Live For Dawn on spreading compassion through heavy metal
Live For Dawn is a metal band from St. Louis, USA. It plays its heavy tunes with the goal of spreading compassion and courtesy through music – which doesn’t sound typically metal, but there’s a message. We are intrigued by the four-piece, influenced by modern heroes like Periphery, Avenged Sevenfold, and Five Finger Death Punch. We asked the bunch a few questions and they happily obliged!
Introduce yourselves and the band to our readers
My name is Michael Bast, I am the lead guitarist, producer, primary instrumental writer for the group. I’m working on a bachelor’s degree in music production (which helps this project immensely).
Axel Gleason is our bassist, one of our lyricists, and he manages all our social media accounts. As of right now, he has some drastically changing life circumstances and his role in the group may change. No matter what happens, he will always be a part of this family.
Damien Cantrell is our vocalist, one of our lyricists, and he’s the one that brought us all together. He’s currently working on a bachelor’s degree in coding and will likely build our website whenever we feel the need to create one (not any time soon). He previously went to art college but decided it “wasn’t [his] thing.” His artistic talents will likely be seen in the logos and graphic designs associated with our group. We haven’t particularly solidified any of the details or designs…yet.
Zakk Sullivan is our rhythm guitarist, one of our lyricists, and one of his main talents is telling me when my guitar riffs are generic or boring. His job involves climbing various radio and phone towers. Hilariously enough, we met him on Craigslist, but he’s easily one of the best parts of this band.
Gregory Darnell is our drummer and he’s new to the group. We’re still working out the dynamics of his role in the band, but basically, he’s free to do whatever he likes. We met him through Zakk and Zakk met Gregory through another friend and that’s about all I know. He’s a talented drummer and will be a solid addition to our group.
What’s your experience being in a band so far
Our experience thus far involves lots of writers’ block, but the results of our collective writings are promising. There has been a lot of brainstorming, song planning, album planning, release planning, artwork designing, tonal shaping, and it’s been fun. As of right now, our goals are solidified but our “sound” is still taking shape. There are setbacks, lineup changes, life style changes, etc., but we’re working through it all to make some cool stuff.
How does songwriting happen within the band?
Typically, it involves one or two of us coming up with a cool riff or some lyrics, and depending on what comes first, it shapes the way we write. If riffs come first, I’ll sit down and map out drum patterns, throw in demo riffs, and shape the vibe of the song. If lyrics still aren’t coming to mind, we work on refining those riffs and melodies and drum patterns to create a more finalized instrumental demo. This can happen whether we’re meeting in person or not. We all use the same software to jot down demos and through cloud storage such as Dropbox, we can share the actual files we’re working on. If lyrics come first, we find the right tempo and start mapping out drum patterns, then we must slowly work on creating the riffs and melodies that embody the meaning behind those lyrics. This second approach is more difficult but tends to be just as rewarding when we see the finished product. As of right now we have a few dozen songs in the works, some of these will be augmented together into full songs, others will be put on the backburner or scrapped depending on what we feel like working on. Writing great songs is the goal, not just writing whatever comes to mind.
Playing metal is always challenging. How much do you practice?
Michael: Any time I’m not busy with my degree, I typically have a guitar in my hands.
Damien: All I need is my throat to be O.K. and I can practice anytime and anywhere.
Zakk: My job involves travel and hotel rooms often enough, if I’m not gonna be near home, I take my gear with me.
Axel:I’m the bass player. What’s practice?
Gregory doesn’t ever stop playing. His body is now one with his drum throne.
Is it difficult to stay motivated with all the hardships of music industry?
Absolutely. We still have no idea if we’re going to get anywhere with this whole thing but we’re gonna go for it. The music industry is extremely competitive and there’s a lot of very talented acts that are frankly more likely to make it than us. We’re still gonna make music and we’re still gonna put out that music for the world to see.
What is your biggest musical goal or ambition?
For a while, it was the thought of playing Warped Tour, but unfortunately, Warped Tour is over after 2018. Our biggest goal currently is to finish writing the album we’ve been working on for the last year. After that we’ll see where this whole ride takes us.
What’s your favorite thing about being in a band? And your not-so-favorite?
Well we love hanging out, kicking back with a few beers, and making stuff that sounds awesome. Usually that’s how our get-togethers go. Our least favorite things are hangovers, collective writers’ block, and hauling gear around.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a band and as musicians?
One of the biggest things is outreach. We must spread our message somehow and we badly need to be able to get outside feedback on our work. Drooble has helped us to identify the things that people enjoy about our music and the things we need to work on. We sit and listen to our own stuff enough from writing that it’s often hard to tell just how good or bad something is. Having that outside influence helps a lot to keep us grounded and get our works together.