Updated: 12/16/02

Mixing hardcore and emo to a devastating effect, Dead Poetic continue to win fans over from all walks of life. Their debut album on Solid State is entitled Four Wall Blackmail and it’s garnering them a good deal of attention. While on tour, we caught up with vocalist Brandon and bassist Chad to discuss all things Dead Poetic.

Where are you guys from and what is the music scene like there?

Brandon: We’re from Dayton, Ohio. It’s got a really good indie rock, hardcore scene. Unfortunately we’re not really part of that too much cuz I think we’ve got more of a mainstream feel to us. But the music scene is really good, but we’re on tour a lot. So we really don’t get to enjoy it or take advantage of the music scene. Nonetheless, Dayton is a cool place.

So what exactly is a Four Wall Blackmail?

Brandon: Four Wall Blackmail is basically a testimony of like we all have things that we’re not proud of. The four walls in your life are kind of like the four walls that see the person you really are. I believe that the person you are is the person you are behind closed doors. The person that you are when nobody is looking and nobody is around – that’s who are you. It’s basically a statement of honesty saying that if those four walls could talk, you wouldn’t like what they’d have to say. And they kind of have you for blackmail because they know all these things about you that you don’t want people to know. So it’s basically a statement of being real and revealing yourself, which is what a lot of the lyrics on the record is about.

If you had to describe your music to a kindly old Christian lady, what would you say?

Chad: I would say we like to be categorized as just rock and roll. There’s a lot of people who say we’re emo-core, we’re hardcore, we’re this and that – but we just like to be called good old rock and roll with some screaming in it. Everybody has their own genres and different styles of music and categories you can be under, but we just like to say rock and roll – and we like to play it too.

Who is The Corporate Enthusiast?

Brandon: I guess we’re all Corporate Enthusiasts and that’s what it all comes down to. We may not want to be, but it always happens. We all fall into the trap that I speak of. Nobody means to, but it happens I guess.

Tell me the idea behind the song.

Brandon: It’s almost a satire on the whole record industry in general. Not necessarily the Christian record industry, but just the record industry in general. It’s really become a lot more about money than the music – and I don’t think anybody can deny that fact. And I just think that’s an awkward thing, because the record industry is based on music – but sooner or later you find musicians that have to become business people and their own attorneys. Kids playing rock and roll basically need to watch out for themselves for getting screwed over. I think that’s kind of awkward that kids who love to play rock and roll now have to be business people. That’s kind of funny and I guess The Corporate Enthusiast is sort of my opinion on that issue.

Where do you get your ideas for some of the other lyrics?

Brandon: Really, I have a black book – I don’t know why the color is important – but I have this book that I just write stuff all the time in. For instance, on this tour I’ve written nearly 20-25 pages on just about whatever I’m thinking at the time. And usually, I pick things out of that book that end up in our songs. I guess I just write about what I’m really feeling at the time.

How did the tour with Zao go?

Chad: The tour with Zao was amazing. It was our first real tour that we went on. Playing every night with a band that we’ve looked up to and grown up with was like a dream for all of us. With the other bands – Unearthed, Underoath, Underwater – I don’t think we could have been on any other first tour like that. Every night was just a blessing to have all of those kids come out – even if they weren’t for us, just to be able to play for all of those people and get new crowds every night was fun. Everybody was cool and we all became really good friends after the tour. It was a really good first experience for us and we were so happy that we were able to get on it.

What has been the best and worst part of touring so far?

Chad: I think the best, for most of us, is meeting new people and being able to travel. The most important thing that we like to do and we’re wanting to let people know – we want to meet people! We want to talk to you. We don’t care what it’s about – that’s how our personalities are. But we definitely like the travelling part. The worst part is we have a pretty crappy van and there’s about six of us in it right now. All of the complications of touring will come in and you have to deal with it, but that’s what touring is all about. You learn a lot of responsibility and a lot of things about yourself through touring.

Brandon: I think right now we’re at this point that we can’t complain about anything, because we’re so happy to be where we’re at. We’re so happy that things have happened the way they happened, and we don’t want to complain about anything. Yeah our van is a piece of crap and it screws up, but I think we all look on the bright side of everything and try to keep optimistic about it. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that, because we haven’t killed each other yet.

What’s up next for you guys after the tour?

Brandon: Well, we all have our own little aspirations with other things. So I think we’re going to go back to school for a little bit in the winter – and more importantly than that, we’re ready to write for the new record. We have high hopes for the next record we’re about to do. We’ve added a second guitarist and he’s phenomenal and he’s going to add such a new level to our music. So we’re really excited to start writing with him. And we’re excited to get back to school and chill out at home for a little bit.

In the end, what do you hope someone gets out of hearing your music?

Brandon: Honesty and above all, respect and love. It sucks to say, but I don’t think people are going to get positivity out of my lyrics. I wouldn’t call ourselves a positive band too much, because some of my lyrics are downright depressing. In the middle of all that depression, there’s some real honesty in there. And I think honesty is one of the most effective tools in doing anything. I’m not going to listen to a word anyone says unless they are being honest and real to me, and respecting me and loving me. I don’t expect anybody to listen to a word I’ve got to say unless I’m doing that to them. So I try to be as honest as possible in the lyrics I write. And as far as the people I meet, I try to show as much love and respect I can without being fake. I don’t want to put on a front for somebody just so they think that I’m a nice guy. I want to be real, and if I’m in a horrible mood that day, I’ll still talk to kids and have a good time – but I’m not going to act like everything’s cheery because I wouldn’t want someone to act that way towards me. I guess above all, just love each other. Let’s bring the whole love thing back and start loving each other once again. It sounds sappy and mushy, but I think that love is a quality often missed and skipped in people’s relationships.

Anything you want to add Chad?

Chad: I know we all feel that way. I know Brandon is the lead singer and he does all the lyrics and everything. But what he is saying and what he does is totally what we back up and what we feel like ourselves. We all came to the agreement and talked about it quite a few times. Of course we play some Christian shows and everything – but we don’t want to go to those shows and not act the same way as we would if we go to just a plain club. We just want to be ourselves and let people know that to be fake is not the right way to go. Just be yourselves and everybody will get along a lot better and be able to have fun better that way too. I think that’s how we all feel.


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