Alumni Spotlight: Jon Carolino (Sam’s the Hero)

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Carolino

I caught up with Jon Carolino, former drummer of the very first Raging Storm Records band Sam’s the Hero, to discuss his past work with Raging Storm and what he is up to present day.

Tyler Bennett: How did you first hear about Raging Storm Records?

Jon Carolino: I heard about Raging Storm when we met Jason at a show my band was playing at. At the time we were called Son’s of Noah (now called Sams’s the Hero) and he told us about the label he was forming. With him being new at it and us being an upcoming band we both thought we would take the chance on each other and became each others’ guinea pig.

TB: What all did you do for Raging Storm?

JC: So my work personally for Raging Storm was mainly getting the first website up, the first logo and a lot of the original marketing for him. I was a full time graphic designer at that point and gladly helped RSR out. Raging Storm really became everyone’s project, both the band and J’s family, and we all pitched in in some sort of capacity to help the label be successful. 

TB: What impact did Raging Storm have on you and your band Sam’s the Hero?

JC: I think the impact was big for both of us. None of us really knew what we were doing but we both had a lot of heart and tried really hard. I think with our bands work ethic, beliefs and attitude we were able to show J we were willing to put in the work and help him help us. I think it gave J a drive to really push us and see how far he could go in making things happen for the label. Through RSR Son’s got to go on their tour. We played the Cornerstone festival and went on tour with the Extreme Tour. I  believe those two first events really helped kick things off for both our band and Raging Storm Records as a brand. 

TB: You stepped down from Sam’s not long after touring, can you talk about that?

Jon playing with the worship band Standstill

JC: So my departure from Sam’s was a tough one. In the middle of starting to record our second album, I just felt the Lord saying “You’re finished here. I want you to move onto something different”. That was really hard. Those two guys (Jeff Riggs and Neil Donohue) were, and still are today, some of my best friends; my brothers. What I felt the Lord was asking me to do was to leave behind the drums and take up my guitar again and focus on worship, college, and youth ministry.

So I did. I focused really hard on being part of an upcoming college and career age ministry called common ground and I also focused most of my energy in being a youth worship leader at my church. During that time I formed a worship band called Standstill. We ended up being able to tour and put out some albums as well. That went for about 3 years.

A few years down the line from that, after everyone disbanded from that band, I did come back to Sam’s as a guitar player for a short while. Being newly married, it became really hard to keep up with regular practices, talks of tour (especially as a sole provider for my household), shows and really most of all, figuring out how to be a good husband.

TB: It’s easy to respect needing to be home more with your family. But you obviously still felt you had music to create. Is this where your solo project came to be?

JC: With the yearning to keep playing music, I turned to Youtube. It was a way for me to still preform in some sense but it was able to keep me at home doing music when I wanted to do it. From there a few years down the line, as I was building my viewer base, I had a daughter. Long story short, there were a few complications and we unfortunately lost her 9 days after birth. She was an amazing testament of God’s power overcoming many things the doctors were telling us. While we were pregnant with my daughter Isabella, I wrote an album for her called Woven. It was all ambient post rock. In the middle of writing it was when we learned about her condition while in the womb. After she was born and then had passed, I coped with the loss with writing. Still in the same ambient post rock vein, I wrote 2 albums in my efforts to say what I needed to say with out having the words to say it. Those albums were called Ruins and Home.

In the midst of all that, Youtube was still going strong as I was very open in sharing our story with my viewers. I also found an avenue to really see my music work for me. I found Musicbed.com. For those who don’t know, The Music Bed is a site that allows independent musicians to put their music out there to be licensed for film makers with very fair percentage cuts. Music Bed picked me up pretty quick and I started to see that I was able to make more money in the industry that way than I had ever seen playing out. So it was a blessing to see the fruits of the tragedy my wife and I go through turn into some that was really fulfilling of another dream.

To this day, I still write ambient post rock music, I’m still active on YouTube and am still active on Music Bed. You can find my music at  carolino.bandcamp.com and any other streaming/music purchasing service you favor under the name ‘Carolino’. My dream is to be able to write scores for movies. Its funny how a pop punk drummer goes from helping write songs like “We’re better than Relient K”  and “ants go marching” to being picked up by film makers writing documentaries that Listerine and Dell are working on. 

TB: I saw you used to work for Studio Center and now work for the Parroco Production Group, what is it that you did at Studio Center and currently do at Parroco?

In the studio with Jason Upton

JC: At Studio Center I was mainly a graphic designer/web designer. It paid well and I’m a high creative so I dug the gig. I then got into food photography there as well. So by the end of my time there, I was a graphic/web designer/photographer. Then met Jim Parroco. This dude is a legend. He is basically me in about 20 years, haha. We are the same person. Jim goes to my church and is one of my great friends and mentors. He saw my passion for music and engineering so he gave me a chance and put me through one of his music engineering schools. From there, he entrusted me with a key to one of his studios.

About a year and half later (LONG story short) we found a way for him to hire me full time. So there I do literally everything. Shooting, editing, motion graphics, graphic design, web design, studio musician, audio engineer, field audio…basically if it’s in the creative field I’m probably doing it. There I’ve had some amazing opportunities, such as tracking Jason Upton for his new upcoming album.

TB: Besides working, what else are you up to nowadays?

JC: Besides working, I’m still playing music. I’m very active in the church as a worship musician and I run the church’s media team. I am still pushing hard with my music independently and I’m continuing to try and grow in the music and creative field. Learning how make sustainable models out of the things I am passionate about.

You can check out Jon’s music at carolino.bandcamp.com. You can check out the production company he works for at Parroco.net.