I Prevail: Rock Isn’t Dead, But We Need to Try New Things
Is hip-hop the "new punk?" I Prevail's Eric Vanlerberghe recently spoke with Loudwire Nights host Toni Gonzalez about how to make rock "fresh and different" and their "eclectic" upcoming sophomore album Trauma, due for release on March 29. Listen to the full interview above.
Vocalist Brian Burkheiser underwent a vocal procedure in 2017 to remove a polyp that formed on one of his vocal cords. When asked how this health scare made the other band members feel about the future of I Prevail, Vanlerberghe says, "We all joke about it, at the time we kind of blocked it out of our memory. I remember being on tour a week and a half into the longest tour we booked to date, we found out Brian was sick, and we were not sure what exactly it was. Dylan [Bowman] and I each had like a 102 degree fever for like three days straight for the following shows, we were just miserable. Not only did we lose our vocalist, but we had everyone sick. We were nervous.
"Luckily he went through and had the surgery, clean removal, everything's great. But there was a really scary couple of months there that we were on the road, wondering if people were still gonna keep showing up to the shows, how long could we keep doing this without Brian. And Brian going through, not only feeling sick, but real low about having to leave us on our biggest tour. I think after that all, going through and recording the record, it's made for a tighter bond between us — and a better record," he adds.
In the words of Toni, "the band prevailed."
Vanlerberghe then discusses what lessons the band learned from the process of making their debut record Lifelines, "We've always prided ourselves on doing it our way...Through Lifelines, it took us so long to record that record and get it put together because we had all these people telling us what to do and we thought they had our back...We put our lives out there, we put our hearts out there, we put our energy and time — so if you're not putting that into us to reap the benefits, then we don't want your opinion, you can move along.' So it doesn't matter, we're doing what we like and what we think our fans like and what we have fun with. I think that's the biggest thing that changed over Lifelines to this new record Trauma."
Trauma features appearances from artists such as rapper Justin Stone and electronic artist Delaney Jane. "This is probably the most eclectic we could've sounded on a record. We don't want to scare people away and say, 'It doesn't have metal on it, it doesn't have rock on it.' But with all these musicians and artists saying rock and roll and metal is dead, we just wanted to write a record that was a big middle finger to them all."
He continues, "Yeah, not every song is gonna be a riff-driven song, but we didn't just drop all the rock out of it and go to a pop record. We wanted to stay true to our roots, but experiment and evolve...don't say rock is dead because there are ways to make rock fresh and different. When you look at pop and hip-hop, people say hip-hop and rap is the new punk and it kind of is because they try new things and they make things unique. Rock doesn't, they either stay the same or they try to move on to try something completely different, they don't wanna make something fresh. So that's what we strive for on this record, and I'm really excited to finally share it."
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