We talked with Salvatore Costa of Smashing Satellites about cyberbullying, positive internet use, and his love of music.
Think Before You Type: How did you get interested in making music?
Salvatore Costa: Music kind of found me and held me hostage. I was always surrounded by great musical influences everywhere I turned and as a result I just fell in love with it. I have two older sisters – 10 and 12 years my senior. My eldest was a classically trained pianist, and my middle sister was a grunge kid who always had a stockpile of edgy new records. She also embodied what it was to be a true music fan, and I fell in love with her style and the culture in which she existed. My mom on the other hand was a poet and was always teaching me the importance of lyrics and stories. She showed me her favourite artists and explained to me why they were so great. Music is just a part of my being. It’s me.
TBYT: What has been your most influential fan encounter (online or in person)?
Salvatore: The greatest thing about being an artist is that the bigger you get, the bigger your voice gets… and it allows you to speak out to a greater number of people about something profound. Having that type of power can be both empowering and scary. However, one of my most memorable moments was after a show a few years ago. I girl ran up to me crying her eyes out… she explained to me how she was fighting her last battle with cancer and that she wasn’t sure how much longer she had to live, but that she had been following some of my positive quotes that I share and it made her want to fight. I gave her a huge hug and she went on her way, but what stuck with me was the fact that something I had written empowered someone I didn’t even know. It was that moment that I realized my purpose on earth was more than to just make music… I want to help people.
TBYT: Sometimes the internet can be a really tough place. How do you deal with negative comments on social media?
Salvatore: A wise man once told me “you’re never as bad as they say you are, but you’re never as good as they say you are either.” The human brain is a funny thing. It is designed to point out flaws and focus in on them. That is how we are wired. You may walk down the street and have 9 people tell you that you are beautiful, and have one person tell you that you are ugly – and our brain will almost forget all the positive and focus in on the negative. We have to learn how to re-wire our brain so that we can live in a more neutral state of mind – to not take ANY comment too seriously or to heart. When someone feels the need to go out of their way to point out something about you, whether it be negative or positive, it is always important to take it as a compliment because anyone willing to take time out of their day to talk about you must think you’re pretty… worthy of their time.
TBYT: What advice or encouragement do you have for young people who are being cyberbullied?
Salvatore: Never be afraid to ask for help or to confide in someone you trust about how you feel. Sometimes what truly brings you down further is not the bullying itself, but it is you. We take this hate to the heart and start to hate ourselves. Cut off communication with anyone that you feel is bringing you down. They aren’t worth your time. And – if you feel as though there are some scars, do NOT be afraid of talking to a professional about helping you get back to a state of happiness and self-worth. When we break our arm, we get a cast from the doctor. Our minds also needs this type of attention too sometimes. DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED OF ASKING FOR HELP!
TBYT: What’s one thing that people tend to misjudge or underestimate about you?
Salvatore: I think in general I’m put into that “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” category before people truly give me a chance. They see the tattoos, piercings and they know my story from media outlets, but they don’t really know who I am, and what I stand for. To be honest though – it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. I know who I am and why I’m here. Not everyone needs to get that.
TBYT: Who is your role model?
Salvatore: Anyone who follows their heart’s desires and passions. I’m constantly meeting new role models all the time. It makes me want to be a better person.
TBYT: When you’re down, what song helps to pick up your mood?
Salvatore: There isn’t really a song that picks me up from any mood. If I’m down or up, I like to create my own music. It’s therapy for me.
TBYT: Who are some of your musical influences?
Salvatore: I have a bunch, especially considering the access I had growing up in my home to SO many different musical genres and artists. To name a few… Michael Jackson, The Eagles, Nirvana, The BeeGees, Placebo, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Queen… and many more!
TBYT: We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?
Salvatore: The internet allows you to speak to literally MILLIONS of people. You can post something profound that could go viral and it could change so many people’s lives. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? You have all of this power at the tips of your fingers (literally)… Why choose to be the villain when you can be a hero?
TBYT: What’s one thing you want people to know about Smashing Satellites?
Salvatore: My music comes from my deepest sorrows and my most immense highs. In those moments of despair and joy I have found what truly makes me feel free – MUSIC. These songs are my every breath and I just want everyone to breathe them in… feel them… and breathe them out for someone else.
TBYT: What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
Salvatore: We are just in the process of playing some one of shows and gearing up to start touring. It’s going to be an amazing year end and beginning.