INTERVIEW: OF VIRTUE ON NEW LABEL SHARPTONE RECS, NEW SINGLE SUFFER AND MORE.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce its readers to an interview we had with metalcore outfit hailing from Lansing, Michigan, OF VIRTUE. We are catching up with the band of Tyler Ennis, Damon Tate, Michael Valadez, Jon Fox and Kyle Pruehs after their signing to SharpTone Records and the debut of their brand new single SUFFER on January 11th, 2019.
In this interview our editor-in-chief Alex had with TYLER ENNIS vocalist for Of Virtue, we got to know the band a little better, we explored their messages of positivity, their new single SUFFER along with their announcement with SharpTone Records and more.
Our track review for SUFFER is available at: www.sickandsound.it/of-virtue-sign-to-sharptone-records-and-unleash-new-single-suffer.
- Hello guys and welcome at SICK AND SOUND. How was Of Virtue brought together and what inspirations and influences have led your journey so far?
Of Virtue was created together by Mike and Damon back in 2009. Jon joined the band shortly after, and then myself and Kyle came into the picture around 2015 for touring purposes and then we officially joined Of Virtue to make us what we are now in 2017. There are so many bands that have influenced us but ones that are worth noting are Story of the Year, Misery Signals, We Came As Romans, Architects, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, etc. You can definitely hear that in some of our music and we are proud that our influences have gotten us to where we are now.
- Who are Tyler Ennis, Damon Tate, Michael Valadez, Jon Fox and Kyle Pruehs outside of their outfit and what’s the story behind your name “Of Virtue”?
The best part about being in this band is the fact that we are all different and love different things! I love video games, cats, movies and sports. Damon loves working out and finding the hottest spots to try new foods everywhere we go. Mike loves craft beer and hockey. Kyle loves fantasy sports and fruit snacks. Jon loves being a family man, drinking craft beer and looking the best out of all of us!
The story behind our name is just finding yourself and finding your moral ground and sticking with it. We all try and stay true to our morals so having a name like this with meaning holds us accountable because at the end of the day, our actions and every day decisions effects all of us and not just ourselves so to have that constantly in the back our minds, and hopefully others, we will always choose to be good and choose to make the right decisions.
- CONGRATULATIONS for signing with SharpTone Records in 2019. What feelings and expectations are behind this massive achievement?
Proud, humbled, and ecstatic! We are so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of a roster with so many bands we’ve looked up to for years! Being able to finally announce this great achievement is something all of us will always cherish because it’s every bands dream to get here, so to finally have that crossed off, it’s a very surreal feeling. This doesn’t mean we are slowing down though, as 2019 has just started, and this was one of many announcements!
- On January 11th, 2019 along with announcing a new label you have also debuted a new single, SUFFER. This is an amazing headbanging track, wisely combining heaviness and catchiness on a supreme ratio. Loved the vicious groove and driving melody behind the heavy stomp. Let’s talk more about the track, its theme and songwriting.
We appreciate the kind words! The response for the signing and the new single has been everything we’ve hoped for and we are so glad there are a lot of positive reviews. We have changed our sound a bit over the years so to see it be received well is awesome. The song has had many forms over the past couple of years as well. We did a few different renditions and didn’t have the final version until we went into the studio and it came out just how we wanted it. Damon and I switch back and forth with signing and it’s one of those things that we don’t really plan for. We both have different styles and depending on what fits is what we’ll record. I am very proud of what was written and we are so excited to see how this song will do!
- How much has your sound changed and progressed across a decade since your first release To Breathe Again EP dating back to 2009 and how much have you changed as individuals?
It’s changed a lot but we’d like to definitely say that we’ve kept our identity as a band, but have matured more. When I joined Of Virtue officially, they knew that we weren’t going to write music like the older material. We experimented a bit, and what we’ve been releasing was the type of music that fit me the best. It came naturally and I am so proud of the content we’ve created. As far as individually goes, we all have grown up and we all listen to different types of music than we did in 2009. I love how much we all have grown personally since then and it’s only up from here!
- You’re well know for the meaningful topics related to the human sphere and feelings, innermost hidden fears, secrets and desires you’ve been discussing so far. What messages are Of Virtue channeling through their music?
Honesty. Reality. Everything in between. I have always tried to be transparent with my lyrics and very straight forward because I believe everyone goes through fear, loss of loved ones, anger with what’s going on in the world today, depression, mental health issues, etc. so for us to be in the position that we are, I think it is only right for us to use this platform to spread positivity in the best way that we can. Sure we have some negative moments in our songs, but that’s the reality that we live in. Nothing is ever perfect and as positive as I try to be, it is not realistic for me to be happy all the time and have things go my way. So for all of us in Of Virtue, we just try and send the message that it’s ok to feel lost, it’s ok to not know where tomorrow is headed, but at the end of the day, it is truly ok to be yourself and to feel the feelings that you do, and you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. We are all here for you.
- Of Virtue are hitting the East Coast this February with fellow label mates Kingsmen and Blessing A Curse. Anything worth mentioning about your upcoming tour?
We are really excited for Kingsmen and Blessing A Curse to join us for what will be our first East Coast tour in a couple years! We’re hitting some places we’ve never been to and hitting some cities and states we haven’t been to in a while so we’re pumped to see some new faces and visit with some familiar ones!
- You have an extensive live experience across the majority of states in the Continental US and 12 European countries, so let’s share a few memorable moments on stage and what’s typically different between your fanbases in EU and US.
Some memorable moments? Man there are SO many off the top of my head but the one that truly sticks out is Karlsruhe, Germany! We played there our first time in Europe courtesy of Makan from the band Trapped (we love you!). It was a wild time, and they treated us to a great meal and the crowd was insane. Fast forward to this past summer, he brought us back again and I still to this day can’t help but smile every time I think about it because from the moment we hit the first note to the end of our set, they went crazy. I got hit a few times since I was performing on the floor but it was so worth it! That is also the show where we met our friend Karimba that drove across Germany and followed us to a couple different countries just to hang out with us and see us play. She is a dedicated friend and fan and we are so lucky to have her on our side.
Now as far as the fanbase goes, Europe doesn’t get a lot of shows like we do in the US so every time we’ve played in Europe, even if there are only 5 or 10 kids, they go crazy and truly appreciate you bringing your music to Europe. In the US, we get a lot of shows so it’s understandable when the turnout isn’t what you expect, but we have lots of memories of some pretty insane shows here in the US too!
- How do you see yourself in 5 years time, any goals and dreams?
This is my favorite question because I get to dream a bit! In 5 years I definitely see us headlining some awesome tours, performing on big festivals all across the world and hopefully crossing off more countries/continents off of our bucket list. Going to Europe twice has been nothing short of a dream come true and I think us adding more to that would be an even bigger goal. The sky is the limit for us and we’ve worked hard to get where we are now, so why stop now?
- Any incoming projects or revelations you can share with our readers. A new album on the horizon maybe?
I will say that we are always writing and we finished 2018 with recording some more songs with Josh Schroeder. We don’t have any details regarding an album at this time but we do hope to release some more new music in the coming months!
Thank you for your time, it’s been such a pleasure, and all the best for your upcoming tour. We are very thrilled for more music to be dropped by Of Virtue and fully supporting you into Europe and US!
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