The Michigan boys only formed in 2014, but their impact on the metalcore scene has already been felt across the world.
It was a cover of Taylor Swift‘s ‘Blank Space’ which first saw I Prevail make waves internationally, but since then they’ve certainly carved their own path. The explosiveness of debut EP Heart Vs. Mind (2015) did not go unnoticed, and this intensity reaches a new level on their first full-length effort Lifelines released last year. There’s something about the band that resonates across many spaces, yet it’s right here in Australia where this is felt most of all.
I sat down with the guys backstage at Sydney’s Factory Theatre to talk about that incredible energy and much more.
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1. You don’t need to have been in a band for long for people miles away to resonate with you
While the group originated across the world in the US, and have only been together for two years, that hasn’t stopped Aussies from easily being one of their biggest (and loudest) fan bases. Even just approaching the Factory and seeing the massive line hours before their set spoke to that, and this clearly resonated with the band.
“It’s insane,” clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser remarked, surrounded by his nodding bandmates. “Especially in the fact that it was two years since we launched and we’ve been talking to fans on social media for so long. Now that we’re getting to see them face-to-face and experience what an Australian show’s like… it’s been incredible.”
“They go hard in America, but if that one show is any indication of what the rest of the shows are going to be…,” Burkeiser trailed off here to a loud round of laughter, as they all considered just how explosive the rest of the tour was going to end up.
2. I Prevail understand just how much compromise you need when you’re away for most of the year
It’s no secret that the band have come under fire in terms of how hard they’ve worked to get where they are now. Burkheiser himself took to his socials earlier last month to express just how much they’ve each had to sacrifice in their lives, from spending time with their families back home to their other relationships.
It’s a point that he really shouldn’t have had to make, yet standing in that cramped backstage room mere hours before their set, rhythm guitarist Dylan Bowman compassionately cast the conversation towards his bandmates.
“I know that from when things started, you have this group of friends back home,” he reflected. “Flash forward to now, and you have to just realise that it’s not the same anymore.
“Luckily I have these guys who are my brothers. I have days where I hate them, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. You do lose a lot of connection, even with the ones you love, you know girlfriends and family. You have to do everything you can to keep up with them, whether it’s FaceTiming or texting. But at the same time those people know that you’re doing what you love, so you have to remind yourself of that.”
3. If we were in an apocalypse, our last few minutes on Earth with them would be bloody epic
If you were told the world was ending after the show tonight, what would you close us out with and why? (It can be one of yours or someone else’s).
I knew this would be the question that produced the most laughs and banter between the guys, and the roars were certainly belly-deep as ‘Eric’ Vanlerberghe started us off bluntly with, “I’ll get naked and drunk on stage. I’m going to end my career”. Lead guitarist Steve Menoian took a much more ‘sensible’ approach, saying in a measured voice, “I feel like it needs to be a timeless song, like from Queen or something”.
At this point though, Burkheiser was already in stitches, shooting Bowman a knowing look as he said cheekily, “I already know what you’re going to say”. Acknowledging the mind-reading, the guitarist grinned and replied, “I would absolutely do some sort of homage to Toto‘s ‘Africa’.
He then quickly sobered as he thought seriously for a moment.
“But I think I would probably just ask everybody to give me a minute to process the moment of being onstage. When you’re a little kid, that’s the first thing you think of, and if that’s the last time you’re going to do it, I just want to let the roar of the crowd go for a little extra time.”
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Grab a copy of the band’s debut album Lifelines here.