Detroit band I Prevail made a stir back in 2014 with their cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ – and it’s been one hell of a ride since then. Vocalist Brian Burkheiser explains how their debut album came together.
Hey Brian, how’s things?
I just woke up, we played the Webster Theatre in Columbus, OH last night with Pierce the Veil and Neck Deep. Great crowd. It was definitely rowdy. After the show we met new fans and watched the two bands. PTV was sick, just like every night. They bring it without fail. The lights, the sound, the show! It really shows us what it takes to get to that level. Amazing experience.
Your debut album ‘Lifelines’ is out now – are you feeling much pressure to deliver?
It seems like it has taken forever, our EP came out at the end of 2014. There was a little pressure when we were writing the songs for the album. We really want to show the fans of ‘Heart Vs Mind’, that was no fluke. This is just the beginning of the I Prevail journey. The LP is called ‘Lifelines.’ We wrote a lot of the songs on the road in 2015. We have a lot to share, and it is so exciting for people to hear it.
When did you begin working on the record properly, how did you get started?
We started really fine tuning the ideas and song arrangements around the holidays. We started recording from February to the end of May 2015. We worked with our original Producer BJ Perry and added John Pregler to process. Then we waited for our first choice in mixing, David Bendeth to take our record to another level.
Did it come together easily?
It was difficult at first, we had our whole lives to make our first EP. There were no expectations for it; even from us. Then we realised that this is our biggest opportunity to show the fans that we have so much more to say. I think this record will show that!
What’s your best tip for avoiding or dealing with writing/creative blocks?
The best thing to do to prevent writers block is not to put too much pressure on yourself. It also helps to have other people around you with great ideas for songs both lyrically and melody wise. Sometimes a song will grow out of a title, or a one sentence verse you never know. If you start a song, sometimes you have to put it on the shelf and come back to it later.
Does ‘Lifelines’ sound as you thought your debut would?
It’s everything and more! I went in with high expectations and was very pleased on how the final product turned out. I think people will be very surprised and happy, I know I am and I can’t wait to share the entire record with the fans.
Are there any over-arching themes on the record? What do you hope fans will take from it?
We kind of touch on a great deal of topics. We talk about alienation, self doubt and real world emotions. We try to show that even in the darkest moments there is still a light that will shine soon. We feel that no matter what the emotion is of the listener, that we have a song or two that you can relate and connect to.
You’re currently on tour with Pierce the Veil and Neck Deep in the US – how’s it going?
In one word: INSANE. Imagine playing football or getting your ass kicked overnight in Ping Pong by the members of your favourite bands. I have always love PTV since the first time I heard them,and I only hope we can get anywhere close to where they have gotten. They are showing us the level of professionalism and commitment every night… They even have been bringing Eric, our harsh vocalist out to sing Caraphenalia with them every night. That’s huge…
How do you prepare for such a long tour?
I sleep as much as possible but it never seems enough. I play as much NHL 2016 as humanely possible so I am in tip top shape for the video battles of the bus with my band mates and anyone else who thinks they have game. I spend as much time as possible with my friends and family and my cats before we go out.. And then most importantly we still rehearse in our 8 x 10 storage unit – that will never change. We will be playing the new album during our traditional holiday tour in December.
Have you been airing any new material live?
Yes! We have been playing three new songs, ‘Scars’, ‘Stuck in Your Head’ and one we can’t say the name of yet.
Album aside, what are you most excited about right now?
Being on this tour is one we never thought would happen. We feel so lucky to be on this tour with Pierce the Veil and Neck Deep! We hope that Neck Deep will want to take us back to the UK with them. It’s so great right now. I have just been informed by my label rep that I have to end this by saying: “Go pick up ‘Lifelines’ on 21st October on Fearless Records… And look for the special vinyl.” See you soon.
Taken from the October issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here. I Prevail’s album ‘Lifelines’ is out now.