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Interview: One Way to Live

One Way to Live is a Denver-based hardcore/metal quintet. They released their self-titled debut EP in December, 2015. Head over to their Facebook page and check out their video for “Hourglass” on their YouTube channel in the links following the interview.

One Way to Live started in summer of 2015 and in just under two years, you have amassed quite a following.  Is there anything specifically that you can attribute this to?

We can thank many great fans who have served as our foundation, and as a team we’ve been able to climb much more rapidly than we could have imagined. Our sole purpose is to play heavy music that will unite anyone with an ear for it, and those open-minded and passionate metalheads we have an honor to call our fans are certainly responsible for our growth!

Your self-titled EP came out about a year ago.  How did you prepare for that?  Did you lock yourselves in a room and write an entire album or do you let it come naturally?

It’s crazy to think that we’ve been grinding off of our EP for such a long time because the process of putting it out was even more extensive. The EP was a test of our knowledge as musicians, and we were using the tail end of 2014 through 2015 to write it. With that said, writing the EP involved close attention to each detail, and we jammed together and recorded songs repeatedly until we found the best riffs, melodies, and structure per song. We’d like to think that our array of influences along with our chemistry helps us to create our music.

What have been some of the highlights and opportunities that have come your way since the release of your album?

Since the release of our EP, we’ve had a plethora of opportunities and experiences working with some of the best talent in our scene. The main highlight that we’d like to mention since the release of our EP would be our signing to management with Music Gallery International under Shawn Barusch.

Were there specific topics or causes that you wanted to address on the album?

Each song has a unique meaning to it: from corruption to violence, fear to hatred, love to strife. However, each song falls under a simple concept: time. We are intrigued by the presence of time as a measurement and philosophical construct. We are perceptive of time as an infinite ruler, and even consider it our balance among life and death. However, we believe we’ve foolishly imprisoned time under our selfish desires and tried to turn the tables. Time isn’t always on our side, so we emphasize that our time alive should be spent wisely and for the common good.

Where did the video concept for “Hourglass” come from? What was it like to produce this video and release it into the world?

“Hourglass” is the highlight of the EP, conveying our overall theme of time. We wanted to capture a more ominous and isolated performance to convey deeper meaning of the song. The video was shot overnight, and didn’t take us too long to complete despite our past experiences! But releasing it and getting many features on it was exciting. It was almost like we brought everything into fruition with that video.

There are always going to be haters in the world.  How does the band handle the criticism, either constructive or otherwise?

“Hate us cuz they ain’t us” – James Franco, The Interview.
We are well aware of haters, trolls, and bullies. I mean, constructive criticism is everything and none of us have an impregnable ego, but honestly, if any criticism is delivered with hostility we aren’t going to buy into it. We are open to feedback, and bantering with anyone is just a waste of time.

As a whole, what is one thing that you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

We want to get on the road and meet some great new people! Being part of an industry where it is hard to stay afloat isn’t stopping us, but we need all the help we can get. Our goal is to get on the road and grow with our fanbase!

You guys are part of a thriving hardcore/metal scene in Denver.  Have you found it helpful in your career or do you find it overwhelming and hard to get your name out there with so many other bands trying to do the same?

The hardcore/metal scene has made it tough and simple for us depending upon the situation. I would say that there are many great bands, but there is far more saturation in the scene with bands than we’ve been used to. On a positive note, it has been simple to find bands to play shows with, and there’s definitely some healthy competition.

Most metalheads would claim that it’s not just about the music, it’s a lifestyle. Would you agree? How has metal music shaped your view of your life and the world?

Metalheads are statistically the most loyal fans in the world that they equally hate. Isn’t that ironic? Metalheads may be viewed as repulsive, maniacal deviants who don’t obey any of society’s norms, yet they would bleed for the artists they listen to. So, of course being a metalhead is a lifestyle. It isn’t entertainment, it is a community. Every member of our band was brought up differently, but metal music is what united us all and formed such an unbreakable bond. We play shows because we grew up going to them, and it’s the only way we know how to live. It’s our One Way to Live 😉

Every aspiring rockstar has an idea of what they want in their shows and how they want the audience to perceive them.  Are there any elements that you would like to implement into your live shows that will help you stand out?

Kevin: I grew up watching videos of Guns N’ Roses and Metallica performing and everything about those live shows mesmerized me, so I would love to have huge pyro and lights at some point in my career.
Dylan: I have always loved my pyro and light shows. If we include at least one of those, we would be dying to play more live shows.
Ryan: The 80’s fan in me desperately wants a catwalk and 15 foot flames. Other than that, I really dig vibrant colors and three-dimensional productions that bring a sense of intimacy to our show.
Schraeder: Pyrotechnics, big stage banners, video screening on a backdrop, strobing. Flashy elements would be clutch!
Jake: Fire is metal, right? Who doesn’t like fire?

Being in a band takes a lot of commitment and is seen as a brotherhood.  What are the qualities that unify the band together and keep you guys going?

Humor, humility, respect, teamwork, discipline, and integrity.

How much of the outside world do you let into your music?

We write most of our material thematically, so any direct reference to the outside world is uncommon. Most of our material is personal as well, so nothing would make it into a song unless it really impacted us.

A lot of musicians have ‘lucky’ items or rituals they do for shows. Does the band have anything that they traditionally do or wear for shows?

Kevin: I try to warm up and get stretched before I go on stage as I seem to always go way too hard. I take a few deep breaths and make sure I have my inhaler on me.
Dylan: I don’t have any lucky items. I do stretch my hands to help me play.
Ryan: No lucky items for me, I just make it crucial to meet up with Schraeder for vocal warm ups, and then we all get together for a bro-huddle before our set. The ritual for us is post-set junk food!
Schraeder: I use my own mic, there’s a sentimental feel to it. I like keeping cough drops and the lime-cucumber Gatorade handy as well.
Jake: No lucky items here, though my ritual involves napping to and/or from the venue.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened while playing a show; either on stage or in the crowd?

Kevin: I seem to be a root of most of the craziness, I’ve broken a snare stand and my drum pedals at one show, had a minor asthma attack at a separate one, I put myself through the ringer I guess. Haha
Dylan: Kevin has almost died on us. Luckily he always has his inhaler.
Ryan: Kevin had an asthma attack once mid song and we didn’t even miss a beat!
Schraeder: I’ve broken a drywall panel on the ceiling of a bar (low-profile stage, I know I’m short – haha) when I jumped off of a monitor before a breakdown.
Jake: I believe Kevin wants all the attention at shows. He breaks things, forgets to breathe… Sometimes I worry.

Any plans you can tell us about for the near or extended future?

We will be opening both Colorado dates of Xandria’s North American headliner with Once Human and Kobra and the Lotus in May, and also are in the process of writing some new material. Stay tuned, some heavy shit is headed your way!

 

Follow One Way to Live:
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