To refer to San Antonio, Texas’ Deer Vibes as a band would be selling them gravely short. The sprawling musical collective is better described as a miniature indie rock orchestra. Founded by ambitious songwriter and frontman Mike Carrillo in 2011 when he began San Antonio College for music, Carrillo sought to bring together an array of San Antonio musicians to realize his songs. Although his time studying music was short lived (“I realized I’ll probably never understand music theory”, the music-school dropout explains), it’s apparent that Carrillo is one of those rare musicians for whom formal training was never necessary.
When his former band went on hiatus, Carrilllo realized that he was ready to branch out and begin a project of his own. He soon met Devin De Leon at a local venue where Carrillo was working. When the two discovered a mutual love of 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.
Carrillo undertook the writing process behind Deer Vibes’ Ventura EP, their first release, entirely by himself, taking his songs and composing parts for each of the band’s members. As he explains the project, “I wouldn’t like to be set back if we parted ways with one (of the members), so in writing all of the music it helps to be able to have the parts written out for new members or to rotate members on different instruments as needed.” 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, which involves a rotating cast of anywhere from 5 to a dozen players in 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, he explains that 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 (which is entirely different from the EP). “Having the music written out eases the trouble of finding solid members to go on tour with us. Sometimes we have people just fill in for a show or on the road, and sometimes they like it enough to stick with us!” the good-natured frontman explains. 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 releasing it’s debut full length album The Nature Of, on December 12th 2015 at the Empire Theater featuring the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio.