Artist Interview: D’angelo Casanas of Sugar Coat

Posted: by The Editor

In June of last year Sugar Coat released their first two songs, “Mask” and “Follow You,” on a split with Painful Choice and The Arrival Note, and they followed it quickly with a promo in August. Since then, they’ve been touring and writing, trying to keep the momentum steady. Frontman D’angelo Casanas spoke with The Alternative about the history of the band,

How did the band start?

The band started when Bobby (drummer) and myself lived together. It’s kind of an offshoot of one my old indie bands that kind of ended during COVID. We got some show offers after VODI and I figured it would be fun to do it. So I got Axel (lead guitar) and Marco (bass) on board and we played a few shows. Our friend Josh was the one who gave us the initial motivation to actually do the band. But we ultimately decided we needed to start fresh and change the name.

You’re also in the excellent emo and hardcore bands The Arrival Note and Dogmatic, and Sugar Coat is quite different from both those projects. What does this band offer you that your other bands might not?

I do currently play drums in The Arrival Note, although I just recently parted ways with Dogmatic–but our drummer Bobby also plays drums in Dogmatic. I do also play bass in Contention, which is another hardcore band. Sugar Coat, on the other hand, is definitely more of an outlet for me. My strong suit when it comes to writing music is definitely in this genre. I’ve mainly played indie music growing up and still love a lot of indie and hardcore adjacent music. Sugar Coat is a lot less of a live band for me. I just want to write music I think is cool. Playing and attending hardcore shows will definitely skew your live music experience. But we definitely put a lot of effort into our live sound!

How would you say writing for Sugar Coat is different than with your other projects? 

Sugar Coat for me is a real test of artistry. When it comes to writing riffs in Sugar Coat I tend to keep it simple and lean on the songs being catchy. For some reason that has seemed to be my formula since I was sixteen. In my old band a lot of people would say things like, “man that’s a catchy song” and it’s always stuck with me. Creating earworm riffs that people are going to be humming all day is definitely at the forefront of our song writing. When it comes to hardcore you definitely wear your influences on your sleeve and just try to create something that sounds like that in your own way. With Sugar Coat I can take it any direction I want and I’m not tied to any specific sound.

What knowledge or experience that you got from playing in hardcore bands helped shape the way you operate in Sugar Coat? 

Honestly not many. Before playing and touring in hardcore bands I played and toured in indie bands; although they are different both worlds that I’ve experienced, both operate under a DIY umbrella–similar structures on behind-the-scenes stuff. And when it comes to just being in the bands, I’ve always played in bands with my friends, so it’s pretty much the same in both worlds.

Who would you consider formative influences for Sugar Coat’s sound?

As far as influences go it’s a weird mix of bands. The louder stuff definitely has some Metz or Webbed Wing influences in there. But when it gets softer I definitely pull from bands like Yuck or Soft Cough. But there’s definitely bands I listened to that sound nothing like us but have shaped my song writing, like teen suicide and Grandview, just to name a couple. At the end of the day I just want to write good indie rock music.

You dropped two new songs on a promo tape last fall. What can fans expect from you in 2024?

As of right now we do have new music but no studio time booked. With most of us being in so many active bands and all of us living far from each other it’s hard to find the time. However we do want to skip the typical EP/demo cycle and go straight to an LP hopefully in the summer or fall of 2024. And maybe tour some more as well.

I’ve noticed lately that an absurd number of my favorite new bands come from Tampa. Who are some groups readers of The Alt need to pay attention to if they aren’t?

The Tampa music scene is definitely flourishing at the moment. Anything that comes out on Armageddon Records is always going to be good and nine times out of ten is a Tampa band. Some note worthy bands are definitely The Arrival Note, Yield to None, Stedfast, Six Paths, Dogmatic, Resentment, Deadset, Novely, and so many more–I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot of great bands.

I was thinking—it really does seem like so many bands in that scene have a ton of crossover. How do you find time to balance all these different bands?

Theirs is a TON of crossover in most of the bands in the Armageddon Recs world. It is a balancing act without a doubt and sometimes it isn’t possible, like I mentioned earlier having to part ways with Dogmatic simply because of time not being on my side. What makes it easier in bands like this one is with being the main song writer I’m able to dictate the pace in which we operate. For example, if I want to slow down and focus on other bands I can, or if I want to put a lot of time and energy into this band I also can. It’s very low pressure, which I like.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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