INTERVIEW: Paco Is Desperate!

Paco Is Desperate! is a four piece indie rock band from Toledo Ohio with emo, hardcore, and alt-metal leanings. Their new EP “GLOW” defines the band’s sound in a unique way as they look to set the tone and hit stages again soon now that the pandemic is winding down. Heavy guitars and drums create an energetic propulsion to each song, while softer layers of vocals and atmosphere lay overtop nicely to create a sound that has room to breathe and doesn’t just hit you over the head with non-stop rock. It’s a refreshing take on what usually comes from the hard rock genre.

The band’s lyrics stem from frontman Ashlee Ryan Nunley’s struggles with addiction, depression, and anxiety, and on “GLOW” he talks about these issues head on in a brave and unabashed manner. The ‘GLOW’ EP has a much more polished, produced, mature, and cohesive sound than their previous releases, the band having tapped Steven Warstler (Secret Space, Mat Kerekes) to produce it.

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Can’t complain too much, haha. Glad to have the chance to chat!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Glow”?

Sure! We spent about a year writing a new EP which we recorded with Steven Warstler in February. “Glow” is the title track from the EP and we’re super proud of how everything came out. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Not a particular event, but I (Ryan, frontman) have dealt with bipolar disorder all of my life, and I guess in a way, “Glow” is an open letter to bipolar disorder. I wanted it to be an accurate, poignant reflection of the disease but also be something people could find hope in, especially if they are struggling too. 

Any plans to release a video for the track?

The video is already out and can be watched here!

Why naming the album after this song in particular?

It seemed like the logical conclusion, “Glow” is such an important part of the EP and its message and we all thought it was an excellent representation of the message and attitude we were bringing with this record. When something glows, it isn’t a blinding light but it’s a light nonetheless, and more than anything I think that’s what we wanted to get across, Glow was perfect for that. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Hectic. We decided we wanted to do this record over a year before it came out, but then the pandemic happened. Our first producer, the late great Charlie Jackson (Brigades) passed away last April, and our second pick for producer pulled out because of COVID concerns. We tapped Steve and the rest is history, he absolutely knocked the record out of the park. 

What was it like work with with Steven Warstler and how did that relationship develop?

I met Steve through mutual friends and we talked on and off for months about the possibility of doing a record together and just feeling it out. It was an absolute pleasure. Steven makes everything easy and I genuinely believe he can make anything sound good. He’s a genius in that control room, and coming into this with it being our first “major” release, we needed to trust in someone to push us to that next level and that’s absolutely what Steve did. 

How much did he get to influence the album?

Steven had suggestions all the time to improve the record and I’d say about 75% of them we went with and the othe 25% we didn’t. For example, on “Never Home Always” during the breakdown, there’s some additional percussive elements in the mix Steven did completely on the fly with a coffee straw in the control room. Ultimately, his signature is definitely there, but we feel like we walked away with an EP uniquely ours.

What Role does Toledo play in your music?

Toledo is our home. For all the bad press it gets, Toledo accepted us with open arms and love and has become central to our identity as a band. We never want to shy away from the fact that we come from the Glass City. 

What aspect of addiction and depression did you get to explore on this record?

I got to express frustration on this record, which I really needed and was quite cathartic/healing. I got to talk about that stuff and I hope that people who listen find something in here that they can relate to and hold on to. At least then it ensures that the pain that led to these songs wasn’t in vain, you know?

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I felt like through most of 2020 there was just this bubble of frustration that was growing in me, from the pandemic to more personal stuff I just found myself in that state and I tried my best to write my way through it, which is what I’ve always done. This record is also unique in particular because there is more cowriting than any other record we’ve done, so like “The Arsonist” was inspired by a situation our other guitarist Cole went through. We just took inspiration wherever we could find it, and we tried our best to make these songs sincere and genuine. 

What else is happening next in Paco Is Desperate!’s world?

Back on the road. We were supposed to tour last year for the first time, it didn’t get to happen so now our goal is to get out on the road and bring this to as many folks as who care to listen!

IG: pacoisdesperate

FB: Paco Is Desperate!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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