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A Dirty Dozen with TYLER ENNIS of OF VIRTUE – June 2019

| 10 June 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Los Angeles, CA – Rising melodic-metal band OF VIRTUE has released their hotly-anticipated, new album, What Defines You, with SharpTone Records. The quintet has also debuted a brand-new music video for the record’s latest single, “Alone.” Formed in Lansing, Michigan in 2009 with the concept of bringing positivity to their listeners, OF VIRTUE came out strong with their 2009 EP To Breathe Again. The band followed in 2012 with Learn/Love, a limited release EP, which sold out almost immediately. In 2015, Of Virtue added more power to their sound via the release, Salvation, an album which has grown to be a staple for the band’s sound. Later in 2017, the band released a stand-alone single, “Ghost Town,” and quickly added it to their live show only to be met with a major positive response. After this the band followed with their breakthrough singles “Surrounded,” “Torn Apart” and “Suffer.” We get vocalist Tyler to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think with the first listen most people are listening for what they want to hear. They can go back and listen a second or third time around and truly decide if they like it or not because that’s where you’ll hear a new layer to peel back, maybe a melody you didn’t hear before. I’ve had the same people who tell me “It’s good, but I think it’s missing the heaviness that the band used to have.” come back a few days later and say something like “Wow! I can’t stop listening to this record!”. It makes me smile because at that point I know to be proud of what we’ve created. On that note – the old Of Virtue is no longer a thing, the band you hear now is who we are and it’s taken us a lot to get here. If people don’t like the new album, we have no issues with them listening to the older stuff – however we created it at a different point in our career. We’re here now and we’d love for those fans to join us on this journey!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Story of the Year is the reason I am here today. My brother brought them into the household – I became a fan forever thanks to Page Avenue, which is an amazing album front to back. As for wanting to be a musician, I played soccer most of my life and after I tore my ACL going into my Sophomore year I needed something to do while I recovered. I picked up singing, took some lessons, and then eventually joined my first band. The band that made me want to perform this style of music was We Came As Romans. Dave is a wonderful vocalist, but an even better frontman. He and Kyle complimented one another so well. I am still so heartbroken for them due to Kyle’s passing, however, I know they will create something great in his honor.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

As mentioned prior, Story of the Year and We Came As Romans. I owe a lot to those two bands. Someone more recent would be Telle from The Word Alive. Watching him perform every night and talk to the crowd really inspired me to step up my live game. I am forever grateful to cross paths with someone that’s willing to teach a younger guys the ropes.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Story of the Year, Breaking Benjamin, We Came As Romans, Architects, and Killswitch Engage.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Me personally, I would love to have Benjamin Burney from Breaking Benjamin come in and help us write a song. They’re one of my favorite bands and I think he is a genius when it comes to writing music!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Someone said we sounded like Papa Roach one time and although I do like them a lot, we sound nothing like them at all haha. To each their own though and if they’re listening to us because they think we sound like them, then I am all for it! As long as they’re listening, they could say we sound like Justin Bieber for all I care and I would still be content!

7. When the band is all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Damon likes to cook – or maybe he just likes food (?) so I would say him for cooks. Mike likes beer a lot and always brings some to share (what a good guy, lol) and none of us crack out the acoustic guitar, haha. When we hang out, it’s usually at a place where we can talk about band things, personal life things and just enjoying each other’s company.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I don’t normally get star struck but I really do look up to artists that have been doing this for a while. Touring with The Word Alive and Make Them Suffer after listening to both bands for YEARS was really surreal. They’re all great people and I’m lucky to call them friends now. It’s crazy how being on a tour with them can bring you closer together. It’s even cooler listening to them now because I have a different perspective of them, and that is they’re just human beings doing the same thing I am doing, and that’s for the love of music.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Probably just being able to be creative and be so vulnerable to the world because you’re putting out your hard work for people to like or unfortunately hate on haha. But it’s something myself or the guys don’t take for granted! My dream job would be to a coach for high school soccer or be a video game developer. That all sounds like a blast!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

One question I’ve always wanted someone to ask me is “Why a metal band? Why not any other kind of music?” and my answer would be – “No one understands music quite like metal/rock artists. I think many of us are the most non-judgmental bunch because we all like a wide variety of music. For instance, I love pop, I love some hip-hop, alternative, blues, jazz, etc. I get to express myself and my emotions when I play this music and if I was playing other kinds I think it would be hard to portray that.” I don’t really get tired of answering any questions but I do like these kinds of interviews where it lets me be myself instead of answering questions that everyone else asks! It’s nice either switch it up a bit and I think for the readers it’s fun too. Most of these questions I’ve never been asked so it’s nice to have something different for a change!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

My career hasn’t been that long. I’ve been in bands for 11 years now but I haven’t done nearly as much touring or put out as many records as a lot of these guys have. One thing I will say I regret or was a misstep is not crafting my vocals and my own sound a lot sooner. I always second guess myself and before I was actually in Of Virtue. I was contemplating being done, but I think it’s great where I am now and I wouldn’t change the trajectory for the world. Practice makes perfect and if I wouldn’t have thought about giving up, I think I could be even better. With that said, I am still learning every day about how to be a better vocalist and frontman and that starts with looking at past shows and recordings and being honest with myself on what I could have done better.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for anyone record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think The Beatles would be cool, but definitely Metallica if anyone. They’re the biggest metal band of all time (arguably) and being in the same room as them would be so awesome to see how they worked back then. Recording sessions are so different now a days but I really think it would be cool seeing such a masterpiece being recorded.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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