The word brutal gets thrown around the scene so much but seriously it’s difficult not to use such vocabulary when dealing with a band of such soul-crushing-floor-punching-boulder-throwing-knuckle-dusting-cart-wheel-spin-kicking greatness and these guys love Jesus too so spread the love by loving them too…embrace the chaos too and enjoy Strength Within…
Where did you all grow up and how old are you?
David -SW- : I grew up around Cincinnati, Ohio. I am 27 years old. The old man of the group. Zach is 18, Mike is 19, Travis is 17, Chris is 22
How much of an influence was your upbringing? Are your parents supportive of what you are doing with the band and outside what sorts of things do you enjoy doing?
David –SW- : My Parents have never really understood the whole “Hardcore” scene and all that it entails. They had a lot of issues back in my younger days when I would come home having been in fights at shows but they really don’t have a say in it anymore. The other guys parents are all pretty supportive of what we are doing. I read all the time and I also spend most my time with family outside of band stuff.
How’s the local hardcore scene? Is it supportive of new bands? Does it nurture them & give them massages with happy endings :-0 (Spent too much time in Thailand at the start of the year)
David -SW- : Our local scene is good in some ways and others not. We have a strong core group of people that come to our home shows and really have fun and move alot. Our last home show the mic got pulled out of my hand and flew off somewhere. We finished the rest of the song with it being one big massive group of gang vocals it was pretty sweet. There is also a group around us though that is pretty lame. They have forgotten what it’s like to go to a show and just have fun and not fight or hate just because we are not the style they want to hear at the moment. We play our style and our stuff because we love it and it pumps us up. If we got pumped up by keyboards or continual sweeping we would do that. Non-stop thrash or something like that… I think ultimately if you don’t really enjoy your style then you are doing something wrong.
I went barn dancing last night with my girlfriend, so country I know, have you guys ever done anything a bit out there to satisfy that special someone in your life? (Girls what-ever-next haha), does SW have romantic side?
David –SW-: Well personally I am married so I have to continually spice up the marriage, Mike has a girlfriend and the other guys are single. So I guess where all my single ladies at?? Also if you give your number to Zach, he will text you until your fingers fall off.
What does your faith mean to you? To me my faith is personal, inside, it guides me but I’m not guided by it…
David –SW-: My faith pretty much is my life and I can speak for the other guys also when it’s the same for them. I use to be a pretty dark person…maybe not dark..but angry would be a better word. I would fight over stupid things all the time. I found my faith in Jesus and things changed for me. I use to question whether it was a crutch for me because I never felt like a weak person that needed to have Faith to make it through life. Then I realized we are all searching for something in this life. Happiness or whatever it is your looking for. My faith guides me in who and what I want to be and also in the things I want to accomplish in the time I have.
Tell me about Jesus? Kidding but seriously you guys are a Christian band right? How did you all discover Christianity, were you brought up religiously or was it a personal thing for you all that you gravitated towards?
David –SW-: haha.. We have been called so many different types of Christian band stuff that its sorta interesting to hear what we are going to be called next. I think my personal favorite is “Ohio-Ministry Minded Metal-Core” or “Christian Worship Hardcore” All of those are names I really don’t care for at all. I hate the images that come up in the mind when you say you are a Christian band but I guess that we are grouped into that genre. We all have relationships or friendships with Jesus however you want to put it. I won’t say we are religious, Its not about religion to us but about a active relationship with God. I won’t ramble on about all of this stuff but we each have a personal journey that led us to Jesus. Chris used to hate “Christians” whole-heartedly and he has a pretty cool story of how he came to find Jesus and what that means to him. We all have went through different things in life that could have broken us but instead we found our strength.
A couple of you guys are edge too and you’re all poison free so why make that conscious choice to be teetotal? Is it something you think about much or it is just a part of who you are?
David –SW-: Chris and Zach are both edge, I am in a weird middle ground and Travis and Mike are both “poison free” if you want to call it that. I started off edge back when I was 14 years old. I was very vocal about it and at times militant. I became a Christian and they sort of melded together for me, we are all like you said “poison-free” and its definately part of who we are. I can’t imagine dealing with some of the things that come along with alcohol and other stuff in a band situation. My extended family has been torn apart by drugs and alcohol and it’s the same for all the guys. We definitely have strong views on it.
Would you rather be Luke Skywalker or He-Man, by the power of grey-skull I wouldn’t know which to choose?
David –SW-: Definitely He-Man, He has a Massive Battle Cat. Nuff said.
Do you all find it easy to collectively write music and would you describe the process as fun or the end product as the best part?
David –SW-: We can write songs non-stop…..haha. We could definitely put out a new song almost every week if we needed to. We definitely all throw our ideas in when we write and we match up pretty. A lot of times I bring ideas that I have had in my head such as our song “Grave Digger” I heard the melody and the opening lines in my head over and over while I was in the shower. I came to practice and kept singing them to Mike and the rest is history. I really enjoy the way we are able to write new music.
What would you like people to take away from the audio-visual experience that is a SW live show?
David –SW-: I personally don’t want a Strength Within show to be fancy with lights and all that stuff. That really is just not our style. We have debated back and forth but at heart I am a pretty old-school dude and like the old-school stage show. Stage dives, Pile-ons and gang vocals are good enough for me. The more crowd participation that is going on the better, also our rule is none of us should ever be standing still. I sometimes wonder how bands think people should move and be into it when they are not into it enough to move themselves. It’s about emotion and I hope people leave feeling like they connected to the spirit of it all and with a sense of family.
Wouldn’t it be ace if like in Michael Crichton’s (R.I.P.) book Jurassic Park was actually science fact and they created an island full of dinosaurs would you be tempted to go play? (Yes I spend far too much time indoors)
David –SW-: Yes, but I think it’s the 1st one where the little dino’s kill the Newman character. I hate those little ones. I wouldn’t care if I got trampled or eaten by the T-rex but the tiny little bites of the little dinos….scary.
How do you feel about the current state of hardcore and does it continue to inspire you?
David -SW-: I feel like Hardcore needs to get back to the fun side of things and for it to go back to being a massive family again. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re an Edge band, Christian band, God-Free Band, Scene-Band, or any other type of band. As long as your cool dudes we will hang with you and show you respect. We get inspired any time we meet a band who is trying to change some of the crap in the world into something better than what it is..
How is SW going to inject positivity and faith back into the HC scene and how would you like people to remember you all?
David –SW-: We encourage all kids to come out and to dance/mosh at shows and to have fun. One of the best memories I have of a Strength Within show is looking out and seeing like 10 little kids maybe 11 or 12 years old at there first hardcore show. Trying to learn how to 2-step…... It looked completely ridiculous and was really funny to see but it really gave me hope that what we are doing isn’t going to just stop and end for good. We want to give kids a positive band that they know they can come to one of our shows and have a good time. Kids are tired of coming to shows and getting beat up or treated badly and they won’t come and then the scene dies. We hope that people remember us as a band that was real about our faith and also had a positive effect on the scene instead of tearing it down.
Thanks for the interview.
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