If you were to say the name I Pevail before October in 2014, its no secret you’d be met with surprised or confused looks from post-hardcore music lovers across the globe however following the release of Taylor Swift‘s massive 1989 album, bands decided to cash in on the trending topic of her success by covering songs off the album. Some were unsuccessful in achieving more than just blip on the radar, others couldn’t back up the success they had with their follow up songs, but one band prevailed in breaking away from the stereotypes of being a ‘famous cover band‘ to gain almost instant success and global recognition because of their music and that band was I Prevail. Ahead of their first Australian Tour (which is almost completely Sold Out) I grabbed guitarist Steve Menoian for a chat about how they’re dealing with their new found fame and the origins of where the success came from.
Let’s take a look at your Lifelines Tour; Your first tour down under is almost Sold Out in every single city. What’s going through your mind when you see a response like this for you guys?
It’s kinda crazy man, it’s adding to all the excitement and positivity that’s going on over here in the US and we’re all just stoked to get over to Australia because from day one [of starting the band] literally the amount of what we saw through our socials and online coming from Australia was insane and we’re just happy to get over there and finally bust our asses performing for you guys.
Look there’s no pressure for you guys coming down here, you’ve only had millions upon millions of views online and all these fans worldwide who want to see what you can do up close and personal. Are you stressed about that at all?
[laughs] No, I don’t think we will be. The tour we’re on right now, we’re headlining most of the US and I’d say 90% of the shows were sold out, so we’re been getting used to the big crowds and getting used to the energy and we’re loving every minute of it. I think we’re gonna be right when we get over to you guys. No nerves, just excitement.
Well a couple of beers will solve all those stage fright issues you’ve got.
Oh yeah? Exactly right. [laughs] Couple Beers. Couple Cocktails. We’re definitely down for that!
Well we’ve got plenty in mind for you. Lets take a look at you guys, you burst into the spotlight about three years ago and you’ve been in touch with your fans on Social Media, on YouTube [with messages for fans after each music video] Do you reckon thats part of the reason you were so successful, because of that interaction?
Yeah, I think it plays a big part. We always saw social media as a real way to connect with people and kinda on the surface, the industry is going though a big change where social media was viewed as almost gimmicky to the music industry for a long time, especially for bands and heavy bands at that. We just saw it as an opportunity to connect because once somebody hears your music and sees what your band is about, it doesn’t matter how they see it, whether they hear it on the radio or word of mouth or scrolling through their news feed, once that connect is made, it’s made and we’re proud to say that we’ve had amazing messages from fans about real life shit that they’re going though and we try to respond to as much as we can and share our own experiences in one-on-one messages.
We’re just a band that took an approach as a fan perspective because, we were always fans of music for a long time before it became our careers, so we always try to keep that perspective and offer a connection that we saw was available through social media.
Yeah and look at the outcome, you’ve got fans all across the world just dying to get their hands on you. Talking about you guys being fans of music, obviously you all were massive fans of Taylor Swift?
[laughing] Yeah!… I mean yeah, we definitely are. Back in the day when we did the cover, 1989 had just come out I think; or maybe a couple singles were out, we basically listened through and picked that song [Blank Space] and did the cover, but yeah we’re fans of pop music absolutely. We’re not afraid to admit it.
Look you’ve gotta have a diverse range of music you’re into, otherwise if you listen to the same genre over and over again then you’re only going to be exposed to the same kind of music for the rest of your life.
Exactly, yeah. I think our influences are felt throughout the band and they’re definitely pop influences. When we see new songs from [Justin] Bieber or whoever it is, we’re all talking about it or saying what we think about the melodies and the vibe and everything.
I don’t wanna say that we study [them], we watch what goes on in that world and we like pop music.
And was it a conscious decision for the band to whore the shit out of the Taylor Swift cover you did? Because I literally had no idea who you were until I started seeing the sponsored posts on Facebook for the song and almost everyone I knew (who liked heavy music) had shared it or tagged friends in it. It was insane but the quality of the cover was incredible.
Yeah we had no idea the scale of it, I mean you make the best music you can and put it out there and hope for the best. You make what you want to make as an artist and produce it the best you can so we definitely had a plan. Heavy bands have been doing pop covers for a long time obviously, but we had a feeling it could be special, we had no idea how big it was gonna be, but to this day so many fans found us though that and what we had going for us was our own original music behind it ready to go.
We put out stuff on an EP right away and kids connected with that just as much and I think today the way people are listening to music is changing. There are no more formats, or they’re going away at least. Kids like what they like and it’s really diverse and we found that the industry has been a lot harder on us in terms of putting a cover out first and we’ve taken a lot of shit for that obviously, and we don’t give a fuck because our fans don’t look at us that way. They don’t see us as a cover band, they know we’re not a cover band, they just like that song and they love us as an original band and it’s just another thing to add to the I Prevail discography and it’s another piece of the puzzle.
I love the way that you elaborated on that because you look at these bands who start out doing covers and they don’t have the backup songs behind them [e.g original pieces] and they get pigeonholed as a band famous for performing someone else’s songs. Its good that you guys can break the mold and not be known as the Taylor Swift cover guys!
Right! Yeah, I mean people that don’t know our band on a surface level or people that are critical about bands, that’s where they go! They wanna bring up the Taylor Swift cover thing, but there’s absolutely something real going on here. We have a real fan base that we’re lucky to have that we love and we see it every night. We knew something was going on because we started touring immediately and we saw the connection we were having with kids and fans, so we knew right away this was something real.
Unfortunately the industry and critics and all that shit, a lot of times they live in the dark ages and they can’t see what we can see. So we hear it, we’re aware of what’s being said about us and we just don’t give a shit and we’re gonna keep doing out thing, playing music for our fans. We don’t play music for anybody else.
Good call. Talking about your shows, take us though what we can expect because obviously we have no idea and we’re keen to know what we’re in for.
We’ve been honing our show for the last two and a half/three years and we were kind of in the odd spot to start off our touring period as a headliner, which is very odd in most cases. We’ve been able to really dial in our show because we’ve always had to deal with ourselves being the headlining band. Basically it’s a roller coaster!
We have high energy parts, moshing, crowd surfing and we have emotional moments. Our singers like to share personally about themselves and have those moments where if you’re open and vulnerable at the shows you can connect with that stuff. And if you’re not and you’re just rowdy and you wanna get there and jump around in the mosh, that’s cool too. But we like to make it a diverse show where you get a range of emotion. It’s out first time going overseas but we want to have a killer show and have a fun time.
Ok, so what you’re saying is we should bring along a spare set of undies, a box of tissues and some band-aids because you never know what kind of experience you’re gonna have?
[laughs] Dude I couldn’t have said it better than that. That’s everything you need right there, the I Prevail care package, it’s what you need for each show.
All the bands that come to Australia for the first time get given Tim Tams, Vegemite and a lot of other Australian experiences, but what do you guys want to do while you’re here? Will it be the typical Koala and Kangaroo band photo?
Umm, that’s quite a good place to start. I wish I could surf or something cool like that, I just don’t think any of us have that skill. Maybe you could tell me man! I think we have the most time off in Melbourne.
Alright well I did come up with a list of the best things to do in each state while you’re here. They’re a bit left field in comparison to the other bands who have come through.
Ok, hit me.
First of all, you start off in Perth so you need to go swimming without a cage amongst all the Great White Sharks over that side of the country.
[laughs] Ok, sounds intense.
Secondly then you need to come to Brisbane where you can get absolutely maggot and jump in the Brisbane river (Maggot = Get blind drunk)
Ok hahaha I’m ok with that.
Then you’ve gotta bypass Sydney because no one likes Sydneysiders!
[laughs] Oh yeah, is that how it is!
Yep hahaha and then you’ve gotta go chill out in Melbourne because literally it’s so fuckin’ cold down there all the time! You get four seasons in one day and that’s one of the best things to do there besides going to the rooftop bars and all the alley ways where you can go down and discover completely different worlds. Melbourne is a great place, I think you’ll really like it the most!
Ok cool, so it’s get ready for the outdoors in Perth then get drinking and skip Sydney. Got it!
And the before you go home you have to get a Southern Cross tattoo
It’s the star constellation that we have down here. A lot of Bogans (or in your case Red Necks) would have it so show your Aussie Pride by getting one of those.
Alright, we were trying tot think of something [a tattoo] to get. I gotta look that up. Its better than the idea we had to get a kangaroo or something generic.
I’m sure if you get the Southern Cross tattoo you won’t be welcome back in the country ever again so maybe think of something else!
[laughs] Alright, alright.
Steve it’s been great chatting with you, the new album Lifelines is out now and still selling stacks of copies to this day. The upcoming tour with Void of Vision is almost completely Sold Out, Melbourne get onto the 2nd and Final Show for tickets. Do not miss I Prevails iconic First Tour of Australia. See you at the end of the month!
Thanks man, I appreciate it. Looking forward to getting over and seeing you guys.
Tuesday 28 March – Amplifier Bar, Perth – 18+ – SOLD OUT
Thursday 30 March – The Triffid, Brisbane – Lic A/A– SOLD OUT
Friday 31 March – Factory Theatre, Sydney – Lic A/A – SOLD OUT
with JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED
Saturday 1 April – Corner Hotel, Melbourne – 18+ – SOLD OUT
with THE BEAUTIFUL MONUMENT
Sunday 2 April – Arrow on Swanston, Melbourne – All Ages– SOLD OUT
with BELLE HAVEN
Tuesday 4 April – Corner Hotel, Melbourne 18+ – SELLING FAST
Wednesday 5 April – Factory Theatre, Sydney Lic A/A– SOLD OUT
with BELLE HAVEN