Dos Leones is an American Alternative/ Experimental Rock Band from Laredo, Texas. Formed in 2012, the line up consists of Justin White (vocals) Rene Castillo (guitar), Caleb Villarruel (drums), Trey White (bass). Inspired by the roots of Hispanic culture and the American Dream, the four members live on the border, between the Countries of the United States and Mexico.
Originally named Two Lions the group finished a successful tour and then got a call on their very last show, the band name they chose was already trademarked. Frustrated after so much effort put into the project, the band decided it was best not to go through legal action as funds were not going to be an option. Looking for better perspective, the choice was made to be represented stronger with the name translated to spanish, which would represent their city and culture. Thus, Dos Leones was born.
In 2018 Dos Leones finished an energetic, psychedelic 5 song EP titled, “Standby”. The EP includes authentic rock hit “Point Blank”, it has a high energy intro that features pummeling guitars and hardcore raspy vocals, we’re instantly hooked! The hard-hitting drums and gritty vocals add the rock n roll flare we need. Fused with elements of funk, indie and garage rock, the avant-garde collective Dos Leones’ track “Point Blank” is a sure crowd pleaser. The infectious melody, catchy riffs, and contagious rhythms will have you toe-tapping along to the finely-calibrated track. I highly recommend you check out not only this track, but the entire 5 song EP “Standby”.
Listen to “Point Blank” here and read more with Dos Leones below!
Hello Dos Leones! Thanks for chatting with us! Can you dive into the lyrics of your featured track “Point Blank”?
So this song is based in Laredo TX in 2002, on an experience my (Justin’s) father went through when I was around the age of 9. This is when both sides of the border (Laredo, TX/Nuevo Laredo, MX) started to become very dangerous. We had gangs and The Mexican Mafia that were growing, which created a very unsafe atmosphere, intensifying drug smuggling and armed robberies, to human trafficking, gang violence, and killings. We can definitely say in comparison to what it is now, we are 1000% safer.
So the story takes place at a diesel mechanic shop where my (Justin’s) father used to work. It was without warning, a couple of vehicles stormed into the lot. About 6 men jumped out, armed with weapons shouting at the mechanics to do as they say. They rushed everyone into a small office trailer where most of the paperwork is done. They demanded everyone including my father, to line up, get on their knees, look down, and have their hands above their heads. Their guns were at “point blank” range. They made sure no one was to move and stayed quiet.
A man walked in, in black, and apparently they were searching for someone specific who owed money. He told his men that the guy wasn’t any of them and they had hit the wrong place. But given they were already in that situation, he asked his men for everyone’s wallet and to take what’s in the safe. Without any casualties, they took what they wanted and vanished. Till this day, we don’t know where they are, and if they are even alive. Fortunately I still have my father.
We love your track “Point Blank”! What do you hope your listeners take away from it?
So I hope people try to decipher the lyrics, and understand that Laredo TX, was Almost like the Old West, less than 2 decades ago. The lyrics are upfront when you learn the meaning but the explosion and grittiness in the instruments and vocals, were definitely influenced by the way local newspapers and my father described the situation. So yeah, I’d say for the Listeners to take-in the adrenaline.
What’s the overall theme of your EP “Standby”?
We based it off the modern experience.
Most people in our age group live with anxiety because we are afraid of what the future holds. We can see ahead of time based on past experiences technology has recorded. We don’t know if we will be financially and mentally stable.
As for the older generations, it is recorded that this group is prone to depression. Which makes sense, given that their timelines deal in Wars, the Great Depression era, financial failures, segregation and so forth.
I'm not trying to be black and white about it, But we are so confused and frustrated with non physical problems, that we can’t just conquer it with hammer and nails. I feel this is why we blame each other when we should unplug from that reality.
So the Standby TV concept is a checkpoint for people, to put a pause in the trance we are in, and if you are not already there, begin the shift in perspective to the present.
What’s your writing process like as a group?
Justin/Vocalist Will do 95% of the writing. He does write on his own time but whenever we create a song, the lyrics are freshly done after the instrumentation has been laid out. We usually start with drums and bass. Move on to guitar and synth. Finally the writing and vocals. The music is the factor that dictates what Justin feels. Using the feel as a base to his writing process, he pulls out experiences he or others have had, into words which creates direction. The lyrics and vocals will at times be accompanied by Rene.
What’s your stage presence like?
In one Word would be “Energetic,” But to be transparent, most times we want to be professional and be as clean and choppy as possible, but to be blunt, I think we keep it raw and honest. It’s safe to say that on any stage, we live in the presence of now. Yes we rehearse shows, and yes we plan our set time, but in the end we lose track of logic. It seems we have a reason that reason does not understand. There will be mistakes every now and then but it’s the experience the audience can take in and we’d like to think, it is very important that they do.
Keep up with Dos Leones!