Nobody’s keeping statistics, but based on comments and questions, most Sax School members play jazz or blues, some jam with classic rock and a few are into ska. Which might just make Rich Castillo one of a kind.
What is Mathcore?
As far as we know, Rich is the only Sax School member who plays mathcore, a music style that blends the most intense elements of punk, metalcore, screamo and prog rock, all played in irregular time signatures with multiple polymeters, syncopations and tempo changes. And yes, we had to look it up, too.
Rich’s Path to Gigging
Rich plays with The Callous Daoboys, one of the genre’s top bands, and while the music sounds a bit, shall we say, different, Rich’s music path sounds pretty typical. “I started out playing the guitar. My best friend at the time had just started playing drums. We wanted to play live pretty much immediately. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve just always wanted to be playing music live. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to me.” Fortunately for Rich, he’s had plenty of opportunities to play, gigging with various bands for close to two decades, adding the saxophone to his arsenal along the way.
“I’ve played plenty of band concerts with just my saxophone, but never anything like this. Not long ago I played my first ever full gig with the Daoboys. Not only was it my first gig with the band, it was my first full gig with my saxophone.”
Great gigs start with plenty of focused band rehearsals. Not so easy for Rich. “I live in upstate New York, the rest of the Daoboys live around Atlanta, Georgia [750 miles/1,200 km apart]. I only rehearsed with the band once a couple of weeks before the show. But I made sure I was consistent and practiced just about every day for two or three months. There were days where I blasted the tracks as loud as I could to make it feel like I was playing along with the band and not just to the music in my headphones. It made me feel super confident in myself when I was playing.”
Learning with Sax School
While The Callous Daoboys and mathcore might seem far removed from the music most members play, Rich believes Sax School offers sax players of any style the tools they need to grow as musicians. “I joined Sax School because I wanted to get better at improvising. With my schedule I can’t justify paying for in-person lessons. With Sax School I’m able to learn at my own pace and I enjoy that a lot. I feel the things I’ve learned have made me more confident when I improvise in the gigs I have right now.”
Rich’s Tips for Sax School Learners
Rich has these tips for other sax players keen to get out gigging, whether playing mathcore saxophone, or something more usual.
“Everything you practice goes into how good you sound and feel when playing live, so act like you’re playing live to better internalise that feeling. When I was playing sports growing up, I was taught to play as hard in practice as I would in the actual game. I’ve applied the same approach to practicing saxophone.
“And please, please, please get used to wearing earplugs. I know it seems counterintuitive for an instrument like saxophone, but the sooner you start doing it the quicker you will get used to it and the longer you will have your hearing!”
What’s in Store with Mathcore Sax
The Callous Daoboys are looking forward to a busy year. “Our second full-length album is coming out and there’ve been talks of tours and big shows, and we’re playing the So What?! Music Festival in Texas. I’m starting to branch out, doing more features and over-dubs for more bands and projects as well.”
Whether you’re playing in a jazz trio or a mathcore band, Rich says there’s one thing to always remember. “It will be over before you know it. Stay present and enjoy every moment on stage. Don’t get hung up over mistakes. It’s supposed to be an incredibly fun night, make sure you have fun!”
Do you want to get out gigging on saxophone like Rich? Get started with Sax School!