The Difference is a band from Southern California that strives to define themselves by their name. Each of the five band members brings a slightly different style to the music and they craft their art into a harmonious blend. Celebrating diversity is a buzz word to some, but it’s a lifestyle for guys in The Difference. Fusing post hardcore with a softer and more melodic feel at times, this band connects with fans from a wide variety of genres. By the Barricade caught up with The Difference on July 27 at their show at Malone’s in Santa Ana, CA. The energy and positivity these guys project is evident both on stage and in the interview that follows.
Sean Todd – Vocals
Nic Miller – Drums
Jake Amaya –Guitar
Juan Sanchez – Bass
Daniel Perez – Guitar
By the Barricade: How did you guys get together to form The Difference?
Sean Todd: Nic and I met in high school and we had an old band. We left that one but we still wanted to pursue music. We thought, “Hey, let’s just start our own band?” In the old band we met Jake already so we got him back and then we met Juan.
Juan Sanchez: I contacted him (Sean) and said, “Oh, you need a bass player. How ironic!”
Sean Todd: After a couple guitarists didn’t work out, we met Daniel.
Daniel Perez: I saw them at a show and I was honestly digging their set. I knew for a while they were hinting that they needed a guitarist so finally after months I hit them up for an audition and the rest is history.
By the Barricade: What is the story behind the band’s name, The Difference?
Sean Todd: A lot! One, you take a look at us and you can just see the different styles we have. Nic and Juan have the pop punk, Juan has the post hardcore and Jake has shredding with the heavy metal riffs. Daniel gives off anything; he is a cool person and for me it’s not so much hardcore, but it’s straight forward and we decided trying to combine all of this together and make a different sound. Also, some of the messages in our songs are about living in a day and age when people feel they have to follow the crowd, and people get made fun of if they want to be themselves. We spin that around! We want you to be yourself because that is the best you can do for your life. We want to be ourselves and be different than everyone else.
By the Barricade: When did you begin playing music?
Sean Todd: My family has a huge music background so I started playing piano when I was five or six so I’ve been doing this a while.
Juan Sanchez: I started in 8th grade. I started listening to heavier music and thought I would just pick up a guitar. Now I play bass, but it’s all the same thing.
Jake Amaya: I started when I was 13 in high school mostly because my mom raised me on 80’s hair metal, glam and stuff. It was natural that I would like this music so I started to play guitar and wanted to be like those guys.
Daniel Perez: I played for me. I honestly started at 6 but didn’t get serious until I was 12. I didn’t have anyone to teach me so I looked to the streets. People would take my guitar and say, “Let me show you something.” I would copy that and was starting to get better so that is how it happened.
Nic Miller: I started at 5 or 6 and it always was drums for me. Then I started trying other instruments in Jr. High. You can only play drums for so long by yourself and then it is all just a blur.
By the Barricade: What bands or artists influenced you? From what I am hearing, this should be pretty different for each of you, am I right?
Sean Todd: Well, the simple one would be The Color Morale. It is a big one because Garett Rapp gives off that energy and I am a big energy guy. I believe in writing a good message and delivering it live, also The Seeking. Growing up I would have to go with The Devil Wears Prada.
Nic Miller: I second that motion and agree 100%. The guy drumming in The Devil Wears Prada is amazing. The music I would listen to was from following drummers in bands, I liked August Burns Red, Texas in July, The Devil Wears Prada, and some lighter bands that have great drummers as well, but those are the main three.
Jake Amaya: Mine dates back a couple more years. The bands that influenced me were Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, Metallica, Pantera and stuff like that because they are very guitar driven. Anything that I listen to is because of the guitars. Not that I don’t care about the rest, but they get my attention more than anything else.
Juan Sanchez: Mine dates way back when, right in the 1600’s when Bach was coming out (All: *laughing) but as I grew older, I began listening to heavier music like Disturbed. They are a pretty big influence because they have the nu metal sound. Slipknot and The Color Morale are the main ones but also, Ice Nine Kills.
Daniel Perez: I got more into the emo side of music, Good Charlotte, Escape the Fate, Aiden, Senses Fail, Saosin,
Silverstein. But I also started listening to Japanese music like Alice 9, Acafe and Japan X. It was good mix of that and some thrash too.
Editor’s Note: Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry were also revealed as some closet idols for various members of the band, but we won’t disclose those secrets.
By the Barricade: Do you have any immediate goals for your time in The Difference and the immediate future?
Sean Todd: Because I am in college in Alabama, I am off sometimes. Immediately what we do when I am off to school is they put their heads together and write some great songs. Some new songs we are performing today like our new single, “Apparitions,” was something they created when I was gone. I came back and said, “Yes! We’ve got to do it.” Right now we want to get in the studio, Rare Catalyst, where Mel Torres works. We want to get there to work on some singles, hone our craft and work on some live presence. It takes some time with the whole “difference” thing to mesh and get the perfect sound. For now our goal is to do that and to play some awesome shows with our friends and get our name out there.
Nic Miller: We do enjoy the local scene like these shows with Pirate Entertainment and the other shows like Grizzly Productions. They have been good to us. We couldn’t ask for anything else, but as with any dream you have, you want to see it progress and grow. I think this goes for everyone that when we see an upcoming show that looks new and big, we wait for him (Sean) to come back and then we try to jump on it and move to something bigger.
By the Barricade: What do you do personally to be the difference?
Juan Sanchez: A lot of people like to wear pants and I personally don’t love wearing pants. Pants are too mainstream so I cut my pants straight up. That is my difference right there. It’s a fashion statement.
Jake Amaya: I shift my taste from time to time. A few years ago I was into technocore but sometimes I want to be an 80’s guy again or into what is now and sometimes I may just want to listen to Bruno Mars. I want to stand in a crowd and have you think, there’s Jake right there.
Daniel Perez: I don’t do anything but for some reason people have a habit of thinking I’m a girl the first time they meet me, even with a beard and other facial hair. I was in Little Tokyo and a when the waitress came up to me she said, “Are you a girl? You are a really pretty girl.” I have come to realize that I may look like a girl and so I just accept that as my difference.
Nic Miller: When I think about in my life what I am doing to be a different person, I see a lot of people who like to isolate themselves. There is nothing wrong with it, but you never know who you may come in contact with. I am big on making yourself available to make a difference in someone’s life and to reach out for interaction with people. Even if I am busy loading up drums at a show, if people talk to me, I never shun them away. I think every interaction you have with somebody could come back and be a change or difference making thing in their life just by being available.
Sean Todd: My difference thing is that I am a Christian and so is Nic, but some of us here aren’t. I feel like you see the rep of Christians being that people are just judgmental and that is not what we are called to be. That is why I love coming here because these people, they care for each other. They don’t care what your beliefs are. I strive to show a good example of what a Christian should be by just loving everybody no matter who they are or what their beliefs are.
By the Barricade: Who would be a dream band to play with?
Nic Miller: Before we answer that, one band that we played with recently was No Bragging Rights. It was a dream come true because they have had such a powerful message through their last two albums. So that is one band checked off the list. But also for me, a dream would be to play with Memphis May Fire because I love their live shows.
Sean Todd: The Color Morale and The Devil Wears Prada. I love Garett and their power. We have played with them before, but it would be awesome to go on tour with Asylus. They are our brother band.
Jake Amaya: I already got to play with one of my dream bands which was As Blood Runs Black two years ago at the Whisky a Go Go. You might think they would be jerks, but they are really awesome. One of my more recent dream bands would be maybe Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine or Trivium. For me, if that happened I could die happy.
Daniel Perez: The bands I would love to play with would be Black Tide and Senses Fail. Those are my two favorite bands of this period now and I would love to play with them.
By the Barricade: What do you want fans to take away from your shows?
Sean Todd: We want fans to be themselves! I meet a lot of people who hate it because they don’t fit in and people who are excited about something like Anime that other people don’t care about. Maybe they like a type of music that other people don’t care about. You can’t turn on your radio and hear this type of music. It is not widely popular and it is not mainstream so people aren’t always understanding. Just because you are different doesn’t mean you are worse than someone else. You are special and unique. Be the difference every day.
Jake Amaya: If people come to shows like this, they should feel like they fit in here. We aren’t a heavy extreme band but we have made our way, we have carved a name and we can contend.
Nic Miller: It’s different music for different types of people. The whole piecing together of being different and being yourself is part of the human experience. Be who you are and be proud of it.
Daniel Perez: If I could have one person or everyone that sees us go home happy or know that they belong, that would make my day. They can feel like they have participated.
Juan Sanchez: Happiness for everyone. Be Happy.
By the Barricade: Anything else you would like to tell the readers of By the Barricade?
Juan Sanchez: We love you with all our hearts! Support local music.
Daniel Perez: I hate to admit it, but everybody seems to know me as the scene kid, so I’m your local scene kid, come by and say hi. I love everybody.
Nic Miller: We are working on a new single coming out via Rare Catalyst. We have started to insert it into our set so come out to a live show and hear it before it is released.
Sean Todd: We give out hugs and support the bands by buying merch.
Nic Miller: We do have merch and we do it for you guys and not just to make money.
Jake Amaya: Hugs are available for those who are interested and so inclined.
Juan Sanchez: Fresh hugs right after the set.
By the Barricade: You know they are a true fan if they want a sweaty hug right after the set.
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