Getting to know Drayter

Coming from the Dallas-Fort Worth area could mean just about anything for a musician. With a prominent rock, country and pop scene down in the Lonestar State I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I came across the band Drayter (Pronounced Dre – like Dr. Dre – Tur – like Turtle.) What I found was a pleasant blend of the good elements of a catchy pop song swirled together with the rock elements of your favorite head banger. Their debut album Nine takes you back and forth between heavier tracks and top down earworms that will keep you interested around each and every turn. I got a chance to chat with both Liv and Cole of Drayter getting to know them and learn more about the makings of their debut record.

First I wanted to ask, where did the name Drayter come from? It is certainly unique!

C: So when I originally first started the band with our former bass player, we were watching cartoons and heard the name Drayter and we were like “Hey that sounds pretty cool!” so we changed up the spelling a little bit and started going by it. People just started knowing us as that band with the cool name that played covers on the weekend at house parties and stuff.

You guys have your first album “Nine” out now, and many look at the first album as a band’s first big statement to the world. What are you trying to say with this album?

L: Well the album, we have 2 different producers on the album Matt Squire and Dave Fortman, Matt Squire has more of a pop forte while Dave Fortman has worked with bands like Slipknot and Evanescence so you’re right, our first album is definintely a statement album, there is not one filler track meaning every single song on there is really great if I do say so myself! Because we have 2 different producers the album is very diverse and there are a lot of different subgenres within the album itself. I think a lot of different people are going to be able to connect to it. I guess the statement we’re trying to make with Nine is that it’s a really fun album with an uplifting undertone. There are some songs on there that are just full of hope and some tracks on there that are just like fun tracks to kick back to. It’s just a really exciting and fun album!

First single of the album is “Run” can you talk about the song itself and the meaning behind the lyrics?

C: The meaning behind the lyrics is somewhat of self-acceptance and doing your own thing regardless of what others think about you. Kind of going back to the last question a lot about our “statement” as a band and about this album is really being yourself and not letting other people’s judgements get in the way of living your life. I think that “Run”  is a good summary of the statement of the album; basically do what you want, have fun, live your life, don’t sit around taking peoples criticisms too personally.

C: Basically before we’d even gotten to the studio, when the song was in demo form, we had always talked about how this part of the track needed something to take it to the next level and again we wanted to incorporate all sorts of different genres and decided that a gospel choir was something we really wanted to do. So we reached out and searched for people, who knew people, who knew people, and ended up connecting with the phenomenal choir from Dallas, one night we just drove to their local church and set up our mics and just recorded! Before going in there none of the choir members had heard the track or what it was supposed to sound like so it was really kind of an on the spot thing. It honestly didn’t take super long but it was probably one of if not the coolest experiences of the recording process. Just being able to hear 25 different voices all together singing in unison and having so much fun while doing so. It was incredible.

Being from the Dallas – Fort Worth area, you’re certainly in a big melting pot for music of a lot of different genres. How has living in Texas attributed to your musical style?

L: Both of us are really Rock rooted musicians and the Dallas scene is filled with a lot of rock, a lot of metal, the Fort Worth side of the area has a lot more rock and roll, southern flare, but Pantera comes out of Arlington so the DFW area are all for that kind of metal as well. Drayter used to play some really hard tunes, and my old band used to play some real rock and roll tunes so I think it’s really cool because we are now Rock rooted musicians moving more into the mainstream direction so it really gives us a unique sound and flair. Like yes, we’re pop but there is a notable rock element underneath it all and I really like that. I think it definitely comes across, “Run” is the most pop-y track so there is some harder stuff there’s some stuff in between. Being from this area however we will always stick to our rock roots.

What can fans expect in the upcoming months?

C: Mostly we’re focused on the album and getting it out there for all to hear, spreading the word. You know, getting it in the hands of all the right people. We’re pretty much putting everything we have behind this album. You can expect a lot of shows, touring, more super cool things especially live stuff. That’s going to be the main focus. We want to hit every city, meet every fan, get out on the road for the majority of 2016 to show what we have to offer, all while having fun doing it!

Thanks so much to Drayter for chatting with me and I’m excited to come to a show this year! For moreinformation, check out the Band’s Website   and their socials.



Dallas, TX – DRAYTER the high-energy American Pop/Rock band from Dallas, Texas fronted by lead singer Liv Miner and lead guitarist Cole Schwartz performed for an intimate crowd Saturday night at The Curtain Club in Dallas, Texas. DRAYTER founded in 2009, takes modern pop-rock to new stylish heights with its infectious mash-up of pop angst and rock swagger. That rock swagger was on full display Saturday night as the blonde bomb-shell known as Liv Miner delivered pitch perfect vocals and lead guitarist Cole Schwartz performed with a high energy level really showing the crowd how to have a good time. Their set was a fun energy filled set that truly is what rock is all about. If you get the chance to see DRAYTER live it will be one name that you won’t soon forget!


Geared up: Drayter Founder and Guitarist Cole Schwartz Discusses...

Recently we connected with Cole Schwartz, founder and guitarist of the high-energy Dallas, Texas-based pop/rock band, Drayter, who released their latest full-length effort, the 9-track album Nine, on December 18, 2015 (purchase here). Half angsty rock and half swagger-filled pop, the band successfully blend the two into some undeniably-catchy, modern rock music. Always ones to desire more insight, we asked Schwartz to help us better understand his gear.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Schwartz: That would have to be my Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty. It’s a great guitar with phenomenal tone, and it’s extremely reliable.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Schwartz: The guitar sound is very flexible. I use my Majesty, which is an extremely high output guitar, for a genre that normally doesn't require one. When I have to go into the lead licks it’s an effortless transition. Being such a high output guitar, it helps cut through a mix really well, both live and in the studio. I definitely think it's the DiMarzio Illuminators that give it the punch.

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Schwartz: I used several guitars for our latest album including a Fender Jim Root Telecaster, Music Man Armada, '86 Gibson Les Paul, '59 Fender Strat, and a Gibson Melody. However, I used the Majesty as the main guitar because of the tone and its predictability.

How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Schwartz: Again, I like reliability and predictability, so I favor a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx for all of my amp sounds and effects.

What are the major pros and cons?
Schwartz: The pros are always having a super-consistent sound and an endless set of effects. Plus it’s extremely compact and light. Cons? If it goes down I’m pretty much screwed.

Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Schwartz: For my amp? Not currently, but I have been checking out a couple amps like Engl and Orange. Not sure which way I’m headed just yet.

How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Schwartz: I've had my Axe-Fx for about two years now and really like it. Right now I don't think I have a reason to change, but I do like real amps – especially tube.

Give us your best "gear goes wrong" story.
Schwartz: Several years ago we were playing at House of Blues in Dallas, and I was not using my wireless. On the first song I ran towards the front of the stage and yanked my whole rig over. To make matters worse, the head got stuck between the stage and an amp scrim. Even though the band kept on playing, it was about a 40 second nightmare for me. Fortunately, I had the rest of the set to recover.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Schwartz: I’m a definitely a guitar nut. I love playing new guitars, and really fall into that category of always looking for my "next" guitar. But with my Majesty, I’m pretty content. It looks great, it plays great, it’s super-reliable, and the sound so pristine - both in the studio and live. Plus the folks at Ernie Ball Music Man have been great. They are very supportive to their artists. As far as my Fractal Audio AXE-FX, it’s a great piece of gear. Highly sophisticated, but easy to use and reliable. Together with my Majesty, I am set for a while. I think:)



Album review: NINE by Drayter:

Finally the rock world has a female singer for the 21st century who pulls no punches. Nine, the new album by Dallas-based Drayter, is an exciting and promising listen that has the potential to change the playing field of what female lead vocalists are expected to embody in a pop/rock band.

Singer Liv Miner is at the forefront of Nine and has a strong showing filled with an attitude and spirit that carries over into the band’s overall performance. Despite the opening number, “Run,” which hints at a more pop-oriented set to follow, Drayter veers off into a hard-rock tone as the album progresses, creating a nice juxtaposition to the sometimes-smooth vocals of Miner. While Miner’s singing may sound unconventional over heavy power chords, it’s this difference that’s most appealing. There are undoubtedly many pop hooks to be had on songs like “Criminal” and “So What,” and Miner can fill that role nicely, but it’s when she matches the brashness of her stellar band with the inflections in her delivery that you really begin to take notice. “Still Here” is an example that captures this perfectly, as Miner sings, “You tried to break our world in two/But we’re still here” over a charging chorus.

It is all at once refreshing and welcome to hear a female vocalist take the reins of a rock band. Not only does Nine have a good amount of songs you can listen to repeatedly, it has songs that offer a much-needed perspective in the genre.”


Relatable and hard-hitting for fans...

Interview by Dom Vigil

Drayter's new album, Nine has been a long time in the making. Not only are the emotionally charged songs on this release relatable and hard-hitting for fans, but they also mean quite a bit to the band, as well. After the release of Nine, Drayter chose to donate their album sales to support education on bullying awareness and prevention, which comes as no surprise after listening to the emotional track, "Not Alone," from the new album. Starting 2016 on the heels of their successful release, Drayter can only go up from here. 

We recently had the chance to chat with founding member and guitarist Cole Schwartz about Nine, Drayter's growth and much more. Read the entire interview and listen to "Not Alone" below! 

You ended 2015 with the release of your full-length album, Nine. Was there anything you really wanted to be able to accomplish with this release?

Cole Schwartz: The completion and release of the album was a huge accomplishment all on its own. Although we began planning this album a year ago, we’ve been writing and performing some of these songs for much longer. So we are thrilled for people to hear some new songs from us and hope to gain visibility in a broader market and expand our fan base. And of course, we are ready to get on the road. 

There are some emotionally heavy songs on Nine - lyrically, what inspired this album? 

Nine definitely has some heavy moments, but there are light ones as well. Throughout the album there are themes dealing with a wide range of emotions and the lyrics communicate these messages. We draw inspiration for lyrics through what our statement is for that particular song. For example, on "Mother Says," we are addressing a topic that is personal for many people. We wanted to lyrically convey the statement and then follow through with a message of hope in how you can deal with it. Another example is the song "Not Alone." Here we clearly address the emotional breakdown from bullying, being victimized, hiding your true self, living in fear, etc. However, instead of lyrically focusing on the bad side of it, we focus on how to deal with it. We focus on the idea that you are not alone, and if you reach out you’ll realize that there are others around you going through the same emotional turmoil. Through our pain, we find connection with others and learn that there is beauty in the world. 

I know Nine is also about thinking outside of the box. How do you feel you accomplished that with this release? 

We chose to write some pop tracks and we also wrote rock. We commissioned two very different producers that are heavy hitters in their genre. Half of Nine is more poppy and the other half is more rock. However, there is continuity throughout as we like to blend our signature sounds into each song. We don’t think it’s common for an album to open with a pop/dance track and end with a solid rock tune, so thinking outside the box definitely fits.

What was the most challenging part about creating Nine? On the flip side, what was the most rewarding part?

There is so much that goes into making an album, and as an independent band the most challenging part of doing a project like this is funding. With Grammy winning/nominated producers, mixers, and engineers, combined with travel, it’s very expensive to make an album like Nine.  We are very lucky to have sponsors that have supported us, and we think the music and production speaks for itself.

Funding and expenses aside, the entire process, from writing to pre-pro, to travel, to recording, and finally mixing and mastering, is a super rewarding process.  And then listening to the finished product and finally getting to open up that first CD is awesome. However, nothing beats knowing that one person has been positively impacted by a song of ours. There are times when you feel beat down, but when you see that kind of response from people it makes it all worth it. Pushing through and getting past the hard times can really prove to yourself just how bad you want it. We think that the journey will continue to be rewarding as we move forward.

What would you like listeners to be able to take away from your music or live performances? 

Music is art, and so it’s up to the listener to hear it and interpret it as they want.  We hope that a song like "Mother Says" gives someone the clarity and understanding they were searching for. We hope that a song like "Not Alone" saves someone from the grips of despair and gives them inner strength to stand tall. We hope that "Run" entices someone to get out of their chair in the middle of the office and begin dancing because it’s Friday!  All together, we hope that the person who comes across this interview or stumbles across the album puts it on and turns it up, because we think there’s something for everyone on it. 

Our live shows are all about ENERGY! We like to leave the audience feeling exhausted after our set. We go out there and leave everything we have on the stage, so when we exit, we’re like, “follow that!” Haha! As an unknown band on stage, we have one goal in mind, and that is to win every single person over in the audience. We put on one heck of a show! If you find out we’re in your area, come out and see for yourself! 

Having been creating music since 2008, how do you feel that you’ve grown, both as people and musicians over the years, or even just with the release of Nine?

Speaking for myself, I started the band when I was 12. As you can imagine, there’s been a little growth since then…ha ha.!   Liv was playing shows in the Dallas circuit all this time as well, so she has grown a lot, too. The roots of our favorite music will always remain the same, but over the years we’ve fallen in love with many different genres. It’s all there - classic rock, metal, punk, blues, R&B, pop, funk, house, downtempo, and much more. Our love for many genres may play a part in why we had so much fun playing with pop and rock on Nine.  We’ve grown to respect goals as they are not boundaries, but more like stepping stones to guide us to success. We still have so much growing to do and are excited about what the future brings.

How do you feel that your hometown of Dallas has shaped you as musicians? What has been the best part about growing up or playing music there?

The Dallas scene has been very accepting to our rock ‘n’ roll roots. Experience is the best teacher and we both got a lot of it playing around Dallas for several years. We also learned how to tweak our live shows and over time noticed the difference in crowd response. Together, our shows are pretty explosive and we have Dallas music fans to thank for the experience! 

What would you like to be able to bring to your local scene?

We would love to make Dallas proud! We have grown up in the music scene in this city and we would love to give back by succeeding. There are some amazing artists that have come out of the DFW region and we hope to be next!

Now that the album is out and the New Year has started, are there any big plans in the works for Drayter?

Our amazing team is working on some awesome stuff for the 2016 tour season and we are keeping busy with promoting Nine. 2016 will be full of great times and great music from us.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for taking the time to interview us, and thank you for the great questions! We appreciate the opportunity you have given us to allow people to have some insight on who we are. Thank you!


The album kicks off with the rampant fun pop bounce of 'Run,' and...

By: Anne Carlini

For those not in the know, Drayter - Liv Miner and Cole Schwartz - are a high-energy pop/rock duo from Dallas, who have just released their debut studio album NINE this past December 18th, 2015 via Platinum Jack Entertainment. Recorded in Los Angeles, California and Mandeville, Louisiana, the album was produced by heavyweight producers Matt Squire (One Direction, Ariana Grande, Good Charlotte, Selena Gomez, Panic! At The Disco) and Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Godsmack, Slipknot).

The one thing I like about new bands is that theyknow they have to stand out in a crowd. So it's what they do to encompass that into their release that defines them. One and all. Here on Nine, Drayter bring us an album that consists of, wait for it, eight (8) brand new studio tracks - and yet they named their album, yep, Nine! I love that, and yes, it had me hooked immediately, as now I wanted to know the meaning behind it.

For the record, no pun intended, the album’s title Nine is actually based around a topographical puzzle, whereby the puzzle is an intellectual challenge to connect dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, and never lifting the pencil from the paper. The puzzle is easily resolved, but only by drawing the lines outside the confines of the square area defined by the nine dots themselves. The phrase “thinking outside the box” is a restatement of the solution strategy. [See, you wouldn't have got anywhere close to that album title reasoning, now would ya?!]

The album kicks off with the rampant fun pop bounce of 'Run,' and backs that up with both the emotionally charged anthem 'Criminal' and the hard edged power rock of 'Not Alone.' A song bringing forth the real life topic of bullying and acceptance therein, 'So What' is next and is followed in turn by the powerhaus 'Best I Had.' Containing a soundscape of topics ranging from songs about perseverance and overcoming personal tragedy, such as the (at first) mellow guitar play of 'Mother Says,' the album closes out with the acoustic guitar work (at first) of 'Unchained Love' and then, finally, the very old school No Doubtesque 'Still Here.'


Up and coming Texas band Drayter releases new album

By: Abigail Ormiston, Managing Editor

Drayter is a band from Dallas, TX. that was formed in 2009 by Cole Schwartz.

In early 2015, Liv Miner joined Schwartz as the vocalist to help improve the current sound the band carries. Throughout last year, Drayter has been working hard to create and finish their album “Nine” which was released Dec 18.

With their release, both Miner and Schwartz have high hopes for progress in 2016.

“I think 2016 will be a good year for Drayter. We are definitely headed in the right direction” said Miner.

Songs to look forward to according to the band are “Best I had” and “Mother Says.”

Schwartz described “Best I had” as upbeat and driving. He hopes it is as fun to hear live that it is to play.

“Mother Says” has a different tone. Miner explained that it sounds soft and pretty until about the second verse then it “punches you in the face.”

The biggest goal the band wants to accomplish is to gain interest from all types of music listeners.

The members of Drayter have many different musical influences which can be reflected into their sound. The influences range from classic rock to metal. Schwartz’s inspiration comes from some more well-known bands like Metallica and Led Zeppelin. Miner’s influences are front women like Gwen Stefani and Joan Jett.

Because of their many different genre influences, Miner and Schwartz believe they have a lot to offer audiences since their sound does not “confine to one specific genre.”

The sound of the band can be described as “pop and rock with a refined edge,” which they hope to attract listeners of many different genres with.

Another big goal from the band is to get on the road.

“We want to tour in 2016. We would love to be able to meet those who are our fans already and meet new people who we could get interested in our music as well” said Schwartz.

Miner and Schwartz hope that there are people that will give their band a shot, and that they will like them and become fans.



Editor talks with Dallas group, Drayter

By Riley Coven

This week the SMU Campus Weekly sat down with Drayter, an up and coming group from Dallas. Formed in 2008 by Cole Schwartz, the group recently added Liv Miner as their lead vocalist and plan to release their first album Dec. 18. The two are known for their high-energy shows and fun loving style. Here is what they had to say.

SMU Campus Weekly: You’re both pretty young, what made you want to pursue music as a career at that age?

Liv Miner: Well I’m 22 and I’ve been playing in bands since I was 10 years old. I grew up in a family of musicians so there’s not been anything else that I ever wanted to do with my life, which is a plus and a minus because it’s a really hard industry to make it in but it’s absolutely what I’m passionate about. There’s not really anything that would make me give up, it’s just always what I’ve wanted to do.

Cole Schwartz: I’ll kind of piggyback on that. It’s been the same for me, ever since I first started playing music and taking up guitar as a hobby, I haven’t really thought of anything else that I’d want to do besides playing music.

SMUCW: How has life changed with the emergence of Drayter?

CS: Well it’s pretty cool. I mean I don’t think Liv and I are very egotistical people by nature but it is really cool to meet new people at shows and see more engagement as we play bigger shows and put out new music and stuff, so it’s just really cool to see the progression of our hard work pay off after a certain amount of time. It’s cool to finally start seeing some growth.

SMUCW: Do you have a favorite place to perform?

CS: My favorite place is probably the Granada Theatre in Dallas. I literally have nothing bad to say about the venue, lighting’s good, sound’s good, staff is very, very professional and nice. It’s just a great place to play.

LM: Yeah I have to agree with that. That was probably the most fun show I’ve played with Drayter and with Granada, it’s so fun to play in your hometown and like he said the staff at Granada and with everybody it’s just a really at home vibe and I dig it, it was a great show.

SMUCW: Do you ever get nervous before a performance?

CS: I wouldn’t say I get necessarily nervous, I did when we were first starting out obviously because I was so new to it but I think Liv can agree with me after playing so many shows after such a long period of time it’s not really a nervous feeling it’s just more of excitement. We’re just ready to go on stage, it’s what we love to do and it’s super fun so we just look at it like excitement jitters or getting super pumped up but I wouldn’t really say nervous.

SMUCW: Do you have any good memories from the road?

LM: Well just traveling with Cole is a very interesting experience because you have shows where we have to drive five or six hours to get to the gig and it’s fun. We blast the most outrageous music ever, we have a genre change every hour so we’ll be blasting death metal to rap to techno, it’s really fun but we’ve had some cool moments after the shows. We recently played a festival with Three Days Grace so getting to hang backstage with them after the show was pretty cool.

SMUCW: Do you have a lot of different musical inspirations?

CS: For me personally I would say I do. I kind of draw from bands I like listening to, bands like Death Heaven, Power Trips, like a lot of heavier bands. Obviously we’re not a super heavy band but I think that in everything you can find something cool to take away whether it be a certain way they play a chord or just the emotion of the song.

SMUCW: When did you start playing music?

CS: I think I picked up the guitar in first grade so it’s coming up on 11 years now I would say? There were a couple years obviously throughout elementary school and middle school where I put it down for a while because you know, I was super lazy and, like every kid, they don’t really want to practice so I kind of took a two or three year break and got back into it.