I recently got the chance to jump on the phone with I Prevail guitarist, Dylan Bowman, and was able to pick his brain about their new album Trauma, touring, making music, and how they marketed themselves starting out.
Josh: A couple of years ago I remember checking Facebook all the time and I just couldn’t get you guys out of my newsfeed. There was a constant relay of videos with extracts from “Scars” and the Taylor Swift cover you guys did, all captioned with “tag a friend that needs to hear this”. What was the original idea behind that kind of marketing?
Dylan: A lot of what we do through our social media goes through our clean vocalist Brian, so he’s really the mad scientist behind all that. But I think the idea behind it was to try to get people to have fun with the idea of sharing music with their friends. Personally, when I hear a song that I love I share it on my Facebook, for instance, I did the new Parkway Drive song, “Wishing Wells”, I just shared that today. So that’s just the idea with it, getting people excited. Through that, I feel like we have a really nice organically grown fanbase.
Josh: Oh yeah for sure. It seems like it happened really quickly, and for me like I’m from a really small country town, and a lot of my friends that don’t typically listen to heavier music actually love you guys, and it came largely from those videos and how you marketed yourself. Do you think that is because of any particular reason? And was that intentional?
Dylan: You know that’s interesting because that actually happens in the United States too. I’m also from a small country town where not a lot of people get into heavy music, but I find that even some of those people still get into I Prevail because even though it’s the heavy instrumentals with the screaming and the growling, our heavy vocalist Eric is pretty good at articulating his screams. So you can still understand him, and I feel like that’s one thing that makes it easy to get into. On top of that, I think the way we grow our market helps, like most people use social media, so no matter what they’re going to see it. And if you’re scrolling and it’s the third time you’re seeing that post or that flyer that day, you’re gonna go “oh well what’s this I Prevail band about”, and you’ll at least end up giving it a listen.
Josh: I saw you guys at Download Fest in Melbourne earlier this year, and noticed every song after you guys finished playing that you were met with a huge amount of screaming from the crowd, which I’d say is something quite rare for heavy bands?
Dylan: I think some of it was because that was the first time we had been back to Australia since 2017. We did a short run over there and sold out the entire tour, which was amazing, then went on a little bit of a lull for a while. We’ve had such a great fanbase in Australia, and they’ve been really vocal on our social media about like, “when are you guys coming back???” So when we announced Download I was dumbfounded with how many people were commenting things like “I can’t wait to see I Prevail again!” Just being there was kind of like a homecoming, even though we aren’t from Australia which was pretty cool.
Josh: Do you guys enjoy it here?
Dylan: Oh we love it there. Obviously, it was nice there, it was Winter back in the US in Michigan, so it was nice to get into the warm weather. On top of everything else, the food, the culture, it’s so interesting and so fun to be around.
Josh: Yeah it’s alright I guess. So can we expect you back soon?
Dylan: Yes! We don’t have anything set in stone yet, I wish I could give you some dates but I don’t have anything yet. I know we are trying to get back in our Fall time, so around November. We’re doing what we can to get back there as soon as possible.
Josh: Oh yes lovely, lovely. In regards to the new album, Trauma, I was just wondering what the inspiration behind the songs is, instrumentally and lyrically?
Dylan: A lot of different things. As far as instrumentally it’s gonna vary from song to song, but as for singles like “Bow Down”, we take inspiration from even video games. Like if we’re playing Doom or something that has Nine Inch Nails, we take influences from a lot of different places instrumentally. With the lyrical content, a lot of it talks about traumatic experiences. Going through what we’ve gone through in the past two and a half years with the end of the Lifelines cycle, and touring for so long, it obviously took a toll on our home lives. Brian went down with a vocal injury and that was a big deal. So we kind of had a lot to write about to do with being anxious or being depressed, and that’s kind of the message that goes through Trauma.
Josh: That kind of thing I guess is always really tough to write about, so when you’re doing so what is the writing process like?
Dylan: It varies. Kind of like when you start a puzzle and you’re just looking for a piece or a corner you can start with first. Most of the time we try to lay down some sort of musical base, then Brian or Eric or somebody will come up with a pretty good idea for a melody or a verse of things like that. It really just depends. As far as Trauma goes we had a lot of time with a few producers doing some co-writes, and then we brought those home to an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere in the country. From there we plowed through the rest of the album.
Josh: It’s interesting how everyone goes about it. I know a lot of bands here write songs purely just by sending each other bits and pieces through dropbox from home, is that kind of thing really a thing in the US?
Dylan: It certainly can be, it just depends on who’s doing it and what genre of music it is. With I Prevail we feel like it wouldn’t be the true magic if we all didn’t sign off on the idea before continuing forward with it.
Josh: That’s true, that’s a really cool way to go about it. The last few years you’ve been on a hot streak of US headline shows, but you’ve had nearly a year off them now. The next tour is looking quite big it’s fair to say, how are you guys feeling about that?
Dylan: We’re super excited. We’ve really upped our production, and this is a much more mature look for us. The Rage on the Stage tour was the last headliner we did and that was all pro-wrestling themed, and there was a bunch of gimmicks and monologues and stuff like that. But this tour is so much more about the music, to match the feel of just what this album means to us. We’re trying to take out as much talking between songs as we can, and are just going to let people enjoy the music for what it is on this tour.
Josh: Oh yeah so trying to focus on the atmosphere. Cool cool. So I know you played some shows with We Came As Romans before all that horrible stuff with Kyle Pavone happened, how was that?
Dylan: Well we had the Rage on the Stage tour right before Kyle’s passing, and they were all big influences on us growing up as we were from the same area. They’re from Detroit, we’re from Metro Detroit area. I can speak for everyone that was living with us at the time, Eric and a couple of the other guys and crew guys and I, that when we found out about Kyle’s passing it was devastating. When they asked Eric and me to be a part of his memorial show we said “absolutely”. But to be able to play the last full tour with the full lineup of We Came As Romans, it sucks to say because I miss Kyle because he was a great guy. But it feels good to say that we sent them off in a good way, but that’s not to say that they’re done. They’re on tour right now and I’m going to go see them this weekend actually and they still kill it.
Josh: So awful and it sucks but it’s still special to have those memories. I remember in particular we watched them perform a few years back and it was actually Kyle’s birthday so we all sang happy birthday to him.
On that slightly sadder note, we ended our interview, but throughout the conversation, I feel Dylan shared some incredibly insightful things about what goes into I Prevail. Their new album, Trauma, is available via Fearless Records and on Spotify, Apple Music, and all music streaming services.