The Number 12 Looks Like You

These days, most music press seems to be so genre-specific that it borders on ridiculous. (“Spazzy, bass-driven post-mathcore,” anyone?) The Number 12 Looks Like You may not consciously be trying to confound critics, but with their latest full-length Mongrel they’ve done just that.

“A lot of my favorite players are fusion guys,” explains guitarist Alex Pareja, a classically trained guitarist who loves his Les Pauls and Flying Vs, and cites players like John McLaughlin and Robert Fripp as some of his biggest influences. “We try to throw in stuff from every genre out there and not lock ourselves inside of anything. It’s easy to limit yourself by doing the same old scales and old types of riffs and ideas; you’ve got to break out of that shell.”

MongrelThis type of attitude is reinforced by listening to Mongrel, the band’s most diverse album to date. A testament to that diversity is also the fact that the band’s been able to tour with everyone from indie rock acts like Minus The Bear, to post-hardcore acts like Thursday, and metal bands like Goatwhore. They manage to gain fans wherever they go.

“We like to extend ourselves to every fanbase out there,” Pareja explains, adding that despite the chaotic and schizophrenic nature of The Number 12 Looks Like You’s music, the band actually prefers playing with more mellow acts. “When we go out on indie rock tours, we actually do extremely well. I think a lot of those kids are more open-minded and willing to accept different types of music.”

This opinion was largely formed by a few negative reactions the band experienced on last summer’s Sounds of The Underground tour, which is dominated by more traditional metal acts.

“That was the first tour we actually got heckled on, and we just dealt with it and tried to make the best out of it,” he recounts. “In San Jose, California, we were getting seven-dollar cups of beer thrown on us, and people seemed to go out of their way to buy hot dogs and beer to just throw at the stage.”

The Number 12 Looks Like YouThankfully, that type of reaction is a rarity for the band. In fact, they’ve been able to build a cultish fanbase in the underground community without relying on makeup or synchronized dance moves, another rarity in today’s scene.

“I concentrate a lot more on the music as opposed to what I should be wearing,” Pareja confirms. “I’m always trying to push the limit, think outside the box and ask myself what I can do that other people aren’t already doing.”

In addition to playing in the band, Pareja is also attending college and is quick to stress how both of those activities play an equally influential role in his development.

“We try to tour as much as possible and I’m still trying to finish up school, so I get the best of both worlds right now,” he explains. “That helps me keep an open mind because whatever I learn at school I try to apply to my life.”