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WWU chats with Keith Saunders of Deathsinger

Friday, February 2, 2018

Virginia Beach is home to some crazy up and coming talent. Not too long ago, we covered some crazy acts that have been sprouting up left and right, one of them being Deathsinger. After this, I had the pleasure of talking briefly with Keith, their vocalist, and it was not hard for me to discover his love for video games, which crosses over into his love for music. I was definitely ecstatic when presented with the opportunity to ask some questions about one of my favorite releases of 2017.

 

Cameron (WWU): Let's start with the basics - how did Deathsinger form and where does the name come from?

 

Keith (Deathsinger): Deathsinger formed as a result of Devin and Dan jamming together and then reaching out to Austyn, David, and myself to fill out the band. The name comes from Destiny - the death singer is a boss in the game.

 

WWU: I had a hunch but that's awesome. While we're on the subject of non-musical things, do you guys have anything else you all do together outside of music during the downtime?

 

Deathsinger: David and devin live together, so they watch wrestling and play games. Dan signs our skin sometimes (he's a tattoo artist) - he did my tattoo and some of Austyn's tattoos. We have parties for the holidays and sometimes meet up at our local hardcore/metal bar. We usually go out to eat after practices and just generally mess around like normal dudes! Oh and I'll sometimes get the dudes together to play long nights of Rock Band 3. Austyn usually has people over at his house for football games.

 

WWU: So when you're not serving up ass-whoopings at games, you're writing some intense music. What helps you write this intense of music? What inspired the rage that is Cold Comfort?

 

Deathsinger: Oh boy. My lyrics are a manifestation of my emotions. Personally, I use the music as an outlet. It gives voice to my demons, and it puts them in their place. Our lyrics are meant to be almost positive - they're an escape for the listener, and when the song is over, it's like you've overcome the lyrical content. So that definitely comes from a place of rage. Also despair, depression, anxiety, etc. Austyn comes from the same place lyrically. In terms of guitar, he writes what words can't always convey. David loves playing music in general, and that compassion inspires him. He loves Every Time I Die and that fuels him. Also, we all are driven by the fact that people have told us we couldn't do something in the first place. Devin and I grew up playing in a band together and opening for bigger bands. He was always inspired to do what they did. 

One last thing before we move on from this question! Everyone in our current band has been in bands their entire life. David has been in local bands for years. One of his bands, Accident Prone, is still active. Dan was in a band called Call It Courage. Austyn was in a few bands locally and in northern Virginia. Devin and I played together for a long time.

 

WWU: Oh wow, so some of you guys were jumping around, not all sound like the current project would be my guess?

 

Deathsinger: Yeah! Accident Prone is hardcore/grindcore/mathcore - David was the drummer for a while. Call It Courage was metalcore - Dan drummed. Devin and I played in a progressive metalcore band named Vaalyria.

 

 

WWU: It's funny you brought up bigger bands because I wanted to talk tours and shows because you guys have a BANGER coming up in March with Varials, I AM, Paper Trail, Catalyst, Broken Slate and the mighty Kublai Khan. How does it feel doing a show that big that close to home? And to follow up are you guys planning to do some more touring this year?

 

Deathsinger: We love the opportunity to open up awesome tour packages like that and represent what VB has to offer. We represent our hometown with pride. We have a small tour planned in March with Alukah.

 

WWU: Nice! While talking about VB, I've noticed there's some crazy talent coming out of VB and just Virginia in general. Do you have a few favorites that you rep harder than others?

 

Deathsinger: We always rep our local friends. Everyone we play with is amazing. In Virginia Beach specifically, there are RVNT, Paper Trail, Next to Nothing, Accident Prone, Catalyst, Drop the Girl, and many more. We could go on forever and gladly would. Richmond has some great bands too, so does Northern Virginia. Crucial Rip, Beyond the Aftermath, Shame Spiral; they're all the boys. If anything, we're concerned with forgetting to mention anyone. Virginia is a wonderful scene.

 

WWU: I noticed since the release of your EP, there's been a few reviews that have made it online. How does that make you feel seeing that fast of a response to your music?

 

Deathsinger: It's surreal every time we see someone post about us. We're so thankful for everything. I'm not sure which reviews you saw, but one has an interesting story behind it - Brian Storm runs Rockfeed and also writes for Metalsucks. He happens to live in Virginia. I met him at a concert a few years ago and subsequently sent him our first recording when he was doing a livestream on Facebook last year. He sent me a video of him jamming out to our song. Pan forward a year later, and I see someone who looks like him at the Whitechapel Decade of Defilement Tour show we opened in Virginia Beach. So I hunted the guy down at the bar after losing him once, and it turned out to be Brian. We were excited to see each other. I gave him some of our merch and a CD. A few days later, he was jamming it in the car and wrote a review of it on Rockfeed. Since then, he's been making news-style videos on YouTube under the Rockfeed channel. They've been getting a lot of views. (Like thousands and thousands) About a week ago, maybe two weeks, he made a video and wore our hoodie in it.

 

WWU: That is awesome! So, with Cold Comfort being your debut, was there an overall point or message that you wanted the listener to take away from the EP?

 

Deathsinger: We're just guys having fun with our friends making music that makes us happy. When we get any recognition we all feel really lucky and have the utmost appreciation. And the Cold Comfort message is for anyone who can relate to our music and lyrics. Ultimately as a community of heavy music we have similar happenings, upbringings, and life events. So we enjoy the opportunity of being able to reach out and connect with people. The message of Cold Comfort itself is that we're all in this life together. The title track is about having nowhere to turn when you hit rock bottom, and listeners can know at the end of the song that someone has been in the same spot and made it out. The Void is about suicidal thoughts. Suicide is a topic that everyone is afraid to talk about. That just gives more mystery and power to it. I talk about it straight up in the song so listeners know how to confront their own emotions. "Slave" is about the struggle everyone feels unless they're a billionaire - go through college and put on massive amounts of debt, or work and give all your money to bills and collectors. The cycle is endless unless you find a way out. Some people get to the point where they think the only way out is death. "Anxiety" is the first song I wrote for the band. I tried to encapsulate the problems I was facing at the time. It was around when I was realizing that I had an anxiety disorder and needed professional help. So I literally felt like my brain was on fire all the time and was panicking.

 

WWU: I like how legitimate the feeling is, you can tell just by listening to it that the feeling is genuine and it's always refreshing to see music being used as an outlet for negative thoughts and emotions. 

 

Name a musician you would like to work with on a Deathsinger track.

 

Deathsinger: CJ from Signs of the Swarm, Ben from Extortionist, Kyle from Bodysnatcher, Dickie Allen, Adam from Oceano, and also local artists. We were trying to do a split with Applaud the Impaler. Definitely check them out.

 

WWU: What is the next step for Deathsinger? Is there a goal that you all have in mind for the future of this band?

 

Deathsinger: Our goal right now is to put out another EP and set up a regular tour schedule. We aim to tour on the east coast first!

 

WWU: Wonderful! Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers/your fans?

 

Deathsinger:  We would like to extend the utmost gratitude towards all our fans. Also, thank you for the interview. Your questions have been great. Keep an eye out for new music, merch, and tour announcements from us!

 

WWU Thanks Keith as well as the other members of Deathsinger for their time in answering these questions. Deathsinger is a solid band full of solid dudes and they are absolutely crushing it right now. Cold Comfort is an amazing debut for them and I cant wait to hear more. If you like it, please support these guys as they truly deserve it.

 

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