Have you been watching the final season of Showtime’s Californication? If you have, you’ve probably noticed some pretty rockin’ music. Spirit Records partnered with TuneCore to distribute the season 7 soundtrack, Happy Endings, which features an exclusive track from Pete Townshend, a rare cover by Sid Vicious, and 4 modern interpretations of ’80s and ’90s rock classics by emerging artists like The Coral Sea (whose previously unreleased recording of “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies will be featured in tonight’s episode). We got a chance to talk with The Coral Sea’s lead singer and songwriter Rey Villalobos about the band’s early years, what he’s learned, and why he partners with TuneCore.
Your cover of The Pixies track “Where is my Mind” is featured on the Californication Season 7 soundtrack, Happy Endings. How did you get involved with this project?
After the song was placed in Californication, the music supervisor connected me with Spirit Music, and they asked if I’d like to include the song in their soundtrack. I was honored to be a part of it.
Your songs have also been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and other TV shows. How did these placements come about?
All of the TV placements we’ve gotten have come out of the blue directly from music supervisors of the TV shows, or directly from the TV shows themselves, reaching out to us to see if we would be interested.
What was your 1st year like starting out? How did you get past early obstacles/challenges?
The 1st year was rad—I put the band together with some good friends and we started playing local shows then made a record. Everything was new and exciting, so any mistakes didn’t really feel like mistakes—you’re learning as you go. The early challenges weren’t so bad because we had a ton of energy and enthusiasm to get things going.
You’ve released several albums through TuneCore, can you share how TuneCore is part of your team?
You guys have been awesome. A few years ago the iTunes folks wanted to feature my current album “Fold in the Wind” on their newsletter, and the album wasn’t up on iTunes yet. You personally called me up and got the album up and sorted within days, just in time to be featured on iTunes Indie Spotlight.
What are your current projects?
House of Wolves is my current project. The name comes from the translation of my last name Villalobos from Spanish to English. House of Wolves is essentially the solo version of The Coral Sea. I’m in the middle of writing two different EPs, one very similar to the way I recorded Volcano and Heart, The Coral Sea’s first album, working with a string quartet and band. The other EP will have a more solo-ish dark ambient acoustic/electric vibe.
What are your top 3 tips for independent artists looking to grow their careers?
It’s pretty simple:
1. Write a song.
2. Record it.
3. Self release it ASAP.
Don’t waste any time, just create and and get the songs out there.
What are your thoughts on streaming? Do you think it’s helping or hurting independent artists?
I think it’s helping—streaming is kind of like the new radio, and it makes it easier for everyone to discover new music.
So what can we look forward to next?
Two new House of Wolves EPs recorded back to back—the first one will be produced by Darragh Nolan a.k.a. Sacred Animals. I’ll be flying over to Ireland to record with him in May. Then in July I’ll be heading up to Portland to work with producer John Askew. He produced my first House of Wolves record, Fold in the Wind. Then I’m doing a bunch of touring this fall in Europe and the U.S.