SCAD Radio had the opportunity to talk with My Last Years ahead of their performance at The Space Station at Starlandia Supply.
My Last Years is a Savannah based metalcore outfit with members from across the country. Having been a year since the band released their last single, “Dimensions,” the band are gearing up to release their debut EP in the near future.
Here’s a look at our interview with Andrew Preavett (vocals), Ethan Sather (vocals), Brendan Bagwell (guitar), Luke Myers (bass), and Jalen Roark (drums) of My Last Years.
Kush with SCAD Radio: Are there any bands, both old and new, that you’d say would have influenced your music?
Andrew Prevett from My Last Years: It varies for each person, really. It’s like a cluster of a bunch of different bands all together. Some of us are really into metalcore like Of Mice and Men, Parkway Drive, or anything like that. Some of us are into djent.
Ethan Sather from My Last Years: Uh…I’ve been greatly influenced by The Wiggles. [laughs]
Jalen Roark from My Last Years: I think most interestingly — Andy, you’re in love with Def Leppard.
Andrew Prevett: I am a HUGE Def Leppard fan. They’re such a huge influence on me, but it’s not like they put me in the mood to write or anything, since they’re so different from what a lot of people in this genre will listen to. A lot of people are influenced by Issues or anything off of Rise Records. But I listen to a lot of hair metal. At the same time I also like R&B and I listen to some showtunes and I have a wide variety of what I like.
Brendan Bagwell from My Last Years: So the many different influences from each person really brings a new take on our music that we can all collaborate and try to bring something new to the genre.
Kush: Are there any other genres of music outside of metalcore and post-hardcore that you’d say had an impact on your music?
Jalen Roark: I’m actually a jazz drummer above anything else. I try to bring the more interesting chops I’ve got now from that into this.
Ethan Sather: A lot of us listen to a lot of different music. I used to listen to country as a kid. So there’s nothing really ruled out as far as what we listen to.
Brendan Bagwell: I think that really opens it up for us. Most of us are open to pretty much anything. I know a lot of my other friends have a very specific music taste and they’re not willing to expand to anything else, like country. Like “Metal is so non-country! Screw that!” But I feel this band is open to anything which honestly does open up for a lot more open mindedness for what we come up with in the future.
AP: Music is music, regardless of what genre it is. We can appreciate it regardless of what style.
Luke Meyers from My Last Years: Genre just makes it easier to find similar artists. I don’t think it needs to be a barrier.
K: How would you say the Savannah hardcore and metalcore scene is different from other similar scenes across the country?
ES: I think I’m the only one in this band that has witnessed the hardcore scene. There is a very good hardcore scene. When I first came down here 2 years ago, it was kind of being brought back up. There was a very small scene.
AP: The venues were shutting down and stuff and people have to resort to house shows and junk.
ES: Seeing the people that go to the local shows and stuff, there is a very good following for the local music, especially in the hardcore genre. People will come from at least 20 or 30 minutes just to come to Savannah house shows. It’s a very welcoming community.
Luke Meyers: Speaking of those house shows, I’m never going to forget those house shows I went to all of last year. People were willing to destroy their homes for beautiful venues for punk shows. It was just incredible.
AP: It’s a surprise to me. I’m from Tennessee and other there we have a decent hardcore scene but they suck at promotion and stuff. Down here, it’s really pushed and people here are interested.
BB: Especially with Timothy (Walls, Coast Rock Productions). Timothy has done a great job with everything Coastal Rock. He’s went out of his way to go out and print fliers for us. There were lineup changes for this show, and he made a whole new flier and printed them out and handed them out as well. So his dedication helps a lot for promotion down here.
K: So do you guys have any hobbies outside of music that you’d say work to influence your music?
AP: Video games.
ES: Video games.
AP: Jalen and I, we both love theater.
JR: I incorporate that so much into what I do, especially on stage.
AP: All through high school, I took drama classes. I did plays and stuff. So, I’m very involved with crowds. I’m used to being out there and I’m pushing to be a better frontman. I try my best to give the people a show because that’s what they’re here to see. They’re not here to hear a record. They didn’t pay for that. Anyone can just go on YouTube and just listen to music. Going to a concert is different. You’re paying money to see a show and that’s exactly what we try to put on.
K: What is the songwriting process for you guys like? Is there anything in particular that you guys do in the studio to make sure your music sounds exactly how you want it to?
AP: It’s different. We mainly write everything while we record. We record demos. It’s easier for us to construct a song, but it’s kind of spread out. I’ll write lyrics to a song that we don’t have music for and then we’ll write music for a song we don’t have lyrics for and we’ll just see. We’ll match it up and see what it sounds like.
LM: As far as the music goes, we’ll start with guitar, then add drums, and bass is usually last for us.
BB: I will say that the writing process has gotten a lot better in my time with the band. I actually started by doing merch for the band like 2 and a half years ago. After a few members left they offered me the position to play guitar.
ES: We needed anyone who could play guitar and he fit the role perfectly.
BB: But everyone in the band before lived in north Georgia, so it was a lot easier for the writing process. I have to say that it’s been a little bit more difficult.
ES: Very much so. We are very spread out. Jalen and I live down here. Andy and Luke live in Tennessee.
LM: Despite how separated we are, we get a lot done. More than I think most bands would be able to.
BB: When we meet up, we are very good at pumping stuff out.
AP: We are very productive and we try our best not to waste time.
JR: If I was going to describe a formula for our songwriting, it’s mostly just listening to (Brendan) f–k around on guitar for a little while and saying “I like that.” And then I’ll write a drum track to it. And then everything else comes after.
AP: If I like a track that’s just music, I’ll sometimes go in and just write to that. But a lot of times, I’ll have a melody in my head and I’ll like that melody and construct it how I like it and then add lyrics based on that. The lyrics range from pretty much anything. In this genre, a lot of listeners will go to music to just escape from life and have someone they know that understands what they’re talking about and we try to write lyrics to help them through whatever they’re going through.
K: Your last single, “Dimensions,” was super great. So I have to ask, what’s next for My Last Years?
AP: We’re trying to work on an EP. It was originally supposed to be a full length but because of how everything is spread out and also money, we decided to keep it around 7 songs and release an EP. We’re leaning towards the fall at this point. We’ve just gotta take our time and write the rest of our songs and record.
ES: Once we record it, we’re planning on big things. We’re going to be playing a lot more shows and be getting together a lot more.
BB: Australian world tour. [laughs]
ES: Hopefully we can get a lot more exposure, especially in Savannah.
AP: We’re actually going to be going on tour with 2 bands from 2 different states.
K: What can we expect from this upcoming EP?
AP: Each song has its own flavor to it. We try to not write the same song over and over again.
ES: We have songs that you can sing to. We have songs that you can punch people in the face to. And sometimes both in the same song.
BB: What I think is cool though — and this is one of the great things about being in a small band — is that of course we’re not signed to any label right now, so there’s no time crunch. There’s no “Hey, get this done within a year and a half or else.” So my biggest hope for when we start releasing full lengths and EPs is that each song is a really great song that we put our energy into. We’re not going to have filler songs to just fill up the album. Right now, I definitely want to take advantage of the time that we have.
ES: We can take as much time as we need to on each song and make each song special.
What are your goals with My Last Years going forward?
JR: One of our goals is definitely merch. We don’t have any merch at the moment.
ES: Merch is definitely a short term goal for sure.
AP: Long term I guess — we want to put all our energy into the EP right now and hopefully it will get a lot of publicity. Our goal is — of course we would love to be signed to a label. That would help a lot with funding for an album. If that’s not in our future, that’s okay. We’re perfectly okay being a DIY band.
K: Which tours Australia.
LM: One of my long term goals is definitely to make a living with the band. I don’t want to have to work a day job.
AP: As Luke said, being able to play in a band full time and not work a day job would be awesome.
LM: Also, never have our s–t stolen.
AP: True. Keep an eye on your trailer.
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