The Word Alive lead singer, Telle Smith, took a precious few minutes out of a crazy busy day to talk with us at Rock Allegiance. The five-piece metalcore band was formed in Phoenix, Arizona back in 2008. They have had huge success recently putting out their best and biggest album yet, Dark Matter.
Shockwave Magazine: So you guys have had a big year this year, a new album, tell us about that.
Telle Smith: Dark Matter has kind of been a turning point in our career for the better. We put it out March 18. The initial reaction was definitely better than expected. We had high hopes for it, and then Octane picked up the song. We had the Dark Matter tour in the states, and then the same thing in Europe, and both were the best crowd reactions we’ve ever had headlining. Then we went straight into Warped tour, which was great for us. We had our best summer we’ve ever had on Warped Tour. Then we got offered Rock Allegiance. We got offered Houston Open Air. It’s just been kind of a whirlwind year. We’ve been busy nonstop and it’s just really incredible. We’re just happy that songs — this is our favorite album we’ve ever done, favorite songs, to see everyone reacting. Even some of our older, bigger songs that we’ve been playing for years, to see people reacting the way that they are with all these new fans is great. It feels like we’re building on something.
Right now you’re just doing a couple festivals. Are you just taking some time off in between to relax after being so busy?
Yeah, we’ve been on tour pretty much four out of the last five months, so we’re taking a little bit of a break. Like I said, we’re doing this festival and then next week, Houston Open Air. Then in November/December we’re about to announce we’re going to be doing a headlining tour. So we’re kinda like practicing for that, building up set lists. When you have four full lengths, it’s a little harder than it was a couple years ago. So [we’re] making sure that we’re playing the best songs that we love to play, that our fans love to hear and that go over live well.
I assume that will take you into 2017, touring the album?
Yeah, we’re just trying to ride the wave, ya know, as they say. We’re just taking things as they come, and we’re very thankful for the opportunities that are coming our way. We’ve had a couple really awesome tour offers, some that we’ve had to say no to. But in 2017 I’m sure we will be busy across the world.
You’ve probably done a lot of club shows, and then Warped Tour being a big festival, is there one scene you like better than the other?
Club shows can definitely set that atmosphere a little bit easier. As we were walking over to press we said we wish we had played in the dark so we could feel comfortable letting loose. I get that, there’s just something about a club that lets people fully let go of any insecurities that they have. Whether it’s of them singing or screaming along or jumping or whatever it is. But, I think festivals are incredible because you get to prove yourself to a lot of new fans. And you really can’t have one without the other. You have to build off of each one. Kinda where we’re at is we just do our best at both and as long as people react, we have a great time.
Are you excited to see any bands today? Who are you looking at?
I wish we were able to stay longer, we have to leave. We have another obligation scheduled for tomorrow. We actually have to leave here at three. But I wanted to see our friends in Motionless, I want to see Trivium. I want to see Breaking Benjamin, they’re one of my favorite all time bands. And just to be sharing the stage with Alice In Chains is obviously something like my aunts, uncles and parents are like, OK, this is a band I know. Of course Taylor from Foo Fighters with Chevy Metal. So obviously seeing him, he’s one of my favorite musicians, he’s just super talented. I wish we were staying longer! I think Houston Open Air I’m staying for a bit. The guys are flying out earlier than I am. I’m staying like five hours later than they are. Deftones are my favorite band and they’re playing. So we wish we could stay, like tomorrow too there’s so many friends and so many great bands that are playing. Avenged Sevenfold, obviously. This is a great festival. I’m glad they split it into two days for the fans. Kinda sucks for us cause we’re like, man, I wanna see all these bands! But it’s still amazing. We’re happy to be here.
Last question and totally random, I’m a dog lover, can you tell me about Colby?
Yes, my dog Colby is a french bulldog. She’s about five and a half now, she’s @colbythefrenchie on Instagram. She has a lot of fans. People just love her. She’s an insanely photogenic and highly personable dog. It’s weird to say almost, she has so much personality and so much uniqueness. Like you can see when she’s mad, frustrated, happy, annoyed. Ya know, like all these things and she makes it very clear. It’s really cool having a dog that’s kind of like a human.
Does she go on tour with you ever?
She does from time to time. She’s done Warped Tour twice, she’s come out on like three or four other tours. Some full tours. We’ve brought her out in front of the crowd, taken some Lion King Simba photos. She looks like, “What’s happening, like why are all these people making noise?” But it’s funny, she actually looks like she’s crazy scared in the moment, but then immediately after she’s hyped up. She’s like running around, so she loves it.
Well thank you! It was good to meet you and great show today!
If you haven’t caught The Word Alive yet this year, it sounds like you will still get your chance! Keep an eye on their social media for tour announcements and more.