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A Dirty Dozen with TYLER ENNIS from OF VIRTUE – May 2022

According to a recent press release: “Progression — or more generally, change — is a constant in music. In order to adapt and survive, bands must grow and develop. Midwestern metal act Of Virtue understand this reality and keep growing and evolving! The band has now signed to Arising Empire and has shared the video for “Sinner.” Of Virtue were formed in 2008 and catapulted onto the Michigan metalcore scene in 2009 with their debut EP To Breathe Again. Combining elements of melodic hardcore and metalcore into a mosh-friendly and energetic amalgam, the band became a staple within its local scene. Of Virtue issued their debut full-length Heartsounds in 2011, followed by an extensive regional touring cycle. The album found the band expanding on the sound that defined its earlier effort, with lyrics speaking of positivity and determination. It was sonically vicious, yet passionate and inspiring. In 2015, the band dropped Salvation, a sprawling and ambitious example of meticulous and melodic metalcore. Third full-length What Defines You arrived in 2019. That album marked incorporation of alternative styles into a backbone of bold, robust metalcore. Even in the setting of a global pandemic, Of Virtue continued to blossom worldwide, accruing new listeners and fans, effectively expanding their reach even in a time where live performances were all but impossible.” We get the band namesake singer Tyler to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Hypocrite” is unlike any song we’ve ever written before. It still has the elements that make us Of Virtue of course, but we wanted to turn it up a notch – so we stayed quite heavy throughout the whole thing and put little to no melodic elements in it which compared to any song you might hear on our previous album What Defines You. It was our first time working with producers Andrew Baylis and Evan McKeever, and at first it was different because we were used to coming to the studio with music ready to go, demos, lyrics, etc. This time we brought nothing but willingness to try something new and I’m glad we did. As for the hidden nuggets, “Hypocrite” has a lot of different elements and I think it shows people that we write songs which we enjoy and we don’t like writing the same songs over and over again. I’m excited for everyone to hear it and let us know how they feel about it!

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

My brother started playing guitar and was constantly playing the music of a band called Story Of The Year. I would say that band and my brother are the main reasons why I got interested in music. Following that I dove into Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Story Of The Year, and more – so I joined a band with my brother and some friends leading me here. The rest is history!

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

Story Of The Year or Breaking Benjamin. I’ve been huge fans of both ever since I first heard them. Breaking Benjamin is probably my favorite band. I listen to them more than anyone else I know and to say they’ve influenced what I do would be an understatement.

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

Benjamin Burnley or Dan Marsala, 100%. I owe both of these people a lot for helping create my passion for singing and finding my voice. Let’s make it happen guys!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I love to play video games! Rocket League, Apex, etc. It’s been a huge passion of mine all throughout my life. I sometimes even bring a video game rig out when we go out on tour. Ha! I have also recently started getting into making my own video content and graphic design.

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?

We are a metal band that has influences from lots of different genres and eras of music. We can be loud, we can be soft – but most importantly, we’re Of Virtue.

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

Mike cooks. He’s really good at it too! Mike is also probably the first to crack open a beer but he doesn’t do it alone. He always asks if anyone else wants something, which is awesome. I don’t think any of us bring out the guitar, haha. Back then maybe I would have but very poorly played. We are more so air pods guys – where everyone is just in their own zone.

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

Oh man, there’s so many times to choose from haha. I am a firm believer in never changing and being who you are and the one thing I will say is I will always be excited to tour with bands and I will always enjoy the journey and living out my dream no matter how far we take this thing. It’s what makes me feel alive! A few examples I can think of include when we toured with For The Fallen Dreams in 2018. I remember seeing them at local shows growing up and then we got to do their Changes 10 year anniversary tour? That was so wild. They’re the best guys and it’s awesome how close we’ve gotten with them. Also, in 2019 we toured with three other bands I listened to growing up The Word Alive & Make Them Suffer in 2019 in Europe & Upon A Burning Body in the States in 2019. It’s awesome because younger me would kill to be doing what we’re doing now and it’s a great feeling that present me is still blown away that we did them. All those bands are wonderful and I will always cherish those memories, but you bet whenever I see them on another tour I will be crowd surfing and being a fan no matter what because they deserve that!

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?

I think my favorite part for being a musician is having a platform. We believe in being socially conscious, so having the ability to spread a message when we need to is so incredibly powerful and I will never take that for granted. If I wasn’t doing music, I would love to further my career in the movie industry and work at a company such as Pixar as they are my favorite company ever! I’ve been working at the movie theater back at home since 2011 and it’s been such a cool job, especially because I love movies!

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?

Not really sure about questions I want to be asked but instead of answering all music related questions, I love being asked other things that give people an insight on who we are as people! I love answering questions about music but it can get repetitive answering the same questions!

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?

That’s a tough one, but I think one thing I can confidently say is that I wish we wouldn’t have jumped at the first label that showed interest in us. Although I don’t regret it, I think we could have done that whole thing differently. There were a lot of things that happened and a lot of things that we were promised which never happened during our time with our previous label. This built up a lot of resentment in me. But instead of letting that derail us, we put our heads down, and used our down-time during quarantine and wrote a ton of new songs. We filmed a lot of videos. We hired an awesome team and we’re going to move past that last record. I am proud of how far we’ve come since then and we have a wonderful home with our new label home, Arising Empire, and I believe everything works out exactly how it’s supposed to. Here’s to the future!

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

Page Avenue – man what an album. I really can’t describe how much this album means to me. I would love to be in those sessions hearing how these songs came to be. Story Of The Year was a band a lot of people my age listened to and were inspired by so being a part of that process would be the coolest thing. Story Of the Year forever!






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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