Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with ALPHA PREVAIL

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Alpha PrevailIt has been said that their music is not just music, but rather a life style. After one listen you might better understand that statement. These guys, besides being some of the nicest dudes in the industry, know how to put on a good show. Hailing from the west coast, out in Orange County, California, they come to the scene as hard rock. There are so few bands in the industry right now making good rock music. Locally, guys like The Last Good Year are producing similar sounds. They are actually quite similar now that I think of it. Anyway, when I fist got introduced to these guys I was sitting at home just trying to find new tunes. I heard one song, titled Evidence, and it was all I needed to reach out. I schedule an interview with these guys and the rest is history. This is also a band that truly understands branding. It is rare to find a band that is cohesive across the board when it comes to branding, but they have it. Even their emails are branded well. But enough from me, let’s get to know the guys that make up ALPHA PREVAIL.

Where did you guys come up with that name?

(Dan) ALPHA PREVAIL is a mantra that our former lead guitarist Brandon and I came up with. As a group, our belief is that a perpetually positive and self-confident attitude combined with hard work and dedication will inevitably lead a person to success in whatever goal they’re trying to achieve.

How long have you been performing?

(Steve) In terms of performances, we’re still pretty “wet behind the ears” but definitely feel that we’re beginning to form our particular stage identities individually as well as collectively.

(Dan) Our first performance was at the San Clemente Fiesta Festival last summer where we humbly entertained the set-up crew and some friends and family. It was a great experience though and we’re definitely looking forward to performing again at this year’s in the afternoon.

Where did you all meet?

(Andy) Steve, our bassist, and I are cousins and pretty much grew up together like brothers, so we’ve known each other our entire lives. We met Dan while attending Laguna Hills High School. Actually, Dan was the first person I met my freshman year. We jammed in garages throughout high school, but officially came together as a group after completing higher education.

(Chris) I came along later after the departure of the original lead guitarist. Andy lives down the street from me and we met through a mutual friend.

So I hear you have a new album. A debut album at that. Tell me a little bit more about the disc.

(Steve) We devoted most of our energy/time to our self-titled debut album for the first year or so. We’re extremely fortunate to have a man of Dan’s talents and skills in the band. He recorded, produced, mixed and mastered the record in the studio.  Well, not really a studio. It was his bedroom.

(Andy) We’re very proud of the album and feel that we developed our signature sound, which evolved throughout the writing and recording process, and continues to do so today.

Where can I get a copy?

(Steve) You can get your hands on the tangible disc at any one of our shows. The album is available for  purchase on iTunes as well, but you should take us up on our free offer on our website.

You guys have a very distinct style. Did the style come before or after the music?

(Chris) Fashion before function baby!

(Andy) NO!

(Steve) Being from Orange County, I’d say that our “style” is pretty tame and low-key to be honest. I think most people are genuinely pretty surprised when they find out we’re musicians and “in a band” because we don’t exactly wear the typical “uniform” of tattoos, piercings and what not. We’re a pretty clean cut dudes with the exception of Andy’s impressive “Man-Mane” he’s been growing. Our personal styles are definitely reflections of our individual personalities and orange county roots.

(Dan) Let me put it to you this way. “I can’t pay my rent, but I’m ******* gorgeous,” as made famous by Semi Precious Weapons.

So I understand that Alpha Prevail is not a band, it’s a way of life. Elaborate on that if you would.

(Steve) What a good-looking question…In a single phrase, ALPHA PREVAIL can be defined as Self-Actualization; the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.  Regardless of what your passion is, ALPHA PREVAIL is the harnessing of that emotion, the recognition of the talents you possess, and the channeling of the two to achieve your goals and dreams.  Simply put, it’s about being the best you can be.  This particular mindset is the “prevailing” (see what I did there) theme to our music and is the core belief that we strive toward on a daily basis. I hope that gives you a little better insight as to what exactly we mean by that.

Who write all of the lyrics?

(Chris) When it comes to our lyrics, Dan is the man. He writes all the lyrics and does an awesome job in my eyes.

Where do you guys practice?

(Steve) Andy’s father is extremely generous in allowing us to set up shop in the loft area of his sticker business in Huntington Beach. It’s actually a pretty sweet set-up for a makeshift rehearsal space and we’re extremely grateful to be able to use it. If you or any readers ever need any stickers made, you should begin and end your search with Stickers by Sandstone.

What are you drinking on stage?

(Andy) Jack Daniel’s and Diet Coke or a Red Bull and vodka if I need a little added inspiration just before the show. Usually a beer during.

(Steve) While we don’t all share Chris’s love for the Miller High Life, but we definitely like to indulge in a few adult beverages when we perform just to stay loose. I personally like to have a beer or two with me on stage but definitely always have a bottle of water with me as well. I’m a pretty big “beer-guy” and can pretty much get on board with any particular style. I’m also a big fan of whiskey as well but usually stick with a beer on stage.

What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

(Dan) We just performed for a few hundred people at a student-run charity organization called Up ‘Til Dawn at California State University Long Beach benefiting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. However, this year’s Fiesta Festival in San Clemente should easily outdo that as it typically attracts around 25,000 people throughout the course of the day.

The smallest?

(Steve) Ironically enough it was another charity show we performed at. This was a little acoustic show to benefit the Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets at Envy Lounge in Fullerton.  It was a really intimate show and I personally had a blast breaking out the acoustics and stripping our songs down.

(Chris) That was our first acoustic show, and probably my favorite.

Who designed your album cover?

(Andy) Dan did all the artwork for the album and came up with the ALPHA PREVAIL strike through script logo as well. As stated before, he’s an incredibly talented dude and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work with him.

That is also your MySpace background. Speaking of MySpace, what are your thoughts on the service?

(Steve) MySpace…well it’s definitely a tool that we use.  Having graduated from San Diego State with a degree in business marketing, I understand the value in being involved in as many social networks as possible. That being said, I’m not the biggest fan of MySpace. I used to be all about it, sending out friend requests as well as managing our account. As of late, though, the activity is lacking, as well as the honest connection we used to feel with our friends/fans on there. I feel like almost every other message or comment we receive is just some kind of spam; it’s exhausting. Granted, there are still plenty of real fans out there on it and we greatly appreciate those individuals and their feedback and support. Personally, I feel that that it’s gone a bit stagnant in favor of other sites like Facebook and Twitter. MySpace used to be our home-base, but now, the goal with all our online media is to steer people to our website. Anybody can create a music profile, I believe there are over five million but it takes an investment of time and money to have your own website. We’re proud of that and feel that it’s something that helps separate us from the “noise floor” and many other bands at the same stage in their careers.

Are you guys on Twitter?

(Steve) Yeah, I’m pretty active on the band’s Twitter account and tweet, though I still hate that term, on a daily basis…come follow us @alphaprevail. Initially I was a little unsure as to the value that it had to offer to the band, but after going to a seminar presented by the Orange County Register and learning some tips, I started using it much more effectively. I personally love it and it has definitely helped open quite a few doors and presented us with some really cool opportunities.  I mean, that’s how you contacted us.

Where are you guys originally from?

(Dan) We’re all from south Orange County; the Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo area to be a bit more specific.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you go?

(Steve) I suppose I’d have to move back down to Pacific Beach, San Diego, where I lived while I went to school at San Diego State University.  I’ve had some of the best times of my life down there and would love to be able to relive some of those experiences with my band mates.

(Andy) We live in the best area in the entire world as far as I’m concerned. I’d just take a new house on the beach right here in Orange County.

(Dan) I’ll get back to you after the ALPHA PREVAIL world tour.

(Chris) Why limit us to the world, there’s a whole universe out there?

If you could meet anyone alive or dead, whom would you choose and why?

(Steve)  Wow, that’s a really tough question…I’d really love to meet Zig Ziglar. If you really have to ask why then I would simply suggest you search, on YouTube, Prime The Pump. That will certainly explain why more than I ever could.

(Andy) One of my idols recently passed way before his time. The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold was an amazing influence on my play and view of drumming/music in general. I could pick that guys brain for ages about gear, set-up, composing, performing.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

(Andy) As I said, The Rev is one of my favorites. My progression of drum heroes is as follows: Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Chris Adler of Lamb of God, and Nicholas Barker formerly of Dimmu Borgir.

(Steve) Quite the laundry list Andy, got any more? My biggest influence as a bassist easily would be Scott Shiflett of Face to Face…the dude’s awesome. Some others that I love are Eddie Breckenridge of Thrice, Paolo Gregoletto of Trivium and of course Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Do you guys have jobs outside of music?

(Steve) Yeah we all have jobs outside of the band…for now.  I work part-time as a server to make ends as well as promote the band to my customers and co-workers.

Describe your genre in one word.

(Steve) Universal.

(Dan) Dynamic

How did you react to the passing of Michael Jackson?

(Steve) I was definitely surprised and think everyone in the world was saddened by his passing. It’s a trip to think that he was perhaps the single most famous person on the planet and is now no longer among us.  I think what I’ll remember the most are his epic music videos like Thriller, Beat It and my all-time personal favorite, Smooth Criminal.

Are you guys using a PC or a Mac?

(Steve) I’m Steve and I’m a PC…(Laughs) Sorry, I’m a marketing dude so I pay attention to commercials.

(Andy) We all use PC’s except for Dan. His Mac Book is apparently the best way to run ProTools.

Did you guys celebrate Earth Day this year?

(Chris) Yes, I was living the High Life in honor.

(Steve)  Can’t say that I did…besides, what exactly does an Earth Day celebration entail anyway?

(Andy) Yes, how does one celebrate the Earth?

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

(Dan) Pretty easy to get embarrassed when you’re singing…anything can happen.

(Andy) Every time I drop a stick, I die a little inside.

(Steve) Definitely messing up the last note of the song One Lie at Chain Reaction in Anaheim…where the song ends with just me playing along with Dan’s vocals.  Rookie mistake to say the least…

Do you ever forget the words to your own songs?

(Steve)  Luckily my vocal parts are fairly small and in a backing style so remembering the words is not all too mentally strenuous.  Dan on the other hand might have a tale or two though however.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

(Steve)  Returning to Orange County after headlining a national tour in support of our platinum-selling 3rd album and absolutely dominating two sold out nights of shows at the House of Blues in Anaheim.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

(Steve)  That we did it “right”…Ideally, I’d like people to look to ALPHA PREVAIL as the consummate example of how you’re supposed to go about this whole business of being a band.

(Andy) The group that inspired you to pursue your dreams.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

(Steve)  Perpetual.