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Southwest Shadow


Sweet Sounds: Meet THE REDPILLS

Student musicians emerging on the indie rock scene
Rocking out on stage, THE REDPILLS perform a cover of “Looking Out for You” by Joy Again at Coyote Coachella 2024. The band also performed in 2023 where they experienced playing in front of a crowd for the first time. “Performing at Coyote Coachella was super fun for all of us,” drummer Oliver Rondez said. “Seeing the crowd that we had brought together really made me and my band members super happy. It’s really satisfying to see people enjoying the music that you are making.”

Feeling the rush from the crowd, instruments in hand, THE REDPILLS share a common passion for performing on stage. The band is like family to the members, often seeking solace within the four walls of Oliver Rondez’s home. 

Drummer Oliver Rondez and multi-instrumentalist Renzo Omolon first got the idea of making a band during one of their saxophone jam sessions. Immediately, more of their friends expressed interest in the concept of the band and ended up joining, forming what is now known as THE REDPILLS. The group consists of Rondez and Omolon, guitarists Alexa Rondez, Aldrich “Sky” Razon, Josh Burgos, and bassists Isaiah “Zaya” Escamilla, Ava Abao and Erika Viado.

“It was our guitarists’ [idea] and they were both like ‘Hey, you can join our band if you learn the bass’, and so I learned how to play the bass and then I got into the band,” Escamilla said. “I was always into music, and I was a little nervous at first, but [Alexa and Josh] showed me the ropes. I joined because of them and it worked out.” 

The band specializes in indie and alternative music. Their overarching sound is influenced by the strong and gritty tones of classic alternative rock and the niche snappy, enigmatic tones of Japanese rock.

“The two biggest influencers of our music have to be ‘The Pillows’ and ‘Radiohead,’” drummer Oliver Rondez said. “I think if we were to be categorized under specific bands, our music would probably fall under those two. Their style of music is just so intriguing to us, and inspired us to create music in the first place.”

The band’s name draws from the members’ musical inspirations and the overall aesthetic of their vibe and concept, with heavy red accents being a prominent part of the band’s look.

“I actually was the one who named the band,” bassist Erika Viado said. “THE REDPILLS is heavily influenced by the Japanese rock band, ‘The Pillows.’ At the time, most of us had red instruments, so I combined the two and thus, THE REDPILLS was born.” 

Since all the members of the band are still students, oftentimes it’s challenging to find time to practice in between doing schoolwork and working a part-time job. However, they make use of after school activities and any possible free time to fine tune their skills.

“Since music is more like a hobby, I play when I don’t have work,” Escamilla said. “Then I can focus on being in a band and the fact that we have a Jam Club makes it a little easier to balance it, because then I could focus on school during school hours.” 

THE REDPILLS hold their practices at Rondez’s home. His father dictates if practices can take place, and shares the difficulty of having the band practice within his home. 

“Too much practice. If it’s on weekdays, past nine o’clock [on a] a school day and [members] need to study, they’re actually distracting themselves from their studies,” father Oliver Q. Rondez said. “Being in a band is good, but you also have to focus on your studies so you have to balance. It’s [also] noisy, but I like music and I like my kids to be in the band. I can bear with that.” 

Though many of the members are currently seniors about to graduate, many of them still want to continue. 

“A lot of them are staying in state, so we’re definitely going to continue it,” Razon said. “But for Southwest, there are only going to be around two of us [after this year], so I’m not sure how that would go. We still want to play and continue playing, so I think it’s something that might last long term if everyone is dedicated enough.” 

THE REDPILLS have already uploaded content onto their official YouTube channel. Plans for an original song are in the making, and it’s projected that the band’s first single “Buffalo Bag” will be released in late May. 

“I’m pretty excited. The song’s awesome,” Burgos said. “In this last year a lot of us have grown tremendously in respect to our technical skill and being clear with issues. I want us to get to a point where we’re playing outside of school gigs and having songs by the end of summer. I really want to get our name out there.”

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