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I Prevail’s Brian Burkheiser: Genre is dying… open your minds

The key to career longevity and recruiting new fans in rock and metal is having the bravery to try something new, encourages I Prevail’s Brian Burkheiser…

I Prevail’s Brian Burkheiser: Genre is dying… open your minds
Words:
Brian Burkheiser, speaking to Jake Richardson

Having a diverse album is crucial for rock and metal bands because a lot of kids haven’t grown up on heavy music. If bands are to truly appeal to the Spotify generation, they need to branch outside of the genres from which they started. That’s how these artists will succeed.

When we were writing our latest record, Trauma, we decided the most important thing was to write music that we loved, regardless of what it sounds like. That actually meant we felt less pressure than when we wrote [2016’s debut full-length] Lifelines because we were free to experiment. I feel for young bands nowadays because you have so many people – labels, management, etc – trying to steer you in a certain direction. We’ve experienced that before, but with Trauma we were in the position to do things our own way. In doing that, you’re able to lose yourself in the art.

The comments fans make when you switch up your sound have a real impact, though. I’ve read some negative comments from people expressing the opinion that us differing our approach and supposedly going ‘lighter’ is a bad thing, and it’s really bummed me out. But it’s been refreshing for me to see that so many people are willing to grow with the band, too. When you release a record like we have, you’re going to get both love and hate, and I think it’s great that Trauma has sparked debate amongst people about genre and the expectations placed on bands. I respect people who recognise when bands try to do something different, even if they don’t necessarily like it.

Whilst I Prevail are considered a rock band, I view us as musicians that move between many different styles, and with that in mind, I also don’t think the concept of genre is as important as it used to be. I’ve seen a lot of rock and metal bands embracing different sounds, and I hope people will be open to that and accept that you can still be a ‘rock’ band whilst writing other forms of music.

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve listened to everything from rock and metal to hip-hop, EDM and country. To an extent, I think it’s okay to label music by genre, but I don’t think that pinpointing a band as having a particular sound that they must stick to is the way to go.

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