"Any kind of content we can do we are doing. I'd argue that the pandemic probably helped our work ethic.""
Arguably Metalcore and Deathcore are genres that are overtly saturated and so it's either the case of either being very good or trying something new, something that Until The Dead Walk have achieved on both fronts. A new sound, a new line-up and a new set of work ethic, the Kentucky natives are raring to go. Not only have they done that, they have also gone and secured the services of guest vocalists Alex Koehler (ex-Chelsea Grin) and Tom Barber (Chelsea Grin & ex-Lorna Shore). Life cannot be sweeter.
One half of the vocals section, Dakota Myers, took it upon himself to be interrogated on behalf of the American quintet. He didn't even break a sweat during the interrogation unlike the chickens that were to become 'Kentucky fried' (sorry!! Could not resist). He spoke to us about the COVID-19 situation in the state along with the mask merch they made, their favourite places to play and why they're itching to get back on a stage ASAP.
For those who have not heard of Until The Dead Walk, could you give us a brief history of the band? What inspired your band name choice?
"Ren Young the other vocalist started the band in early 2014. One of the original members includes Sean Cook; now guitarist for Hollow Valley. They're sick you should check them out. I joined the band around late 2014 / early 2015. Ren and I were in a previous project together but had a falling out right before UTDW was officially named. Many line-up changes led to guitarist Austin Mellick and bassist Tracy Cook being band members, and a recent change of drummer which was a surprise. I don't suspect any line-up changes after this. We have our solid core. Our family.
Ren picked the name. Since I am the left to his right, I always hated it. Thought it was mad corny. But after a while I finally get it. After putting so much work into this. So much time, dedication, hardships, sacrifice, betrayal. We're not stopping. It took us a long time to find out who was really with us and who wasn't. But this core we have right now will make music until the figurative dead walk. Or maybe literally. This 'rona stuff is getting outta hand."
How would you describe your sound without genre tagging, given you play a mix of Metalcore, Deathcore and 'whatevercore' (love it!)?
"Our sound is just whatever we feel at the time, y'know. If we feel like making a metalcore song we make a metalcore song. If we feel like making a beatdown song on the same album. It's going on there ha ha. We try not to put ourselves in a box. Playing music makes us happy. I couldn't imagine playing music I don't like to play. It would drain me. "
At what point did you want to become musicians and were you in bands prior to Until The Dead Walk?
"I personally didn't grow up wanting to be a musician. I've always done vocals, and I've played guitar for about 6-7 years now. But I actually grew up wanting to do art. I still do art. I do a lot of our merch designs and designs for other people. But once I found out what it feels like on stage. It turned from a hobby into an addiction. Something I wake up and crave. I don't think I would want any other job in the world.
I was in a few other garage bands before UTDW but nothing serious. Tracy our bassist is the former bassist of Of Clarity."
You created your own face mask due to COVID-19, do you think this will become a regular merch item (thinking of those in DIY, carpentry, etc)?
"Uhm. I would be wishful thinking here but sure. I think a lot of our fans are really die hard dedicated. They post stories daily with our merch in them. Out and about. At work. Recently while quarantining at home. So I genuinely do think people are going to wear our masks outside of the pandemic. I think people are going to wear masks for a long time in general after this blows over."
What is the COVID-19 lockdown situation like in Kentucky? How did people react to it? How has the band coped?
"I might get in some trouble saying this but from my perspective a lot of Kentucky just doesn't care. If you've ever seen the meme of the guy racking a shotgun outside of his trailer going "I ain't scared no Nader" that's Kentucky with Corona right now. I don't think we were ever really under strict 'quarantine' I see people jogging, walking their dogs, life as usual. Yes there are more facemasks, and yes there less people out. But it looks pretty busy for a city that's in the middle of a pandemic. Yet somehow we are flattening the curve more than other states surrounding us. It's really odd.
We, on the other hand are really pushing hard to not let this affect our work ethic. Wer'e getting new merch out, we're working on new music, we're doing skits, and working on a podcast. Any kind of content we can do we are doing. I'd argue that the pandemic probably helped our work ethic."
What plans have you got for late 2020 / early 2021? Were any plans postponed or cancelled?
"We are looking to go touring as soon as possible. I know that sounds scary and there definitely is an Inherent fear going into that. But that's just another sacrifice for us to live how we want to live. We have all sacrificed a lot for this. Relationships, time with our children, our friends, our families. It's just another sacrifice for us.
We actually had a couple of tours and shows cancelled. Skatopia's Bowl Bash was one. It would've been our second year out and I absolutely love everything about that place. If there ever were a place that screams the do whatever you want unless you're hurting someone else attitude that UTDW strives for its Skatopia."
For metalheads visiting Louisville, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"There's a saying my mum used to say all the time. "Come to Louisville we got potholes and horses" ha ha. But no seriously, we don't have that many venues that I enjoy any more. My favourite venue and second home Trixies was very sadly sold a few months ago. After that we have Diamonds Billiard Hall which has now become my favourite venue in Louisville. We have Nirvana bar and Spinellis for smaller more personal shows. For attractions? Uh. We got. Horses? We got a bridge that lights up. We have a Kaiju themed bar that's really cool. If you're a fan of drama you can go to Taproom. Really any bar in the highlands. If you like art, the Speed Art Museum has beautiful works
that rotate pretty frequently."
Do you have any thanks or greetings you wish to send to friends, family or fans?
"To all of our friends and family I'd like to say thank you and I'm forever grateful for all the support that we get from you. To be able to do what we do is a dream of many. The fact that you all help us do it I can't even begin to explain how"