Dead Icons is a hardcore band from Kentucky who has been gaining a good deal of attention all across the country due to their dynamic live shows and super intensive songs. They’ve opened for the likes of Foundation and Call To Preserve and are about to hit the road again with genre legends Shai Hulud. Now signed to Bullet Tooth Records, Dead Icons has unleashed a lively collection of slamming anthems entitled Condemned.
Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the Dead Icons to find out more about the band destined to mosh it up in your town – if they haven’t done so already. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Dead Icons, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Stanley and I play bass in Dead Icons. I think we’ve been a band for a little over two years now.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re based out of Lexington, KY, but our drummer lives in Des Moines, IA. Music scene is pretty sparse there. There’s pockets of it all over the state like in Whitesburg, Louisville, etc. Lexington has a decent music scene but there’s not much in the way of hardcore. Local band’s I would recommend, hmm… Tombstalker, also Emarosa is from our area and they are demoing out some new material right now, it sounds awesome.
How did you wind up signing to Bullet Tooth Records?
Well we ended up signing with Bullet Tooth after we sent Josh a press kit and he contacted us a few days later with interest. I talked to him on the phone for a while about the whole thing and afterwards we felt really good about signing with him. He has a history of helping develop classic hardcore/metal bands like Terror, Walls of Jericho, Bleeding Through, and that’s a person that we wanted in our corner.
Select two songs from Condemned and what inspired the lyrics.
Folding Aces – This song is about how sometimes people get put in a great situation, but instead of appreciating it and taking advantage of it, they just waste the opportunity. It’s about a lot of other things too but that’s the main jist.
Everything Has A Price – This one is inspired by the people in life who constantly take and take and take from everyone around them, and they appear to get away with it and live happily ever after until inevitably their past catches up to them and they pay the price. You can’t live your whole life treating people badly and come out on top, eventually you end up alone, which is the worst thing you can be in life.
Who produced Condemned and what was it like working with them?
We recorded with Al Jacob at Warrior Sound Studios in Chapel Hill, NC and it was great. He was very good about letting us know if a take was bad, or if we needed to just try it a different way. It turned out awesome and we appreciated the advice, it was like tough love. He wouldn’t let us keep anything that wasn’t the best we could do, which if you have ever spent a week in a recording studio you know that it’s easy to just say “Yeah that sounds alright, let’s just keep it.” Which is totally different than any other time we have recorded.
What could one expect from a live Dead Icons show?
Well it’s a pretty typical live show for a hardcore band. We have always strived to be extremely tight and together when we play, and even when that doesn’t happen sometimes, it is always energetic. Usually it’s loud music, people moving in various ways that could be categorized as “moshing,” maybe some people singing along with the songs too, who knows, so many weird things have happened at shows on tour that I don’t even know what to expect anymore. Haha
I saw you guys with Call To Preserve and Venia and you all but stole the show for the other bands. What was the tour like and what do you remember from the Cobalt Café show?
I appreciate that very much man! The tour was pretty cool, it was with people that we were already friends with so it was just fun to hang out. However both Venia and Call To Preserve are christian bands and we aren’t, so a lot of the shows weren’t really our scene. To be honest about the Cobalt Cafe show, I don’t remember hardly anyone being there! Haha. So I definitely appreciate you coming out and remembering us.
Do you have any interesting road stories you could share?
Dude I have probably forgotten so many more than I remember but here’s one that we had happen recently. We somehow got in touch with this breakfast restaurant/cafe in Virginia somewhere and they were really cool about letting us eat there for free. So when we get there, we just let our guitar player Drew talk to the lady and introduce himself and thank her for helping us out and she’s a really nice foreign lady, maybe thai, I wasn’t too sure. Well Drew is talking to the lady at the counter while we are sitting at a table, and I see him looking back at our vocalist Will with this funny ass grin on his face. Apparently the lady wanted our singer to sing her a christian song in front of the whole restaurant. So she’s putting Will on the spot, and he’s getting super embarrassed the whole time. She’s relentless about wanting him to sing a song. We ended up giving her a T-Shirt to make up for not singing. The food was great and everyone there was super nice, it was just a super funny situation. Not the best story in the world but that literally happened a few days ago so it’s fresh in my mind.
What kind of touring do you have coming up, and will any of the shows wind up in LA or OC?
Actually we have a tour coming up with Shai Hulud, A Plea For Purging, and Counterparts and it’s coming to the Cobalt Cafe. Hopefully this time there will be some people there!
What advice would you give a new band about to attempt going on tour for the very first time?
The best advice I can give is to quit thinking about touring and just start touring. If you want to tour in a band, you just have to do it. It’s plain and simple. Also expect for a lot of shows to fall through or be really bad on your first few tours. Hell, I mean sometimes shows are bad for almost any band every now and then. It just happens. The most important thing is to push through.
Also the best thing you can do is have a good quality CD recorded of your band. If you guys sound awesome and blow the socks off people live, but then your CD sounds like it was recorded on your friends garage with an XBOX microphone, people will be confused. You want to have a recording that best represents your band,
When you look back on your Vultures recording, what do you think of it now? How easy or difficult was it to self-release an EP on your own
I actually think that CD sounds pretty bad now. Haha, I mean it was cool then, but I also didn’t know what a recording was supposed to sound like. We re-recorded and re-structured a few of the songs for a reason for sure. It was easy to get the CD’s made, and relatively cheap, but we never re-ordered them once the original 300 were gone because we would rather just spend the money on merch or fixing our van. So in that respect it was hard because we would always tour without music.
Why should someone rush out right now and buy a copy of Condemned?
I think it’s got a little something for everyone. It’s thrashy, it’s heavy, it’s got punk fast parts, it’s got some unconventional breakdowns and parts in songs that throw people off a little bit.
Any final words of wisdom?
Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do in life. The only thing more terrifying that taking a risk and doing something unconventional that you want to do, is not doing it and regretting it forever.
Dead Icons is:
William Johns – Vocals
Stanley Sievers – Bass
Drew Cruse – Guitar
Michael Khan – Drums
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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