From Cutting Grass to Apple Commercial: Meet Distartica

Distartica has been involved in the Houston, TX metal scene since 2008. With influences like Havok, Warbringer, Slayer and Iron Maiden, their sound is an old-school metal vibe with a touch of modern thrash metal.

Recently they found themselves being contacted by Apple and featured in a commercial. Their drummer, Carlos, is blind and uses assistive technology with Apple products, which led him to become apart of their Global Accessibility Awareness Project.

We chatted with them about how they formed, the challenges of getting your music heard, how they came to be featured in an Apple commercial and their advice for new artists.

Tell us a bit about your band. 
Well, I originally started out playing the guitar in middle school. Then, when my brother Alex found out that I could play, he decided to try it out himself. We didn’t meet Carlos Careces until high school and after seeing me play he decided to pick up the guitar as well. It was almost like we had a musical contagion. So around 2003 we decided to form a band and when brainstorming for a name we essentially drew it from the words distortion, art and Metallica and Distartica was formed.

What is the absolute worst job you ever had in order to keep your dreams alive of playing music full time?
Carlos Caceres cuts yards in the scorching sun, Alex had a terrible customer service job, and I had to endure doing short-term contract work before we all landed stable, good paying jobs. We now use our resources to produce good quality merchandise and music production. We found out it takes a lot of money to get your music career off the ground!

How did you link up with Apple? Did you know someone or did they reach out to you?
They reached out to me. I’m actually a huge videogame fan, and so, I participate in the competitive side of gaming and, as it is known, I happen to be blind. As a result, I caught the attention of various entities in the press and eventually Apple contacted me to learn more about how I game using assistive technology. Then, when they heard that I am an avid user of Apple products and found out I had a band, they became more interested and I was fortunate enough to not only be included in their Global Accessibility Awareness Project, but to be allowed to include Distartica along on the ride.

This was a major opportunity that we never saw coming and was an experience of a lifetime.

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What kind of results are you hoping for after doing this commercial? 
We hope to land bigger gigs. We also hope to be able to share the stage with our metal influences that have inspired us to pick up our instruments and make music which include, Havok, Warbringer, Testament, Exodus, hell, even Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Metallica if possible. We’ve actually been contacted for more local gigs than ever before and will continue to jam at the venues that have gladly opened their doors for us.
The Apple commercial has proven Metal can be brought to the mainstream and stay heavy. So far, my video is the top most viewed out of all the other videos that were produced and released through the official Apple Youtube channel. During the time of this answer, the video has over 886,000 views and is still changing as we speak. The commercial was also aired during prime time TV on various networks and since then, our album has increased in sales.

Have you guys employed any other creative promotional tactics in your careers?
This is the first time we’ve been involved in any major project. Most of the time we rely solely on social media and playing gigs as much as possible. However, this has been a learning experience and now we will be able to create new tactics for future promotions and for our second album.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist/band, and what have you done to overcome it?
The biggest obstacle has been for us to get our music out there. There are many artists making music and spreading it like wild fire and if you do not stay on top of promotion and gigs, your music will most likely get filtered out. Yes we had the opportunity to work with Apple, but we have been working hard since the album came out on April 14th and even before that. We spent hours and hours working on the album with limited resources, but over time, we saved money and were able to produce our own album independently.

Any advice for new musicians just starting out on ReverbNation? How do you get the most value out of ReverbNation once you join?
Quality of production is most important. Always focus on quality, just go ahead and spend the couple of extra bucks. Once you have a high-quality CD you can rely on it to speak for itself. We acquired fans much faster on ReverbNation than any other site. It has had a tremendous impact on our ability to connect us with fans, which is an important aspect in building and maintaining a solid fanbase. For example, the email subscription is very useful. We can connect, without spamming, with fans directly to announce any upcoming shows or video content uploaded in all of our sites. So, basically it’s a pretty cool site.

What’s up next for Distartica?
We are definitely getting ready to schedule short tours all around the states. If possible, we would like to be involved in international tours, but we believe that will all come in time if we continue to work hard and produce good material. In fact, we already have some material for our second album lined up.

Check out the Apple commercial here…

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