SOUND OFF: Interview with Never Us

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Band: Never Us
New Single: “Retrograde” featuring Matt Good! Check out the single below!

Soundwave Brigade: The greatest challenge to date your band has met and conquered was?

Jesse Clark: I think miscommunication and the way some of us took other people’s criticism. Jordan and myself had to hash a lot of things out to get on the same page and we still do at times. We got over by having a good old fashioned bare knuckle fist fight with a thirty second cut off time. Not really, obviously, but we overcame it with time and numerous talks. Without communication, things crumble.

Steven Parent: Yeah, what Jesse said – A lot of bands fall apart because of poor communication, or overreacting, and lettings things spiral out of control in that respect. I feel we’ve really arrived at a good way of settling any disagreements we have as a band, and that’s extremely important – and *rare* – in a band. We’ve all refined our diplomacy quite a bit. It also helps that when we aren’t disagreeing, we’re spending the other 99% of our time goofing around.

Kegan Debacker: I think that the biggest challenge that we have all met would have to be organizing our time and meeting schedules. We are all pretty busy in our everyday lives, so making sure we have consistent time to write and meet up has been a challenge in the past. Communication can sometimes be a challenge with everything going on, but we have managed.

SB: Prior to an evening’s performance do the band members have a ritual or exercise or something unique they do before hitting the stage?

Jesse Clark: So guess it’s time for me to seem really weird. I like to become possessed before I approach the stage. I change into a different person that has no fear or insecurities and is willing to do anything. This is a way I suppress my chosen emotions and channel the ones I want to amplify.

Chad Ralph: For me, my ritual is to kind of be alone and get in my element. Focus on my parts and tune in to my animalistic instinct that I have when playing a show. Kegan and I usually have a little contest to see who can swear the most during a show. But I always drink water and drink a monster before playing. Always.

Steven Parent: I like to warm up and get the blood flowing with some improvised drumming – usually on my thigh or on my shoe. I don’t really stick to any rudiments, but rather play whatever comes into my head. I’ll also maybe do some arm stretches as well as maybe some calf stretches on a curb behind the venue. Beyond that, I like to try to have a little bit of meditation time where I focus on taking deep, slow breaths to relax. I’ve found I play my absolute best when I’m relaxed and continually stay in the moment; unoccupied mentally by distracting thoughts. Like what if I make a mistake? Or oh wow, who’s that drummer I respect in the audience? etc. It’s easy to get stuck in moments or obsess about when you make a mistake if you let it happen while playing live. Over the years, I’ve found if I approach it in this way as well as release a bit of control, I not only play better but enjoy myself far more too. I tell myself, what happens if I make a mistake? Absolutely nothing. Life goes on and nobody will probably notice. The audience is much less likely to notice a mistake if I don’t make a big deal out of it and consequently recover from it more gracefully. The paradox of caring less about these things makes you play better, and it’s important for me to get into that sort of zen headspace before the show.

Kegan DeBacker: We usually will stretch out and have a quick drink to loosen up. We like to be very active on stage and have a lot of energy so we need to be prepared for that.

SB: The biggest thrill when playing on stage is?

Jesse Clark: Definitely has to be seeing people sing the lyrics I’ve constructed so carefully. Kegan DeBacker is also a big help when it comes to lyrics because we’re both emo kids at heart, haha.

Steven Parent: For me, it’s when I improvise. Its a total thrill ride. I like to just feel the vibe in the room and let things come out, or go for things that might be a little scary sometimes because of its authentic expression. One of my favorite drummers to watch in a live setting is Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) because he approaches his live performances from a jazz standpoint. He plays the songs differently every night, and that means what you know and have fully absorbed from listening to the recorded songs from the album will be different. It ends up being extremely engaging for me as an audience member because as I mentioned before: it’s a thrill ride to listen to. Playing that way myself is a very similar feeling.

Kegan DeBacker: I personally just love playing my songs and seeing people vibing to them; relating to the lyrics. We all have good chemistry on stage as well so playing with each other is just fun in and of itself.

SB: Does the band have an opening song by another band they like to have played just prior to going on stage? If so, what song is it?

Chad Ralph: We all seem to have wanted to play this song before we hit the stage but never have really seemed to incorporate it. It’s not a song by a band that we like but we all really get hyped to the theme of Super Smash Bros Brawl and I think we need to start playing that song before hitting the stage. It’s a hype and nostalgic theme for most of us.

Kegan DeBacker: We all definitely have different hype songs for sure. I personally will blast some rap music to get hyped up, or I’ll blast some emo punk rock. This could be Future, The Weeknd, Fall Out Boy, or Nothing, Nowhere.

SB: What are the bands favorite fast food eatery when on the road?

Steven Parent: I do a lot of driving since I live 2 hours away from the other guys’ in the band. I typically stay away from fast food, but In-N-Out Burger is an absolute staple for me on the road. Aside from that, whenever we go to new cities, my two favorites are Thai food or Indian food.

Jesse Clark: Basically, anything Japanese, but I always seem to end up eating off dollar menus.

Chad Ralph: Thanks to Matt Good, we are all currently obsessed with Tampopo Ramen in Tempe. For myself, if I wanna eat healthier, I usually go to like a Salad and Go or Panera.

Kegan DeBacker: Steven is a Thai food enthusiast, so that would be his first pick I bet. I am really big into Asian food so any Asian restaurant I’m willing to try out. I have actually been cutting back on fast food lately, but sometimes it can’t be helped. If we all eat fast food, it is usually late at night so only a handful of places are open, like Jack-In-The-Box or Filibertos.

SB: When you want to buy music how do each of you buy it? Download, CD, Vinyl?

Steven Parent: I like to buy CDs not only because of the audio quality, but because of the overall package. Having beautiful artwork in your hands that accompanies the album has always made the experience of listening to music more complete to me. That said, the convenience of downloading music is unparalleled, which is why I love when bands include a digital download when you purchase a CD so you can listen to it right away if you ordered it over the internet. Which, let’s face it: in this day and age, you probably did.

Kegan DeBacker: I personally collect CDs now and it is my preferred way to buy. I usually check out Zia Records in Arizona for any new releases. Every time I walk in there, I walk out with more music than I probably should. If I can’t find the CD, then I just move to streaming the music as my second choice. Vinyls are pretty nice, but I don’t have a Vinyl player and have already amassed a large amount of CDs so I don’t see too much of a point for me to start collecting them.

SB: When performing in a several band line-up do you have a particular place in the line-up of 1,2,3, last that you like as a band like to perform?

Steven Parent: I’m usually just happy to be playing; the slot doesn’t matter to me that much. Although I will say: from a drummer’s standpoint with no drum tech, it is far easier to be either first or last. When we play first, I can get there early and take my time setting up. Then if we play last, I can take my time tearing down. Most shows have the paradigm of, “Get the hell on stage, then get off the stage right away!” So being first or last alleviates some of the rush for me in particular. The other guys have much less stuff than me so I think it matters a bit less for them, although they still feel it.

Kegan DeBacker: I would prefer to either play last or in the middle of the set. Sometimes, even if the show is organized well, the opening slot can have much less of a response from the crowd. With that said, I also prefer if the show doesn’t roll on for too long. We’ve played some extremely late shows (our sets have started at almost 1 AM before), and while it was still fun, everyone is pretty exhausted by then and the crowd is equally as tired.

SB: If you each could say a few positive words about each other in the band- what words would you choose to describe one another?

Chad Ralph: Honestly, without these guys and what we’re doing, I don’t know where I’d be. Jesse from day one was the guy I could always seek advice from and he usually says something sarcastic, but it also means well at the same time. Jordan is without a doubt the driving force. He cares deeply and is passionate about what we are doing. We all know Steven as a ripper of the drums, but his humor is definitely a little out there, but damn funny. And Kegan is a riff master. He’ll hear something in his head when we’re writing and poof, it’s there.

Steven Parent: I love all the dudes in this band. We all get along great on a personal level and we’re all strong-willed. We can communicate and tell each other what’s up if we have a problem and nobody gets dramatic and bails – which is more than I can say about many bands I’ve been in throughout my musical upbringing. Most of our time together is spent having fun and messing around, which I feel is a very important quality in a successful band. We’re all extremely driven to be successful and we all constantly contribute greatly towards that end.

Kegan DeBacker: Honestly, my bandmates are some of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. We all put in so much effort to our music and we almost are like 5 brothers in the way that we joke around and work together. Couldn’t imagine the band with any other group of guys.

Jesse: Unfiltered
Jordan: Truthful
Chad: Hype-man
Steven: Skilled

Connect with Never Us:
Facebook | Instagram

Stream their new single “Retrograde” feat. Matt Good!:
YouTube | iTunes | Spotify

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