Felipe Sanchez of SLAVES
Felipe Sanchez of SLAVES
By Ward Hughey
Every musician has a story. Some are of record labels, international tours, hardship and success. Others consist mainly of hometown gigs. Both bring respect and both inevitably garner fans like myself that want to know said story.
I first met Felipe Sanchez 4 years ago when I booked local indie rockers Ema and the Old Kings. Upon meeting I could tell there was something about him that stood out. Maybe it was the skinny jeans? Needless to say I was not too surprised as I learned there was more to his story than average local.
Born in New Jersey, Felipe was 3 when his family moved to the Sunshine State. They started in Miami and later made Palm Coast, Fl home as he entered 3rd grade. It was there that Felipe found passion. At age 11 he heard Blink 182’s Enema of the State. “That opening riff and I was like ok this is definitely what I want to do. Ever since then I was just driven.” Lit by opening notes of “Dumpweed” was a fire. Preteen Felipe picked up bass and joined a pop punk band. “We sucked really bad” he says. It may not have been good, but it was a start. By 14 Felipe had switched to guitar and was soon in a more serious local group that became Pathway to Providence. Armed with emo rock songs, sweeping hair and girl pants necessary for the 2000s the band started moving up the pop punk ladder. Living near Orlando they connected with O-town bands like Broadway just as the scene took off. Pathway to Providence made a good run that consisted of an EP, LP and 2 national tours. Listening to Felipe talk about memories and relationships made it is clear the hard knocks of touring life were well worth it. To all things there is a season however. Pathway to Providence ended when Felipe was 21. His story did not.
The music gods seemed to show favor as Felipe found himself in the right place at the right time. As Pathway ended the aforementioned Broadway were riding success of debut LP Kingdoms. With their guitarist leaving they asked Felipe to join in 2012. They then released a second studio LP Gentleman’s Brawl shortly after. For the first time Felipe tasted tour life without worry about paying for food and gas. More time brought other line up changes. In 2014 Felipe also joined Ema and the Old Kings in St. Augustine. It seemed things were slowing for Broadway. They released their 3rd album Contexture: Gods, Men, & The Infinite Cosmos in 2015, but shortly after they disbanded.
“Music means a lot to me and so do the people that I create it with. Those were my best friends… it hit all of us hard.” Felipe says it also fueled the fire. “It just made me work harder… write as much as I could and send it out.” That commitment paid off when Felipe’s friend Colin Vieira contacted him. Colin was in the studio with bandmates Jonny Craig and Weston Richmond of hard rock band SLAVES writing their 3rd album, and coming up short on material. After listening they chose some of felipe’s work to help finish the album. Next came the offer to play live, and suddenly Felipe was a touring guitarist for hire headed to Australia. He was then asked to stay on for tours in America and Europe. SLAVES 3rd album Beautiful Death dropped February 16, 2018. Just before release it was announced that Felipe Sanchez is an official member.
Felipe eloquently describes being in an international touring band as “mindblowing.” “It is the biggest thing I have been a part of for sure. It’s really cool to experience.” Even at this level professional tour life is “not for the faint of heart,” but for Felipe the art, people and experience is more than worth it.
Felipe’s story is one of hard work and maybe a little luck, but even more it is about a passion he “just can’t shake.” As he currently lives out his 11-year-old self’s dream I asked him what will the next chapter be? “I know I’m never going to stop playing.” Without looking too far ahead he is choosing to live in the moment. “I’ve seen musicians in St. Augustine or Palm Coast playing for a small coffee shop that I know for a fact could outplay me any day of the week.” Keeping that humble mindset and an inner fire Felipe Sanchez is for now a man living out his dreams.
You can find SLAVES everywhere music is available. If you want to travel back in time you can find aforementioned past bands of Felipe’s story with a simple Google search.