“Drayter is one of the most popular and recognizable bands in Texas. Renowned for their high energy live shows and super catchy rock songs, the band has shared the stage with Stone Sour, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, The Pretty Reckless and others, while gaining a growing fanbase throughout the US.
From Dallas Texas, Drayter was formed in 2008 by then teenager Cole Schwartz. Over the past seven years the band has grown to a powerful rock band that has recorded with Grammy-winning producers, played sold out shows to thousands, and continues to meld a commercial combination powerful rock, and ‘stick in your head’ pop. In 2014 Drayter was nominated for an IMEA Award for “Best Rock Album”.
December 18th, 2015 will see the release of Drayter’s first full length album entitled “Nine”. The album showcases the band’s hybrid rock/pop sound and features production by heavy weight producers Matt Squire (Kei$ha, Panic! at the Disco, Arianna Grande) and Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Godsmack andSlipknot).
Different music genre’s usually don’t intersect, but Drayter is bringing a fresh style and a powerful sound to generation Y and Z.” – Official Drayter overview
1. Give a history of how Drayter arrived at it’s current lineup.
Liv: “Cole has been playing with Drayter since he was thirteen years old. While he was doing that, I had been playing in the Dallas music scene with my brother for about four or five years. Actually, Draytereven opened up for my band a few times.”
“So, things came to a natural end with mine and my brother’s band. I kind of just had my eye out for a new project and I knew that Drayter needed a new singer. I was very persistent. I just wanted to get a face-to-face audition because I really liked their material and I really liked the direction they were going in. So, I pursued that and I got an audition and I got the gig.”
2. Liv, what was the spark that caused you to like Drayter’s music? How did you know you wanted to be a voice for this band?
Liv: “Well, what I was most attracted to was really their management and the kind of gigs they were playing. That wasn’t something that I was able to achieve on my own. It was just me trying to manage the band with my brother. So, I was really attracted to the structure and the business side of Drayter. The genre they played in was a major factor for me too. In my old band I played a lot of straight up, dirty, rock n’ roll, which is not very commercial. It’s very fun to play and that’s where my roots are. However, I was kind of looking for something more commercial, so their genre definitely attracted me as well.”
3. How did Drayter discover it’s hybrid Pop-Rock sound?
Liv: “We are musicians rooted in rock music. Cole’s influences are on the rock and metal side and mine are on the rock-blues side, so we came together with that sound. Even before I was in the band, they had been writing with the hard rock sound. It was really only with this new album we decided we wanted to really go more in a pop direction. So, that’s really how it all came together.”
4. How much work and dedication does it take to have your music heard on a larger scale?
Liv: “More than a lot of people could ever imagine.”
Cole: “Yes, I would agree with Liv. I don’t think we’re in any position where we can speak on a global scale. However, we’re working really, really hard with a bunch of great people who are also working very, very hard. It definitely requires lots and lots of time to get your music heard. It’s not that it happens fast. No longer are the days where you can just go post up a flyer on a street corner and have people check out your album. People are pretty reluctant these days to check out new music. It’s really cool when they give it a chance and they end up really liking it. We’ve only heard positive feed back so far from people who hear the album. We also hear positive feedback on the two singles too. So, it’s really cool.”
5. How did you decide to work with producers Matt Squire and Dave Fortman on your first full length album, “Nine”?
Cole: “So, basically, when we were talking about where we wanted to take the album there was a lot of back and forth between definitive style and genre for it. We just said, “You know, why not do both pop and rock.” There’s no reason we can’t since we’re fully independent. So, we decided to use both our rock roots and our new found pop material to our advantage.”
“We had already previously recorded the instrumentals for the more rock tracks, which is the second half of the album, with Dave Fortman out in Louisiana. Then, after talking to multiple people, and advisors to the band, about who would be the best for pop, we discovered Matt Squire. We became in contact with him and everything just kind of fell together and worked really nicely. Matt has worked with a lot of highly recognized pop-rock bands from Panic! At The Disco, 303, and many more, so it just kind of seemed like a perfect fit.”
6. Why do you feel different music genres don’t usually intersect, as stated in Drayter’s overview?
Cole: “I don’t know. I think, maybe, labels are usually just kind of scared that people aren’t going to like one side of it so they stick to one genre and target a certain audience. However, since we are independent and have the flexibility to do whatever we want, music wise, we just said, “Why not?” There’s still fans out there that really like our more “rocky” stuff, but at the same time the more mainstream music appeals to a larger audience. This is something we are trying to tackle. So, lets just throw both genres out there. Certain people will like certain stuff, that way we can have all the fans instead of only a sub-genre of our fan base.”
7. Describe the writing process of the band.
Liv: “It’s a really collaborative process. It definitely starts with an idea. It’s an idea for a song and when it’s presented to us at band practice, or when I bring it to Cole, or whatever, that’s when it really starts to come alive and we add our own personal touches that are Drayter. It may be my vocal style or Cole’s guitar playing, he’s a very atmospheric guitar player. He’s always good with putting the proper mood in his guitar tone that really translates well through the whole song. So, it’s a really collaborative process and Cole and I are really comfortable with each other. As a result, we don’t have to tiptoe around each other’s ideas. If it’s a bad idea, we’ll say it’s a bad idea. If it’s a good idea, we run with it. So, it’s a pretty laid back process.”
Cole: “Oh yeah, honesty is definitely key. When your working in a band, obviously, we all have the same goal of really just making the best music possible. So, sometimes it’s hard to hear, but when we go into writing sessions, everyone has to keep an open mind rather than thinking that no ones feelings can get hurt. No one needs to have a big ego. We’re just all there to make great music. So, I thing that’s what’s really cool about working together is that everyone has a super positive, open minded, mind about them.”
8. What are your favorite ideas to touch upon in both your lyrics and music?
Liv: “For sure, on a personal level, love and relationships. That’s something that’s very relevant in my life. People relate to that all the time. I also like to write about kicking back and having a good time. When I turn to music that’s what it’s about. I’m looking to have a good time and get hyped. Or, maybe I’m trying to find a song to cry to. So, I definitely write about love, relationships, and just having a good time. Those are three main topics for me.”
Cole: “For me, it’s probably topics that get me hyped and have a lot of energy to them. I really like faster songs. If I’m with a bunch of friends, or on my way to hang out, I’ll put on and it gets everyone hyped up for the night.”
“Really, what I think is cool, is that our songs can be interpreted in any way you want. Obviously there’s an underlying meaning to each song but we try to keep it very open that way each listener has their own experience with the music and enjoys it in their own way.”
9. How did Drayter earn a nomination for the IMEA (International Music and Entertainment Association) Award for “Best Rock Album” in 2014? What do you feel was recognized in regard toDrayter’s music that led to this nomination?
Cole: “I think what they really noticed about us, and obviously I can’t say for sure, was that we created a rock sound and added a polished, finish to it. This polished quality definitely made it more commercial and acceptable to a mass audience.”
“Especially with this album, “Nine”, we took it one step further and made it even more “listenable” to the average listener. It’s something that people of all different age groups can listen to, whether they be young, old, or fans of pop or fans of metal. I think it’s something that everyone can enjoy.”
10. How did Drayter decide on the title, “Nine,” for the first full length album?
Liv: “Well, it’s actually based on the Nine Dot Test, which if you buy a hard copy of our album you’ll see it a lot. You may also see it on our Facebook or social media out there. There are nine dots in the shape of a square, so three across and three high. It’s the Nine Dot Test and what you’re supposed to do is, without lifting your pencil, connect all of the dots. A lot of people try to do that by containing themselves in the box. However, actually, the only way that you can achieve that is by going outside the box. So, the whole theme is thinking outside the box, which is really reflective of what we did with this album. As we talked about earlier, it really is the hybrid of two genres. So, we’re just thinking outside the box and doing our own thing. Like Cole mentioned, we don’t have a label breathing down our necks and we can do what we’d like. So, that’s where the title “Nine” came from.”
Cole: “We were just trying to think of something creative to symbolize what the album stands for and what all the songs mean to us and what we would think they’d mean to other people. It’s about being individual and really getting outside of the norm.”
11. What are some of your favorite lyrics from this new album?
Liv: “That’s a good question. There’s a slower song, it’s kind of a ballad but not really. It’s really ballsy and I love it. It’s called, “Mother Says.” They lyrics are really emotional. Even to this day sometimes I cry when I sing that song because they are just so emotional. The chorus is as follows, “If mother says you’re a good boy, I will sell you all of my love. Do as I say, not as I do. Drown out the noise.” That whole song is talking about being in a not so great home situation and just drawing out the noise in whatever way you can. I’m an emotional person, so I like the ones that really evoke a lot of deep emotion and “Mother Says” is definitely full of lyrics that do just that.”
Cole: “Probably one of my favorite lyrics is also the title of the song, “Still Here.” I just think it’s a super cool message. It’s the last track on the album and it summarizes the entire album up in a way. Basically, all the people who messed us over or treated us unfairly, the normal stuff that comes along with being in a band, we can prove that, even after all the hard times, we can still create good music and overcome negativity. We’re not going anywhere.”
12. What do you love about creating music? What frustrates you the most about creating music?
Cole: “I believe the thing that I love most about creating music is the endless possibilities. I think there’s no really right or wrong way to play music, it’s very subjective. So it’s super cool to be able to have a small idea that can turn into a song, even if it never gets heard by anyone. I make countless of songs on my computer that are random, obscure things. It’s just cool to have the freedom and the luxury to be able to do that.”
“I also think the thing that frustrates me most about creating music is when I have ideas in my head I just don’t know how to properly translate on guitar, programing them in, or playing another instrument I don’t know how to play. If I could play every instrument, then I’d be set. However, I can’t.”
Liv: “There’s three parts of the creating process that are extremely gratifying for me as an artist. The first is when an idea clicks and it becomes a song. That’s when the lightbulb goes off in your head and it’s so gratifying. Then, to hear that idea fully mixed and mastered on an album is just mind blowing. Even further still, when you get to perform that idea on stage it’s great. All of those things, the creative process, the recording process, and the performing aspect of being a musician, also come with their frustrating things. It’s hard work to be really polished. It’s one thing to be a musician and an artist, but to be able to mold that into something that is marketable, to be able to take direction, and to take the constructive criticism is really hard. That’swhere being in the music business is hard for a lot of people. However, it’s very gratifying just to have a song and to see a song blocked, to get it recorded, and to see it performed on stage.”
13. Why is music important?
Liv: “I think it’s like a form of escaping that’s not super unhealthy. For me, that’s definitely what music is. I got into music as a result of my whole family being very musical. I just have these musical talents. I was born with them, there is nothing I can do about it. However, I use them to get away from the everyday stuff I guess I didn’t want to deal with. A lot of things that people use to escape are maybe not so healthy. However, you can’t deny just kicking back and listening to an album or sitting down and playing guitar. There’s nothing unhealthy about that. So, that’s why I love music and I think it’s so important for everybody.”
Cole: “I have heard may times that music is the universal language. It brings people together under any circumstances. When there’s celebration to be had, people listen to music. When there’s national and international tragedy, music seems to bring people together for closure and comfort. So, I just think it’s really cool that under any circumstance, music can be there for people. Whether in a positive or negative context. Music can really touch people’s hearts and make people feel emotion that, most times, a lot of other things can’t. Music a very good way of translating what people are thinking through sound. A lot of times people don’t have the right words to communicate how they feel, so they might write a song about it, which can translate what they want to say. I think it’s amazing that there are so many different uses for music.”
Interview by: Laura DeSantis-Olsson
[LINK TO STORY: http://brokenrecordsonline.com/interviews/drayters-nine]