More Than a Robot Band

When Hyperaware as a zine was born, I already knew who I wanted to feature in the first published interview. During the summer, I ended up going to a backyard show in East L.A. Ishiki happened to stand as one of the bands I distinctly remember from that night, to the point I immediately followed them on Instagram and made sure to grab a free sticker at the merch table.

When a flyer highlighted that Ishiki was performing at The Void, I made it a mission to get out there, with no expectations for how the interview would go. What I encountered was a band with a founding story that sounds unreal, with a vision that travels beyond the scope of music. 

Hyperaware: Can y’all introduce yourselves?

Kevin: I’m the drummer.
Joey: I’m the screamo-ist.
Abel: I’m the guitarist.
Alex: I’m the bassist.

Hyperaware: All right! When did y’all form? I tried to go on your Instagram, and get a sense of when y’all started?

Joey: [laughs] It’s all very vague! This is Abel’s baby right here.

Abel: So, I moved to Japan, I believe, at the end of 2019. I was in the military, and I was living in Japan, specifically in Atsugi. I had nine months, then I was getting discharged from the Navy. I was interested in making music, and ended up making a five song EP (Ad Infinitum). It took two months to make it, and I dropped that EP in July 2021 of last year. And then I got out of the Navy in January. I ended up reaching out to Kevin over Instagram, asking, “Hey man, do you want to be a part of the project?”

Kevin: [laughs] First thing I said was wait – I haven’t talked to you in like five years!

Abel: We were like on and off talking about music on Instagram. Um, for Joey, I’ve known him since high school.

Joey: Yeah, we’ve been friends since high school.

Abel: Alex, I actually saw Alex on Instagram, cause he was friends with Kevin. I just saw a few of his drum walkthoughs…

Abel: I said [Kevin] plays the drums, do you want to play bass [everyone laughs].

Alex: Honestly, I said that I would be down.

Joey: So he learned bass for us pretty much [laughs].

Abel: After getting together, within a month or two we had our first show.

Joey: I would say we’ve been a full band since March.

Hyperaware: That’s pretty cool! When I first heard y’all, your music somewhat reminded me of the Deftones.

Joey: We hear that all the time! 

Abel: I’ve heard people compare us to the Deftones.

Joey: I don’t hear it.

Abel: I don’t hear it either [laughs]. I appreciate the compliments all the time, but I never hear it.

Joey: Abel likes to pull influences from everywhere, mainly from back in the day.

Abel: If we wanted to say an influence, I would definitely say nu-metal like Korn.

Joey: Yeah, I love stuff from the 90s.

Hyperaware: I remember a Tik Tok going viral of you…

Joey: [laughs] It was very unexpected. So, we’ve had a few videos pop off on Tik Tok and Instagram back to back, and it was fully unexpected.

Abel: I know we’ve shared some videos, where it’s like, this one might go off. We have a couple out there, where the highest is at 170K views on one page. I just wish he would have tagged us, since that shit hit 7 million in a week.

Kevin: Yeah, I remember! We were at your house Alex, and we were scrolling through video after video, people reacting to it.

Abel: Yeah, it’s so funny because all the comments,  people were like, “What’s going on?”

Joey: It’s like they’ve never seen people get down before. 

Abel: Nobody understanding what was going down.

Hyperaware: I think it was the Sharpshooter show, where one video when viral.

Kevin: Yeah, the one in L.A.

Joey and Abel: Yeah, the homie David put us on that show. 

Abel: David and all of them! It was cool as fuck. He saw us playing together, and was like, “Yeah, let’s put them on the show!”

Hyperaware: Going back to influences, do you have any beyond nu-metal?

Abel: I don’t even think its music, but more so movies.

Joey: Yeah, big into movies, like sci-fi.

Abel: Yes, I love sci-fi movies. At the beginning of our EP, in like twenty seconds in, you hear robots talking to each other. And I took that from Bladerunner 2047. I basically auto-tuned the voice, pitching it up. So a lot of our music, especially our skits, is mostly movie inspired. Creating a creepy atmosphere.

Hyperaware: Yeah, I feel like that’s where you get a lot of your energy.

Abel: In our new EP coming out, we incorporate a lot of skits with the voices. Creating a creepy atmosphere and dark tone.

Joey: Because of it, we’re now known as The Robot Band.

Kevin: It’s the main thing people associate with us now.

Joey: I feel like it helps us with recognition. People are  like, “Oh yeah, that’s The Robot Band.”

Abel: I think that every song in the beginning has a robot?

Kevin: Pretty much every song. I think there are two or three that start off with a guitar riff, but yeah.

Hyperaware: I don’t want to keep y’all to long, but I wanted to go back to how Abel said he’s known Joey since high school…

Joey: Oh yeah. Us three [Kevin, Joey, Abel] have been doing this for eight or ten years, but in different bands; but together, we were all in separate bands at the same time.

Abel: I mean, I knew Joey had been doing vocals. He had it down.

Joey: Compared to where we started, we’ve seen growth pretty fast. We were stressed out that it would be hard to get shows.

Hyperaware: Final question- What has been your favorite show so far?

Joey: Definitely the one at FTG Warehouse.

Joey: That one for sure! It was our first show, and shit was packed out. Like super packed out. The crowd was pumped, it was amazing. I’ve been in bands for ten years, and that was by far the most vibrant show I every played. We literally got off the stage, and we were all, “This was our best show”.

Abel: Didn’t we have a Wall of Death at that show?

Kevin: We had two of them!

Abel: And then we had another one when we came back [laughs].

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