With less than 12 hours remaining in the Museum of Pop Culture’s submission window for Sound Off! 2020, Marlon Galdamez found “four really bad demos” and sent them in for consideration. Weeks later, Galdamez (bass/vocals) and Sebastian Salazar (drums/vocals), who make up the noise duo The Human Missile Crisis, learned they were one of 12 local artists selected to take part in MoPOP’s annual 21-and-under music showcase and competition.
"I didn’t know he put us in there,” says Salazar. “It wasn’t like a big, ‘Hey bro! We’re going to go to Sound Off! When we got in he was like, ‘Hey, we’re going to be playing in Sound Off!’ I was like, ‘Uh, ok!’"
"Didn’t expect anything," Galdamez says. "But here we are."
A listener’s first thought when they come across the Tukwila musicians’ work? There’s no way just two people can make a sound that big. The band’s melodies swell, chirp, and move in a frenzied fashion that you’d expect to come from a stage full of people. Raw, energetic, and heavy riffs are central elements to The Human Missile Crisis’ music and are what fans can expect to hear when the two take the Sky Church stage on Saturday, February 15 for their Sound Off! semifinal performance.
We caught up with the drum and bass duo to hear what they had to say:
What was your initial reaction when you found out you were going to be part of Sound Off! 2020?
Marlon: Very surprised. We didn’t expect people to like us. They told us 120 artists had applied and only 12 got selected. For some reason they thought that we’d be a good 10 percent of it.
How would you describe your sound?
Sebastian: I feel a lot of people kind of say it's experimental hardcore, which I can kind of agree with. We’re a pretty heavy band. We’re ethnic people. We weren’t born in the States. We were influenced and brought up by super different genres, so we try to incorporate that into our sound.
Marlon: We don’t like one genre, at all. He’s way more trained to sound in general, and this is something I’ve just noticed from being with him, is that he’s way more trained to the ear. He can pick up on classical and jazz and Latin and samba. And I love all those genres, but I can’t play it.
Sebastian: You can.
Marlon: I can only do pretty much heavy music. I only like chugging. When we came together to make music, we were just like, why don’t I chug, do my thing, and then you just do some crazy polyrhythmic things, you know?
Sebastian: Oh, nice word.
What are you hoping to achieve through your music?
Sebastian: I just want to inspire someone, especially creatives, to be fearless. To create with no boundaries. I feel like a lot of time, especially young people, feel like they have to be trapped in a box a lot of the time. Like they have to make one certain type of music, or stay in one type of genre, or just do things that they don’t want.
Marlon: We want to make that box into a hexagon. We want to make it big and different and something else. That’s on the broader aspect. On a personal aspect, releasing music just makes me happy. That’s the only thing we can keep doing. It’s the only thing we’re good at, honestly.
Sebastian: It’s a creative outlet and it’s our passion. We just want to do what makes us happy and try to do it good, hopefully.
If you could describe your sound or your music as an animal, what would it be and why?
Marlon: Whenever I’m writing something, it’s just like dragons flying, spewing fire.
Sebastian: I’ll say a giraffe. That was the first thing I thought of.
Marlon: You know what? I’m going to go with the giraffe. I think a giraffe is cooler. They’re tall. We’re both kind of short. So a giraffe.