Deer Vibes
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Deer Vibes

San Antonio, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

San Antonio, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Pop Indie




"SA's Deer Vibes Presents Stellar Debut LP The Nature Of"

Even though he's only 26, Michael Carrillo (aka Mikey Vibe), the creative mastermind behind San Antonio's Deer Vibes, has been an important force in local music for years. Deer Vibes, best described as a kind

of orchestral indie pop/rock act, was formed in 2008 after Carrillo's former band dissolved, leaving him anxious to create his own project. The group's first output, the Ventura EP, was released in 2010 and re-released by Texas Is Funny Records in 2011.

In a recent phone interview, Carrillo told me that this re-release was really his way of restarting the band after he had found a more or less consistent core lineup. In the years since, Carrillo and crew have played tons of shows and slowly worked on the songs that comprise Deer Vibes' first full-length LP The Nature Of. While the forbiddingly ambitious size of the compositions demands a constant influx of musical talent, the stability, at least with respect to the core members, has paid off in that it has allowed Carrillo to bring this excellent album to fruition.

Now, Deer Vibes will release and present the album in full on Saturday at the Empire, with a huge assist from Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. Carrillo told me that this exciting collaboration with YOSA, which will finally allow him to present these songs in the way he dreamed them up, came about as an indirect result of YOSA's recent OK Computer Live show. Seeing YOSA's director Troy Peters' interest in working with local musicians gave Carrillo the idea that perhaps such a collaboration would be possible. And, after quite a bit of doing, his dream of presenting a full-on, orchestral show will be realized. On stage Saturday, Deer Vibes will swell to over 40 members as it's joined by YOSA players.

The Nature Of starts off with a playful percussion and keys exchange, quickly followed by ascending, gently lapping waves of strings and a wistfully triumphant brass passage. With this first song, "Still I Reach (Think I Saw You)," which slowly builds for two minutes before exploding into fullness, Deer Vibes sets the tone for the rest of the 11 track album. It's an album of contrasts — stillness and furious movement, open space and clutter, classical and indie rock, unity and isolation — that excels largely due to its sprawling, (maybe almost exhaustingly) emotive character.

"Furious Styles" and "Bet Me," tracks two and three, extend the musical hybrid space that pervades the album. Just you try to pick out all the influences reflected here or genres side-stepped. When I mentioned the music's maddening lack of easy precedent to Carrillo, he beamed. "Well, sounding like nobody else is always a good thing."

"Furious Styles" piles on more rock band fury than most other songs on the album while "Bet Me" is, quite pleasantly, all over the place, integrating brassy interludes within an ambitious, lush, widescreen landscape. The nine-minute song finds the young outfit toying with elements of classical, funk, contemporary rock and jazz. Lyrically speaking, like all of The Nature Of, Carrillo keeps it nebulous, even while lamenting addiction, anxiety and disappointment writ large. His lyrics here, filled with desire and frustration in equal measure, conclude with a bit of twisted hope. When he sings "Angel below, we could leave this town, for a better peace of mind," it's not clear if this is transcendence or retreat.

Other album highlights include the jangly and patient "One Fifty One," "Paper," the album's best song, and closer "Your(e) Light," a stripped down track that showcases Carrillo's hauntingly penetrating gift at pure singer-songwriter stuff.

Where so many young bands pile on meaningless elements in hopes of convincing the discerning listener of their creative complexity, with Deer Vibes Carrillo keeps a razor sharp focus on the natural complexities of his unique sonic vision and the way it unfurls according to the demands of each individual song. This is a remarkable and elegant debut, like a great movie that can unravel you in a million different ways, from one of the most ambitious musical talents we have. - San Antonio Current

"The San Antonio Music Awards 2015 Winners List"

Deer Vibes voted best indie rock band in San Antonio - San Antonio Current


Deer Vibes, a San Antonio band, is taking the city by storm. This year they won Best Indie Rock Band and this Satuday, they will be performing their latest album, “The Nature of…” with YOSA, the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio. We sat down with Michael Carrillo, aka Mikey Vibe, to talk music, inspiration and San Antonio.

Twenty Something SA: Tell us about the partnership with YOSA. How did it come to be?
Michael Carrillo: The compositions I’ve written for Deer Vibes have always been intended for a larger ensemble. We’ve performed for years switching out string and brass section members, and as an “Indie Rock” band we don’t necessarily need to rely on those elements being there one hundred percent of the time. With the recording of our album, however, I got to include all of the musical parts that aren’t usually heard in a live performance. Making the album come to live on stage was my next task. Reaching out to YOSA, I was grateful to learn Troy Peters (the director of YOSA) was interested in working with local bands as well. Troy had set up a Radiohead tribute show at the Tobin Center this year involving a handful of local bands performing alongside YOSA for the event. When we had the opportunity to meet to discuss my idea it all fell into place really quickly! The integration of the local music scene and the classical side of music in San Antonio was the driving force behind making this collaboration work.

20SA: What are you most excited about for the event on Saturday?
MC: I’m really excited about this project coming to life on stage. Finally being able to represent the music and band as I’ve always intended is really so overwhelmingly great.

20SA: What do you think the San Antonio music scene is missing?
MC: Personally, I’ve watched the San Antonio music scene grow in a lot of ways over the past few years. We’ve got great venues, great production companies, a new standard of what a “good” band is, and a lot of individual creatives making their own moves for their own projects. At this point in time it’s hard to complain! If I did have to decide, I’d probably say what we are lacking is larger agencies and management for bands. There’s tons of issues that will come with that sort of thing, but right now a lot of bands feel they have to go “outside” of SA to be recognized. In a way that’s true. Either way more change is definitely coming.

20SA: What inspires you as an artist?
MC: I really can’t say. I feel like the music I write for Deer Vibes is already inside of me, and whether it’s emotional circumstances, or something as cliche as the weather, when it hits me, I write like it was there all along.

20SA: What’s next for Deer Vibes?
MC: Deer Vibes is on the next big event YOSA will be having, a tribute to The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, which will also take place at the Tobin Center. Other than that, we’re just hoping “The Nature Of…” is well received and may make plans to tour again in spring. I’m going to continue to write on my own time and hopefully make music for a short film or two!

20SA: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician in the city?
MC: If you truly decide that music is something you’d like to make a part of your life, something that isn’t just a hobby- take care of the business side of things immediately. Anyone can be in a band, but these days especially, the fate of any musician relies on their own hard work and dedication. It’s a hard road to go down in general, but you have to decide to apply yourself, and get yourself where you want to be.

20SA: Anything else you’d like to add?
MC: Come out this Saturday! It’s truly going to be a once in a life time experience and I hope you can make it! - 20 Something SA


I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful and amazing of a show Deer Vibes put on last night. No words. Their performance last night was by far how Deer Vibes is supposed to sound. The string and horn section was incredible. They sounded exactly like they do on their album. I don’t even really know what to write other than, I had a great time. I feel I captured the essence of the night in these photographs.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of their new album here. - Anthony Gauna

"Animal Spirit, Deer Vibes, Parallelephants"

As Deer Vibes leader Michael Carrillo picks up steam with his side project Michael J and the Foxes, don’t expect the big band to get dropped anytime soon. Complete with its mini orchestra, indie rock darlings and local heros, Deer Vibes soothe and awe with their majestic jams. - San Antonio Current


Deer Vibes frontman Mikey Vibe gave us a little tour of their home in the Ventura suburbs of San Antonio

What is the Ventura neighborhood of San Antonio like?

Ventura is a small suburb of San Antonio. I've lived in the neighborhood for most of all my life. The elementary school is only a few blocks away and the middle school is only about eight minutes from the neighborhood. Lots of different people, but the suburb itself lacks in any sort of creative scene. The upbeat tune of the song Ventura is mostly referring to the joys of innocence and simplicity while young. I remember being able to walk down to the pond in a woodsy area of the neighborhood and experiencing nature by myself for the first time. Suburbs are kind of like a safety net to grow up in, and while breaking out is all of a different story, I like the idea of the EP starting with the song because it literally feels the way I did. Like, 'this was only the beginning' of something great about to happen.

What's happening these days around San Antonio, aside from the Spurs?

San Antonio is a tricky place for music and art right now. But we do have a lot going on in the community. Over the years you witness a lot of people and venues/galleries opening up and then a year later shutting down. A lot of good bands making music but then breaking up- and most times not even a recording for people to look back on. A lot of ups and downs through out the years. What's hard is continuing to build a scene where so many of the best talents feel like leaving is the only way to get recognized. All though I strongly disagree with that theory. Currently there really are a lot of people in the DIY mind set about things. Only this time there are so many people working together that its turning Do It Yourself into Do It Ourselves. All the promoters and booking agents know each other. So if there's a band that needs a show from out of town its almost impossible NOT to find them somewhere to play. It's beneficial for everyone when we work together, and I think even though San Antonio can be viewed as a small city, the things that are going on are awesome. The city continues to grow and the people are more and more excited about the things to come.

How did Deer Vibes come together?

The line up of Deer Vibes has changed so many times through out the years. There have been a few consistent members but none really from beginning to the present besides myself… and Devin if you don't count that time he quit to be with his girlfriend. When we started I was just looking for people interested in music that you couldn't hear on the radio. Which is somehow really hard when looking for brass and other orchestral instruments. It was a lot of, 'do you happen to play this?… or do you know anyone that plays…?'

Did you guys all do the band in high school?

I played tuba in 8th grade, but failed my music theory class in high school and never really looked back after that. Mostly the horns and strings either have studied or still go to college for music. They're super smarter then me, I'm just lucky they want to be a part of the music I write.

What is it like to compose music strictly for instrumentation and no vocals, or do you sometimes play around with vocals in the mix?

We have vocals in 2 songs on the EP, but almost all of the new songs incorporate vocals. I like to start off writing music without thinking about lyrics, its a bit a more free. But really anyone can play a guitar for 10 minutes and not sing. The real challenge is to make a song with powerful instrumentation but also give the general audience something to sing along with. Or at least connect to lyrically. I feel like as long as you write a good melody for the way you place vocals into a song it balances out to where they might as well be another instrument. Because.. they are!

How does the strictly instrumental approach perhaps free the sound?

You all have a real cohesive family band vibe thing happening, how do you maintain this bond?
We really have a great line up now at this time. Everyone just naturally gets a long great, and even when we don't see each other as consistently as we would like, it almost increases the bond between us when we just show up to a show and perform great together. Like we don't need to sit down and have conversations about our lives, as long as we all get along in the music. Tour is really a huge help in bringing everyone together in that sense. On the road we get to be the family watching out for each other, talking, and learning about each other. sharing experiences together, and each night we put ourselves to the test of how well we'll make this next show work out. It's really fun, and keeps us all wanting to keep moving forward together.

What is a Deer Vibes practice sesh like?

Occasionally we work with just the horn, string, or rhythm section at a time and that works out really well. We tighten up everything piece by piece and then are able to come together and clean it up as whole band. That usually works out best.

Holiday plans?

We'll be touring right after Christmas and through out the new year so we're be celebrating the holidays together on the road.

What can you tell us about the follow up to the Ventura EP?

The follow up will be our first full length album. We have quite an extensive list of songs we are working on and trying to determine which ones will make the cut. Because of that its hard to define what to expect, but in general, you'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll get all deer vibes'd out.

Catch Deer Vibes on the following dates:

27 San Antonio, TX – 1011
28 Houston, TX – House of Creeps
29 New Orleans, LA – Circle Bar
31 Orlando, FL – Cloud 9 House

03 St Petersburg, Fl – The Fuzz Factory
04 Orlando, Fl – Back Booth
06 Athens, GA – Caledonia
07 Clarksville, TN – The Coup
09 Ft Worth, TX – The Grotto
10 Austin, TX – Spider House Ballroom
11 San Antonio, TX – The Karova

Deer Vibes' Ventura EP is available now via Bandcamp, special thanks to the good vibration from members Mikey Vibe, Devin De Leon, Anthony Gauna, Allison Valdivia, Sam Blowe, Mark Schrack, Nick Schrack, Stephen Flores, Richelle Trube, Rob Fernandez, Kirstian Anthony Barboza, Joseph Erik Montano, Jordan McCarthy, and Kole Pantuso for making this all happen. - Impose Magazine

"Deer Vibes Plays Balcony TV"

To refer to Deer Vibes as a band would be selling them short. Hailing from San Antonio, TX, Deer Vibes might be better described as a miniature indie rock orchestra.." "Anchored by the ambitious songwriting of frontman Mikey Vibe, Deer Vibes exhibits a musical and emotional depth that belies their young age. Since forming in 2008, Deer Vibes have been spreading their brand of indie rock gospel all over Texas, flooring audiences with their mesmerizing live shows. - Balcony TV

"Deer Vibes: Ventura"

Building on the national trend in woodland animal band names (Deerhunter, Deerhoof, Deer Tick, etc.), San Antonio’s own Deer Vibes has emerged from the woods with this mostly instrumental four-song EP. The 10-piece mob escapes into the realms of indie-pop accompanied by sweet symphonic harmonies. The title track, “Ventura,” is a finely layered, happy-go-lucky tune fit for introductory credits to a zany TV sitcom, even as the song mysteriously leaves the listener suspended in feathery mid-air ambience during the last two minutes. While in “Song Three” the quaint pop guitars of singer Michael Carrillo and Isaac Duvon are alluring, the real breakdown happens at about the three-minute mark, where the guitars and drums dissipate into slowly fading static. The contemplative mood in “Interlude” is orchestrated with theatrical horns-and-percussion melodies, but “Paper” is a whole different ball game. The only song with vocals, it is a quiet, suggestive observation of the woodlands. Carrillo’s palsy-walsy crooning is light, yet adds luster to the EP. The breakdowns, accompanied by the gentle xylophone, lull the listener into a quaint stimulating space. This recording is a good sample of Deer Vibes’ vibrant sense of freedom. - San Antonio Current

"Deer Vibes Tour Kick-off at the Ten Eleven"

Deer Vibes Tour Kick-off at the Ten Eleven - San Antonio Current


The Nature Of... Full Length Debut [Release Date: 12/12/15]
French Kiss Label Group Compilation [Release Date 10/01/13]
KRTU Plugged In Session: Deer Vibes [Release Date: 7/16/12]
Ventura EP [Release Date:1/1/11]



Calling Deer Vibes a “band” only scratches the surface of what this unique collective of artists really is. What Mike Carrillo started in 2011 is best described as an indie rock orchestra. When he began San Antonio College as a music student, Carrillo sought to bring together an array of San Antonio musicians to bring his songs to life. Although his time studying music was short-lived, it's apparent that Carrillo is one of those rare musicians for whom formal training wasn’t necessary.

When his former band went on hiatus, Carrillo realized that he was ready to branch out and begin a project of his own. He met Devin De Leon at a venue where Carrillo was working. When the two discovered a mutual love for the band American Football, Carrillo invited De Leon to join the band and a few months later they performed their first show as Deer Vibes with a 6-piece line-up.

While key players such as De Leon bring ideas to the table and help to collaborate on songs, Carrillo is the dominant and driving force behind Deer Vibes' music. It’s not unusual to witness a rotating cast of anywhere from five to a dozen players on any one song or at any one show.

Though such a production sounds daunting, Carrillo wouldn't have it any other way. A fixture of San Antonio's local music scene, where he runs sounds and manages a venue, his involvement in the music scene has been the greatest catalyst for Deer Vibes' success thus far, enabling him to find the most recent members of the band and solidify their current touring line up.

"Having the music written out eases the trouble of finding solid members to go on tour with us,” Carrillo explains, “Sometimes we have people just fill in for a show or on the road, and sometimes they like it enough to stick with us!" Since their formation, the band has been spreading their indie rock gospel all over the country, flooring audiences with their mesmerizing live shows and sharing the stage with the likes of Minus the Bear, Owen, Maps & Atlases, This Will Destroy You, The Octopus Project, and El Ten Eleven, among others.

Deer Vibes will be released it's debut full length album “The Nature Of…” on December 12, 2015, at the Empire Theater accompanied by the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio.

Band Members