We caught up with Upon A Burning Body‘s lead vocalist Danny a few weeks ago while they were on a huge European tour with Five Finger Death Punch. We discussed touring, current work and opinion on trends and band’s survival nowadays. Have a read!
Hello Danny, how’s your tour with 5FDP going?
It’s been great, it’s been going for like 3 weeks I think. We earned a lot of new fans, it’s been a different crowd from what we’re used to, different type of music, so we’re trying just to get new fans every night.
Wasn’t it challenging as well?
Yes, it’s not as easy as a lot of other tours we did before.
Is there anything you learn over the time during such experiences?
I don’t know, there’s so much to learn, I guess. A little more professionalism on how things run on tour because it’s pretty serious, especially when you go on tour with bigger bands, you see how tight everything needs to run, so you kinda get close to those lines, do some rules and that kind of stuff. It’s just like normal life learnings I guess, not to do this, not to do that…
Do you believe this is helping you strengthening as a band?
I think so, maybe. Maybe not. because we’re always like ‘we do this?’ ‘hey you do that!’, then you got a crew doing things for you, so it must be helping us strengthen in a way that I don’t know.
So what do you enjoy most about touring?
There’s a few things, I mean just getting to be where you are, so far away in such a different city that a lot of people would love to go to and probably never will, from home for example. So that’s special to be able to do that. Just the satisfaction to know that your music reaches people, you go to a show and people know who you are and it’s a crazy thing to do. You make music and sometimes some people come up and tell you how your music changed their life…Well, I don’t know, that’s weird, because I just was having fun doing music, you know?
We know you’re currently working on the final touches of your upcoming record, is it some kind of a logical continuation of Red. White. Green? If not, how is it different from your previous work?
We changed on the latest record, we have elements of the Red. White. Green. one, but we made a lot of things things even bigger and catchier. That was the key for us, the guitar riffs, the vocal melodies and all those things that I say, it was really important to make it more catchy than the last one. I think this new one is more where we wanted to be when we wrote and recorded Red White Green, but it would have probably been too far of jump from the first one, so we kind of put a middle ground in between with the other record and now I think we’re able to put it out. You just can’t change this brutally, the fans may have found it weird at the time…
How do you work on this more precisely? DO you always use the same writing / recording pattern?
It used to just be go into a room and jam and I would play a lot of the drum parts and write them, on the first record, a little bit on the second but not at all anymore. It just became so hard because we’re always touring. You can now get your computer and write those riffs to a simple basic beat and just have tons of riffs and parts and we just listen to them all and piece together the songs. It was a little strange on this one. Because out of the whole year we probably had maybe a month to a month and a half within the whole year to actually be in the practice room, which is so spread out that you just don’t do it. When you go home, you’re just like “I just want to go home for a second” (laughs). And you know that’s what you’re supposed to be doing but that’s hard to get there. So this one was just a combination of a bunch of parts put together BUT we all agree that’s the best stuff we’ve done so far. How we pulled that off? I don’t know (laughs) I guess that’s what makes the band hopefully stick around.
How would you describe your band in just a sentence?
I’d just say “Metal from Texas”. I think it’s the easiest way and maybe the biggest. Because metal has been around for so long and Texas is a big State that a lot of people know and it’s massive. The best way to potentially explain it without anybody having known anything about us would be that – I think. So people will be like “oh you’re metal? But you’re from Texas?” That’s something different. So you know, then you elaborate it : “Well it’s metal but it’s like a newer age metal”, so when they think metal they think like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden and I just say “no, not at all”. I mean we like that, but we’re different. That’s how I get the attention, I think.
You’re part of a very crowded music scene, especially in the US at the moment, how do you feel about knowing that you’ll always have to come back with innovative stuff to still interest people?
It’s a little upsetting, I wish it didn’t have to be like that because it’s like everything moves so fast. A trend is in and then it’s out, so like you make a whole line of clothes and they’re cool and maybe a year after, it’s done, it’s not cool anymore. So it’s really hard to…the demand of how you’re supposed to make this kind of good music or whatever people would call it, artwork or whatever you wanna say, in the shorter matter of time that people like that type or stuff is kinda shitty. Because if you stuck around longer or people would appreciate something longer, it would mean more. When metal came out, it lasted so long because that was what it was and people like it. And I think it had a lot to do with the you couldn’t steal it. You HAD to go buy those records, it you liked that band, the only way you could listen to it was to buy it or maybe borrow your friend’s record which they probably wouldn’t even give you because they wanted to keep it. And nowadays, with just a click of a button you have everything a band works for and that alone would make any band seem less important because you didn’t have to pay for it, you just got it for free. Think of somebody gave you a thousand of dollars, you’d probably spend it on the dumbest things you could think off, like “I got these thousand bucks for free, let’s go at the bar, let’s do this and that!”. But if you’ve worked really hard for that thousand, you’d be a little bit more conscious on how you spend it. And it goes the same way with bands, if you give something for free, then who cares about it?
But on the other side, it has helped a lot of bands that wouldn’t ever got noticed if it wasn’t for that social media kinda twist that the music industry has, like Facebook and everything since myspace. There’s bands that wouldn’t have even been discovered if it wasn’t for that. It’s kind of you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t
How do you think Upon A Burning Body manage to stand out from the others?
I think from the way we dress (laughs). It’s actually different from metal, it’s not like indie bands, that have that look and whatever type of softer stuff but in metal there’s not really anybody doing that. And we’ve been doing this since we started so I think that alone is. And our nitch of being from Texas, there aren’t a lot of bands from there. The last big metal band that was huge and from TExas was Pantera and there hasn’t been anything like that since. So, that was a long time ago. We’re trying to do what they did, in our way.
Building your own trademark?
Yes. Cause they had their look, you know, it became cool to look kind of trashy and…I don’t know what they were but they looked good when they did it, you know?
What is some music you enjoy listening to at the moment?
I listen to a lot of (me and my bass player) radio rock, like Breaking Benjamin, Seether, I just like the hits, the chorusly good rock’n’roll type of music and vibes those bands put out. So that’s what I listen to on the regular basis It’s a wide range. But I don’t like hearing anything like our music! (laughs)
Everyone knows that, like except when there’s a new band or friends of ours dropping a new song, we’ll play it, but we’ll never be like “put the song on!” everyday (laughs).
How would you like to be remembered later?
It’s hard to say. Not really a specific thing, we would like to be remembered later for what our music was. Something big enough to have people play it long after the band is over. That, to me, would be the accomplishment of what the ultimate goal is. You can hang it up and people would still play it, if you ever get it on the radio or whatever and you can still enjoy your music after you’ve done it. That’s really what I think would be the best thing to happen. The music would go on its own, and you don’t have anything to do.
Well thank you for your time! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep an eye for the new record and hopefully we’ll be back anywhere in the world where we have been and haven’t been yet! (laughs)