Idaho rock band Silent Theory released a new video, back in November, called “Before the Storm”. The video/single is about the opioid crisis that has been in the news. Digital Beat Magazine, was able to catch up with Mitch Swanger to chat about the video and writing the song.
Digital Beat Magazine: To begin with, I would like to congratulate you and the members of the band on everyone’s success. From reading the band’s bio, it looks like everyone has had a laundry list of good fortune. How would you describe the band sound to someone who has not heard of Silent Theory before?
Mitch Swanger: That’s always been a tough question for me to answer. We bring a plethora of personal musical interests to the band, and I think that has always played a part of our sound. I think the bands we tend to get compared to the most often though are 10 Years and Chevelle.
DBM: What would you say are some of the band’s influences?
MS: I think it varies on each individual. We all have collective bands that we enjoy, but each of us also has our own music preferences that we are into. For example, George [Swanger] is really into old blues and jazz, Robert [James] has a huge punk influence, and Scott [Swanger] probably likes the heaviest music out of all of us.
DBM: The band newest single,” Before the Storm”, whose idea was it?
MS: Lyrically, it was all Dakota’s idea. We are band that tends to write about the world around us, or things going on internally, and Dakota [Tyler] felt this strong conviction to write about the current opioid crisis that our country is facing. We let it get so out of control that now it feels like it’s a never-ending battle to fight it.
DBM: How did the single come about and how long did it take to write and record the song?
MS: Musically, it took me about ten minutes to write. My wife had given birth to our son a month or so prior, and I was having a hell of a time getting him to sleep. We had this swing that he absolutely hated and could only get him to sleep in it for about twenty minutes at a time. One day I had finally gotten him to sleep in it, and in like ten minutes, cranked out the music on the piano. Then my kid woke up and my writing session was done. I took the music to our next practice and gave it to Dakota to write some lyrics to since I was coming up blank. The practice after that, we had lyrics and the song was pretty much done. If I remember right, Dakota really over-analyzed his writing on this song. He’d write a line, and then not be happy with it, and scrap it. He did this for hours and hours, maybe even days. I remember the day he finally showed us, he had told us he’d pulled an all-nighter to finish the song to his liking.
DBM: In doing some research, this isn’t the first time the band has produced a song like “before the Storm”. Back in 2016, there was a song called “Watch Me Burn”. Does the band like to produce songs like “Before the Storm” and “Watch Me Burn”?
MS: I think we just naturally gravitate toward this kind of writing. Again, we like to write about the world around us and at the time of Watch Me Burn, there was an entire political storm happening in the months leading up to the last presidential election. Though we aren’t a political band, we couldn’t help but write a song about what we were seeing.
DBM: Who came up with the concept of the video and how long did it take to shoot the video?
MS: Scott and I came up with the initial idea for the video. We had toyed with the idea of making the video pretty open for interpretation but decided that since Dakota had written specifically about the opioid crisis, that we’d center the video around it and not leave a ton of room for interpretation. Scott and I wrote the story about a husband who slowly finds out his wife is becoming more and more addicted to pills. Not a groundbreaking concept, but a concept that all of us can relate to in one way or another. Our actors did a great job telling the story and our videographer, Jon Kuritz, was able to piece it all together in an incredible fashion.
DBM: I noticed that it was a cold during some of the video shots; you could see the bands breath as they performed in the warehouse. How was the experience in making the video?
MS: The band performance piece of it was shot in a day, in an abandoned aluminum factory. It was like 20 degrees or so out, so in between takes, we would have to huddle around heaters to try and warm up. That part of it was miserable. We picked to film it in January in the Pacific Northwest, like a bunch of morons.
DBM: Will “Before the Storm” be part of an upcoming album? Or is it a standalone single?
MS: It will be a part of an album. The plan is to head to the studio sometime late-winter to finish the recording with an anticipated release in the spring.
DBM: With 2018 coming to a close, what are the plans for 2019? Will the band be heading into the studio next year?
MS: We will head to the studio late winter, hopefully release the album late spring, and then tour over the next summer to promote the album.
DBM: Is there anything else you would say that I didn’t cover in this interview?
MS: I always like to give a shameless plug for the band if I can. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. We are on all the streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, and for those of you who like CDs still, as well as other merch, you can buy directly from us at www.silenttheorystore.com.
DBM: Thank you for your time and for this interview. I hope everyone has a good holiday and a better 2019. Hope to catch Silent Theory on tour next year.