Drayter's new album, Nine has been a long time in the making. Not only are the emotionally charged songs on this release relatable and hard-hitting for fans, but they also mean quite a bit to the band, as well. After the release of Nine, Drayter chose to donate their album sales to support education on bullying awareness and prevention, which comes as no surprise after listening to the emotional track, "Not Alone," from the new album. Starting 2016 on the heels of their successful release, Drayter can only go up from here.
We recently had the chance to chat with founding member and guitarist Cole Schwartz about Nine, Drayter's growth and much more. Read the entire interview and listen to "Not Alone" below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
You ended 2015 with the release of your full-length album, Nine. Was there anything you really wanted to be able to accomplish with this release?
Cole Schwartz: The completion and release of the album was a huge accomplishment all on its own. Although we began planning this album a year ago, we’ve been writing and performing some of these songs for much longer. So we are thrilled for people to hear some new songs from us and hope to gain visibility in a broader market and expand our fan base. And of course, we are ready to get on the road.
There are some emotionally heavy songs on Nine - lyrically, what inspired this album?
Nine definitely has some heavy moments, but there are light ones as well. Throughout the album there are themes dealing with a wide range of emotions and the lyrics communicate these messages. We draw inspiration for lyrics through what our statement is for that particular song. For example, on "Mother Says," we are addressing a topic that is personal for many people. We wanted to lyrically convey the statement and then follow through with a message of hope in how you can deal with it. Another example is the song "Not Alone." Here we clearly address the emotional breakdown from bullying, being victimized, hiding your true self, living in fear, etc. However, instead of lyrically focusing on the bad side of it, we focus on how to deal with it. We focus on the idea that you are not alone, and if you reach out you’ll realize that there are others around you going through the same emotional turmoil. Through our pain, we find connection with others and learn that there is beauty in the world.
I know Nine is also about thinking outside of the box. How do you feel you accomplished that with this release?
We chose to write some pop tracks and we also wrote rock. We commissioned two very different producers that are heavy hitters in their genre. Half of Nine is more poppy and the other half is more rock. However, there is continuity throughout as we like to blend our signature sounds into each song. We don’t think it’s common for an album to open with a pop/dance track and end with a solid rock tune, so thinking outside the box definitely fits.
What was the most challenging part about creating Nine? On the flip side, what was the most rewarding part?
There is so much that goes into making an album, and as an independent band the most challenging part of doing a project like this is funding. With Grammy winning/nominated producers, mixers, and engineers, combined with travel, it’s very expensive to make an album like Nine. We are very lucky to have sponsors that have supported us, and we think the music and production speaks for itself.
Funding and expenses aside, the entire process, from writing to pre-pro, to travel, to recording, and finally mixing and mastering, is a super rewarding process. And then listening to the finished product and finally getting to open up that first CD is awesome. However, nothing beats knowing that one person has been positively impacted by a song of ours. There are times when you feel beat down, but when you see that kind of response from people it makes it all worth it. Pushing through and getting past the hard times can really prove to yourself just how bad you want it. We think that the journey will continue to be rewarding as we move forward.
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from your music or live performances?
Music is art, and so it’s up to the listener to hear it and interpret it as they want. We hope that a song like "Mother Says" gives someone the clarity and understanding they were searching for. We hope that a song like "Not Alone" saves someone from the grips of despair and gives them inner strength to stand tall. We hope that "Run" entices someone to get out of their chair in the middle of the office and begin dancing because it’s Friday! All together, we hope that the person who comes across this interview or stumbles across the album puts it on and turns it up, because we think there’s something for everyone on it.
Our live shows are all about ENERGY! We like to leave the audience feeling exhausted after our set. We go out there and leave everything we have on the stage, so when we exit, we’re like, “follow that!” Haha! As an unknown band on stage, we have one goal in mind, and that is to win every single person over in the audience. We put on one heck of a show! If you find out we’re in your area, come out and see for yourself!
Having been creating music since 2008, how do you feel that you’ve grown, both as people and musicians over the years, or even just with the release of Nine?
Speaking for myself, I started the band when I was 12. As you can imagine, there’s been a little growth since then…ha ha.! Liv was playing shows in the Dallas circuit all this time as well, so she has grown a lot, too. The roots of our favorite music will always remain the same, but over the years we’ve fallen in love with many different genres. It’s all there - classic rock, metal, punk, blues, R&B, pop, funk, house, downtempo, and much more. Our love for many genres may play a part in why we had so much fun playing with pop and rock on Nine. We’ve grown to respect goals as they are not boundaries, but more like stepping stones to guide us to success. We still have so much growing to do and are excited about what the future brings.
How do you feel that your hometown of Dallas has shaped you as musicians? What has been the best part about growing up or playing music there?
The Dallas scene has been very accepting to our rock ‘n’ roll roots. Experience is the best teacher and we both got a lot of it playing around Dallas for several years. We also learned how to tweak our live shows and over time noticed the difference in crowd response. Together, our shows are pretty explosive and we have Dallas music fans to thank for the experience!
What would you like to be able to bring to your local scene?
We would love to make Dallas proud! We have grown up in the music scene in this city and we would love to give back by succeeding. There are some amazing artists that have come out of the DFW region and we hope to be next!
Now that the album is out and the New Year has started, are there any big plans in the works for Drayter?
Our amazing team is working on some awesome stuff for the 2016 tour season and we are keeping busy with promoting Nine. 2016 will be full of great times and great music from us.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to interview us, and thank you for the great questions! We appreciate the opportunity you have given us to allow people to have some insight on who we are. Thank you!