Smashing Satellites is a new Canadian rock/alternative band. They actually seem to fit into their own genre. Just getting off of their Canadian tour, we were able to get Sal Costa (seen seated in white) to answer a few questions for us. If you haven't heard of them, you should have. Go buy their EP SonicAluzions on iTunes now.
S&Em: First off, we are so happy that this wasn’t the end for Sal Costa. Tell us a little bit about the movement that is Smashing Satellites!
Sal Costa: Thank you so much for the love. I don't think there could ever be an end to my marriage with music - it is too much a part of who I am. It's in my DNA. Smashing Satellites is an attempt at bringing the human touch back to society. We have become so consumed with technology (although it can be great in some circumstances), that we literally have lost what makes us human… you know, the ability to connect with one another, without WiFi. :)
S&Em: How does this group mesh together?
Sal Costa: This is the first time in a long time I've been in a group with a bunch of people where there is SO much positive energy floating around. It almost feels wrong sometimes as I've been in many projects where there just seems to be a dark cloud that lingers constantly. We feed off each other's good energy and just work and praise our strengths. For a new band, I feel like we have come quite a long way in terms of our chemistry as just humans interacting with one another. One major thing we all have in common is that we are all just grateful to be doing this… following our dreams… and doing it as friends… watching each other get better at what it is we do.
S&Em: What is it about music that attracted you to it? Why do you think that so many people can relate to your songs?
Sal Costa: I can only hope that what got me into music is what gets people into MY music. Music was my friend growing up. It posed questions and gave answers. It made me understand vulnerability and that it is okay to be yourself, to act as yourself and to be okay with your flaws. The idea that you can sing about the things that hurt you and the things that elate you and to have someone feel those ideations and emotions is just beautiful.
S&Em: Listening to the EP, and knowing that you said it was like your diary, can you tell us a bit of what was going through your head while writing A-Side SonicAluzion?
Sal Costa: There is a bi-polarity to my personality. My highs are through the clouds, but my lows… they get very low. During this period so many incredible things were happening in my life… you know, I'm living in LA, spending my days and nights writing on the beach in Malibu… feeling so inspired… free. But… I had also just come from a VERY dark relationship that lasted way too long with people that stripped me of myself. So, I was extremely vulnerable. If you listen to the record even the musical feel changes as some days I was writing in the clouds and some days I was writing on the floor.
S&Em: Since this was like a diary, we know all of these songs have meaning to you. What song had the most impact on you while writing it?
Sal Costa: I'd have to say 'Taste Of Fame.' It was one of the first songs I wrote when I left a pretty toxic environment and I literally didn't know how else to get out these negative feelings. Writing, singing and playing this song just gave me my moment to speak. It was a weight off my shoulders.
S&Em: Listening to “Taste of Fame”and reading some of the buzz about it, we have to wonder what inspired you to write that song.
Sal Costa: I think for those who know my situation, who I am and where I am from - this song is a pretty obvious and specific piece of music and story. Our fatal flaw as humans is jealousy. Not being able to watch someone else shine, and when they do, trying to dim their light, or shut it off completely. I was extremely hurt when I wrote this song as I felt like I had been somewhat beaten down for a very long time. Lots of verbal and mental abuse - which to me, can be worse than physical abuse, however, I also know what that feels like as well. Although this song is so personal to me, I think there is a piece of this song for everyone in the world… both the shining and the ones who dim.
S&Em: First you had Saldiers and now you have Soulars. Did you have any people give you a lot of grief about leaving My Darkest Days, especially since Smashing Satellites is so different ?
Sal Costa: Tons! But truly, if I stuck around in My Darkest Days my message as a human being would have been contradicting. Happiness is the key to life and I was just SO unhappy. Whenever someone stops me and asks "Why'd you leave MDD?", my answer is quite simple… "Would you keep flipping hamburgers at a place that would just squirt ketchup on you as you were working, go home feeling greasy every night, and then wake up to do it again and again if you had a chance to work at a classy restaurant down the street with a great Human Resources department?" People think artists and bands are different than the rest of the world, and we just aren't. We're human. Like the rest of the world, I have a heart, and it needs to feel like it has a place. Also - a lot of those who were and are upset about my departure focus more on that than actually giving a chance to what I'm doing right now, which in my opinion, is the most sophisticated piece of work I have ever made. I say this in not a cocky way, I say this because I truly laid it all on the line with this record. I took NO shortcuts. I was honest, and I took my time. A very long time.
S&Em: Hearing this EP could be kind of a shock to some listeners. It is a very different Sal Costa for so many people. You’re pushing boundaries with this album. Are you going to continue to change up your sound?
Sal Costa: To be 100%, this is the music I've been making my entire life. However, here's what has been my greatest flaw - I have never wanted to be a lead singer. EVER. So to a certain extent, I was only bringing half of the Sal Costa that people know me as to the party. And even half of that would get diluted because when you work in a project that is very concerned with being safe, most of everything cool ends up becoming very watered down. I knew that if I really wanted to make an honest record - I had to sing it, play it, write it and be there to produce it. This is Sal.
S&Em: You frequently state how much you admire Lana Del Rey and how much you would love to work with her? What is it about her, as an artist, that you find most admirable?
Sal Costa: There is a magic to her songs and lyrics. She gives me goosebumps. She is a great story teller, and I love stories… especially through music. I guess what I like most about her is what I can't explain about what I like about her… the X factor… She's majestical to me to a certain degree.
S&Em: “Hounds” was based off of a dream you had. You had model and actress Arielle Reitsma in this video. While we know you have a beautiful wife, was having a model/actress in your video a dream? How did that come about? And can you please explain this dream to us?
Sal Costa: Well… I'm an insomniac. I have a really hard time falling asleep, and as painful as it is, it can sometimes work to my advantage… I become somewhat delirious if I've been up for too long and I'll end up just crashing and having wild dreams… like I'm on some type of acid trip or something. The story of the creation of 'Hounds' goes like this… I was laying down in my bed in my apartment in LA during one of these episodes and I was thinking about this writing session I was going to in Malibu the next day. I was feeling a little uninspired and anxious as I felt the candle burning at both ends. That's all I remember… I then just fell into a deep sleep/trance type state of mind and I remember feeling as though I was sitting in an open landscape at night, underneath a full moon… In this dream I looked down at my hands and noticed they were covered in hair… as I panicked I started to touch the rest of my body and face and I felt hair everywhere… as if I was a werwolf or something… In the dream I looked over to my right and sitting beside me was this beautiful werwoman… with these big, beautiful eyes just calling me in. In the dream I remember singing to her "Hounds, we're hounds, two animals tangled under the moon. I howl, I howl for you." Poof! I woke up kind of sweaty and startled. I grabbed my iPad and I recorded the melody so I wouldn't forget it and then I went back to sleep. The next day I had completely forgot about this until I opened my iPad and saw the video clip I had made there. I ended up finishing the writing of the song that day, and we started recording it too. It was really weird, but I'm glad it happened.
S&Em: Your new music video is coming out soon for “Waterfall.” How will this be different from the “Hounds” video?
Sal Costa: This video is a little more serious than 'Hounds'. The concept and weight of the song is also very different. This song goes back to the darker side of the record that I wrote shortly after my departure from MDD. It's hard to talk about this video without giving it away… so I will say this… IT WAS COLD! I'm really looking forward for to it coming out as it's pretty unique.
S&Em: You’re currently touring with Moist in Canada and you’re about to announce a US tour. When should we expect this announcement and what should we expect to see during your live shows?
Sal Costa: Yes! We just wrapped up our Canadian tour with Moist which was extremely successful. Man, we had such a great time. Moist was a band I listened to a LOT growing up, so to be asked by them to come on the road during the infancy of Smashing Satellites was a true honour. My second show ever as Smashing Satellites was with Moist, so that was pretty cool. We'll be having some US dates pop up in the new year so stay tuned. We're just breaking ground over there and we can't wait to get on the tour horse and ride.
S&Em: You’re known for your philanthropy. You worked with various organizations/causes in the past. Are you planning on Smashing Satellites having a big part in a cause any time soon?
Sal Costa: Absolutely. There isn't one specific cause right this moment that I'm really promoting, however, once we get back on the road for a long period of time playing many cities, I will definitely be full force with helping promote a cause. I prefer doing this on the road because I get to be in a different city every day bringing awareness to it, and I find this to be so much more effective than when I'm not touring. I like to engage with humans, look them in the eyes… and that's hard to do from home. However, in general, I do a lot of work with helping animals, bullying and anything I can do help with cancer research.
S&Em: There is a Christmas show in Detroit coming up that you’re doing with Bush, Our Lady Peace, and You Me At Six. We know that you have toured with Bush before. What are you most excited about for this show? Could you see Smashing Satellites touring with Bush?
Sal Costa: I'm a little late getting on this interview as I was trying to fight off a cold due to the insane weather up north on the Moist tour. So I literally was just isolating myself until show time every day. What I'm getting at is that we played Detroit two nights ago! It was AHmazing. 89X in Detroit is the first station to play Smashing Satellites in America, so it was so great to go back on stage and watch people singing my (new) songs. That is a TRUE rush that I haven't felt in a while. It was also great to re-connect with my friends in Bush as it has been a while! After the show I hit up their dressing room and we just shot the shit until it was time for us all to go. Lots of laughs and jokes. We could definitely tour together, and I really do hope that we do again as aside from loving their music, I love them as people.
S&Em: We see that our friends Age of Days happen to be friends with you as well and are offering some very kind words of encouragement via social media. How does it feel to have so many people so excited about SonicAluzion and Smashing Satellites?
Sal Costa: AOD are GREAT people :) The music community were my biggest fans when I started this. Just all the bands I had toured with and are friends with really all showed their support. It was so great. I remember getting a call from Jacoby of Papa Roach early in the morning one day after he had heard the demo of 'Taste Of Fame.' The excitement in his voice was just so nice to hear. I also had two really great friends that were there from day one… Cody Hanson and Marshal Dutton. Without those guys, I don't think this would have ever happened. I'll forever be indebted to their kindness.
S&Em: What is the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you? What advice would you give to artists that look up to you?
Sal Costa:A very wise person once told me "You're never as bad as they say you are, but you're never as good as they say you are either." That is a quote that really hit home with me and I'd like to pass on to other artists.
S&Em: Can you give us one rare fact about each of your new band members?
Sal Costa: Mick - we have been in SO many bands together since we were 14 years old. Most people don't know that Mick actually is a bass player, but I needed a keyboard player/rhythm guitar player for this band and he literally learned those instruments in a matter of months and is better than most pro's I know. That is a TRUE testament to a real musician.
Devon - he was actually a comedian! He still is to us actually :) He's very witty and is always making sure there is lots of smiles happening at all times. It's great to have someone around that is light hearted, but serious enough to make sure things are getting done. Dev's a pro at what he does.
Myke - you know… in the music industry when you're getting started, we all do what we can to get by. Myke got his first break as an artist playing drums in a boy band. But, like me, it was a stepping stone for him to get to where he wanted to be.
S&Em: If you could pick any five artists to collaborate with, who would they be and why?
Sal Costa: Lana Del Rey, Prince, Tove Lo, Freddy Mercury, Meg Meyers, Katy Perry, The BeeGees, and Don Henley (The Eagles) - and all for the same reason… They all have that X factor that I would love to feed off of.
S&Em: If you were told you had to cover one of today’s songs, but put a Smashing Satellites twist on it, what song would you chose?
Sal Costa: We actually currently have a cover with the SS twist on it… and… WE love playing it live :) Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know (S&Em Note: See that here)
S&Em: We’ve been fans of y ours for quite some time and we hope we get the chance to see you again soon. If you come to Massachusetts, you’ll have to seek out S&Em Music Reviews and Interviews! Deal?
Sal Costa: First off, thank you SO much for the love. It means so much. You totally have a deal. I love Massachusetts and I can't wait to get back there again soon. So many fond memories and looking forward to creating many more.
S&Em would like to thank Mr. Costa and his management for allowing us to conduct this interview. We encourage our readers to go check out Smashing Satellites. A true artist at work that loves his fans and does everything with his heart. Mr. Costa is truly an artist we respect and support wholeheartedly.