SEALAKES // CASEY LAGOS
“When life gives you lemons, make music.”
This is a life changing story that will inspire us all. A story of a good friend of ours. As an artist, he has achieved most of our dreams of performing at giant music festivals and shows while playing in some of heavy music’s biggest acts including Parkway Drive, Architects, and band he co-founded, Stick To Your Guns. On top of that, he is just like us. You may see him as the luckiest guy living his dreams and getting everything he wants, but many of us don’t know what difficulties he has faced in life. Beaten up by life’s problems, he had the choice to stay down or stand up and overcome.
This is the story of Casey Lagos.
How long did you feel something was wrong with your body before you ran medical tests?
I always struggled with motion sickness, but it wasn’t until 2011 when I had my first bad dizzy episode, and I had just got to a all you can eat sushi buffet, I was bummed, haha. It ended up being just a day and then it was over. In 2013, it happened on and off for about three and a half weeks, but the strength of the dizziness was bearable enough. In 2015 I was about to play a show with my old band HAWAI and right before we went on stage I got extremely dizzy, I thought I felt like I could barely stand up or open my eyes. Miraculously, I got through our set, but afterwards was the sickest I’ve ever been. I ended up getting carried out by paramedics and put in an ambulance. My symptoms were unbearable and hard to explain but shortly after I began several months of medical testing to try and figure out what was happening.
During that time, was it disrupting the band activity? How did the band handle your situation?
It was for sure disrupting the band. I was a wreck, not just physically struggling, but emotionally it was hard for me to cope with everything. The band was moving fast with shows and tours on the schedule, and my dizziness and anxiety were making it hard for me to keep up. Thankfully the band was full of my best friends, and they were ultimately worried about my wellbeing. They saw me go from normal, happy, energetic Casey to an anxious, dizzy, depressed Casey.
So what ended up being the issue?
After the several months of testing I was diagnosed with a Vestibular (inner-ear balancing system) Disorder (January 2016). They told me my triggers were “loud sound, motion, and flashing lights” – everything that a live show/touring is. Once I received the news I scheduled a meeting with the band to let them know I wouldn’t be able to continue playing live or do the next tour as I had to focus on my recovery.
Who was the first person you told about your diagnosis?
My sister was the first person I told. She was extremely helpful for me through that time. She literally carried me to the car with the doctor after the hardest medical testing I had to go through. Shout out to Lindsey, she’s always got my back!
How about the band? How did they react to you having to leave the group?
They were super understanding, loving, and supportive, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. I love those guys to death.
After being diagnosed, how long was it before you faced your disorder head on to get help?
Once I received my diagnosis I began a type of physical therapy that was super intense! I went to a world renown place called Newport Mesa Audiology and Balance Institute. They are the head of research for my disorder and they happen to be only 10 minutes from my house! Such a blessing.
Who else had your back through all that? How did they support you to get through it all?
My family, girlfriend, and friends did. They prayed for me, they brought me food, they encouraged me. So grateful for all of them. I could not have done it without them.
Why did you choose to make the “366 Days Of Original Music” (366 DOOM) challenge?
It was really just a passing thought at first, and I just went for it. I was writing and producing a song on the first day of 2016 and I thought, “I’ll just post what I work on every day.” The next day I was like “WOAH, dang that was a gnarly commitment I just made publicly” haha! But I’m the type that hates to be conquered by something, so I had to stick with it and give it my all.
Who/what influenced you to start the 366 DOOM project?
I really wanted to honor God through my music every day. I was/am so grateful to be able to play, write, and produce music and wanted to make the most of my health situation.
Can you tell us why it became an Instagram hit? What made it so special? The music/lyrics?
I don’t know if it’s so special, but I think it might have gained som followers because I tried to write a song in every major genre and kept pushing myself to try and keep things interesting. I really put a lot of effort into it. It’s safe to say 366 DOOM ruled my life in 2016 haha.
Why do you play and record all the instruments on your 366 songs? Is it hard for you to work with other musicians?
Mostly because I had a clear vision in my head of what the song was supposed to be before I started playing/recording it. I love making music by myself, but I also really love collaborating with others and do often, it just wasn’t featured as much on my 366 DOOM for Instagram.
What’s your best Sealakes song ever produced? Can you pick one? And why?
Hmm.. I’m not sure but I’d say the most meaningful is “Let It Go” because it’s awesome to be in such a different place emotionally now than what I wrote about. I think it’s the most powerful song I’ve ever written. Emotionally, it’s super sad and angry. It’s actually hard for me to listen to now because it hurts to be brought back to that dark place again.
(Listen to Sealakes -“Let It Go” below)
Do you miss playing in big arenas and tours, or do you feel settled with your current condition of producing music and writing songs for others?
I do miss playing those huge shows and tours, but feel grateful to have accomplished all I have on the live side of being in a band. Things are going good with writing, producing, mixing, etc. and I’m loving it!! It leaves me feeling just as fulfilled as when I was playing those huge shows. There’s no ceiling at all, so I’m constantly learning new things. There’s so much to write about and so many incredible artists to work with.
Would you consider playing live or touring with any bands you’ve played in again?
Well funny story, recently Parkway Drive reached out to me to fill in on drums for them again on a US/CANADA tour, but I was in need of a new passport since we were going out of the country. Long story short, my expedited passport didn’t make it in time and I didn’t end up doing the tour, after all. I do feel that with the right situation I’d be open to touring and playing live again.
Do you have a message to the young musicians of Indonesia?
I would say, it doesn’t matter what anyone tells you or who believes in you or not. If you believe in yourself, work hard and never give up. You will eventually get to where you want to be! Never stop learning, practicing, and remembering that music is fun! Thanks so much for supporting mine!