Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “new music showcase,” the feature where I introduce you to artists that readers of this site may find interesting. This time I have an exclusive Q&A with Blake Mickens and Dan Wachtel of Safety? Always Off!.
METAL ANARCHY: Tell me a little about your band:
DAN: We’re an easycore band of two songwriters. Blake lives in St. Louis, I live in Urbana, Illinois. We try to step away from the pack when it comes to other easycore bands by seeing how heavy we can get on our heavy parts, within taste of course. We’re not trying to put blast beats on a part that would sound best with just a simple upbeat.
BLAKE: We started off kinda as a joke, I made a tweet about wanting to revive easycore and Dan had just joined this EP race and so he asked if I wanted to make some easycore songs with him for it and it ended up working out really well, we both enjoyed collaborating with each other a lot. We wrote and recorded like two EPs in the span of like 3 weeks and then it just went on from there.
METAL ANARCHY: Who are your main influences?
DAN: Trivium, Senses Fail, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! and City Lights.
BLAKE: For this band specifically I’d say Four Year Strong, Rise Against, New Found Glory, Parkway Drive, and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
METAL ANARCHY: What is your latest release and why should readers of this site check it out?
DAN: We released an album a couple weeks ago called Off to the Races. We did borrow a few songs from our older releases that we felt like we could have done better and put them on the album, but readers of Metal Anarchy should check this album out because this is the release where we start to establish our own sound. Not only that, but people who I haven’t spoken to about this album have been hitting me up saying that they genuinely like this release. We have confidence and you can hear it.
BLAKE: Obviously we’re an easycore band but this record definitely isn’t your run of the mill pop punk with breakdowns situation. I feel like we really brought a lot of interesting elements that haven’t been explored too much in easycore, like elements from death metal, black metal, hardcore, and even indie rock. We really tried to create something that took elements of genres we love and expanded upon them and I think when you listen to the record it’s really evident how much fun we had while doing that.
METAL ANARCHY: What can people expect when they go to your live shows?
DAN: We haven’t played any live shows yet, but I know Blake well enough to know that he doesn’t just stand around when he performs sets in high-energy music like the type we put out. I feel like I can say the same about the band we’ve assembled to play live with us. If you come to one of our shows expecting to cross your arms and stare at us, you’re not going to have a good time. I don’t know how off the top of my head, but I can feel it.
BLAKE: We’ve just gotten our live band together and we have our first rehearsal pretty soon so fingers crossed shows come after that. Our music is very high energy as Dan said so we want to really have our performances reflect that. We have no intention of giving a lackluster show at any point in time.
METAL ANARCHY: Where do you see your band heading in 5 years?
DAN: This is kind of a doozy because I’m no fortune teller and I don’t know any. Obviously growth is the biggest hope and I hope to do so with a community. Fingers crossed for a tight-knit easycore community in half a decade. Maybe we’ll be signed, maybe we’ll have released more music, but community is first and foremost.
BLAKE: This is definitely a big question cause I’ve not been in a band that’s lasted that long up to this point but I’m really hoping we’re able to keep the creative energy we have now for a long time. The relationship that we have has been probably one of the best that I’ve ever had in a band thus far and I definitely think the desire is there to just keep going as hard as we can with this.