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Your Newest "Enemy": A Conversation With Dead Before Impact

Just to start off: Where are you guys from, and how did the band start?

Left: Tristian, Right: Blake via Kennedy Halbert

Blake Thompson: I'm Blake. This is Tristan. We're the main two people in Dead Before Impact as of right now. We both grew up around Nashville, closer to the Kentucky border. He's been making music longer than me, but we kind of started making some small stuff in high school together, and then we made the decision to actually pursue it late last year.

You've only been a band for a few months then?

Blake: Yeah, yeah. It's been like five months?

Okay! So just talking about creating the band: How did you come up with your name? Were there any other ideas?

Blake: There were a lot of ideas. The band name, honestly, we were drinking, and we were talking about our greatest fears, and I'm horrified of planes. And I just said I would rather be “dead before impact.” And he was like: “Oh, that'd be such a cool name,” and then when we were sober, we were like: “That is a cool name still.” So now I think it means a lot more. To me, I think, when you're talking about mental health, a lot of times when you're on that low scope, you kinda go in between these waves. And I think when you're going on that downward wave, oftentimes you wish that was the case, you know?

How about starting the band? Was there really anything that caused you to decide to finally fully pursue music?

Tristan T. Roberts: I've been trying to convince this guy (Blake) to do music for a long time. I'm a full-time producer and engineer. I do music full-time regardless, and we've tried on multiple occasions to try and do something, but I think neither one of us were aligned on what we wanted to do and just have internal fears, or whatever it may have been. But I think we've experienced the right amount of traumas in life to get us to where we are.

I had seen that you have two singles out so far, and I was wondering–between those two, which was your favorite to create.

Blake: I think, for me, if I'm being honest, I think the one that we haven't released yet. We're about to wrap up now. It has been my favorite so far from beginning to end; but I think of the two that we have out, “Carousel” was something that was “our first,” and it was one of those moments where we had made a plethora of demos. That was the first song that we were like: “Oh, okay! We can do this! Not everything that we make sounds terrible!” And so we made it, and we had a bunch of friends really dig it. We kinda were convinced to release that as our first single. We received a lot of love that we didn't expect.

I've listened to both and they're both amazing. I really like them.

blake: Appreciate that. Thank you.

via Kennedy Halbert

You mentioned that you have another song you're working on that's not out yet. Do you have anything more, like an EP or something, planned anytime soon?

Blake: That's what we're working towards. We are releasing them single by single, but the end goal is we'll have a finished EP by the fall of this year. We're planning on releasing another EP next year as well.

I was wondering too if you have done any live performances yet or not. Is there anything planned?

Blake: Not yet. As a full band, though, we do. We are acquiring a couple of extra guys, hopefully soon. We do have plans to play in Dallas in September and to play in the local southern area, so Louisville (Kentucky), Asheville, Murfreesboro (Tennessee)… Those areas. Atlanta would be great. We do have plans for that late this year-early next year. The aim is to do multiple shows in a tour for a few weeks. As of right now, [we’re] just the process of getting in contact with the venues. I think next summer is a very realistic goal to have enough music out to actually do regular shows. We'll definitely be playing live before then, it just may not be a tour.

Nice. Still talking about touring: Just hypothetically, what would be a band that you'd be interested in touring with in the future?

Tristan: NOTHING MORE would be sick.

Blake: NOTHING MORE would be sick. Spiritbox is on my bucket list, though.

Yeah, they're great. I saw them at Inkcarceration last year.

Blake: They're really good. Spiritbox is definitely on my list.

Along with that, in terms of collaborations and stuff: Any band, past or present, that you would be interested in collaborating with?

Blake: Past is Linkin Park for sure. Mike Shinoda would be sick. Mike Shinoda was a big inspiration for the way our production style is for sure.

So speaking about the production: Are there any bands that have inspired you and influenced you for your certain style? Which bands were they?

Blake: To start music? I think it was Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold for me. But what's influenced our sound through time? I think Wage War is a great example. We really are into old school Slipknot, even fans of a lot of their new stuff. There's a lot. I mean, Bad Omens is a great example. I really love the way that they write their chord progressions and their breakdowns. There's a lot. I say we pull from everybody that we can because there's so many. We're in an age now where there's just so much raw talent, especially in this genre and the subgenres around it. I don't think that we've ever seen a surge like this before.

For your own music, how would you describe the genre that you're in to someone who might not have listened to it before? How would you describe it?

Blake: It's like spicy sadness, man. You got some heavy riffs for the metal lovers, but then you have some lyrics that are interpersonal that if you sit down and read, or if you just listen to, you can relate to. And then we would just add a melodic touch to that, you know? We really enjoy the power cords and the heavy screaming. We also really enjoy something that sounds like a beautiful tone of just notes and chord progressions that make you feel something. A lot of that is in the production that we do, but also in the vocals that we do as well.

Yes, I definitely get that. I definitely had a lot of metalcore-type vibes going on. That's definitely what I got. I love them so far.

Blake: I appreciate that, man. Thank you.

For your future songs: You've only got two out so far, but how much would they vary from those first two style-wise?

Blake: I think that all of them are gonna be unique in their own way. Some of them will be more inclined to “Carousel,” where there’s a catchy hook; but then I also think that when it comes to our instrumentation, those breakdowns and the drum patterns that you see on that second single will be very apparent in the rest of them. I think that “Carousel” was designed to [have] a very simple production style, just so we could kind of get our sound across. I think combining the two of those for the rest of our releases, at least this year, would be ideal.

I really enjoyed them. I already mentioned what artists inspired you, but do you say that there's any that may not have inspired you musically-wise, but just generally might have inspired you to start music?

Blake: Kendrick Lamar. I think Kendrick Lamar came from a place where he was just writing stuff in his room. And he didn't come from a place where he was a musical genius as a child, like a prodigy. I grew up around a lot of musicians that were just super talented at everything they did when they were by the age of four. It's really hard to look at yourself when you're not that way, and have the courage or the confidence that you can also do it when you can't do those things at such a young age, but he kind of paved a lot of paths in that regard. It gave me a lot of confidence to do this anyway.

Yeah, I'd say that's almost kind of fueled even more now, especially with social media. I would say a lot of it, because “if you're not this good when you're super young, then you shouldn't start.”

Blake: Exactly. Yeah. It's hard to.

via Kennedy Halbert

Speaking about social media: How has that been like in relation to your band? How have you been able to take advantage of that?

Blake: I think right now TikTok is a super weapon. It was weird because initially, watching those there were a lot of singer/songwriters at the beginning, or a lot of rap artists, and I didn't really see a lot of metalcore until recently, when Pierce The Veil kind of took over, and then all of the smaller metalcore bands and local guys were starting to pop up there. I think that utilizing that as a platform and being personable and… Honestly, just a lot of times you see a lot of insincerity, but I think as long as you use that as a sincere “this is who we are, and this is what we're doing,” I feel like you can reach a lot of people that way. Just being as authentic as possible. Not being a dick!

I see so many people just hate on people that find music through there. I personally find them weird because that's pretty much what TikTok is built for. There's so many people that will hate on fans or even sometimes on the band themselves just because they had a few songs get popular on there.

Blake: Yeah, it's something that I think is just a new thing to hate. You know, back in the day it was: “If you bought the same CD as your friends, you didn't have a diverse music taste,” and then it was: “If you use Pandora to find music, you're not really looking.” There's a lot of stuff. TikTok is just the new thing where you find something that's really good, and it's good for a reason. It's popular for a reason. A lot of people like it! Bad Omens’ newest record was great, and I think a lot of people just hate to like things sometimes.

Yeah, I've seen just multiple cases of people saying: “Oh well, TikTok ruined this band for me just because they got popular there.” I just find it weird.

Blake: Yeah, just scroll past it if it bothers you.

Yeah! I've seen so many people that say that they “even just don't want to say that they found someone from TikTok.” It's strange. You've been obviously kind of on the opposite end of that. You're seeing it positively instead.

Blake: Yeah, it's out of your control what social media platforms are popular, and so you might as well look at it in an optimistic kind of way. I feel like as long as you're not using it for something that's, again, not authentic and you're not capitalizing on people's misfortunes, I'm not about to go on there trashing other people's music. I think that’s not using it correctly. Comparing yourself to other people's music is also not [appropriate]. If you're using it for your own platform and for the people that like your music to connect with you that way, then you're using it right.

Tristan: Obviously we would all rather be just creating music than just doing that whole side of things. But it's kind of inherent in the system now. That's the outreach that you have to do to get to new people.


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