A diamond in the rough. That seems to be the best way for me to describe newcomers out of the Rio Grande Valley music scene, XVI (the Sixteenth). Blending elements of melodic hardcore, metalcore, and some all around sick musicianship, I believe they will soon be a force to be reckoned with. I was able to grab an interview from vocalist Louis Robert Stinson recently. 

SHDCVLT: Thanks for taking some time out to do this interview, man. Would you like to introduce yourself our readers?

LRS: Absolutely no problem man, thanks for reaching out to us! I’m Louis Robert Stinson and I am the vocalist for XVI.

XVI. The Sixteenth. It’s really an interesting name. How did you guys come up with it?

I’m not going to lie and make up a meaningful definition of it, but I will tell you it a collaboration of various interpretations. The idea was a joke at first from a friend within the band being in jail for 16 Hours. That is the bare bones foundation. Personally, 16 has always been my favorite number since my date of birth lands on it. The ideology behind the number 16 is wisdom and power. The association that people have had with XVI is monumental. Louis XVI of France was executed and stripped of power by his own people. Pope Benedict XVI renounced his “chosen by God” status and left his position. In a way XVI is an entity and it’s whatever you make of it. For having a foundation as a joke to begin with, I guess it turned out pretty good!

Were you guys in any other bands worth mentioning before XVI?

Jason Whitney, Carlos Perez, and Carlos Ramirez were all in a band together called Ashes of Alaska. I was essentially their merch guy and roadie for about two years. They released a self titled EP and when that band ended Jason and Carlos Perez wanted to form a new project. I squeezed myself into the picture.

Now, you guys are from Brownsville, Texas. What’s your music scene like there?

Down in the most southern part of Texas is the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a cluster of cities such as Brownsville, Harlingen, and McAllen. Along with a few others they combine and pretty much form an entire music scene. I enjoy the music scene here, but it is a diamond in the rough. It’s a gem that not that many people know about, but I will always treasure it. I know and have seen its potential, and hopefully in time it blossoms greatly.

What made you guys decide to start making music?

I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it was just to have an outlet of expression.

Is the songwriting process a group effort, or do some of you do more than the other guys?

Jason is mastermind behind the songwriting instrumentally. He envisions the song and sound he wants and creates it. The band provides input with suggestions and a few tweaks later the track is done. I then add lyrics to it.

You guys have a nice blend of elements in your songs. I was listening to Green City earlier, and I couldn’t help but FEEL the emotion behind the lyrics “You claimed a title that nobody ever gave you.” That, coupled with the eerie sound of the mini breakdown that follows, just had a certain feel to it that I couldn’t help but agree with. Where did the inspiration for the lyrics to Green City come from?

Thanks for the words. It’s supposed to be a fast paced and animosity driven song. The inspiration for Green City came from getting tired and fed up with people thinking that Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley in general is a shithole. It’s aimed towards people that continue to belittle and insult their own city while boasting that they can’t wait to leave and never come back, but in the end even after all that talk they never go. That’s why at the end of the song you hear the lyric “All you talk about is packing your bags, but you will never leave”. There’s more than meets the eye in this place. All they have to do is go out and actually explore it.

How does it feel to be out on the road?

It feels great! Absolutely amazing, really. Our debut show was the Mission date of Everything is Bigger in Texas Festival with Upon A Burning Body back in December and after that we got on a San Antonio local show followed by a small festival in Laredo. Just the fact of playing for a new audience not knowing what to expect keeps us awake the night before the drive. Whether it’s good or bad, we embrace all reviews and we’re just excited to be given the opportunity to play anywhere.

What’s the craziest thing you can think of that’s happened at one of your shows?

Winterfest 2014 in Laredo, Texas. We’ve started gaining a small reputation of being recklessly wild during our performance, and the whole band just started stomping and lashing out as our intro siren was playing over the PA system. I jumped from a box and lost my balance upon launch and tripped and fell onto the drum set. I got up pissed as ever and continued stomping away. The crowd was in a state of bewilderment; we had never played in Laredo. Later on during our song Cleansing I felt a rush of adrenaline mixed with anger and told the audience “part this crowd or I will” and was met with silence. Almost instantly I stormed right into them, microphone in hand and it was if Moses split the sea. On the way back I accidentally smacked into a girl with an energy drink in hand and it went flying everywhere and the whole band along with the front of the crowd was drenched. They liked us.

What do you guys do on your off time?

Two of us go to a university full time while the other two work full time. When we’re not working we’re usually just eating at a fast food restaurant. We eat a lot.

What is your dream tour? What bands would you like to have The Sixteenth play with?

Wow, I really don’t know. I personally would love to tour with The Devil Wears Prada, Hundredth, Counterparts, Rotting Out, and Northlane. I’ve heard I Wrestled a Bear Once is filled with trolls, and if that’s the case I would love to do a tour with them too. Chaos, Pranks, and the butt-hurt will be real.

What are your plans for 2014? Do you guys have plans for a full length album this year?

Get known around our state. That’s the major goal. We want people across Texas to know that we exist. We don’t have a full length in mind, but we are talking about a potential EP. We’re going to hit the summer hard in possible small touring stints if possible.

What is the most fulfilling part of being a musician?

Knowing and seeing people appreciate something you have created.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

We’re not a gimmick band, nor do we preach a certain type of message. We’re just a group of guys expressing ourselves in any way we can. We pump unleaded and eat from the dollar menu. We’re one of you. If you see us live we want you to know that it was an authentic performance because we snap and have absolutely no idea what we’re going to do live. Check us out, we always reply back!

Alright man, well I appreciate you taking the time out for the interview. Can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for us!

It was my pleasure. I’d like to personally thank SHDCVLT for this opportunity!

Make sure to check them out over at http://thesixteenth.bandcamp.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/thesixteenthXVI