One Way to Live is a post-hardcore metal band from Denver, Colorado. Their self-titled debut EP is available through Bandcamp. They’ll be playing with For the Likes of You and Dead Crown at the Bodies We’ve Buried CD release show on July 28th at Summit Music Hall in Denver.
I see the word positivity associated with your band. What kind of positive messages are you putting out there?
Positivity is a significant part of our journey as a band, and we want to spread it to the rest of the scene. Many bands share the same message of unity, but we haven’t seen activity. Lately, we are seeing more separation among fans due to reasons from genre preferences to cultural aspects in the metal community, which we think is dwindling the scene. There’s too much of a pack or clique mentality among fans, so instead of enabling it, we should remember that we’re all here for the music.
The positive message we try to spread the most is to be yourself, contribute to the world in the best way you can, and treat others with respect.
We talk about our name, One Way to Live, often in connection to our lives revolving around our dreams. Everyone has one way to live, and ultimately we are all overcoming similar obstacles. Instead of surfacing these problems without resolve, we want to be the band to help you overcome your obstacles by listening to our fans’ stories and sharing how we’ve overcome our own hurdles.
You guys met in grade school. Describe a typical day growing up together. Did you ever think that you guys would form a band as tight as OWL?
Schraeder – The members of the band that are closest are Jake, Dylan, and Ryan. Kevin and I met in high school, but the other three have a better understanding of our history. However, I’d say that my friendship with the whole band cultivated rapidly. I’ve never been able to connect with anyone as easily as these guys, and just being in a band is a plus. I remember meeting Kevin and eating all of his food, followed by showing him my Mitch Lucker stomp and covering “This Is Exile” by Whitechapel on Rock Band. None of the band members had my exact taste in music, but there were similarities. I just remember playing along until I understood that it was our diversity that defined us.
Jake – I never thought I would be sharing the stage with the same brothers I clashed plastic lightsabers with back in 2004. If it wasn’t that, it was riding bikes in circles around the neighborhood or playing Pokémon. Eventually, it turned into playing Guitar Hero together. Not long after, we found ourselves learning songs together on real guitars and now here we are.
Dylan – Honestly, I never imagined myself playing in a band with my brother. When I met Jake, I never thought I’d be playing music with the person who used to stab me with a blue lightsaber. Ironic. Since then, we three formed a strong bond and learned songs together. So I’m not surprised we play so well together.
Ryan – Back in fourth and fifth grade Jake, Dylan and I used to ride bikes around the neighborhood while listening to Green Day or Good Charlotte. We would get intense with light sabers or chill with Pokémon. I met Schraeder in Spanish class in school, where we would talk music since we were in two different projects at the time (not paying much attention in class). I met Kevin when his band needed a fill-in for guitar, in the first band we were in together back in high school as well. Overall, I never would have believed anyone if they told me I was about to embark on a musical endeavor with this talented group of dudes.
Kevin – I didn’t really meet the guys until my junior year of high school. Even then we were still like children; all we did was hang out and play video games. I only ever go to concerts with my bandmates and they’re the only people I see socially as we’re always hitting bars together and being mischievous. What I thought was just a fun high school jam band has blossomed into more than I’d ever hoped and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Have you toured yet as a band? In which cities are you excited to play?
We have not hit the road, yet. But, each member can share their top cities:
Schraeder – Chicago, Anaheim, NYC, Seattle
Jake – The West coast has a great scene for metal. Anywhere along there is where I want to play.
Dylan – Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Diego.
Ryan – Seattle, Anaheim, NYC, Dallas, Toronto, LA.
Kevin – My heart belongs in the west coast! But I would really love to go overseas and play in Germany. They go wild in the videos I’ve seen.
Are there any festivals that OWL is hoping to play? Which ones, and why?
We’d all love to play Vans Warped Tour. It’s been our dream since we formed. Other festivals we hope to play are Download, South By So What?!, and Riot Fest. There are so many festivals we’d love to play, and any opportunity would be amazing!
How important is it to have an active audience? How does it enhance your performance?
An active audience is the most important part of a show because it breaks the ice and brings your fans closer to you. It also allows everyone to have a stress-free time and release that pinned up adrenaline. Moshing is the biggest and most eclectic part of a show. And active audiences CREATE MEMORIES. You can’t remember an event if you didn’t go all out.
From the artist’s lens, an active crowd fuels their confidence, which can result in a LOT of crazy stunts. Artists see a crowd going ballistic and they are inspired to try something new, possibly making a memory. If the adrenaline drives up, don’t be surprised if all of a sudden the band is performing cohesively and takes over with solid stage presence.
What’s an audience ball buster? Has anything ever made you want to walk off the stage?
Schraeder – When a frontman encourages movement or speaks to the crowd, and no one responds. The worst situation I’ve had with this was playing a recent show where no one responded to a breakdown. Not a single headbang, and deer in the headlights from many fans.
Jake – We put a lot of effort into our shows, no matter the size. But it gets tough to want to give 100% when the crowd is giving 10%.
Dylan – I never really notice any ball busters at our shows. If we do, I still have fun on stage
Ryan – We have had our fair share of bar gigs where the crowd participation is at a minimum. They may not have known who we were, and they didn’t care enough about the set to release. It’s all good because not everyone is going to participate, and even on the other end of the spectrum we have had plenty of shows where I want to kiss every single person because of their energy. Definitely lack of crowd energy is a ball buster to me.
Kevin – We definitely had to start from the bottom, in a place where no one even cared to look our way. But, such situations like smaller shows only made us better musicians, which is the reason why we have this momentum now. We don’t take no for an answer, but I’d say there are times I’ve felt a crowd response hit home. To me, the worst ball buster is a crowd full of haters. The only time I’ve ever wanted to get off stage was when I kept breaking everything and it caused a delay, which was just super embarrassing because the crowd was reacting impatiently and harshly.
Can you share a memorable moment you’ve had with an OWL fan?
Schraeder – Kissing a fan and friend Nick on the forehead during a song and seeing an awkward face no human could normally make in response.
Jake – When a regular show attendee goes shirtless at the very front and proceeds to go harder than the whole band combined throughout the entire set. I still wonder how he had so much energy…
Dylan – I have gotten my picture taken with a fan and we talked about the band and how awesome it is to be playing music.
Ryan – I was pulled aside after our set by a drunken ex-Marine. He proceeded to talk to me for the next 15 minutes about how the music we write symbolizes and stands for all the Marines still out there fighting. Even though our content isn’t 100% focused on that topic, 4 out of 5 of us come from military backgrounds, so we totally support that. It was kinda cool to have a fan who connected our music to his story and his brothers who weren’t with him at our show.
Kevin – My most memorable moment was when an older gentleman that we had turned into a fan that night pulled Ryan and I over and told us how much we reminded him of some of the bands we look up to and saying how much he believed that we would be successful.
The lyrics to “The Disembodied Fortune” include the line: Because in the end my only hero is me.” How did you come to this realization within yourself?
Schraeder – I came up with that line when I was discovering my purpose, and I just realized that this is it. There’s only this life to make a name for myself, and I just focused on what is most important, which is that I need to be strong and no one can save me from my battles. The song represents an internal struggle with greed, metaphorically. In a dog-eat-dog world, you need to prove yourself and defeat demons no one but yourself can see. You’re always the first one to recognize your problems, so you must be the first and only one to solve them.
Many people rely upon rich material to cloak their sorrow, but I figure the texture of the garment doesn’t matter until you know its maker.
Schraeder, I read that you would love to see Duran Duran live. What great diversity you have! How does such diversity impact your own involvement in creating music?
You did, huh? I’m always hungry for more variety, like the wolf.
Such influences like Duran, Duran impact my involvement in writing in the way that they are metaphorically rich and clever. Every genre has its theme in lyricism, whether its somber, apathetic, dark, or eclectic. So, I find that the wider spectrum I have, the more potential I have to craft a great song. Many songs lack a respect for poetry nowadays, which is actually the basis of their quality. You can’t tell what a story is from a slew of random syllables and repeated words.
On your OWL Facebook page, you made a post regarding a song you wrote “A Man / A Warrior” and the meaning behind it. Can you elaborate more on this for our readers?
Schraeder – Most of OWL comes from military families, and we all look up to or appreciate the armed forces. However, I come from a family of the most military involvement, having many family members from every branch. That’s a different story, but generally constitutes my reasoning for the post on Memorial Day.
When I wrote the lyrics for “A Man / A Warrior”, I was an officer candidate in the selection process of a college program for the USMC called Platoon Leader’s Course. I aspired to become a ground intelligence officer at the time, and learned many valuable lessons about what Marines go through on a daily basis. But, it wasn’t just Marines. I realized the purpose each member of the armed forces holds at heart, which they can’t get rid of for the remainder of their lives. That purpose, I believe, is to sacrifice their freedom so that civilians can carry upon theirs. Some choose to serve up to 20 years, some more, some less. Ultimately, however, they are giving up a chunk of their lives to serve.
Though I had decided to pursue other opportunities, it was apparent to me that I wasn’t meant to sacrifice my freedom. I wasn’t inclined to do so, I didn’t receive a calling, and didn’t feel it was my focus in life. However, I realized when I chose to nestle among the vast community of college students instead that many were ungrateful, naive, and selfish. My experience may be different, but the point is, not many people bother to take a look from the other side nowadays and lack the respect to do so. I wrote “A Man / A Warrior” to show the battle among perspectives, and how members of the armed forces shouldn’t feel like a working class in charge of serving free Americans. Rather, the working class of America should view the Armed Forces as a group of honorable people that simply wish to protect our freedom. We live in the United States of America. If we learned to respect one another for our sacrifices, we wouldn’t be so divided.
Now let’s pretend its Taco Tuesday. What taco is everyone having?
Schraeder – Al Pastor
Jake – Not tacos.
Dylan – Whatever I can order.
Ryan – I am a proud supporter of all things Mexican food. I have also never been one to turn down any taco, and I’ll be damned if I start now. Slap a blindfold on me and let’s get this party started.
Kevin – I’m with Ryan, I will eat everything that gets put in front of me.
Colorado is well known for its craft breweries. What are some of OWL’s favorite places to grab a beer?
Schraeder – Resolute Brewing, Dry Dock Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Euclid Hall, Black Sky Brewery, Wynkoop Brewery
Jake – Wherever the boys want to crack some cold ones.
Dylan – I can’t drink yet. When I do turn 21, I want to go to Upslope Brewery.
Ryan – Dry Dock is good, and so is Resolute. You can’t go wrong with Odell’s either. Beer is good.
Kevin – I LOVE craft beer. I tend to gravitate towards New Belgium, but Upslope is also good, and definitely Dry Dock.
Do the members of OWL have any other passions in life other than music?
Schraeder – I love fitness, video gaming, skateboarding, hockey, and DJing/producing progressive house/trance music (if that counts). I’m also working toward my business degree with a music emphasis, so let’s see where that takes me.
Jake – I really enjoy technology and learning how things are advancing. It’s amazing what people come up with. Aside from that, I’m an avid gamer.
Dylan – Aside from music, I love video games. I want to be able to design and develop my own games that I want people to love.
Ryan – I love hockey (Go Ducks!) as well as snowboarding, and kicking back with video games. I’m super outgoing, so anything that gets me out of the house for a bit is always a go to for me.
Kevin – Is beer a passion?? But I really enjoy playing video games, watching hockey with Ryan, and I’m teaching myself how to record music because that’s one thing I really want to learn.
What’s OWL’s plans for the rest of the year?
We plan to release something special soon, leading into recording more material. Keep a lookout.
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