Photo Credit: Robin Ervolina
When there’s a band that really speaks to you through the first song you hear from them, you can’t help but check them out further. This is how I felt about I Prevail and their cover of “Blank Space.” For me it wasn’t the lyrical content, clearly, that drew me in. The first time I ever heard scream rock was their cover. I was so blown away that I immediately bought their Heart Vs Mind EP, sight unseen. What ensued became a love affair for the ages.
I had the immense honor of sitting with Brian Burkheiser and Steve Menoian from I Prevail to talk about their upcoming album, why hiccups are better than sneezes, and what it was like dealing with haters after “Blank Space” was out.
Shockwave Magazine: Let’s start off by introducing yourselves.
Brian Burkheiser: Hello, I’m Brian. I’m the singer for I Prevail.
Steve Menoian: I’m Steve. I’m the guitar player of I Prevail.
Thank you. Now I’m going to put your minds to the test. You ready? Would you rather have to sneeze but not be able to for the rest of your life or have the hiccups for the rest of your life?
Brian: I’ll go with the hiccups, just because they’d be interesting. I don’t know what life would be like.
Steve: Definitely hiccups. When I have to sneeze and I can’t, it just shuts down my whole day. I’ll be focused on it, I’ll be shining lights in my eyes. Rubbing my nose. I will get that sneeze out!
(laughing) Perfect. Now would you rather always have to always say everything on your mind or never be able to speak again?
Brian: I’m an open book. I would say everything.
Steve: I’ll bow it up, I got some messed up stuff in my head.
I’m an open book person myself, I tell everybody everything. So you guys have so much going on these days. Lets start with the tour. You guys are out with Pierce The Veil and Neck Deep. Can you tell me how that’s going?
Brian: Yeah, it’s been kinda crazy. Both bands all of us really liked even before we started our band. Being out on tour with them now is crazy. We are playing to a ton of kids every night and at a bunch of sold out shows. You know, just riding the wave and getting ready for the new album to come out.
Steve: It’s been cool because, you know, we’re on the same label as Pierce. I think that a lot of Pierce fans at least knew our name coming into the tour because there is so much they would have seen from Fearless Records. I think it’s just when kids know your name and know who you are coming in, you are way more well received. Pierce has been great to us and they are the nicest guys we’ve met.
They are super nice. I just got done with my interview with them a few minutes ago and they were fantastic.
Steve: Same with Neck Deep! It’s been our best tour ever, so far.
What can fans expect from you on the tour then? We’re hearing new music on the radio, you have killer songs on Heart vs Mind. What are you doing and playing and getting fans involved with?
Brian: It’s kind of a good mixture. We have a couple of good songs off the EP and we are actually playing three new songs off the new album, two of which are already out to the public, and one that is a heavier one that we haven’t dropped yet. There’s a lot of moshing, a lot of crowd surfing and a lot of jumping. It’s been a really energetic crowd up to this point.
Steve: Yeah, I don’t think I can add anything to that. Good job, Brian, you finally got one!
Brian: Yes! I got it!
Whats the name of the new one that you guys are playing that you haven’t dropped yet?
Steve: It’s called “Already Dead.” It’s a short, heavy, aggressive song.
Brian: It’s in your face. If you’re pissed off, this is the song for you.
Steve: It doesn’t pull any punches, it’s a great song and I love it.
Tell me a little bit about Lifelines. I know it’s set to release on October 21st. I already have mine pre-ordered. Whats the direction that you took in the writing and prepping of this album?
Steve: We spent over a year working on this, so we’re counting down the days. We’re only a couple weeks out now. I think we found a way to stay true to our core sound, but really just mature at the same time and write more focused and well put together songs. We had a really focused message that we wanted to get across, and a lot of it is about what we went through over the last year and half to two years and how it has changed our lives. There are life changing events that come that created a “before and an after” that a lot of people go through. Whether that’s a band situation, a break up or something with school … It could be anything for a lot of people. It’s relatable, but it’s specific to us. I’m really happy with how it has turned out.
Brian: Musically and lyrically too. I think one thing we really wanted to do on this record was not have people listen and say “Oh these songs all kinda sound the same.” So you’ll notice when Lifelines does come out that we like to have each song kinda have its own personality. It’s a journey as you go through it and I’m really hoping fans receive it well.
I did a song review on “Stuck In Your Head” and I frickin’ loved it…
Steve: I think I read about it actually.
Steve: Yeah. Did you tag us on it in Facebook?
(laughing) Yeah. That and on Twitter… and on probably everything else…
Steve: (laughing) Yeah, I remember reading it.
Awesome! I appreciate it, that’s really cool.
Steve: I wish I could speak that cool.
I’ve written since I was a kid, so I’m glad that it’s finally paying off. Thank you! (laughing) So moving on, the first single off Lifelines, “Scars,” you have a new video to it which already has 3.5 million views. It features people wearing masks to hide what they don’t like about themselves. Did you set out to give your fans a certain message and is that carried out through the rest of the album?
Steve: With “Scars” specifically, the masks are a metaphor for things that you feel the need to hide about yourself, cover up, or be ashamed of when it’s just who you are. Especially when it’s who you are as a person, what you want to be, or what you want to do with your life and people are telling you you can’t. We go through that all the time…
Brian: Creating the band, a lot of people were telling us “Oh, you’re not going to be able to do this” yadda yadda yadda. We’re just saying that you should “prove the doubters wrong” and don’t be afraid to be who you are, and go for what you want.
Steve: That’s pretty much the message of the song. We’re a band about positivity. We write heavy music, but we are really all about the positivity.
Well if you can do the positive through the heavy, that’s even better! So you released a click-bait video just recently. It totally worked, by the way…
Brian: Yes! We had doubts putting it up at first. We were like “Uhhh, we aren’t sure if this is going to quite work.”
Steve: Brian and I have a really interesting dynamic. We run most of the social media together and Brian is the marketing mind. He always has the next craziest idea, right? So he came up with this idea. I’m the guy who is always trying to poke holes in it. I try to tell Brian why it’s not going to work, even if I like it. I just try to make him think through every angle. I definitely had my doubts about the video. I was like “What are we doing here?” But somehow we pulled it off.
Brian: I will also give a shout out to our videographer, Curt Mackey, who edited everything. With the fight scene in the beginning, the acting wasn’t the greatest. He was able to edit that clip enough to make it look like a real fight. If you would have seen the whole clip, you would have been like “Ehhhh, I don’t think I’m buying this.”
I was completely fooled, so excellent work on his part. Well, you guys were promoting pre-orders on that video. When I wrote these questions it was before you released the new song that you were teasing about. Can you tell me about “Come and Get it” now that it’s released?
Brian: “Come and Get it” talks about all the people who have hated on us for the past year and a half. Obviously a lot of people labeled us as a “cover band.” We understand that, we did a cover and what not, but that’s definitely not what this band has set out to do. It’s not the only thing we are trying to do. We’re trying to get our own music out there and whatever. We just wanted to say “Hey, look at us. We’re doing our own thing and we’re doing it well.” It was like an “F you” to the haters, I guess.
Steve: (laughing) Nailed it again, man. Two for two.
Did Taylor Swift ever respond to your video?
Brian: We’re still waiting…
Steve: No, we’re not waiting anymore…
Brian: I guess we aren’t waiting.
Steve: (laughing) We don’t care. We’re nothing her, that’s where we’re at.
Brian: (laughing) Although, our drummer is still a little bit in love with her. But, yeah, you know.
Is there anything else you’d like to plug through the magazine to your fans?
Brian: Yeah! The new album Lifelines drops October 21st. We have bundles up, you can pre-order on our webpage, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and all that fun stuff. We have something really cool dropping on the day of the release. We can’t say what it is yet, but there’ll be a piece of content that’ll get a lot of people excited!
Thanks so much for sitting with me today. We will see you out there and good luck with the rest of your tour.
I Prevail has many bundles up on their webpage for pre-ordering the new album. You can get all sorts of merchandise together with the album.
If you missed the show at Louder Than Life, we have pictures included for your eyes to feast on. Catch the next show near your home town!
Photo Credit: Robin Ervolina