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Interview with Feral Vices
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Alexander: I come from a very musical family so music was pretty ingrained into who I am as a person. I remember getting my first album (a cassette, because it was the 90’s) and just listening to it over and over and over. Once I got a cd player, it was game over. I was going to be a musician and it was the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life. If I hadn’t gotten into music, there’s a very good chance I would’ve followed in my dad’s field and taken over his electrical safety companies when he retired.
Justin: Some of my earliest memories have always involved music to some capacity. I remember listening to Bon Jovi in the car with my dad on the way home from school and just constantly wanting to listen to the radio, and listen to scores of movies growing up. Playing music is the only thing I want to do with my life but if I wasn’t playing music, I would probably open up a coffee shop, or write books, or both. As long as I’m doing something creative.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Alexander: I play video games, listen to podcasts, and listen to a TON of music. For the most part, other music influences my creativity more than anything else. I do occasionally seek inspiration within poetry or novels, but I usually go to music outside of what we do for inspiration.
Justin: I play a lot of video games outside of music, and watch a lot of tv and movies. I’ll find a lot of my inspiration for writing from the dialogue written in video games. I’ll find a lot of visual inspiration for our artwork in video games specifically. I listen to a lot of podcasts if I’m not listening to music and read political science/history books.
How long has your band been around?
Alexander: That’s a bit of a journey in and of itself. Technically, this band started as a completely different band and Justin was just filling in on drums. That band essentially had 2 key members, myself and the bassist. He eventually left for personal reasons and the band was in a state of limbo for almost a year if I remember correctly. I ended up just letting all of the members go and just continuing to ask Justin if he wanted to practice because I really liked how we wrote music together and we had become pretty good friends. Eventually we picked a name and wrote some songs as a two-piece and never looked back. I actually never asked him to be in the band, it just happened.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Alexander: We’re based out of Louisville, Kentucky. I think it influenced our music in a lot of different ways. Louisville is a big, small town and when we were younger, there wasn’t much to do beyond listening to music, playing video games, and watching whatever movies your parents owned unless you played sports. I was a weird kid and so I spent most of my time by myself if I wasn’t just with my family so I spent a lot of time listening to music and feeling pretty isolated. I found purpose and meaning to life through music and it was what kept me going as I grew up. So, as I began making my own music, my drive was to hopefully be that for some other weird kid who didn’t have anything else going on.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Alexander: We went through a long list of names trying to find something we thought fit the sound and what we were going for lyrically, musically, and thematically. I tend to write songs a certain way and the name Feral Vices really seemed to be a good descriptor for what I write about and it felt accurate to how we sound. I’ve always been interested in the animalistic nature of humans and the negative aspects of that nature. So, the band name is basically about that without getting too heady about it.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Alexander: I think for me, the most memorable shows are the ones that I don’t even remember how the crowd reacted during the show. When we’re really in the moment and the music just kind of takes over and before I know it, we’re through our set. It’s like ascending to another plane of existence and there’s not much else that replicates that feeling. Thankfully, those are usually the shows that the crowd enjoys the most so it’s a win-win for all of us.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Alexander: Personally, I don’t have a favorite venue. Any venue that lets us do our thing and people get to experience it fully is the best venue to me. We played Mercury Ballroom not too long ago in Louisville and the quality of everything was super nice but we also were able to be as loud and punk as we usually are so it was the best of both worlds for us and the crowd and it was a fantastic show. Anything in that world is great. I would love to play Furnace Fest one year. Just playing on the same stage as a lot of the bands I grew up with and my heroes would be incredible.
Justin: My favorite venue is definitely Kaiju overall. We always have a great time playing there and talking to everyone. Mercury Ballroom was an incredible experience and I hope we get to play there again someday. Furnace Fest is high on my list for the same reasons Alex listed.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Alexander: It would have to be a mixed bill for sure. I think Nine Inch Nails would headline, Queens of the Stone Age would play, and probably someone weird like Sunny Day Real Estate would play too. We could open that show for sure and I would just stand in the front row for the rest of it.
Justin: Mine would also be a mixed bill. I think I would have Biffy Clyro headline, Post Malone (realistically he would headline though lol) Queens of the Stone Age, Greyhaven and then us.
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?
Alexander: Don’t rely on anyone else to get you somewhere. Do your thing and be proud of being as weird as you actually are. Don’t try to fit in with what is cool and what you think people want to hear. Make music you want to make and music you want to listen to.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Alexander: Start a two-piece band with Justin when you’re 18 and just play all the time.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Alexander: For me, I think that’s almost like choosing my favorite child. I’m really proud of all the songs for different reasons and I think my favorite depends on the day. It might be easier to say which songs I think deserved more love from fans and that would easily be The New Machines and With Offerings. Both of those songs are bangers and With Offerings is one I find myself just listening to by myself from time to time.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Alexander: I love playing the songs that require me to yell less. Our most requested songs by far are Pipe Bomb and Mass Produce Your Revolution.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Alexander: Basically all the songs are jammed out as the two of us and we get them to a point where they feel good and then I go on my own and write vocals and lyrics to them and change things as needed from there. I try to write music that I want to hear so usually the music is just things I wish other bands were doing and then the lyrics come from my life and the things that are on my mind.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Alexander: Most of what I want to get across is getting people to think about the things they think and do and why they think and do them. I want to challenge people and provoke a feeling from them. I don’t want to tell people what to do, but I try to provide some sort of unique and thought provoking perspective on things.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Alexander: Not often. Usually, we tend to agree on the vast majority of things and if we don’t we just talk it out. For a lot of important things, there is a right and wrong answer and if we disagree, we’ll figure out who’s right and that’s what we’ll go with. Usually the only disagreements we have are within songwriting and we have kind of an unspoken agreement that unless we’re both into it, we’ll keep working on it and try something else out. It’s a pretty democratic process and there isn’t room for egos with only 2 people in the band.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Alexander: We have a whole lot on the way! New music, shows, etc. The thing we’re most excited about is getting some new songs out that we’re super proud of.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Alexander: We’re on every platform as @feralvices! So you can find tour dates and any news through those as well as our website https://www.feralvices.com