Interview: Matt Kozar from Guitar and Keys
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We have a vast array of influences across the band: classic rock (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), progressive rock (Fates Warning), metal (Carcass, Entombed, Cynic), post-rock (God is an Astronaut, Explosions in the Sky), and so much more. We’re all fairly creative individuals and we would like to have some other creative outlet to feed our need to create and share with others.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Aside from music, we enjoy science fiction books/movies, comics, and anything with a post-apocalyptic theme. This should be pretty evident with the vibe of the album haha.
How long has your band been around?
The members of Day of Departure are also members of the bands Brave, Stellar Death, and While Heaven Wept. Members of Day of Departure also have been consistent contributors to Witnesses. Brave has been playing in some shape/form in the Washington DC area since 1996. We decided for Day of Departure to pursue a totally different musical approach from Brave and our other projects.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is based out of the Washington, DC area in the US. We do not necessarily have a “sound” in our area that is consistent with what we are attempting to achieve in our music, but are fortunate to be in a large city to have played and collaborated with various bands and musicians over the years.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The band name Day of Departure describes the initial need to escape the destruction of our planet, which is the initial theme of the album concept. The album then delves into the evolution of humankind and the need to find a new path forward for survival. As life is ever-changing, the theme of day of departure can apply to our constant need to evolve and adapt to our new realities.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We have yet to play a live show as a band, but all members of this band also play for the progressive rock band Brave, which has played numerous live shows over the last 20 years in the Washington DC area, as well as across the East Coast of the US.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We have not yet played any shows, but the ideal venues for us to play would be either the 9:30 Club or the Anthem. The 9:30 Club has such a history with who has played there over the years and is known as a legendary indie/rock venue. The Anthem is a newer venue in DC and is top-
notch in terms of sound quality and overall experience.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
It would be amazing to collaborate with the band Hammock. They have such a unique sound and style, where they develop lush atmospheres, and it would be great to bring our hard rock/metal influences to contrast the lush sonic landscapes with unrelenting metal!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Get into a band and find people that have the same vision as you and are also dependable. There have been too many times over the years where you opt for individuals that are more technically proficient with their instrument, but wind up being unreliable. Finding reliable people that you can work with results in a much better experience playing and creating. I would definitely tell my younger self this to avoid the various projects over the years that went nowhere.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
See the previous answer and find people to collaborate with that you like and are reliable!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The Edge of Annihilation probably means the most, as it creates huge tension at the start and builds and builds until a full-on sonic assault. I love the dynamics created in the overall build of the tune and then the sudden end into nothingness.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Ex Machina is definitely a favorite, as it is more of a straightforward song to play compared to the other tunes. Since this is our debut album, we do not yet have songs that are frequently requested, but we definitely envision Ex Machina, Pierce the Sky (Conflict), and Awaken to the Beyond as being favorites.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We did not initially set out to create the overall concept, but it was developed organically once the first couple of songs came together. We first developed the overall concept of the story and thought about the progression of that narrative. We then think about the ebb and flow of the album and where you want to go in terms of dynamics, pace, and feel, and you then use that as the basis for writing the other tracks. Each of the songs has a purpose throughout the album but can stand alone as well.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Day of Departure was created out of a desire to explore a different musical style that merges our influences across the spectrum of rock, post-rock, metal, and ambient atmospheres. We also sought to create a narrative progression through the songs in order to tell a story that begins with the destruction of our planet, and then the need to evolve and find a new path forward for survival. We think fans of our other projects, Brave and Stellar Death, will recognize and appreciate the ways in which we have been able to integrate the vast array of sounds and styles throughout this album, but also recognize elements from those other creative outlets.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We rarely have any disagreements in the band and it’s usually around specific aspects of a song during the writing process. We genuinely like each other and are friends outside of our musical projects, which makes it easier to continue to collaborate.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We look forward to our album release scheduled for March 25th! You can follow us as we head toward the release date at:
Official Website - https://bravemusic.com/day-of-departure
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dayofdeparturedc
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/day_of_departure/
Sales Links: Bandcamp - https://dayofdeparture.bandcamp.com