Guillermo Subauste: The Peruvian-Canadian Music Machine and Bassist for The Honeyrunners

Meet Guillermo.

    Guillermo Subauste runs on little sleep.  He’s busy juggling projects; as a bassist for The Honeyrunners, sound engineer for The Sadies, drummer for Nevada, Benton Roark, and Eastborough, and a full time studio owner/operator/engineer and music producer at Pacha Sound in Toronto, he’s got his hands full.  One time, before he opened his own studio, he worked 20 hours a day for 17 days straight on sessions with The Tea Party and, in his words, “That’s not an exaggeration.”

 Guillermo Subauste in the studio.

Guillermo Subauste in the studio.

    Guillermo grew up in Peru through the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori.  During these years of conflict from 1990-2000, intense militarism enacted, among other things, a strict curfew upon the residents of Peru.  No one could be out of their houses after 11pm.  So, after Fujimori resigned in 2000, a space opened up for night life that wasn’t there before.  That’s when Guillermo and some of his high school bandmates sought out an opportunity.  They started playing punk shows after hours at a small, local restaurant.  As their popularity grew, they started booking other bands, as well.  After a while, they were cramming up to 300 people into this tiny space.  

 A punk concert in Peru.

A punk concert in Peru.

 Guillermo shredding.

Guillermo shredding.

    Other venues began catching on to this underground scene, and eventually Guillermo found himself in the position of organizing festivals, accommodating 4000-5000 attendees.  In 2004, he organized a punk festival of 22 local bands sharing one stage, entertaining an audience of 15,000 people.  

 A packed concert in Peru.

A packed concert in Peru.

 Punk energy.

Punk energy.

    This experience opened the door for Guillermo to start his own promotion company, organizing shows in Peru.  He wanted to bring well-known artists from Canada, the US, and UK doing world or Latin American tours to Peru, as these artists had typically just stopped in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.  With his history and experience in punk bands, he started with bringing in pop punk bands from the US: NOFX, Bad Religion, and New Found Glory, to name a few.  It was incredibly successful, and the first non-punk artist that his company brought in was Roger Waters, performing Dark Side of the Moon.  Out of a mix of sleep deprivation combined with respect for the incredible level of production that was happening in front of him, Guillermo admits to shedding some tears at the Roger Waters performance.  Big names continued to come to Peru through his company, including icons like Beyoncé and Paul McCartney.  Understandably, this was a huge learning curve for Guillermo.  He recalls, “All these punk bands had given us riders, which none of the Peruvian bands had in the past, and it was mostly fine.  But, when we got the Beyoncé stuff, and saw the amount of containers and the customs forms that we had to fill in to sign for all the things that we were bringing, it was way over our heads… I was sleeping like two hours a day, being at the site where things were being built.  So many things went wrong … The rider said that the monitor world had to be stage left, and I translated the whole thing and gave it to the people in charge of building the stage, and then I got there and it was on the other side…So we had a lot of those problems, but it worked out.  It was amazing.”

    Beyond all the work with these big names and festivals, Guillermo also worked at a local studio in Lima, Peru, and did live sound in the area.  With all of his experience in the music industry, he landed a two year scholarship to The Banff Centre in Alberta.  There, he pushed his boundaries and collaborated with a variety of music giants, including Mark Willshire, the engineer and music conductor behind the Lord of the Rings scores, and Shawn Everett, an engineer and producer known largely for his work with Alabama Shakes, Weezer, and Julian Casablancas.  “[Everett] was definitely one of my biggest inspirations,” Guillermo says, “When I saw him work, and when we worked together on projects, I got really excited and I remember thinking “I wanna be like him when I grow up,” basically.”  It was during his time at The Banff Centre that Guillermo also worked with jazz trio The Bad Plus, Blue Rodeo, Jane Bunnett, and even Joni Mitchell.  He also fondly remembers Theresa Leonard, former president of the Audio Engineering Society and main mentor at The Banff Centre.

    After school, Guillermo briefly returned to Peru to do live sound on tour with Adammo, a Latin Grammy nominee and MTV Latin America award recipient.  “It was great because we were doing like soccer stadiums, and arenas, that sort of stuff.  80,000, 100,000 people.  The biggest one was 120,000 people, which was nuts.”

    Then, he decided to move back to Canada, and specifically, Toronto.  His former peer Don Pyle (drummer for Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet) had been working with The Sadies, and got Guillermo a position doing live sound for the band.  So, after two or three months of being back in Canada, Guillermo hit the road on tour with The Sadies.  A few months after that, he found himself engineering The Sadies’ next album (The Good Family Album, 2013), alongside names like Gary Louris (founding member of The Jayhawks) and Peter Moore (producer of Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions).  Ever since, Guillermo has been recording and touring with The Sadies, alongside his many other projects.  

Preview The Sadies’ new album,
Northern Passages, here: http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/12/kurt-vile-takes-the-lead-on-the-sadies-new-track-its-easy-like-walking-listen/.  

    Guillermo worked for a couple of years at the well-known Revolution Studios in Toronto, and taught at Recording Arts Canada, broadening his ability even more to connect and collaborate with musicians and people in the music industry.  In 2013, he left Revolution Studios to operate full time out of his own studio, Pacha Sound on Roncesvalles Avenue.  For the past few years, he’s been continuing to wear many different hats in the music world.  “I’ve always wanted to do everything.  And I would get bored doing just one thing, as much as I love it.”  Get more information on Pacha Sound and Guillermo’s other credits here: http://www.pachasound.com/

 Guillermo in his element.

Guillermo in his element.

Meet The Honeyrunners.

    Guillermo considers The Honeyrunners, a known name in the Southern Georgian Bay music scene, and frequenters of Collingwood’s The Huron Club, to be his main project.  Collaboration and creativity is the name of the game for this soulful, ‘70s rock style band, who are currently working on their new album, to be released Spring 2017.  Lead vocalist and keys player Dan Dwoskin remembers the struggle of forming the band:

    “I grew up on The Beatles, and bands that were like four piece Brotherhoods… All I saw were these stories of guys that had been friends since they were 16, and they grew up on the South side of the tracks together, and listened to records together, then decided to start playing songs together… And the hard part is, you think, ‘How do I cultivate that history?’ I was already 23, and I thought ‘I need my brotherhood.  I need that history.’ So you get very stressed out because you’re trying to cultivate a history that doesn’t exist.  And you’re looking for a community, but you have to be the guy who creates it.  But, then you start meeting people like Guillermo [bass, vocal], and Marcus [Marcus Bucci: guitar, vocal], and Brandon [Brandon Robins, former member: drums, vocal], and Joel [Joel Lewczynski: drums, vocal], and you start to see that what you’re building is always progressing, because you’re always getting better at it.”

Guillermo continues, “You realize that you’re living the story already.”

 The Honeyrunners

The Honeyrunners

    The Honeyrunners are fueled by a drive to make connections; connecting with each other as individual musicians to form a cohesive unit, as well as connecting to audiences across Canada.  They started making a name for themselves in Kimberley, Ontario, after being asked to play a festival on a large private lot.  Over a few years, the connections they’ve made in Kimberley are something they want to take to all small towns across the country.  “Canada is a collection of Kimberleys.  And that’s how you get noticed.  By forming this community, and being approachable.  That’s what I think,” Guillermo explains.  The band is pushing hard to break their own boundaries and deliver feel-good music to as many people as possible.  They know that their work is cut out for them in this industry, but are embracing the journey as the story itself.

    And as for sleep?  “I sleep very little,” Guillermo admits, “But it’s because you only have so much time, you know, you have to take advantage of it.”

Find out more about The Honeyrunners here: http://www.honeyrunners.com/

Watch a live Honeyrunners performance here:

https://www.facebook.com/honeyrunners/videos/1382747171746969/