Mike of the So Cal bred band Sever Your Ties, so graciously allowed me a bit of his time to talk about the band, their message and their future…
Kim IndieVisionMusic- For the record, state your name and what you do in Sever Your Ties.
Mike- I’m Mike and I play guitar
KimIVM- So how long have you been with the band?
Mike- I’m one of the original members. We started back in I think 2005, earlier 2005, I don’t remember when.
KimIVM- Sweet. So is there a story behind he band name?
Mike- There’s not really a story but there is a meaning. It’s basically…well we are a Christian band, and as a Christian band we actually believe that there’s a difference between a Christian band and Christians in a band. While we are all Christians, we’re also using our band as a ministry. So it’s basically calling people out to Sever Their Ties with the world and their old ways
KimIVM- I totally appreciate you guys for that. So you have a new album coming out July 8th, tell me a little about the writing and recording process.
Mike- Uh, we have been writing, or had been writing the album for quite some time. Basically, how we work is we do all of the writing together. There’s not really one person who does all the writing by themselves or anything like that. We all get together in writing sessions and put the record together, all six of us. We recorded with uh…well he’s the singer and all the members of Number One Gun, his name is Jeff Schneeweis. We recorded with him up in Chico from October through December 2007. Yeah, we just got the records back a little while ago from mixing and mastering and it’s ready to come out on July 7th with Solid State Records
KimIVM- Definitely can’t wait. So the date is July 7th?
Mike- Sorry, pardon me you got me! July 8th
KimIVM- Alright, because I was about to say that’d be my birthday and everyone who wouldn’t know what to get me could right out and get the CD for me and I’d have like 20 copies! So the date is July 8th then?
KimIVM- Alright, so how do you think you guys have progressed musically and personally since the earlier days?
Mike- Could I actually call you right back? There’s a cop following me.
KimIVM- Yeah definitely!
So there was about a 3 or 4 minute interval here where I repeatedly made small talk with myself, but I don’t think there’s a point to put any of that here. Well he eventually called back…
Mike- Sorry about that.
KimIVM- No worries! Is everything ok?
Mike- Yeah, I’m not in any trouble or anything. I got my windows tinted a while ago and in the back, the guy that tinted them, like pulled out some of my electrical or something like that to get to the back windshield. He messed up my like…you know how in the middle of the windshield on the back there’s like one brakelight?
Mike- Well that one he like messed up so they just use that as an excuse to pull me over all the time. Well like it’s good. I understand why they do it. It’s just an easy excuse to pull people over and maybe they’ll find those people doing something wrong
Mike- But yeah, I get pulled over like all the time because we’re up here in like the Mission Viejo area and there’s like the most cops ever! So they pull me over like once a week and I tell them you know “The guy messed up my taillight and I’m in the process of getting it fixed but I don’t have a lot of time to do that”. So whatever! I was planning on him pulling me over because he was following right behind me and I just didn’t wanna be on the phone while that happened. So anyways I’m all good now!
KimIVM- Great! So where did we leave off? Oh, ok got it. So how do you think you guys have progressed musically and personally since the earlier days?
Mike- Uhh, well we started out harder and a little more, I guess with a little more “brutal” sound, if you will. (There were) a lot more break downs, less structure, not very much singing at all, and that was when we had our old singer who was a completely different style. Our current singer now, Sean, actually played keyboards for us back then. He did the clean vocals for us on one of our first demos that some people have but it never got released. But uh, anyways, after that we actually let our singer go because that wasn’t really the direction that we wanted to move with the band. We were searching for a new singer for a while and didn’t really find an exact fit we were looking for, but we knew that Sean had always done the backups and all that stuff and he was awesome at it, but he just hadn’t really been frontman. So after some time and prayer and all that stuff, we felt like he was being called to step up to vocals. So we brought on his friend Justin at the time to fill in on keyboards, and that’s kind of the sound we got out of that. That’s when we recorded our EP First Sign of Light. If you listen to the difference from that first demo to First Sign of Light, you’ll already see the direction the band was heading. But we already had those songs written so we just recorded them and put out the EP. We always had the thought in mind that we were gonna move toward our more current style now which is a little bit more rock influenced. We like to consider ourselves party rock if you will. But again, we’re doing the whole ministry thing but we’re definitely out to give kids a good time. We’re not trying to be toughest guys ever, we’re just dudes and we’re playing fun music. We just wanna give kids some entertainment and a show worth their money and a CD that will definitely be worth their money! Yeah, I don’t know. We’ve progressed like that I guess! I kinda rambled on there.
KimIVM- No, you’re answer totally works
Mike- Well I guess we just wanted to do something more fun and not so completely serious. I mean we take our music seriously and we put a lot into writing it but it’s not like “Oh My God here comes the crazy breakdown everybody dance!”
Mike- We’d rather people come to our shows, have a good time, and actually watch us and the effort we put into our shows, rather than stand with their backs turned to us and wait for a breakdown.
KimIVM- Yeah, I can understand that. So how’s Solid State been treating you guys so far?
Mike- Uh, they’re awesome! It was a great, great feeling when we were finally able to nail that down. It was something that was a long time in the making and a lot of people don’t realize that. It’s probably been a little over a year now but we’re finally able to share that with everybody. We have the CD coming out now and all that stuff, and they’ve been totally awesome and very supportive. The whole team there is way cool. We got to meet them on our last tour when we went to Seattle and it’s an awesome label and it’s really awesome that they’re supportive of our ministry and all that also.
KimIVM- So how would you describe your live performances musically and visually for someone who hasn’t gotten the pleasure of seeing you live yet?
Mike- Umm, well it’s a musical party. It’s a real rockin’ good time! Yeah, we really want kids to come and feel good after leaving our show. I’ve been playing in bands for a while and so has Philippe, well we’re from Orange County and we’ve been playing in bands in this area for a while now. We just got tired of the whole dancing thing, like with people crowd moshing. It’s not supposed to be like a contest or anything. I don’t know about anybody else, but I go to concerts to see bands that I like to hear their music and to watch them perform and all that stuff. I just think it’s kind of weird when people go to prove themselves or prove whatever. We also want kids to come and feel faith and have an awesome time and leave kind of feeling better about themselves. We always open up a window of opportunity for anybody that wants to talk about anything with us. That’s like the main purpose of our band; to help people out and be there for them, giving back to everybody else. It’s not really about us.
KimIVM- Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
Mike- Gosh…lot’s of eating, we stretch…oh and we give ourselves high fives and headbutts amongst the band
KimIVM- Wow, high fives and headbutts! That’s nice!
Mike- Yeah, get ourselves a little riled up there.
KimIVM- So what are some of the ups and downs of being in a band in general?
Mike- Well the biggest struggle when you’re trying to do something serious in music is probably the financials. It is so hard to put so much time and effort into something like this. It’s basically like a really expensive hobby. I’m so stoked that we were able to get noticed and maybe something will start paying off for us soon. But one of the biggest struggles is definitely financials. We’re trying to work as much as we can but still take the band seriously and have enough time for it. I mean we have a lot of bills to pay, buying all this equipment, paying for gas for shows; it’s all on our dollar. It’s not like we’re rich or anything. I know this is like a huge struggle for so many bands: finding money to buy equipment, pay for everything and make things really legit, get recordings, pay for CDs to get printed out and pressed. It’s a huge drawback for a lot of bands. Also, staying disciplined to rehearsal and all that. That’s one thing that I’m so stoked that we’ve done. Over the past few years we’ve been very disciplined to working really hard and always making sure we’re having rehearsal a few times a week with set times and everything. In a way, we’re kind of running it like a business I guess. Everybody’s really pulling their weight. It just gets hard because it’s all in our own free time but it’s something that you want to be doing as a job, but you’re not getting paid to do it so you have to work full time somewhere else.
KimIVM- If you weren’t involved with music what would you be doing with yourself?
Mike- I have a company that I run, we do band merch. That’s like my day job. So if I weren’t in the band I’d still be doing that. I also have a design company so I’d probably be doing all that stuff. I’d probably really bummed on life if I wasn’t playing music. So I don’t know if not playing music would be really an option for me…or any of us really.
KimIVM- So which bands or artists are you listening to right now?
Mike- Uhh…I really like The Secret and Whisper record that came out.
KimIVM- I know! Isn’t it great?
Mike- Yeah, I really like that album I’ve been listening to it a lot. Also, umm I can’t think of what I’ve been listening to! Well I’ve been listening to mewithoutYou and lots of Thrice. I’ve been listening to our record a lot, no joke…This is really hard. I have this thing about myself where I can’t listen to records over and over and over again so I switch it up, all random stuff everyday. I guess I’ve still been listening to MxPx and Millencolin also.
KimIVM- Definitely very eclectic. Well what do you see for the future of Sever Your Ties?
Mike- I see…the biggest band in the world! Haha!
Mike- Yeah, well honestly I see lots and lots of touring and lots more party music with kids. We’ll be working hard and putting out more records, paying our dues and trying to just get somewhere…get noticed.
KimIVM- Sweet! Well I think that concludes our interview, any last comments?
KimIVM- [In a whispered sort of chant voice] Go buy the album July 8th!
Mike- Haha! Ok you can put in there that you said that!
KimIVM- Haha! Ofcourse! (Writer’s sidenote- I said that!)
Mike- Well yeah, on the behalf of the whole band I’d just like to thank George Costanza
KimIVM- Well alright there you go.
Mike- Do you know how to spell it?
Kim- I, well, I can…No haha!
Mike- Well are you gonna write it on down!?
KimIVM- I think I will!
[Spells name for me]
KimIVM- Well thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview it’s extremely appreciated.
Mike- No problem, and it would be our pleasure to talk to you guys (IVM) anytime.
Sever Your Ties is a band that’s pumping out the word of loving Christ right along with the vibe of a good time and enjoyment among eachother. Who doesn’t love a band that produces their own brand of self proclaimed “party music” and uses their band as a ministry to reach out to others?! This band is definitely worth checking out so look into getting their album coming out July 8th on Solid State Records.