Digital Lizards of Doom
Combining their love of comics with musical skill, Gabriel Valentin accompanied by Gallie Fisher and Ryan Joseph create an experience unlike any other. Local San Diego band Digital Lizards of Doom makes the accompanied graphic novel’s story come to life in sound. The graphic novel series is an ode to the band’s deep love for all things pop culture, and their sound is an expression of the story while experimenting with different genres and styles. We had the chance to sit down with Gabriel Valentin and gain insight into the wild, complex, and unique world of Digital Lizards of Doom.
1. Tell us a little bit about how your band came to be. How did you meet and create Digital Lizards of Doom?
So Digital Lizards of Doom started in 2014. The concept came from my love of pop-culture subjects, AKA: Video Games, Comics and Sci-fi adventure stories. I was writing the beginnings of what became our own graphic novel. A classic space fantasy story that paid homage to the greats like Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian. For the first few years I performed solo on stage with two costumed characters, designed after the main villain (Commander E.K.O) and the main hero (Dizzy Doom). I met my now band mate Gallie Fisher in 2016 in a comic book shop of all places. Gallie and I worked on a few projects separately until 2018 when we decided to join forces together. And not too long after that Ryan Joseph, who I knew locally and who performed in a few percussion bands, joined as well.
2. Our name, REVOLT, means to revolt against anything holding you back and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. How did you choose your name, and what does it mean to you?
That is rad! REVOLT stood out to me immediately! Love everything about the name and now knowing the meaning behind it is even more awesome! So Digital Lizards of Doom is also the name of the graphic novel series we have coming out. But the name specifically is an homage in itself. It is inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and is always a reminder that DLOD (for short) is meant to create an environment of fun and good vibes, where anyone can participate, fan or not.
3. The band as we know is based off a graphic novel series, will you tell us a little bit about how this graphic novel came to be, what the novel is about and what inspired the story?
Yes! The band is an open love letter to all things nerdy and awesome and is meant to help further push the themes of the story. The book itself takes place in a world where science and sorcery have brought peace to the galaxy, a young warrior’s (DIZZY DOOM) belief system is shattered when an evil robot, along with an ancient witch, attack his kingdom forcing him into a quest for justice. As revelations about his world are exposed, Dizzy’s faith is shaken, and he must now make an unlikely alliance with a mysterious ninja and a cyborg cat pirate. Together they’ll search for a fabled weapon that could destroy evil forever and bring the universe into an unending era of peace!
4. How do you go about creating the graphic novel? What does your creative process look like, and what sort of challenges or milestones have you experienced?
The book and the band were originally supposed to be separate but after a few shows and a wonderful reaction from audiences, I decided to fuse them together. as far as challenges go, the hardest part has been project management and the financing this a massive project. From artists, colorists, editors, characters designs, and then putting all of the into a full-fledged book, or multiple books which I intend to make. Eight to be exact.
5. Will you tell us a little bit about the novel’s main character(s) and how you connect them to your musical sound and style?
Sooooo… that is a heavy question. We have about seven main characters that all play an important roll in the story. Each one has their own special skills and will hopefully make a fun, comedic adventure anyone can enjoy. From a cyborg cat pirate whose name is Fat Cat Rodgers, to a bad ass guitar wielding zombie ninja named Dana Deathly. Both of them are good guys who help Dizzy Doom along his quest. The main villains range from an evil robot, hell bent on turning all life forms into carbon copies of himself, a witch who wants to rid the world of love, because she doesn’t believe it exists, and an ancient demon named Pineapple Pete who wants to trap the universe in a massive “real life” video game. Almost like the Truman Show meet the Real World lol. Each character not only gets their moment to shine in the book but also in our music. A lot of the songs express different emotions and goals that they have throughout the story.
6. Tell us a little about your musical background, what influences, inspirations, and moments in your life have shaped you as a musician?
I can only speak for myself, I feel like Gallie and Ryan might have different answers, but I grew up with classical music, Eastern European music, Celtic music, and then later I got into punk rock and metal. That is also another cool thing about having a band that is meant to be fun and silly. We never throw out an idea; If we want to add a metal style breakdown into a pop song we try it out and see how it works! Making cool sounding music is more important to us than “fitting it” or making something that is “marketable”.
7. Was Digital Lizards created with a musical experience in mind first or as a visual work first?
Again, they were both separate and the story did come first, but it just felt natural to include them after I realized that it wasn’t “too weird of an idea”. I was always a little worried the music and/or the book wouldn’t stand on it’s own, but now my thoughts have totally changed and I so enjoyed being able to create multiple layers of media for this fun and exciting universe. It brings me back to breaking down walls and not letting certain boundaries get in the way of the art.
8. If you were to make a playlist describing your sound, what top-five other artists would be on it and why?
Oooooh… I love this one, Okay so top five would be: Flogging Molly, Daft Punk, Iron Maiden, Misfits and Blink-182.
9. What do you hope your listeners gain or take away from your lyrics, story, performance and sound?
I just really hope when people listen to us or come to a show that they have a good laugh or even discover a new world that connects with them on a personal level
10. We had the amazing opportunity to see you live in Springboard! What can we look forward to from the band in the near future?
Aww thank you for that! That was such a fun show. We would love to do more festivals like Spring Board and not only meet new friends but also get a chance to see how other professionals in the industry operate. I try to always pick up new tips and tricks from shows. Learning new stuff helps my mind when it comes to adding new ideas to DLOD and the future of the brand. The graphic novel will hopefully be out soon! I can’t wait for people to be able to check that out.