Out of nowhere, a video of three little girls ripping through a cover of Metallica’s world-famous song “Enter Sandman” exploded onto millions of screens the world over. Sure, the musicians in the video looked cute with their instruments, but the reason most people felt passionately about what they saw is because they recognized them as three hungry musicians playing with everything they had. That’s how this video was shared thousands of times with wonder and validation. These little women rocked.
The three people who appear in the video are the Villarreal sisters from Monterrey, Mexico. Daniela (now 15 years old) on guitar and vocals, Alejandra (10) on bass, and Paulina (12) on drums call their band The Warning. Soon after “Enter Sandman,” we got more videos of them playing cover songs from the classic hard rock pantheon with rejuvenated vigor. There’s no doubt that they are the real deal – completely serious musicians. Everything they have done is in fact a campaign with a clear goal: getting to study at Berklee College Of Music, where many rock virtuosos have made their bones. In the process, they got to play on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, at Festival Pa’l Norte in their hometown, garnered a ton of press from international outlets, and released an EP of original songs. They even got a taste of the real thing by attending Berklee Summer Programs and got to meet Megadeth bassist and co-founder David Ellefson. Not bad for a viral sensation.
On October 11, they will be playing the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California, and in anticipation, we got to chat with the girls. During the conversation, they were energetic, good humored, and well-versed in conversation. They are already pros in their element. Their story has only just begun.
Hi girls. You just got off from school. How is it going from being invited to talk shows or just looking at YouTube personalities and then going to school, to normal life, so to speak?
Daniela: It’s kinda weird because we have a very tight schedule.
Paulina: Yeah, we have homework and then practicing. But everything is normal, like it was before. Our friends are still our friends. It’s still the same. We do have to practice alone, then together, then homework – there’s a lot of homework – and then we still have to exercise. It’s a very tight schedule.
But have there been any changes in your day-to-day lives since your videos went viral? I mean, besides tight schedules.
Daniela: There have been some changes. Now we have to travel a lot for shows. Our social lives haven’t changed, but now that they know what we do, that we play music and practice and all this – before, they knew we played instruments, but they didn’t know how much hard work went into this.
Paulina: After our video went viral, all our friends went, “Oh my god! You actually can play!” [all laugh].
Oh, I know that feeling. They were telling you “so you weren’t just wasting your time with that. You’re actually good!”
So do you like traveling and this life of playing many places?
[all immediately] Yes!
Paulina: Well, yeah I do, but there’s so much stress. I can’t sleep on planes. I just can’t.
Alejandra: I think it’s pretty cool.
Daniela: The main places we have traveled to have been LA and New York.
And which one do you like the most, LA or New York?
Paulina: I don’t know.
Daniela: It’s very different. I love how New York is so amazing, like everywhere you look you go, “Oh my god!”
Paulina: I love LA, too. Especially the weather. It’s sunny but it’s breezy. It’s not like you’re sweating; it’s perfect weather.
It’s hot but not like Monterrey.
Daniela: When we go back we go, “No! What is this?”
You’re playing in Anaheim at the House of Blues. It’s a Rock Band-sponsored event. I heard one of your interviews and you said you pretty much formed by playing that video game.
Daniela: Yes! We started by playing Rock Band.
Paulina: That’s how we fell in love with our instruments.
Daniela: To me now playing this show it’s like –
Alejandra: – What?! Oh my god!
What was it about Rock Band that made you so interested in music? Was there a song in particular that made you want to play real instruments?
Daniela: I think it was playing together and having an instrument even though it was not the real thing.
Paulina: It’s nothing like the real thing! [all laugh] We had a lot of fun. So we said, “Imagine if we could do this for real?”
Alejandra: I didn’t get to play Rock Band; I was super young so I just watched them.
Daniela: My favorite song to play on Rock Band was “Eye Of The Tiger.”
Alejandra: Yeah! ‘“Eye Of The Tiger!” “Eye Of The Tiger!”
Daniela: I practiced it a lot until I got 100 percent.
Paulina: That’s the only song she wanted to play all the time.
Alejandra: She just wanted to get it perfect.
It’s interesting. When I started playing music we didn’t have Rock Band.
I’m not that old! [all laugh] But it’s interesting because some people were really against this video game because it turned music into a competition – that you really weren’t playing music. But here you are! You started playing Rock Band and now you’re really good at playing your instruments.
All: Thank you!
Daniela: Maybe the person playing the video games is not really learning how to play their instruments, but they get the experience of what it’s like to play an instrument. It’s kinda cool.
You inspire a big response. There has been a lot of press around your band. What do you think of all this attention? I mean it was part of your mission to get noticed, but what about when it became very big?
Paulina: We didn’t expect it at all. We had never been interviewed before this. In our first interviews, we were shaking, but then we realized that interviews are like just talking to someone.
Daniela: [In] a lot of our first interviews, we were like, “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!” At first, all of our interviews we answered with “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,” and really short answers.
Alejandra: Now we understand more what we have to do in interviews.
Have you gotten any comments from other young women and people that have been inspired by you to pick up instruments?
Alejandra: I have some friends that saw how we play and practice, and now they have started playing drums and the piano. It’s like, “Weeeee!”
Daniela: I remember this one person at one of our shows in LA said, “You are an inspiration.” It was super hardcore. Knowing that we are inspiring people is like the best feeling in the world. Because then you know that all the hard work you’ve been doing is paying off.
You got on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. How was that experience?
Daniela: Oh my god. You have no idea.
Alejandra: We were about to faint.
Daniela: We were like [points nervously] “That’s Ellen!” We were used to seeing her on TV. She’s an actual celebrity!
Paulina: Then we saw the show at our house and said, “That’s us!” It was super exciting.
Daniela: The shooting was super weird. It’s hard to describe. It’s the sensation like when you have butterflies in your stomach but at the same time, you feel like you’re burning up.
Paulina: We had such a great time.
Daniela: And then we got to talk for about five seconds with Victoria Beckham. She was right after us on Ellen and she said, “Good job, girls.” We went “Oh my god!”
Are there any Mexican bands that you would like to play with?
Daniela: Los Claxons!
Paulina: Our music teacher is a member of Los Claxons so we know their songs pretty well.
Daniela: He’s so cool!
Alejandra: And so nice!
You recently released an EP of original songs. How was it going from playing covers to writing original music?
[all indistinctly]: Difficult.
Alejandra: In a week we had to each bring a song.
Daniela: It was meant as an experiment.
Paulina: We had to write the songs on the piano and then we figured out the bass parts, the drum parts, the guitar. It’s a whole different process than learning a cover song because you have to create each part of the song.
Alejandra: At first it was super confusing, like, “What are we doing?”
Paulina: But right now we got it figured out more; we know what style we’re playing. Because our first three songs were a mix of genres, like we had a country song [laughs] and a pop rock song. But now we know have written rock rock songs. It’s pretty clear what we’re doing now.
Has it changed how you listen to music, the bands you like, and the songs you love, now that you play music professionally?
Paulina: You appreciate music more because you know how much hard work people put into doing it. You know what each instrument is doing in every part of the song.
Daniela: You know that every note has a purpose and every detail has a meaning.
What would you want to achieve? What do you want to do with your music?
Daniela: At first we wanted to do this to be famous.
Paulina: Yeah, but now our main goal is to be the best musicians we can be, and be better as a band.
Daniela: We would love for this to become our job.
Paulina: Yeah, make a living out of something you love.