Interview with The Deathtones
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
⁃ We all get into music for different reasons and are influenced by different stimuli. Sometimes someone has a family member or friend that plays. Sometimes it’s school or a parent forcing you to take music lessons, or, at least for me…I wanted to get girls! 😂 We were always told “girls like musicians” so I became a musician. I think if we weren’t musicians we would probably still be doing what we’re doing as we all have “real jobs”. Billy works at a restaurant, Mikey is a baker, Mr. Grim works with the elderly and Pat is the stage manager at a local theater. Dorian may have trouble though. Being a college music professor and all!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
-Billy likes to play video games and cook, Mikey always has a money making scheme brewing or he’s in the gym “getting gains”, Mr. Grim is likewise into fitness and he, as well as Dorian are huge wrestling and horror fans and Pat does a little bit of everything.
As far as influencing our creativity; for example, Mr. Grim never runs out of stuff to do. He always has his hands in a DIY project and uses that creativity to hand make most of our merch. Billy takes a lot of inspiration from movies and video games when it comes to writing the songs.
How long has your band been around?
-The Deathtones have been around since January 2021.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
-We are based out of the Milford, Pennsylvania area in the US. To be honest, living in the forest gives you lots of spooky ideas. When night falls you hear and see some weird stuff out there and it makes your imagination go crazy with song and movie ideas.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
-We were all hanging out at Mr. Grim’s house in the dead of winter and we’re just spitballing band name ideas. The Psychotix and B-Horror were in the running, I remember, but then Billy came up with “The Deathtones”, we took a vote and poof, that became the name. The name doesn’t really have any kind of hidden meaning or special relevance. We write songs about death and creepy stuff and the name “Deathtones” just works well and it’s catchy.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
-Our most memorable show actually took place before the invention of “The Deathtones”. Prior to forming the band, our members were in a more mainstream punk act called “RadioRiot!” and we opened for Richie Ramone of The Ramones at a cool club in Scranton, PA (of US “The Office” fame). It was the first time we got the feeling that we could do something really cool between 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?
-Never played there, but I’ve always liked places like The Fillmore and Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I think the dream would’ve been to play at CBGB’s or The Whiskey.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
-Misfits, Blitzkid, Calabrese, The Other, Nim Vind, Cancerslug and Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space and so many more. Just a huge festival with all the coolest horror bands in the scene.
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?
-Learn your stuff. If you are the guitarist, learn your parts. If you are the singer, learn the words. There is nothing more annoying than people taking the time out of their day to play and other people not knowing the material. Also, keep grinding, but be smart about it. You don’t have to play every venue that will have you. You are a businessperson and your music is your product. Don’t give it away for free unless the circumstances are right and believe in what you write. Take the time, every time to make the best song you can. And finally, not everyone will like you. Especially in this digital age where trolls no longer need a bridge to live under. Take things in stride and don’t hesitate to ban, block or report people online. Your piece of mind is more important than some Johnny come lately trying to take a shot at you.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
-I like to think that every action we’ve done on earth has led us to this point. Right here, right now. We’ve all made mistakes and kicked ourselves for it afterwards, but it teaches us a lesson. The only advice I would give myself that wouldn’t change anything would be to not sweat the small stuff. (And I would probably give my younger self stock tips as well, haha)
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
-That’s a tough question and one I really won’t be able to answer. It’s like picking a favorite child. We don’t have a favorite track. All of our songs are different and special in their own way and helped us grow. So we don’t pick favorites. We’ll leave that up to you, the listener.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
-It’s always the songs you don’t think are the best that are the ones that have the most plays or get the most requests. BTK, Saucy Jack and Camp Blood are three of our most popular songs, but as far as playing, I enjoy the more punky songs. They are easier to play and get into.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
-Billy writes and records the basic outline. (Intro, verses, choruses, melodies and lyrics) to a click track. Mr. Grim comes in and tracks his drums, then Dorian, Pat and Mikey record their parts. It comes back to Billy who mixes and masters everything.
As far as inspiration, it can come at the strangest of times from the most mundane of sources. I’ll be showering, get soap in my eye and in that painful haze between life and death I’ll get a vocal melody in my head, jump out of the shower and record it on my phone. Then it’s just building a structured song around it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
-We don’t do messages for the most part. We just love horror and true crime and want to write about it. We don’t have an agenda. We all come from different walks of life and have different political and religious beliefs. We’ve found that if you stick to the things that bring us together, you don’t have the chance to alienate anyone.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
-Yes, all the time. That’s why we vote on things. Everyone gets a vote and majority rules. Nobody has any more power than anyone else.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
-We have so many plans for the future that it would take a whole second feature to explain it all. Let’s just say that we want to make it as far as we can in the horror genre and keep writing and releasing music!
Right now our latest album release is “Hail To The King”, a musical tribute in six songs to the works of the incomparable Stephen King. We are also on a horror punk compilation album available through Horror Punk’s Not Dead on bandcamp.
Here are some links to our storefronts and socials.