Gabe Coto

Florida International University | Major in Communication Arts

What made you pick your instrument(s)?

Originally I started on clarinet because it was the instrument my mom played in high school. Then was bass, my main instrument today. I just loved watching bassists like Flea and Fieldy slap the bass like animals, then I fell in love with Jaco Pastorius who used the bass as a melodic instrument in fusion. Bagpipes came into play from a huge interest in Celtic culture. Finally, my love for vocal percussion, having it as a self-taught instrument, grew because I saw people really enjoyed it and that it was a rare skill.

Bagpipes? Must have been hard finding a teacher. Do uncommon instruments attract you?

I actually was only able to take about four lessons of the basics before I started teaching myself. There are only a handful of bagpipe teachers in Florida, and the closest one is about two hours north. So after using basic tutorials, I stumbled upon an online school, which helped a lot!

But yes, I have to say uncommon instruments attract me. I love learning of other cultures, and music is a huge part of each one. It's one of my goals to learn an instrument from as many cultures as I can, starting with the bagpipes and, recently, the didgeridoo. Next would probably be the bouzouki, lur, or the sitar. Or all three. I like a challenge.

Can you describe how Live! influenced your music career?

Without Live! I would not be the musician I am today. I actually learned how to play bass there. I wouldn't be the capable song writer or lyricist I am today because I probably wouldn't have cared to pursue music at all had Live! not given me and expanded such a great interest in it. [They] also helped me grow as a person by being surrounded by great musicians and being in such a comfortable, family-like environment.

What kind of projects are you working on right now?

Right now, as far as music goes, I'm currently in three bands! Wicked Playground is a NuMetal band with influence from 90s metal. Disrupted Uprising, a progressive metal band whose influences come from bands like Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold. And Spacekamel, an experimental groove band that just embraces all psychedelic sounds as well as a funky atmosphere that metal doesn't usually give me.

Aside from music, I'm currently working on a fantasy/horror novel which I hope to complete alongside my Bachelors in Communication Arts degree.

Working on so many bands at once must be tiring. How do you manage to keep everything organized in your head?

Well, my head is usually all over the place. But, if it makes sense, I kind of view my brain as a filing cabinet sometimes. I have all these songs: 12 funk songs for one band, 10 progressive metal songs for another, and 15 for a NuMetal band — not to mention the 5 acapella songs and my own personal songs I've written (I can't even put a number on that). When I'm on my way to one of those rehearsals, I start sorting everything into their own places and pulling up the set list for that band. I guess you can say that's on a good day, because like I said, it's usually all just mixed up and all over the place — I've just gotten good at playing the right notes from the right songs with the right band at the right time. (Just kidding.)

But it does take a lot of thought, work, and commitment to the bands in order to keep it all lined up. And at the same time, I love being busy with music — it keeps me always practicing and always learning new things from new environments.

Any future plans with music or otherwise?

All of these bands have the potential for a big future and I plan to stick by them and make it big. I'm not into the whole "drown in money and women" idea of fame, but I want to use it for a greater good. I also want to get known as a writer through my novels and poetry.

You can hear Gabe’s bands in the links above or on ReverbNation here and here.