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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with I Prevail
Interview with I Prevail

I Prevail


By:  Courtney Burnside

Boston Rock Radio - Music Talk



I recently had a chance to sit down with Brian and Eric from Michigan's own, I Prevail before their show at Fete in Providence, RI.  For those unfamiliar with I Prevail, they are Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals), Eric Vanlerberghe (harsh vocals) Steve Menoian (guitar), and Lee Runestad (drums).  The metalcore band started turning heads in 2014 with their infamous cover of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space".  Their cover peaked at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 23 on the US Mainstream Rock Songs Chart.  


They have toured with bands such as Crown The Empire and Hollywood Undead, but this time they are the Headliner.  Here is what they had to say regarding their success and new experiences.



Me:  "You've come a long way since your 2014 Taylor Swift cover.  That was big for you guys and you shot up from there."


Brian:  "It has been a pretty crazy two years when we think about it.  We were just a bunch of kids hoping that things would blow up...and then almost overnight, we looked on the internet and the cover started to blow up.  The EP shot up shortly after and kind of followed suit.  Before we knew it we had management, a label, we're going on tours and what not...it's been a hell of a ride that's for sure.”


Me:  "You've been on tour with Hollywood Undead.  What was that like?"


Eric:  “Awesome!  That was fun!  We played some huge rooms, played to a couple thousand kids a night.  It was going from playing to...ya know...two to three hundred kids a night, to 1,800 kids, 22,000 kids.  It was a huge step.  It was awesome.  It was really cool."  


Brian:  “That was a band that we had been listening to for a long time and looked up to, so being able to go out with them was just...they were such nice guys too, we didn't know what to expect.  There's always this persona around the Hollywood Undead as these mysterious and kinda crazy guys, but they were just the nicest guys.  Very accommodating towards us being such a new band and all.  Kinda showed us the ropes. I don't think we could ask for a better national act to start touring with almost right off the bat so..."


Me:  "What's it like having your own headliner vs being on the bill?  What are some of the differences and challenges?"


Eric:  "I guess the most, I don't want to say difficult, but I guess the biggest change is when you're opening, ya know you're like,  "Alright make sure we're there at 3 o'clock, sound check at 5, alright let's play, cool we're done for the night, ok let's go sell some merch.”  But when it's your headline act, you're the one that's trying to make sure of that incentive to get the kids out, you're the one who's putting the show together, you're the one that's the main act.  It's a little more pressure, but pressure in the best way.  I think it's more fun that way.  Not that you're the one that everything revolves around, but the one that's getting the kids to come out.  When you get on stage everyone's chanting your name!  But when you're opening everyone's like, “Who are these guys?  Oh yeah cool, I'll check them out”...hahaha.”


Brian:  “You're also trying to win over the crowd when you're opening...as opposed to having your own headliner.  It's crazy seeing everyone shouting your lyrics...overall an awesome feeling.  Those are the two big differences.”


Me:  "That was part of my next question, what's it like seeing these kids in line outside, wrapped around the building in the cold, all waiting to see you?”



Brian:  "We had a show a few cities back and it was snowing at noon time, but the show wasn't until 7.  We had kids lined up, sitting out in the cold, just bundled up.  That takes a lot of dedication.  It's great to see that our music means that much to someone.  It's why we like to take care of our fans, and make sure that when they come to an I Prevail show that they get the FULL experience.  We don't ever want to let them down.”


Eric:  “We see tattoos, people tattoo stuff all the time, and that's really cool.  We've seen a few tattoos of our autographs and that was like, insane!  This girl got her head shaved and a bunch of our lyrics tattooed on the side of her head.  We were like, “Her mom is going to kill us!”  We definitely have some good diehard fans.”


Me:  "How would you describe the differences between your first EP, Heart Vs Mind and this first Major album, Lifelines?"


Eric:  "I'd say there's a more cohesive and mature sound.  When we were writing the EP it took us about a year and we were still piecing together the band.  We had a month to write each song, we didn't have a timeline, so we were just taking it as it goes.


Brian:  “We didn't launch yet, so nobody, not even our parents really knew we were starting something, so we had all the time in the world…”


Eric:  “Now our album comes out and we have expectations to meet.  We have a timeline, we have a tour and we have to write in between.  So I say a more cohesive and mature sound because, what we did in a year, we now had to do in a couple of months.  Being on the road together, writing,...you had to get everything out and not be afraid or nervous about what your buddy in the band was going to think or say about your idea.  You just had to be open.. I think that's what gave it the sound and the life.”


Me:  "Who would you say your biggest influences are?"


Eric:  "As a band, A Day To Remember was probably a big one we connected with.”


Brian:  “Lincoln Park was a huge one, especially with Eric and I as front men and lead vocalists, looking at bands like that.  Bands like, We Came As Romans, Crown The Empire.  Using two vocalists and trying to blend. I think it works out nicely because I think Eric and I's voices tend to mesh really well.  Looking at bands with two vocalists, trying to see what they really do and taking influence from that sound.”  


Me:  "What is the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?"


Brian:  "One time this guy just walked right on the bus...I'm sitting here with a couple of crew guys right after a show just hanging out.  All of a sudden this guy just walks onto the bus and literally sat down and was like, "Hey guys, what's up? I was seeing if you guys could sign this.."  and then starts asking where Eric is.  I was like, “I love you man, but you can't just walk onto someone's bus like that!  I don't know who you are or anything!"


Eric:  “We were doing a meet and greet after a show and we had a mother with her daughter and her daughter's friend come up.  They were really young kids, like 14-16.  It was the mother that was like, "Oh I love you guys!  I'm so excited to meet you!  This is my daughter and her friends etc”...and it turned into her going from, “Here's my daugher and her friends”, to, “I love you guys so much”.  To the point where she got around the table with them and took pictures with them.  The girls were like, “Oh very nice to meet you,” got our autographs and stepped out  The mother stood behind us and talked to us for the next 4 or 5 pictures with other people!  She didn't get the hint, she just stood there.  She was very intoxicated, kept saying how much she loved us.  The other people were trying to ask her to get out of their picture.  Her poor kids were like "Mom we gotta go!”...haha it was fun though and I think the mom might have been a bigger fan than the kids were haha".  


Me:  "You guys are from Michigan and there has been a lot going on there.  How would describe the culture from when you were growing up, compared to now?”  


Eric:  "The economy crashing and now on the rise up,...we both grew up 30-40 minutes north of Detroit, so we’re metro Detroit.  To go down to a show...growing up in our area, venues would come and go, within 2 or 3 years, 5 or 6 years, change hands and there just wasn't a lot to do with music.  All these big tours or concerts would come through Detroit or Flint, but Flint for us was like an hour away, so that was out of the question.  If you were going down to detroit, and you’re 15 or 16, everyone was like, "Don't go to Detroit.  Don’t go by yourself.  You're 18?  Don’t go by yourself...Now you're 21 and you still shouldn't go by yourself, but at that point I was already going down there.  Now being 25, five or six years has passed...we go down there and it's still not the greatest area to be in, (in some places) but there are some of the coolest things that are going on there.  Some of the nicest people, biggest shows, Motown etc...it's nice to see the economy start to change and turnaround.  

We have sports teams, the Joe Louis Arena, a world known venue for sports and concerts.  Now we're building a huge complex and we're possibly relocating the Pistons from Auburn Hills down to the new Little Caesar’s Arena.  So hopefully Detroit can get bigger and bigger and continue to see the rise up.  There's a really hard working mentality there being a blue collar state, and we kinda use that as a band.  When we came up that was our thing.”



The guys went on to play a great, high energy show, with lots of happy fans screaming along to every word.  You can find out more by visiting their official website, http://iprevailband.com, and of course, by visiting iTunes.


Courtney Burnside





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