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Killmoves on Garden Gnomes, Deftones, and Preparing to Play Spark

You can feel the drums beating in your chest, the guitar strings pierce your ears, the voice is powerful and the bass is the string that ties it all together. You find yourself uncontrollably moving to the beat as the music releases energy you’ve never felt before. This is how the hardcore Chicago-based band killmoves makes you feel. The band is made up of four members: Lonzo Bonilla on guitar, Brennan Auth on drums, Luv Velasquez on bass and new singer Anthony Quinones. Killmoves is going to be opening for PARTYNEXTDOOR and Princess Nokia, alongside DJ battle winner DJ Midnight, at UIC’s annual concert Spark this Saturday, October 8th from 5-9 pm. Killmoves blew the competition away at UIC’s Battle of the Bands last semester with their unmatched energy and their killer hardcore style. If you were lucky enough to see them perform, you already know what killmoves is all about, but if you haven’t seen them live yet, you’re in for a treat. I’ve seen killmoves a handful of times and let me tell you, DON’T miss out on this free amazing performance, they will blow you away. I had the opportunity to interview Luv and Lonso of killmoves days leading up to their performance at spark.

Q: How did killmoves come to be? 

Luv: I know that I personally wanted to start a band, and that was one of the things I had on my list to do. I knew I wanted to be in a band, start it, and have it be somewhere along the lines of punk and hardcore. I started dating my girlfriend, love you babe, Amy.

Alex: Shout out Amy!

Luv: Honestly our number one fan bro, she’s been nothing but supportive. She’s actually best friends with the drummer’s girlfriend.

Lonzo: Shout out Angie!

Luv: Shout out Angie as well, and they’re best friends so that’s how I met Brennan. Funny story though, the first time I actually met Brennan we were talking about music and stuff, and something we bonded over was The Silversun Pickups, a great band. He showed me the song “Lazy Eye” and I was like “bro I’ve been listening to “Lazy Eye” since I was like ten years old. He told me at one point he drummed before and he stopped after a little while and so I told him “I’m gonna get you back into drums and we’re gonna be in a band together, and we’re gonna jam.” We just started jamming… I’m sure you know about DIY Chicago on Facebook.

Alex: I don’t.

Luv: Oh, it’s just a Facebook page of DIYers in the punk scene and any local band you can probably find on there.

Alex: So you guys have some pretty decent connections in the DIY scene?

Luv: yeah we have some pretty decent ones I would say, but we are still fairly new, so I feel like people are barely hearing about us, but we are releasing our single next week! 

Lonzo: Well technically this Friday and having it ready for Spark on Saturday. I was actually up till three in the morning yesterday doing the final touches.

Luv Velasquez on bass

Alex: What’s the name?

Lonzo: It’s called “Faceless,” originally the song was about d—, I dunno if it’s about d— anymore though. 

Luv: Well, our new singer has kinda put his perspective and persona on it! Back to DIY Chicago, I put a bunch of posts out looking for a guitarist, because we were already set with bass and drums. We had this one guy come through, his name was Bert, and he was a good artist, but he just wanted to do his own thing, and he just didn’t connect with me and Brennan. I think a couple of days later we had Lonzo come through on his own and we just really connected and hit it off with him because Brennan, Lonzo and I all like Deftones. 

Lonzo: There’s a funny story about that, so you know how Spotify does the thing where it gives you your most listened-to song of the year? We were just in the garage one day and I pulled it up and was like “What are your guys?” and I showed them mine and it was “Be Quiet and Drive,” Sebastian pulled his out and it’s “Be Quiet and Drive,” Brennan pulled his out and it was “Be Quiet and Drive,” and we were just like “that’s just gotta be the cover we play now!” and we love playing that one. I think we just got along really well because we like the same stuff, and doing the same stuff. We just like drinking in the garage and playing and doing other stuff that we can’t talk about in the interview. 

Luv: But apart from that, we all just connected most on a musical level. Brennan and I were already kinda just doing our thing then having Lonzo in the mix just made it so much better because, Lonzo, you’ve been doing music for how long?

Lonzo: Probably since I was 12, my first instrument was the saxophone. So in middle school, through high school, I played jazz saxophone a lot, specifically the bari. I got awards at the state [level]. I personally think I’m a better saxophone player than a guitar player. I just haven’t picked it up in years, so it’s been a while.

Alex: Any saxophone songs coming up in new killmoves music?

Lonzo: If I had one I would think about it. 

Luv: That could go really hard.

Lonzo: I’ve been playing guitar since 8th grade and in high school, I played in a lot of local bands. I was in this one band called Behold Below and this was the first band I’ve ever played live with, we practiced out of Waukegan. It was cool because I was like 15 playing with dudes that were 24 and up, and it was just super crazy being around that and understanding what you gotta do and get that early experience. One of my big formative moments for music was either when I was a sophomore or freshman in highschool. My dad used to work at this restaurant, they had a cumbia band and they would just start taking me with them. We would go out and play the south side at like three in the morning, they would make me play the bass. One time I played the congos because our congo guy got really drunk, and I haven’t played the congos in a minute too! That’s really when I realized I loved playing live, and I love being on that stage. It’s so much fun. I wanna do this stuff until my knees are creaky and I can’t stand anymore. 

Brennan Auth banging on the drums

Alex: Since you won the battle of the bands last year, what have you been doing with the band since?

Luv: We’ve been cooking up a lot of new stuff, we’re working on an EP right now and have been doing as many shows as possible. We’ve been selling merch, stickers and the whole shebang as far as promotion goes. Just trying to get our name out there. 

Alex: Playing spark is definitely gonna help you get that, people are gonna know who you guys are.

Lonzo: It’s kinda crazy, sometimes I walk around campus and get recognized. One time I was at Water Tower Place and just shopping for stuff. This girl comes up to me and is like “you’re the guitarist from killmoves!” and asked for a picture. It was kind of awkward because I was hungover and I definitely reeked. She came in close for the picture and I was like “she’s definitely gonna hate the band now.”

Lonso Bonilla (guitar) & Luv Velasquez (bass)

Alex: How does that make you feel as an artist, that you’re getting recognized in public?

Lonzo: I think it’s cool because it’s one thing to go around and show people your music and do that whole Soundcloud rapper stereotype and people might like it, but nobody is gonna save it and listen to it. But when it happens to me I’m like “man they remember that and when we release music people are gonna download it.”

Luv: We’ve been grinding so hard to get some stuff out there because we’ve missed out on shows, because we don’t have any actual music out there yet, so we have to end up sending in videos of our shows but that’s all changing now!

Lonzo: Yeah our little EP thing definitely should be out by the end of this year, drums are already tracked, guitars are mostly tracked, and basses are tracked. It’s literally just me sitting down and doing it. 

Luv: Yeah Lonzo has been the one doing all the production stuff, like mixing and mastering. It’s just Lonzo because I’ve only had so much experience with software and recording stuff. After all, this is the first band I’ve been in, but this is the guy right here!

Lonzo: I used to have people come to my place and record over a beat they have and sometimes even commission beats from me and I just made little money doing that, and I’ve been doing that since high school. This album was a challenge though because it’s the first time I’ve worked with live drums. We actually took the kit into my room and recorded the drums in there.

Anthony Quinones on vocals

Alex: What has been the biggest challenge of the band as a whole?

Luv: I think the biggest challenge is trying to stand out. We definitely do, to some degree, stand out amongst other bands because we’re just four crazy dudes waving their crazy hair on stage. There’s this big-ass white dude with his shirt off just wacking on these drums, there’s another long-haired dude growling into the mic. That’s why I try to have so much energy. I’m excited to play live, but I think it’s very important to maintain that energy, and I see that going down the line, bands have been around for years and there are so many bands in the DIY scene, from Ugly Nate to Sawbuck and Daybreaker. Just all of these local bands in and around Chicago, everyone is trying to start something new, so I think being able to maintain that cache and energy through all the years we’ve been playing is necessary. 

Lonzo: It’s scary because you shouldn’t compare yourself to other bands but it inevitably slips. One of my friends named Alex plays in the band Daybreaker, and his manager has millions of views on Youtube. I’m like, this guy is managed by a professional and it makes me think that we need to get our stuff out there and try to do everything to stand out. I would definitely say that playing live is our strength when we’re playing that’s our thing. I’m really happy for Spark actually because usually when we play somewhere the ceiling is really low, and we’re all really tall, like if I jump I’m smacking my head on a light, Spark is outdoors though.

Luv: It’s gonna be surreal honestly.

Lonso Bonilla (guitar)

Alex: How have you guys been practicing for Spark?

Luv: I’ve personally been trying to work on my scales because I feel like a lot of artists make the mistake of not going back to the basics, but I still feel like you gotta go back and warm up so you’re not cramping up on stage so I try to keep up with those.

Lonzo: When it comes to practicing I try two particular things: I practice out riffs with my eyes closed, and the other thing I like to do is practicing the riffs with an acoustic guitar because the strings generally have a heavier gauge so if you can play it well on an acoustic, it’s like nothing when you switch over.

Luv Velasquez (bass)

Alex: Where do you guys see, and want killmoves to be in, let’s say, five years?

Lonzo: Definitely a couple of albums under our belt. Not just albums for the sake of albums, but albums that show us getting better, being more creative, and trying more. I don’t think it’s about how big you get but it’s more about the quality of your music and its longevity. A lot of bands can’t even think about getting to five years, let alone, a year. It’s crazy if you think about it because 90% of bands fail within the first four months.

Luv: Where did you get that statistic from?

Lonzo: You know where I got it from… Trust me, bro.

Luv: I feel the same way about having more albums and us progressing and getting better, for example, Cage the Elephant has grown up so much. If you compare “In One Ear” to “Cigarette Daydreams,” it’s a huge difference. He’s going from this kid in his 20s to him with his whole family and everything. I feel like seeing that progression, and I would like to get more technical and advance musically. As a band we’ve bonded so much in a little amount of time, over music, recording, and going out to the bar. I’m just excited to see all of us evolve as people too. I know these dudes regardless of what happens to the band are gonna be at my wedding and stay connected on a great level. 

Lonzo: There are so many things I want to learn on a guitar that I just can’t do yet, and I just want to get better and better and better. I don’t believe that you can ever master something, you just continuously get better. Brennan and Luv do the social media stuff, the booking, handle the money and I do the production so something I want to work on making our sound perfect with the production aspect of the band.

Luv Velasquez (bass) & Lonso Bonilla (guitar)

Alex: You said that you all have a similar interest in Deftones, so besides that, what is your biggest musical inspiration? 

Luv: There are so many bands out there, so I kinda just take a piece from everything. But the biggest inspiration for me has got to be The Foo Fighters. because David Grohl was in Nirvana, so those two for sure, and kind of just 2000s music as a whole. What really made me like harder music was Lincoln Park, their music just goes crazy. He also has those vocals that are super soft and melodic. Growing up I would try to sing like him as well, and try to do those punchy rifts too. My biggest inspiration for bass was Rage Against the Machine, I love their bassist he’s awesome. I remember learning “Killing in the Name,” “Guerilla Radio” and “People of the Sun.”

Lonzo: I take a lot of references from music that’s not even in the same genre. When I was mixing the drums for the single and EP, there was this one song by Kendrick Lamar and I liked how the symbols sounded on it. It’s called Unreleased Number 5 or 6 or something like that, but it’s a beautiful song. It’s like a jazz rap song, so it’s completely different from what we do. What got me to start playing in the first place was honestly…

Luv: (mockingly) My Chemical Romance, Pierce The Veil.

Lonzo: I really like the first MCR album, it’s just so heavy it sounds great. That’s how I ended up learning to play, I’ve never taken lessons or anything like that.

Lonzo Bonilla (guitar)

Alex: Where did the name killmoves come from?

Lonzo: I came up with it, it was all me.

Luv: We were just looking for band names, and every idea got shut down, it was like a three-month thing.

Lonzo: I have notes on my phone of a bunch of different ideas for names of songs and lyrics, and on there I had killmoves. I got the idea for the name from Everybody Hates Chris. Do you remember the guy that lived in a box and taught Chris karate moves, and you know what his name was?

Alex: Was it killmoves?

Luv: I love the name I think it sticks and fits the vibe for sure, I wouldn’t change it.

Everybody hates Chris Kill moves the crazy genius #funny #tvshows #meme - YouTube

Kill Moves from Everybody Hates Chris

Alex: What’s the best post-practice restaurant?

Luv: It’s gotta be LaCocos, this really good pizza place next to the crib.

Alex: I know this can be kind of controversial, but what is your opinion of garden gnomes?

Lonzo: I think it’s a CIA cover to survey every house in America, I’m just playing. Have you ever seen the movie Gnomeo and Juliet? That movie is kind of fire not gonna lie.

EvilGnome: Rare Malware Spying on Desktop Users - Intezer

Alex: Do you see yourself as more of a hunter or a gatherer? 

Lonzo: Lowkey I’m built like a gatherer, I’d instead farm all day. Luv you would be more of a gatherer and just collect mushrooms all-day.

Luv: I would consider myself both because I can be fierce and would do what I need to survive, but if my life is not in danger I could eat some berries and cook up some walnuts.

Alex: What kind of animal are you?

Luv: I would say a wolf, like a black wolf in the snowy forest, ready to mess up some stuff, like a dire wolf from Game of Thrones.

Lonzo: I’m definitely a pelican.

Luv: You’re definitely an iguana bro.

Lonzo: I could definitely see myself as an iguana. They just be chilling on rocks all-day.

Pictured left to right Luv Velasquez (bass), Brennan Auth (drums), Anthony Quinones (vocals), Lonso Bonilla (guitar)

Alex: What is your least favorite state in the United States?

Luv: Texas, you actually get paid to snitch if someone gets an abortion, and its too easy to get a gun there too, and guns are what’s killing the youth in America right now.

Lonzo: Apart from Texas, honestly Arkansas, have you ever been there? It’s an awful state, it’s even worse than Ohio. Do you know how bad Ohio is? Arkansas is like Ohio times ten, it’s also hot and humid all the time and super dirty.

Pictured left to right Anthony Quinones (vocals), Lonso Bonilla (guitar), Luv Velasquez (bass)

Alex: If you got teleported into the amazon rainforest, how long would you survive?

Lonzo: Easily half a day at most, and only half a day.

Luv: I’d give myself three or five days.

Alex: How would you go out?

Lonzo: Probably in the stupidest way possible, I could see myself climbing a tree and falling off of it and getting tangled up in a vine and being hung up all night while insects and animals try to take a piece of me, and just slowly bleed out and die.

Luv: I have a feeling it would be some dumb stuff too, like not noticing a big snake somewhere and then getting bit by the most venomous snake ever. 

Lonso: I could see you waking up in your campsite looking for something in the middle of the night and accidentally grabbing a snake and getting bit.

Lonzo: To anyone out there reading or listening to this interview, were always looking for people to work with, whether that be bands on our bills, photographers, people that make merch, videographers, producers, engineers, literally anyone interested in working with us, please let us know.

Luv: We have a clothing line that was passed down to me from my brother who unfortunately passed away, its called Accept Death Productions.

Lonzo: But yeah, again, if you want to work with us, hit us up on our socials. We also have some future shows in the works we are trying to figure out so keep an eye out for that.

Spark | Center for Student Involvement | University of Illinois Chicago

If you’re a UIC student make sure to check out killmoves and all the other great bands performing at Spark on October 8th this Saturday, for a night of great music and an amazing experience that should not be missed. Check out killmoves on Instagram (@killmovesband) and keep an eye out on streaming services for their new single “Faceless” releasing this Friday night, I’ll see you all in the pit at Spark!

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