Interview: OF VIRTUE share mental health tips and discuss the pandemic scenario, acoustic version of TORN APART and Deluxe edition of WHAT DEFINES YOU.
After releasing critically acclaimed album WHAT DEFINES YOU on May 24th, 2019 via SharpTone Records, Michigan-based metallers OF VIRTUE (Tyler Ennis, Damon Tate, Michael Valadez, Jon Fox, Kyle Pruehs) dropped a Deluxe edition of the record on November 20th, 2020. To give a taste of the new version, the band released an unplugged version of track Torn Apart, out via an official video. The Deluxe edition of What Defines You features 7 unreleased bonus tracks including acoustic versions, remixes and a series of b-sides.
We had a fabulous opportunity to catch up with vocalist TYLER ENNIS and Of Virtue to discuss the worldwide pandemic and political turmoil, how the band is adjusting to the current scenario and the impact on the band’s activities. Tyler also shared suggestions and mental health tips to help other musicians cope during these unprecedented times. We discussed the acoustic version and video for Torn Apart, reimagined version of Pictures of You alongside the details and mindset behind brand new Deluxe edition of What Defines You. Finally, we also had a chat on some possible future directions and plans.
- Hello Tyler! It’s amazing to catch up with you once more. During these unprecedented times, how are you adjusting as a band in the worldwide pandemic scenario and political turmoil and how has this impacted your activity?
Ever since I joined the band we haven’t been home too much, definitely not this long! It’s very strange but we are making do with what we can control. To say it’s been tough would be an understatement, but we know that this is a problem the whole world is dealing with so this isn’t just about us.
However, over the last eight months we’ve tried a lot of different things to remain active. For instance, we did about 8 weeks of Instagram Live sessions with members of other bands such as Bleed From Within, Imminence, For the Fallen Dreams, Ice Nine Kills, and more. That was a lot of fun and we may pick that up again someday! We’ve done several live streams at online festivals all over the world. I’ve also started streaming on Twitch (@ov_tyler), so if you’re on there join me for some games! Best of all, without being on the road we’ve been able to start working on our next album.
- What suggestions and mental health tips can you share to help other musicians cope during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
My advice is to not give up. We can’t tour right now and a lot of things probably may even never be the same after this, but the dream is still the drive and if you truly love music, performing live, and what it does for you, then you will find ways to keep motivated with the foot on the pedal.
The best thing I can say is to find ways to be creative during this time – time is something we have an abundance of. It’s helped me out mentally and physically. I hope it does the same for others!
- You have just dropped a new music video for the acoustic version of “Torn Apart” off your latest record What Defines You out in May 2019. Let’s discuss the mindset behind offering an acoustic performance of this song in particular.
The mindset is simple: We aren’t ones to do the same thing over and over again, and we’re doing it for us. When we decided on doing a deluxe edition of ‘What Defines You’ we really wanted to do an all acoustic album at first, but we when talked about it further we came to the conclusion that we just want “Torn Apart” to be the stand alone acoustic reimagine and make it as powerful as we can!
Watch Of Virtue – Torn Apart (Acoustic version) Official Video:
- This song is part of the Deluxe Edition of What Defines You out on November 20th featuring reimagined versions of previously released songs as well unreleased remixes and b-sides. So let’s talk about this record. What need we to know about this album as we will dive in shortly?
There’s something for everyone, that’s all I’m going to say in general. We had a lot of talented friends help us with these reimagined and remixed versions. I am excited for everyone to hear how talented these musicians & producers are and what they were able to do when giving our songs a second life.
- Let’s discuss one more song off your deluxe edition among the bonus tracks included.
There is one that I am very excited for everyone to hear, and that’s the reimagined version of “Pictures of You” featuring a good friend of ours, Patrick Harney. This is a special song to me because I wrote the song about my sister who passed away when I was 10 months old. Patrick knows how much the song means to my family and I, so to have him on the song means the world to the band. The song also took on another meaning this year when our guitarist, Mike, lost his father. It only felt right to give Pictures Of You a new life.
When I first showed my parents this version, they both bawled their eyes out and told me this is how the song should have been arranged in the first place.
I enjoy the original for what it is and it’ll always be special to me, but this version of the song, it just gets me every time I hear it. I really hope you all enjoy the song, connect with it, and if you’re hurting, cope with it.
The last thing I will say about this song though is that if you don’t know who Randy Slaugh is you need to look him up. He’s the mastermind who arranged the song and let me tell you, it is one of the most beautiful arrangements I have ever heard. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!
- Is there any soundscape, a new experimental direction or influence you may want to undertake at some point in the future?
I grew up on rock whereas Damon and Mike listened to a lot of metal and nu-metal so it’s exciting thinking about how we can combine all of our influences to make them our own sound. For the future, who knows as we write based on our mood and where we are in our lives, but whatever it is it will always be Of Virtue.
- What else can we expect from OF VIRTUE and how you guys are going about the promotion of this record?
With us about to drop a new album, were always working on something to help us connect with fans and promote the album!
For instance, we have plans to do a live stream of some sorts, a live acoustic show (exclusively for people that join our Discord & Facebook group – go join em!), and so much more!
As excited as we are to be releasing this, it was a nice send off for this album and we can’t wait to show everyone the songs we’ve written for album #2!
Thank you so much for your time Tyler and all the very best for your future endeavors. We’ll keep on supporting Of Virtue into Europe and US. Stay safe!
Of Virtue – What Defines You Deluxe edition tracklisting:
1. No Control
5. Thanks For Nothing
6. Pictures Of You
7. I Won’t Break
9. Torn Apart
10. Confide In Me
11. Torn Apart (acoustic)
12. Pictures Of You (Reimagined) (feat. Patrick Harney)
13. Thanks For Nothing (Outrun Remix)
14. Suffer (Grit gemix)
15. Alone (Avoid remix)
16. Ghost Town (b-side)
17. Death: Reality (b-side)
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