Lords of the Satellite
San Diego locals Lords of the Satellite describe their music as “melodic melodies, intoxicating sound and fire between every riff.” Those words perfectly describe the band: silly, passionate, and well-deserving of their recent title of Best New Artist, granted at the 31st San Diego Music Awards last month. Read on to learn about the serendipitous origins of the band, their music-making process, and their unexpected night at the SDMAs.
Photo: AJ Peacox
1. What are your names, and what instrument do you play?
Kurt: Kurt. I play drums. Matt is missing, the bass player.
Preston: My name is Preston. I’m the vocalist.
Joe: My name is Joe Doxie. I’m the guitarist. I don’t know if I would call it “lead” as much just guitar, but yeah.
2. Tell us about how Lords of the Satellite got started.
Joe: Well, we came out of the pandemic. It’s actually an interesting story. I love telling the story.
Preston: The long version?
Joe: Well, let’s see because everyone’s perception is different. I think Kurt will back me up on this. Kurt’s got a studio and we call it the San Diego Music Factory. Him and I connected a while back. I was his neighbor, and I’ve been a musician my whole life. I’m hearing music (coming from Kurt’s apartment), and somehow him and I connect. We just started messing around. We were working on a project. Yatta, yatta. We used to go to Peabody’s, this little spot, and we still go there to this day in our community down here off Friar’s Road. This guy (gestures to Preston) would come in on his hoverboard all the time.
Kurt: And we would make fun of him, mercilessly.
Joe: Yeah, we would talk shit on him the whole fucking time. Actually he was really cool, and he came in one night. We were all just kind of chatting, and I think he realized off the conversation: “Hey, musicians!” He said he could sing. This and that.
Kurt: We also ran into him in the jacuzzi. Cause we all live in the same complex, right? He also lives in the complex.
Joe: Yeah, just by coincidence. We ran into him again and he was like, “Oh yeah, you guys! I can sing! We should get together.” Finally, one day Preston texts me while we’re in the studio, and he’s like, “Hey, I can come through. What’re you guys doing?” We were like, “hey, we’re in the studio right now. We’re working on some stuff.”
Kurt: We had nothing going on. We weren’t working because of the pandemic. We were just at home. We were roommates at that point. We became roommates shortly thereafter, Joe and I did.
Joe: So, Preston came through and we played some chords. He sang, and here we are.
Preston: He understated it. I sang, and they were shocked, very shocked. And they were like, “oh my gosh!” And then I texted Joe and said, “hey! You wanna fucking start this cool band and get some followers?” And the ball started rolling.
Joe: And I will be honest. I was just playing some chords. He opened his mouth, and I kinda went, “god damn. Like, wow.” Cause you hear a lot of people that say, “I can sing.” And we’ve heard it for a long time. And it’s not to say that people can’t sing. Every body’s got their range and their area, but for what we were doing and what we were playing, it just instantly connected, and there you go!
Kurt: Joe and I had spent, at that point, a couple months just jamming, right? Joe and I at this point were roommates, and we had spent months at that point just jamming, doing our own little side project. So him and I just connected immediately musically between drummer and guitarist, so by the time Preston came into the mix, Joe and I were totally ready.
Joe: It’s what we were needing.
3. You guys were nominated for Best New Artist in the San Diego Music Awards, and won! Were you surprised by the nomination?
Kurt: We had no idea. In fact, Preston told me this the other day, he was like, “dude, we were just having fun because we had nothing else to do.” We had no idea we’d be up for the awards. We didn’t submit anything to the awards.
Preston: Oh, yeah! It’s crazy. None of us submitting anything. It’s interesting because we have some ideas of who maybe submitted for us. But we didn’t submit, and literally we’re just trying to have a good time. It’s about the music. It’s just about having a fun time.
4. How was your night leading up to the announcement, and what was it like afterwards?
Preston: A little nervous. That’s where I started thinking, “holy shit, I’m actually getting nervous about this. I’m not supposed to be nervous. I’m doing this for fun. Like, we started this for fun. How did it get to all of this?” Kurt, I think you were sitting with your parents. Joe and I were at the bar because that’s how I calm my nerves, right? So, I’m there hanging out and then they’re like, “ok, we’re announcing best new artist.” They called our name, and I was like, “what the fuck? This is insane.” So, I went up with my mai tai. Joe went up with his, too. Cause we’re at Humphreys, ya know? You have to.
Kurt: And I’m in the crowd with Matt, and we’re like, “where are these two?” They’re like announcing the award, and they’re not even close. I can’t even see them.”
Preston: And then I realize, it’s all part of a process, and it’s a beautiful thing. All the nerves went away, and I realized we earned it, but literally, dude, we weren’t trying. It’s chill that it happened. I wasn’t trying. I don’t know about you guys.
Kurt: I wasn’t nervous at all.
Joe: It was a huge honor, and we didn’t expect it. And I think we’re still pinching ourselves about it, right? Cause, again, we were just having fun, right? And we’re going to continue to do that, but there were bands that I thought should have won before us.
Kurt: I don’t.
Preston: I don’t at all. But I wasn’t expecting it. It’s still just surreal. So, it was really cool. Then afterwards they took us back stage, and when we were back stage getting our photo taken, I think that’s when it sunk in for us a little bit. Then it was like, “oh, chill. We won an SDMA for best new artist.”
Kurt: I don’t know. The whole thing was very surreal. I didn’t feel nervous. I was excited. I didn’t really care if we won or lost. Preston and I, we went with our parents and grabbed a snack at Humphreys. This is really rockstar stuff. We ate with our parents. For me, I’ve been in the San Diego music thing for years now. So, I don’t know. It’s just wild.
Kurt: We fight all the time. Like, we’re brothers. Honestly. Good fighting. It’s brother fighting. Cause we do love each other.
Preston: And I win all the fights between both of them.
Joe: between all three of us, we constantly fight, but I love these guys to death, so it’s just the way it goes, I guess.
Kurt: After the show we went to the studio and we got obliterated.
Joe: Yes. That, we did.
Kurt: And we had no fights for a good 10 hours.
5. Tell us about the experience of recording Breathing in Space.
Joe: Breathing in Space. So, we recorded that at a place called Lunchbox Studios. It’s out in Riverside County. We’re actually gonna be in Palmdale next month doing a full length album.
Preston: Yes, yes. New recordings.
Joe: But the songs based off of the EP, which is Breathing in Space, will be on there plus all the others and more. Anyway, that experience was very cool. I do remember my brother-in-law came by at some point and brought mead. He made his own mead. Lots of it. And Preston got his hands on it. And I’ll leave it there.
Preston: Breathing in Space, I’m actually very unhappy with because I was drunk, and that’s an amateur move cause we drove all the way out there, so you only have a limited time. We had a weekend. So, we did it in a weekend. I was drunk the whole time, dude, and honestly it’s not a product that I’m pleased with or anything, but I’m not gonna get drunk this next recording. I think that’ll go a lot better. So, that’s my opinion on Breathing in Space.
Kurt: We’ll overdub some of the vocals that Preston’s not particularly fond of, and y’know, maybe a couple instrument things here and there.
Preston: Yeah, we’re just gonna re-record everything.
Kurt: Well, not everything.
Joe: Remember we were talking about arguments?
Kurt: The recording, for me, was good. We had fun though. We had a little too much fun, but we did have fun making it. And Matt, our bass player, actually did the original mixing for it, too. I did the master, and that’ll probably be pervasive. It’ll probably keep going like that.
Kurt: I’m looking forward to recording, honestly. I’m looking forward to just having a whole weekend together, which will be awesome. We’re taking a trip.
Joe: Yeah, there’s a pool at the studio. We’re gonna swim and make music.
Preston: And I’m not gonna drink.
6. What’s your process for prepping songs and then bringing them to the studio?
Kurt: The cool thing about the next session, and I think future sessions, is I think we’ve developed this really cool process of like, song creation. We workshop them in my studio, the San Diego Music Factory. We start performing them, and then by the time we get into the studio we’re locked in. The next few songs we’re going to record in two weeks, we are absolutely locked, so I’m pumped about that at least from a foundational drumming perspective.
Joe: Yeah, the cool part about what we do is, like Kurt said, we workshop them, but one of our favorite places to drop into is Navajo Live. What we’ll do is we’ll drop in on open mic night when we’ve got some new material, and we try it out. “Let’s drop in on an open mic. We’re gonna play our new shit and see how it goes, see how it sounds.”
Preston: It’s off of Navajo Road. It’s a live music joint. They’re able to have open mics, but also they do “Band of the Week.”
Joe: Yeah, you’ve got really good people going through there. Tons of big artists…
Preston: At least as big as Lords of the Satellite.
Joe: The San Diego music scene goes through there for sure. Emily Bartell is amazing in the scene of San Diego. She supports local musicians. She supports original music, and she’s part of booking there and that’s like her home base. We’ve treated that as our home base as well as far as that’s where we go. “Hey, let’s drop some new songs. We’ll do a quick little 30-minute set on an open mic night, and then walk out.” You know what I mean? That to us is fun. It’s every Thursday.
Kurt: But every night of the week they have something going on.
Preston: Jeff Ousley works it as well. He’s a great musician, too. Navajo Live is literally the best place to go for just practicing stuff, so that’s part of our songwriting process.
7. At REVOLT we’re all about railing against the norm. What’s something that you guys want to rebel against with your art and music?
Preston: As a human being, I’ve always felt like an outsider. Since being on this planet, I guess you could say. And at the end of the day, I’ve always felt like the underdog, or the outsider in my life personally. It’s interesting that you ask that question because if REVOLT Wines stands for going against the norms, and pursuing the unorthodox, that’s the most beautiful thing. And that’s something that’s really dear to me, too. When I write lyrics, or when I’m making a melody or anything, you have to go with what’s in your heart because that’s part of what music-making is. Music-making is not comprehension. It’s music-making. It’s creation.
Kurt: It’s not catering to something else.
Preston: It’s not comprehending. It’s not a mathematical sequence. It’s completely different, even though it is related to math.
Kurt: I would say, for us, we’re very free thinkers.
Preston: We have lots of debates, too when we’re just hanging out after a studio session. We talk about things. The world is changing, and it’s changing very fast.
Joe: Musically, I don’t think we revolt in any way. We all love music, and each one of us comes from a collective different area. Musically, our bass player is a metal dude. He loves metal, but he also loves what we do. And he’s 100% in it, and all about it, and he writes the coolest basslines I could think of. You have somebody like me – I love grunge. I love that place where it’s raw, right? Where it just comes out of yourself, and this place that just can’t be defined. Sometimes it’s a little messy, but at the same time it’s beautiful and it’s great. Preston, I’ve noticed, the places he can go musically is more defined.
Preston: Yeah, I like everything.
Joe: But it all comes together. I think musically, we don’t revolt against any of it.
Kurt: Oh, no. I do.
Joe: I got a good answer! Kurt is actually like the ship captain in a sense because there’s a lot of madness going on with Lords of the Satellite. Lords of the Satellite is a lot of madness, but Kurt can come in there and kind of reel that in. He’s the metronome. He’s that, “alright. Keep it here. Keep it here. Keep it here.” And we’re bringing all the chaos and madness into it, and he flows it through to where it’s a beautiful thing.
Kurt: I think ultimately what we believe in is what we all should believe in, right? It’s love, and treating your fellow man and woman and everyone perfect. Y’know, just have some fun! People get so serious in life, and it causes wars and all sorts of…
Preston: Well, the great thing about music is that if you make original music, it kind of is a personal revolution. If you’re making original music, if you’re actually engaged in the art, to just make music and be pure about it, and have no forehand thoughts about what you can gain or anything like that. Just kind of live in the moment. That’s what music is, and if you do that it is a revolution in and of itself.
8. Now that you’ve won an SDMA where can we catch you playing in San Diego?
Joe: We’re playing June 2nd at OB Rassle House, June 4th at Deanos Pub in La Mesa, June 10th at Pour House in Oceanside, June 25th at The Good Bar in Point Loma, and The Holding Company in Ocean Beach July 28th.