METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello John. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
How are you, how are things going?
JOHN AQUINO: I’m good! Thanks for interviewing me. Things are going okay.
MPAP: Before we talk about your latest release, Dangerous Ambitions, let’s first introduce everyone to your band Minority 905, shall we?
JOHN: Let’s do it.
MPAP: Hello everyone, we have John Aquino from Minority 905 here, and they are a pop-punk/pop-rock band from Mississauga, ON, Canada that formed in 2013. John, you are the vocalist and guitarist, with Spasimir Vasilev playing on drums, Steven Wolwyn on bass, and then Chris Goodfellow rounding it out playing lead guitar. What else do you want to say to everyone about your band that they should know?
JOHN: We put out a lot of content on our YouTube channel! For anyone who’s interested in listening to us that’s the main place to go. We’ve uploaded a lot of our covers there but I’m really excited that our new original music is finally out now since my personal goal has always been to make it as an original band and not a cover band.
MPAP: Now let’s talk about your new music, Dangerous Ambitions that just came out on August 24th. Tell us about it?
JOHN: I think it’s our best work yet. We actually finished recording it around October last year, so it took a while for us to finally release it just because there was a lot of pre-release preparation that we had to do. I would have liked to have it released a little bit earlier but I’m just happy it’s finally out there. I think the sound has really evolved from the last album.
MPAP: And what can your fans, and the new listeners expect when they hear songs on it like "Don’t Panic," "Relapse," and "What If"?
JOHN: I think in general there’s a good amount of variation between the songs on this album while still being cohesive at the same time. Of those songs that you mentioned my personal favorite is "Don’t Panic". I think for a long time I really needed another song besides "Dangerous Ambitions" that would set the tone and theme for the album. After writing this song I knew this was it. "Relapse" is pretty unique since it is one of the slower songs on the album, but I really like the groove of it. "What If" is another important song I think in terms of what it means to me when it comes to the theme of the album. For the longest time, one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to quit pursuing music was because I didn’t want to ask myself later the question 'What if?' I wanted to find out and not have any questions. The song itself I think shows that even fear or reluctance to act in small moments can have huge consequences later.
MPAP: Right before Dangerous Ambitions was released, you put out an official video for one of the songs from it called, "Soundtrack," which was directed by Miguel Barbosa and produced by Anton DeLost. Tell us a little bit about this song, and the video?
JOHN: The song is essentially about growing up and growing apart from a lot of the people I knew and talked to back when I was a teenager. I felt like as I grew up, my circle of friends got smaller and smaller until eventually, I really only had a few important people in my life including my family. But I think I actually like it better this way since I know these people will always be there for me, just like music is always there for me. I kinda thought about how couples have their own songs during weddings and stuff like that so that’s where I got the idea to call this song "Soundtrack". We shot the video at a cottage over the weekend and brought some of our friends along. Other than the individual shots of us playing our instruments or me singing, Miguel just shot a lot of what was going on at the cottage so there wasn’t really a script for the video.
MPAP: What is the message behind it that you are trying to get across?
JOHN: Regarding the song itself, if there’s any message that I’d like people to take away from it is be loyal and good to your friends and hopefully they will be to you also. It sucks sometimes to grow apart from some people but in my experience, your true friends will always be in your life no matter what. For the music video, I think we were mostly just trying to have fun and do something different since a lot of our videos is just us playing. I think the video showed a little bit more of our individual personalities.
MPAP: These are a few things said about the YouTube video that was posted in the comments section: 'I swear you guys are so underappreciated- from Michael Clawes,' 'This is really amazing. The sound so fresh. This is what music needs these days. Thank you, guys, for being around- Legendary commented', and then Oliver Reviews Things wrote, 'Amazing. You deserve WAY more popularity!' When you see and read things like this, how does that make you feel?
JOHN: It makes me really happy to read comments like this and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave positive comments. I hope someday that we can get to the level they believe we can get to.
MPAP: What about negative comments when they happen? Do you ever read those when it’s about the band, or it’s about your music or your album?
JOHN: Yeah, I usually read everything.
MPAP: What do you usually want to say to that person that’s on the other side of the computer screen or behind their phone that makes terrible comments? Or do you not let it bother you, because there are far better things to focus on?
JOHN: It depends on the comment, I would probably tell them that they’re very good at insulting people behind a keyboard haha. I usually don’t reply though, but I do admit that it was fun sometimes in the past replying to the really negative people and seeing them get even angrier. I think most the time it’s not worth replying to haters because there’s nothing to really prove to them and if there is, it’s much better to do prove them wrong by being successful versus trying to start an argument. I don’t think it bothers me that much because there’s so much more positive people in comparison and when I think about it, all my favorite artists have so many haters too.
MPAP: And this brings up a good point about something you said: 'To all our fans, I hope this album can help you do something you’re scared of like it has for me. If you have any doubts or think other people don’t believe you can be something more, please don’t let that stop you! It’s always been up to you.' Do you feel this album, and even your music, could be an anthem to standing up for things? Could it be about don’t put up with all the bullshit and don’t let the negativity or anything else bring you down?
JOHN: For me I think the album is more about believing in yourself and the work that you have put in to become what you are and also to become something more in the future when it comes to achieving all the goals you have set out for yourself. But yeah, I think the album can certainly be interpreted as something that makes you want to stand up for things. What’s always been the most important to me is embracing one’s individuality and accepting one’s self. So yes, I think in a sense that means standing up for what you believe in and for yourself, but I never looked at is something like standing up or fighting against someone or a group of people. I always just wanted to stress that it is okay to be different from others because being different can also be a good thing.
MPAP: Let’s go back to when the band first started. How do you feel you’ve grown as a musician, and even as a singer since Minority 905’s debut album Broken, Not Beaten?
JOHN: I think I’ve steadily improved since our first EP Luck is For Losers and Broken, Not Beaten. Minority 905 is the only band I’ve ever been in, so these records were also my first ones. So, I think naturally I was just bound to improve over time as long as I worked on it, which I did. A lot of my focus was on improving as a songwriter and I think I’ve grown a lot in that seeing how much of a difference there is between "Dangerous Ambitions" and "Broken, Not Beaten". They were recorded about 2 and a half years apart, so it was a decent amount of time to get better. I had a funk for a while during that time period because I feel like at that time, I was really trying to force my songwriting and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to write a lot of good songs. Thankfully it all came together eventually. With the next album after Dangerous Ambitions, I hope to try new things with my mindset for songwriting and not put too much pressure on myself again. I took a pretty long break from actually sitting down and writing after recording this latest album, but I’ve been keeping track of a lot of my ideas. I think now I’m in a good place mentally to start writing again more often, I just don’t want to force it too much and let it come naturally the more I gain life experiences.
MPAP: Does that title Broken, Not Beaten reflect you by any chance with all the significant lineup changes over the years?
JOHN: I think in a sense that could be part of it. I think a lot of that album is kind of about discovering what’s most important and finding the strength to keep fighting for the things you’re after but also at the same time, experiencing challenges that mentally drain you. I know some people interpret it as a breakup album but to me, it’s really not. Though I understand why some of the songs can be interpreted it as break up songs, I really wrote them more about my failures of even finding someone that liked me back in the first place. So, I think at that time, being around 18-19 years old, it really bothered me because it made me question my self-worth. So that’s kind of what I meant by being 'broken'. I didn’t necessarily have a broken heart but more of a broken spirit or sense of self and because of that, it affected me to the point that I couldn’t really focus on other things that were important in my life too because these things were dwelling over my head. The last few songs on that album is more about getting out of that mindset and focusing on what’s really important which is my ambitions to become a great artist. I wanted to continue this story with Dangerous Ambitions.
MPAP: You formed Minority 905 when you were only 17 years old. Now, with it being five years later since then, what is one thing that stands out the most to you that you have learned since then?
JOHN: I think just sticking with it is the most important thing I’ve learned. A lot of the local bands from here when I started aren’t around anymore or maybe they changed their name. I’m glad that I’ve been in the same band under the same name this entire time because I find it cool to see the progression. For a very long time though, I would say the first 2 and a half years we weren’t really gaining any sort of traction when it came to building an audience and one day when our Green Day medley kinda blew up, then it changed a little bit and there was a great opportunity to grow since went from like 300 subscribers to over 1000 in over a few days. I learned though that you can’t just stop there and the reason we’re at 26,000 subscribers now is because we kept putting out more content on YouTube. So yeah, I think just sticking with the grind is the most important thing I’ve learned.
MPAP: One last question, if you were to step outside the box, outside of your comfort zone, and Minority 905 had to change their genre of music just for one day, what would you want to sound like, and why?
JOHN: Personally, I grew up listening to a lot of pop music so that would probably be the genre I choose. Maybe sounding like current Paramore could be cool.
MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, John, for doing this interview with us. We look forward to what Minority 905 does to finish out the year 2018 and beyond.
JOHN: Thanks so much!
MPAP: Any last words you’d like to tell everyone before we bring this to a close?
JOHN: Thanks for reading this! If you’d like to keep up with us, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow/like us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can listen to our new album now on most streaming platforms. Also, feel free to message us any time if you would like to talk!