On The Road, For The Record: ¿Téo?
Mateo Arias is the MSFTSrep crew member crafting sweet tunes with hints of Bossa-Nova, Hip-Hop, Classical, and Alternative; together, these sounds come together to make a genre that the artist refers to as “Neo American.” You may recognize his track “Uno Dos” which features Jaden Smith, but keep on listening, this musician has got a lot to say. Under the moniker ¿Téo?, he’s wrapping up his first headlining tour, “The Americano Tour 2019.” As this run comes to an end, we caught up with ¿Téo? to discuss the discipline it takes to prepare for music on-the-go and the art of winning over his audience. Plus, listen to his new single “Américano” below.
What’s the biggest misconception about being on tour?
Thinking that everything’s rock ‘n’ roll and wild times. There’s some of that too, but above it all there’s a lot of preparation & a different type of discipline that I hadn’t really been exposed to. There are also several moving parts, sleepless nights & scenarios that you can’t imagine will happen until you’re actually on the road.
What do you pack in your carryon?
My dad taught me when I was young how important the food is that you put in your body – so especially when I’m traveling, and might not have it available, I make sure to bring my Ayurvedic supplements. People always make fun of me for handing them random pills at all times. I also make sure to always have my laptop on me to keep creating.
To this date, is there one specific show that stands out amongst the others? What about it was so special?
So far, the show that stood out the most was probably Boston. Mostly because it was a tougher crowd than usual, at first they seemed pretty unimpressed. Somehow, it fueled me and I gave everything to that crowd. I was really able to see the energy in the room shift when I won them over. I had never heard such an epic encore as I did then. That was a breakthrough moment for me because it showed me where my power lies, and that as long as I’m invested and focused on my craft & the moment, there’s a better chance I can reach the audience and create an incredible shared experience between us.
If you’re dealing with contradicting situations (or life in general) when you have to go on stage – how do you get in the right mindset to perform?
Every time I’m on the road I know exactly what I’m there to do. That’s to give the most authentic experience I can, every night, regardless of the scenario. Growing up & maturing in the acting industry helped me a lot too. I’ve been having to deal with setting aside emotions and mental obstructions in order to get work done for a good portion of my life. I also learned to bounce back if I had a show I didn’t love. I learned to use that to inspire me for the next one.
Do you write while you’re on the road?
Wherever I am I love to write and compose. Different settings inspire different feelings and visuals, & every city has its own unique tone which can drive inspiration. I’m lucky to be able to have all the tools I need to create what I want at any given moment.
How do you keep your mind/body healthy while you’re on the move?
I bring some of my own food on tour, before I go out on the road I stack up on all the things I usually can’t find, certain fruits, energy bars, supplements, etc. The little things help me feel at home and keep my routine even when I’m somewhere I’ve never been. Some sort of exercise is essential too, going for a run, push-ups, or some sort of yoga keeps me feeling healthy.
Who is in the van with you?
My family. That includes my bandmates, my tour manager, and my front of house sound engineer.
What song reminds you the most of your last tour, maybe something you listened to while traveling?)
I think what’s interesting about traveling on tour with your band is that everyone has different taste in music. Though we all commonly agree on some of the greatest music (Beatles, Radiohead, Biggie) it’s really cool to be on road and have different people on the AUX at different times – and being exposed to great new musicians and some underground ones I hadn’t heard of yet.
What snack reminds you most of your last tour?
My last tour was actually my first solo run. I’m reminded of Cracker Barrel when I think about our first leg of the tour. We had long stretches where we drove for up to 12 hours and all collectively loved eating Cracker Barrel. When I grew up in ATL, my brother and I were obsessed – we practically lived off of it for 9 years.
What advice do you have for someone going on the road for the first time?
I would say be prepared to have your own experience – no tour will be the same. You’re going to meet a lot of new people, you’re going to get to know your audience, & everybody’s audience is different. It’s a great experience to learn what your audience likes to hear or feel from you. I would say just be open to learning from the great moment and also from the not so great ones too. And pull all the inspiration to bring back to the studio at the end of it all. I’m already approaching the way I make music in a much different way thanks to touring and it’s making me see things through a new lens.
Featured image courtesy of Courtney Payton
Stay tuned to Milk for more from the road.