Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Close Encounter with Closed Casket

Before performing at a local skate shop, Closed Casket gets candid

Heading downtown at the local Siempre Skateshop, local death metal group, Closed Casket, marks another performance under their belts. With a following of over 1,800 followers on Instagram, the band was more than happy to provide a personal interview. After discussing with them, it came to light that two of the three band members are some of UTSA’s own. Ryan Tays, a junior computer science major, plays guitar. Nico Saucedo, also a junior, studying business analytics, performs vocals and bass. Lastly, Chris Cano is on the drums.

Wait, what is “death metal”? 

Death metal is best defined by Last F.M. as “an extreme subgenre of metal, most easily identifiable by its utilization of bass-heavy guitar distortion, harsh, often growled or grunted vocals and particular brand of compositional density.” Closed Casket chooses to identify with this sound label.

How did they find each other and how long have they been playing?

Saucedo: “Ryan and I met in high school and would jam at Ryan’s house. He had all these guitars up on the wall. I hadn’t ever touched one before, but I picked up the bass. It’s been two or three years now.”

Tays: “I started playing guitar in the fifth grade. We were learning about vibrations and I wanted to flex on the class, but I actually subconsciously knew when I picked it up. It was kind of crazy.”

Cano: “Them. Ever hear of Tinder?” 

Tays: “We found Chris off of a FindAMusician listing.” 

Saucedo: “I emailed like fifty dudes and literally no one responded, but Chris was the only one with his Instagram listed so I shot him a message.”

Tays: “It was meant to be. We jammed with others but it just clicked the first time. Most of our EP was from the first jam we ever had and just kept working at that, it clicked so well.”

The band mentions bonding over artists like Metallica, Motley Crüe and Van Halen.

What is it like being part of a band while also attending UTSA?

Saucedo: “Busy man. F–ck. We try to rehearse once or twice a week and we got jobs. Keeping up with class and managing the band can be hard, especially on weekends trying to fit shows in. It’s manageable though.”

How can you best define “death metal” to someone who knows nothing about it?

Saucedo: “How much does it actually sound like you’re dying and going to hell? If you can feel that in the music then you’re doing something right.”

Tays: “It’s a little corny, but for us, the best compliment received was ‘how do y’all get in a room and make such evil music.’ That’s what we go for, not scary, but damn, these guys are crazy. We’re trying to find a balance that is approachable for other people.”

What do you think UTSA should know more about the scene?

Tays: “Motherf–ers should be less scared of it. People think it’s kind of scary, I mean I kind of thought so when I first started, but it’s all fun, you go and just see people existing. I wish there was less judgment, people just don’t understand it.”

Saucedo: “I don’t want UTSA to know about this too much. I go here to get away from it.”

When is the next release?

Tays: “I’m trying to push it out October or November. Latest December, but I’m trying to get it out November.”

Saucedo: “We have three of four [songs] done as of now, and working on the last one. Possibly one more and a cover on it too.”

Following the interview, the other bands advertised on the show’s poster had finished their sets, and it was time for Closed Casket to make their appearance. Inside Siempre Skateshop, it is a warmly lit vertical hallway space. Dozens of audience members filled the venue, eager to catch a performance from San Antonio’s death metal band.

It is worth mentioning that before the interview and performance, the audience members waiting for Closed Casket were incredibly inviting and welcoming despite being complete strangers. Not only that, some concert-goers were informative as well, explaining some of the dances that were happening in the front pit. Moves such as “two-stepping” and “slamming” were shown while the band went on. Slamming involves pushing others aggressively to live music, and two-stepping can be described as a dance where you stay in place via a series of overlapping steps.

Closed Casket played for half an hour, with songs from their “Revenge Killing (Demo)” EP. The energy in the music has power to it, and having an involved audience only enhances such an experience. There is much to be found in the local San Antonio music scene, and evidently, the members of the scene may just be your own classmates. 

Closed Casket has more information about upcoming shows and releases on their Instagram, @closedcasket_txdm.

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Armin Suljovic
Armin Suljovic, Assistant Photo Editor
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