When Houston Open Air announced a "Battle of the Bands," a contest giving acts from the area a chance to perform at the festival, that was a big deal. When the organizers further announced that the winner would be the festival opener, that was an even bigger deal. Who wouldn’t want the title of the first-ever band to play the inaugural Houston Open Air? When you consider that the winner is the only local Houston act on the bill, that's a really big freaking deal.
So you can imagine what it was like for Galveston heavies To Whom It May to take the title and land on a bill opening for some of the biggest names in metal; they'll be kicking things off at 11:45 a.m. on HOA's Jack Daniel's Stage. Before their big day, the Houston Press got a chance to exchange words, ideas and praise for a quick email exchange with the band, who have been on tour, through their drummer, Dexas Villarreal.
Villarreal recalls when he first heard the news they had won the coveted slot to play HOA. "“We got an email mentioning we got the slot and that we'd be receiving details soon," he recounts. "I yelled out 'FUG YES!' upon reading. Might have cried some, but they dried up quick since it’s so damn hot!”
“We're just a three-dude rock band based out of Galveston," Villarreal continues. "Robb [Marshall, guitarist] represents our roots in Houston, being from Spring [Texas] himself. We've been together since April 2014."
After creating a firm foundation, the trio has been producing some of Houston's finest live metal ever since. With heavy melodic riffs and an auspicious lead singer who can go to task with the vocal stylings of Deftones' Chino Moreno, TWIM is the sort of heavier style that many fans naturally gravitate toward. "I feel like it's safe to say we're just a rock band that pulls from multiple influences, but we like to groove at the same time.”
Nearly a year ago, TWIM found themselves roaring across Sirius/XM's satellite waves, and now find themselves in the spotlight again on tour with Nothing More. Quite a promotion, and one they're not taking lightly. “It feels pretty insane, to be quite honest. Surely a dream come true for myself, and I'm sure the guys share similar feelings."
Villarreal explains his excitement naturally includes HOA, too. "I mean, did you see the lineup? It's absurd!" he gushes. "Deftones were one of the bands that got me to latch onto the heavier side of things, being as I was raised mostly around the funkier stuff. And now I'm playing a festival with them. It’s nuts! As far as HOA, we're just super-thankful that Danny Wimmer and the rest of the folks at the festival provided a chance for a local to kick off the two-day event.”
Yet TWIM haven't been taking it easy, either; they've undoubtedly earned the spot. In the past year, they've been practicing, writing and performing as much as possible. “We've just been steady working to finish our debut album, The Great Filter, which has been soaking up most of our off time," Villarreal says. "The love we received from XM has surely kept us on people's minds during the process, and we're extremely grateful for all of those who have been so patient with us throughout. We've been playing shows here and there to stay on people’s radar."
When asked what he believes TWIM's next step is, Villarreal is cautiously optimistic, but still dreaming of more. “It's always hard to answer [that] question, especially in the music industry nowadays. But our album will be out before [soon], so I'd like to say we'll be on a world tour in support of said album. It's a life goal of mine.”
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Their vision for the performance is a humble one, too. “I'm just hoping we deliver, and that people like what they hear. I have some other things I'd like to happen, but I don't wanna jinx myself.” Villarreal says.
“Get there early so you can catch us!" Villarreal adds, “We'll be doing a few dates with the guys in Nothing More, Twelve Foot Ninja and Dinosaur Pile Up from September 15 to October 2. We're looking forward to meeting some new friends to hanging with some old ones!”
You can also catch TWIM October 14 at the End Zone Bar and Grill on the westside.