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So you guys are down in Hollywood right now?
We are. We’re in Hollywood. We go on in a few hours at the Billabong show.
That's quite a fun event! What an opportunity to play there, I mean, who gets to party at Paramount Studios right?
Yea, it's pretty cool. The venue is pretty cool. It's like we're playing in the middle of a square that's like back east, like New York. They have this entire block that's recreated to look like New York or Chicago or something. It's kind of tripy, you don't know exactly where you're at.
I actually saw you guys play live back in May at Ace of Spade’s in Sacramento…
Oh ok… yea, I remember that show..
Yea, it was sold out and the energy at there was amazing. I had listened to your music at home, but seeing you live and seeing the energy that you guys bring was phenomenal. Especially with the layering of the drums. One thing I was impressed with was the sheer number of drums you guys have on stage, it was striking... and how epic all that sounded.
I think you’ll be happy to know we’re probably going to be getting more drums on stage.
We can never have enough.
I have a question… how big was that drum Dan was hitting? What’s the measurement on that?
That was a 36” x 18”… 36” tall and 18” wide.
Yea, he tried to get a bigger one, but I don’t think anyone makes them bigger than that, so… umm… (laughs) …that’s the biggest one we could possibly find. You know our lead singer, Dan, it’s his, it’s the one he plays, and he was the one who was going to be purchasing the drum. We were trying to say "Hey, you should get the smaller one so it’ll be easier to take on the road with us." And all he said was, “No way! I want the biggest drum I can find” ..so we we’re like, “okay” ..and it turns out he was right, you know, just sounds so big. It’s like thunder... thunder striking.
Yea, it fits with your music perfectly. Actually, speaking about drums… I heard about your show at O’Sheas and Dan passing out on the drums at the end of a six hour set…
(laughs) Yea, I remember that like it was yesterday.
It just said that he passed out and you guys got a standing ovation. Was anyone concerned? …or was it just such a quick thing that it just got everyone’s attention? I’ve only heard it mentioned briefly. Sounds like an interesting story.
Yea, you know… we probably should have been concerned… but… I don’t know why… we just felt the need to keep on playing. It’s just one of those things, that back in the day we would play at casinos when our band was just starting, to make ends meet. That was one of the more strenuous gigs, because those were like four to six hour gigs.
…and you know, the pay wasn’t even that great to be honest, but it was definitely better than nothing. So we’d take those on, and play some of our original music and some cover music. That was at the very end of the set, our last song of the night. It was like 4am or something, and we were playing one of our original songs… and we tend to play those a little bit differently, a little heavy, and he was definitely pushing it. And yea, he just was singing some of his last notes, the eyes rolled back… and he toppled over the drums… took out 60%, maybe 80% of the drum set… our drummer had like a high hat and a snare left. And so he uhhh… (laughs) …fell back on it… and we kept playing… the drummer playing with whatever he had left, then we got a standing ovation when he got up. It wasn’t for too long… which is probably why we were comfortable playing and weren’t too concerned (laughs)… and you know, he just finished the song out and yea, recovered it.
That show... it’s a testament to the commitment to your music to be able to do that.
And that’s really what it is, because for Dan and the rest of us, it doesn’t really matter what show it is. No matter if we’re playing for two people or ten thousand people. It always feels the same for us, as far as what we want to bring to the people that are there. Whither it’s 4 o’clock in the morning, in a dirty casino in Las Vegas, or you know, some festival. Our goal is always the same, to reach people with our music. To bring our energy to the stage. So I think Dan is very much the leader of that, and we all kind of match that energy he has. And yea, that’s how we play.
Definitely, and that’s very admirable. That attitude of go big or go home… and it shows how passionate you are about your music.
With music, we’ve always felt that someone that is not being genuine and honest, that’s kind of like faking it. There’s been times we’ve gone to concerts and we could tell, and we know the audience can tell as well. Umm… we always try to come from an honest place. You know, there’s some days that are more energetic than others, but I think generally, we’re the one’s to start that cycle going, between the energy with the band and on the stage... like it’s our job to get that to them, and then the crowd has a chance to reciprocate that energy. So, we take that responsibility… you know… not lightly.
Instagram photo by Imagine Dragons via Facebook
Even musically... technically… with your songs, segments of simple broken down beats and vocals intermittently placed with swirling aggressive or uplifting sounds, it creates this very powerful visual and emotional landscape. Obviously, that’s struck a chord with, well lets face it, a lot of people. And I’d like to take a second to talk to you about that process. You pretty much describing much of that mindset that it takes in how committed to your music you are. If you could share with me some of the inspirations that you’ve pulled from to achieve it. Seems like it’s been quite a road for you guys.
For us it’s definitely, for our band and everyone in the band… music is everything. We eat sleep and breathe it, and there’s a lot of people that have a lot of talent in a lot of areas, and that describes everyone on stage and we’re all really good at one thing. From the time we we’re growing up, when we were all little, we all knew we wanted to do music for a living. There was never any doubt as to that... but of course there’s a lot of uncertainty in this industry, you know. You can work really hard and still be unsuccessful. It has always been our desire, and always our goal, making a living doing something we love. And that something is music. From day one, we all felt really passionately. When the band first started in Los Angeles, I remember I met Dan and he was playing with another band at the time, and I just went and saw a show and was immediately kind of drawn to him and his energy... and his presence on stage. And so I wanted to be involved in whatever he was doing. Then when we moved to Vegas and started the band there. Since the very first day, it’s always been go, go, go. The pedals been firmly on the gas, all the way. We had a show like a week after we started as a band. We’ve always been pushing it, trying to make things happen for ourselves. It’s been a journey.
How long ago was that show at O’Sheas where Dan passed out?
That was probably two years ago, and we’ve been a band for about… um.. just over three years. And so that was probably a couple years ago, we were trying to make a name for ourselves in Las Vegas. We’ve come a long way, in a lot of ways. You just look back on those times and you just can’t help but think fondly of them too, because I feel that bands need that. Like, we are in no way... I don’t want to make a comparison to the Beatles, because we will never be the Beatles... but, before that gigantic success as a band, they were playing for three years in dirty clubs everyday and getting beer bottles thrown at them. They had that kind of incubation period to be great, and I think that’s always good for a band to have that. A lot of bands have those overnight successes, and that’s great too, that’s one way to go, but I think looking back we’re really happy about that having that time to become who we are without too much of a spotlight.
From that, to the road to releasing your Continued Silence EP, and working with Alex Da Kid's label… and well… it says a lot that the break through success you’ve had has been with a 6 song EP. It resonates with so many people... whatever you guys are doing, keep it up. It's magic!
I appreciate that. Yea, you never know. You put out the music, but you’re not really sure what people will think of it. You try and make the best songs you possibly can. It can be very unnerving. We feel very blessed, and very fortunate to have a strong reception to the songs. We’re excited about the rest of the album, because we feel it sort of filled out the gaps of the EP. If it was a book, it would fill in the pages, and so, I think from the EP to the album it will be a very smooth transition for everyone. I think it’ll make sense to people… but, you know, we’re all proud of this album, just like everything else we’ve ever done as a band… and so, we’re very excited for everyone to hear it.
You guys just finished recording that album correct?
Yea, we finished recording in June. September 4th it will be released to the public, and available at iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy… and all those places people buy music.
How did the title come about?
It’s called Night Visions. And uh, the title came up from a couple different angles. Both me and Dan are definitely night people, and the majority of the album was written between the hours of like 12 and 4am. Sort of like when the rest of the world is asleep. That’s when we feel really alone and isolated and can write the best songs. That kind of facilitated it. It resonated and hit home with us as soon as we heard it, as soon as whoever mentioned it, I cant remember who directly said it first, as soon as we all heard it, it was just kind of decided.
One of those things where it’s just the right vibration and it harmonized perfect with you, and it just happens, that’s great.
Personally, a lot of the lyrics are very striking. Lyrics like, “The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell, right to the top” …that seems like a very fitting lyric for you guys, seems like you’ve been through a lot, with your consistent motivation…
Yeah! …yea, it’s funny you mention it, because that’s one of my favorite lyrics we’ve ever written. But I think… that song was written during a transitional time for the band. You know, Dan was still struggling with, “do I go back to school? Or do I keep on pursuing music?” ...and that was two years into the band, when we were still thinking about success… but… we’re still in Vegas, we were still playing casinos. We weren’t really sure what we were going to be doing at the time, and how much longer we wanted to be a band… and so definitely, that song was kind of a turning point. Kind of when Dan decided that he wanted to keep on pursuing music, and that’s when all of us decided that we wanted to continue the band. So, definitely… it was written in a very pivotal time… and so it’s as special to us, as much as is to him.
It’s one of those things... just like art, any art... you can look at it and it mirrors to yourself what you’re dealing with and it translates in so many different ways. A lot of the lyrics that you guys have, you know, are with that struggle. And that struggle resonates with a lot of people... and as well as enjoying making it through, and that sense of accomplishment and the power that comes with surviving. Not just surviving, but succeeding and even flourishing.
Yea, that’s definitely been our path. Yes, that it what it is… it tends to resonate with a lot of people, and I can definitely see why.
So you’ll be touring with Awolnation this fall?
Yea, we are. We just met those guys not too long ago. They are super chill guys and we love their music. So essentially, I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I think our music goes well together. Just couldn’t be more excited... and yea… we’re doing a national tour with Awolnation and who knows what after that.
Awesome! Yea, I’m really excited to hear your new album, and sounds like a lot of good things are coming your guys’s way, and rightfully so!
Thank you very much.
Here's their complete list of upcoming shows, Awolnation tour and otherwise, as posted on their Facebook. We highly recommend you catch them live... but a warning, shows tend to sell out fast.