke a cigarette and step into his world for a brief release of sanity. Mixing Cumbia & Hip Hop in ways unknown, we caught up with Senor Philthy Dronez for a quick minute during his otherwise swamped schedule to catch a little glimpse of what life is like for a player like him.
Mr. Philthy: I was 14. I picked up this guitar that my mom had bought for my dad years before and I was like “Hey Ma! Let’s get this thing strung so I can play it” And she was like “Fo Sho” And I was like “FO Sho!” I learned off the internet off some website that showed you how to play guitar chords. I immediately fell in love with playing and never looked back since.
RR: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?
Mr. Philthy: My grandma always wanted me to play the guitar. I first started playing the summer that she passed. So that’s one reason why I kinda wanted to try music.
I have been playing in bars since I was 16-17. I use to play with a local legend Rudy Madrid at Bob’s Surf and Turf off Monterey Road. He was a huge influence and mentor in my life. In all actuality he kinda made me not want to be a musician because he would always yell at me for not playing in tune. Or playing too loud. All joking aside he was the most talented guitarist Ive ever played with. He taught me all the thing’s a musician shouldn’t be and molded me into what I am today.
I played this coffee shop that used to be inside Iguana’s Taqueria called Cafecito. I had one of my first performances in front of an audience at that place. And I was horrible at the time. But people would always support and encourage you there. The vibe was amazing. The host who was Ron Scott always would give me tips on stage performance. He is so flashy. I think that is where I get my pizazz from on stage. That whole place was always jumping with amazing musicians. So they also influenced me in my decision on making this a full time thing.
RR: Your favorite guitar to use and why?
Mr. Philthy: I have two baby girls. My PRS Custom 24 named “Mary Jane”(Because she’s Emerald Green) and my baby girl Anastasia…. She’s a classical thin-body guitar from Bulgaria. I love them both the same. It just depends on what the song calls for.
RR: I know we’ve discussed the meaning of Philthy Dronez before but for the folks that have no clue and care about being schooled – How’d you come up with it?
Mr. Philthy: It’s kind of a long explanation but here is the short one. We are all influenced by something in this life. We all make choices and we make those choices based upon the stuff that influences us. And most people make their decisions based on the status quo or kind of like what everyone else is doing. (What kind of music you like…the kind of clothes you buy…. favorite color…..etc.) That is a drone to me. Now…..A Philthy Drone is one who doesn’t follow that model. Instead they take their influence and try to refine or evolve with it. It’s all about following what you really feel is the right thing to do. We have to live in this bullshit capitalist society that say’s we have to follow this and follow that. But In reality we don’t have to follow nothing.
RR: Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings?
Mr. Philthy: Lord of the Rings cause of the Hobbit Weed.
RR: The first mix you did and what made you realize you had something going there? How do first timers react to your music?
Mr. Philthy: I have been around dj’ing and mixing my whole life. My 3 cousins whom are also brothers are Dj’s. So its been like 3 generations of Dj’s that I have seen and been exposed to. I really dug the way you can take music that you love and play it through a loud ass system. I started messing with afro beats legend Fela Kuti. Once I got the hang of manipulating the beat I started adding instrumentation (Beats, Synths, Guitar,etc..) to the beat and adding my own flavor to it. I got hooked immediately and I quickly moved on to Cumbia which has my full attention right now. First timer’s are taken aback by what they hear. So far I have been getting amazing feedback. As an artist that really keeps you motivated. I am very grateful for all the support I get.
RR: Some of your favorite people to collaborate with and why?
Mr. Philthy: Steven Murr is a musical genius that works out of Sound Management in Campbell. I worked a lot with him in the early days of The Philthy Dronez. Our tastes and the way we want music to sound are very similar so it’s easy to get a song done sometimes even in an hour or two.
Ryan Sebastian (Founder Of Treatbot) is an amazing person to collaborate with. He has given me awesome opportunities to bring live music into his event called Moveable feast. He also helps host the Taco Festival. In the first year it sold out within an hour and a half at History Park. The place was packed…the music was good….and the overall vibe felt positive. He is a real stand up guy and always wants to make things work no matter what. That’s why I like working on events with him!
Chris Reed is a singer/songwriter who also sang for a reggae band called Aivar which I was apart of for 3 years. He hit me up to help him record an album and it was a great experience. We have always had musical chemistry wether we were playing in a band or just straight acoustic. And it shows in his new album that is coming out soon.
RR: 3 things you can’t live without?
Mr. Philthy: Family……Music……Sushi
RR: BFD – It’s a big deal to me… how about you?
Mr. Philthy: Its pretty cute I must say.
RR: How stoked are you to play there?
Mr. Philthy: I am excited. Every gig I have I just treat it as any other gig. But this one is kinda nerve racking because I grew up listening to Live 105 and always wanting to go to BFD. And now Im playing it so it is most definitely an honor.
RR:Who did you listen to go growing up?
Mr. Philthy: Ah man. The list is endless. But Ill list a few
The list goes on and on and on and on and on…………….
RR: What you think about the scene in San Jose right now versus 10 years ago?
Mr. Philthy: The movement is stronger now more than ever. The scene is dead. People of all genres are working together in this town and it’s good to see. There is still a lot of work to be done but everything is progressing real smoothly and I can’t wait to see it when it really starts to jump off. I say we are about 60-65 percent there.
RR: How did you and Anya meet?
Mr. Philthy: I saw that amazing girl for the first time during the Left Coast Live at The Cellar which is now that whack ass bar Single Barrel. She was just like a songbird or something. Her voice grabs you and makes you listen. I met her briefly that night but we were reconnected again when she got hit up to do Warped Tour. Our mutual friend Fritzo suggested that we jam and it was awesome. I have the utmost respect for her as a person and her talents. She is mos def gonna be a star and soon!
RR: What are some of the plus and minuses being in a band?
Mr. Philthy: Pluses:
Not enough pay
No Benefits (Medical, Dental, Optical…etc.)
RR: Whats in your cd player, Walkman, stereo, 8 Track, etc… right now?
Mr. Philthy: In my Cd player is David Bowie
In my Walkman is Run Dmc
In my stereo is Jimi Hendrix
In my 8-track is Johnny Cash
RR: You are traveling to Texas soon – Can you drop some info on the Pachanga Latino Music Festival? How did you get involved with that one?
Mr. Philthy: I play guitars with another amazing project called Raul Y Mexia and they got hit up to do a couple dates in Texas on May 9th and May 10th of this year. The 10th will be the Pachanga Fest in Austin which will feature the amazing talents of artists such as Intocable, Los Lobos, Celso Pina, and Flaco Jimenez. It’s a 2 day festival and we are going to rock that shiiet!
RR: How was it performing downtown in front of all the people there for May Day, immigration reform?
Mr. Philthy: I have always believed that an artist can change anything they want with their voice. A musician has immense power when It comes to getting a message out at an incredible rate. I mean take Bob Marley for example. His songs did not only sound amazing but they held so much meaning and purpose. I always try to put that element in a lot of the songs I write or perform. I was very honored to play along with Raul Y Mexia at the march because it our way of trying to get the message across through music.
RR: What is Heart of Chaos and how does it feel to be in charge of their advisory board? Does getting your advisory on bring you great pleasure?
Mr. Philthy: Heart of Chaos is a non-profit organization that has been hosting art events since the early 2000′s. The artists within the collective are so talented and they are passionate about what they do. It is an honor to be considered as an advisor on their board. I can’t wait for all the amazing events they have coming up.
RR: How do your ideas for mixes come about?
Mr. Philthy: From anywhere. Sometimes someone will come up to me and be like “Flip This!” And Ill do it. Or Ill be cutting up one song and an idea will come to me. I really just experiment and have fun while doing it. I’ve only been doing the mixing thing for about eight months and Im learning constantly. It is really a refreshing take on music. I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years so that kinda gets mundane. This whole beat/producing thing really re-invigorated my passion for making music. And that allows me to add the live element(Guitars,Vocals, Keyboards) into my set and combine it with the electronic stuff.
RR: 3 things you feel the world should know and why?
Mr. Philthy: Money means nothing cause it doesn’t. Religion means nothing cause it doesn’t. And we can live however we want……WAKE UP!
RR: Shout outs, disses, etc…??