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San Antonio Music Awards 2014: Best Guitarist

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San Antonio Music Awards 2014: Best Vocalist

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SA’s Hydra Melody on Third Eye Blind, Austin’s Downside and Making Smarter Music

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Hydra Melody’s most successful lineup. From left: Jason Harari, Jordan Berlanga, Manny Prince, Taylor Ferguson and Matt Gomez

Photo: , License: N/A

The $20,000 men after winning Milwaukee’s Land the Big Gig competition


“When I was a teenager [my influence] was Third Eye Blind, so this tour for me was like a 13-year-old girl going to see Britney Spears,” Harari said. “I kind of flipped out a little bit every day.”

Hydra Melody had multiple opportunities to rub elbows with Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves, fulfilling those denim-clad fantasies of garage bands past.

“The first night we played, I was side stage taking it all in and Stephan comes up to me and is like, ‘Drinks in my dressing room later?’” Prince said. “That was the first impression. They’re all really good guys. We got to hang out with them and make good contacts and see what they do.”

“That was a good model for us just seeing how it’s done,” added Berlanga.

That sounds a little humble considering some of Hydra Melody’s other recent successes: A $20,000 check for winning the grand prize in Summerfest 2013’s Land the Big Gig in Milwaukee and placement as a finalist in Converse + Guitar Center’s Get Out of the Garage.

Hometown Heroes Forever?

As with other SA bands on the rise nationally (see: Wild Party, Lonely Horse), the question of whether Hydra Melody will continue to call San Antonio home has already come up. Especially angsty music fans may have noted that while Ferguson attended classes at the University of Texas last fall, Hydra Melody rented a room at Space Rehearsal Studios in Austin and stayed for five weeks to begin work on a forthcoming EP.

“I feel like a lot of bands like LA or New York, but then you can’t afford to do your work,” Harari said. “San Antonio’s a blessing because we’re close enough to Austin, the weather’s good and living here makes it easier to afford the ability to get out of here.”

Gomez agreed.

“It’s kind of a break from Austin,” he said. “They’re two extremes.”

Focusing on the business aspect of the music industry makes the decision to stay in San Antonio—for now—the practical one.

“Why do you want to go to a huge city and be a needle in a haystack when you can be in a place like San Antonio and be that needle that was right in the open the whole time and someone notices you?” Berlanga said.

Even though Harari agreed, he admitted there’s no harm in appreciating other markets.

“We hope to be the hometown hero one day, but there’s no shame in artists or bands or musicians saying, ‘We totally love other markets as well,’” Harari said. “Great people are everywhere.”

Spreading the Energy

While San Antonio’s mark on the band shows through the Latin percussion influences in the music, touring the country has inspired Hydra Melody to approach songs from different angles.

“[Prince] set up his drums to where he’s playing congas and looks like mission control—he has a million things going on,” Harari said. “[Gomez is] getting into some digital drum pads and adding samples, [Berlanga has] got the keys now. [Ferguson] can’t walk into Guitar Center without buying a new pedal, so that’s changing the sound a lot.”

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