Review Fix chats with Cole Schwartz (guitar) of Drayter, who discusses the band’s new album, “Nine,” as well as the group’s goals for the future. One of Texas’ biggest bands, Miner shares the band’s influences and origin story.
Drayter is a high-energy American pop/rock band from Dallas, Texas. Combining an infectious mash-up of pop swagger and rock angst, Drayter takes modern pop/rock to stylish new heights. For more information about Drayter, please visit Drayter.com.
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
Cole Schwartz: The band was formed in 2009 when we were 13. We quickly became a hot novelty kid cover band playing Led Zeppelin, Metallica, The Beatles and Kiss around the Dallas, Texas area. Several hundred backyard barbecues, parties, festivals, and local bars later, we started writing and recording original music. As time went on we started opening for much bigger bands and have shared the stage or toured with Stone Sour, Chevelle, Three Days Grace and more.
Liv had been playing rock and blues around town as well and was extremely well known as a guitarist and had a great fan base. Drayter even opened for Liv and her band several times. Liv found out we were looking for a new lead singer and she auditioned, got the gig and joined the band in early 2014. It has been a perfect match ever since.
Review Fix: What’s the band’s creative process like?
Schwartz: The creative process varies. As artists, we are always coming up with ideas and themes, or bits and pieces of songs. Sometimes one of us will come into practice with an idea or even a full sketch of a song. A sketch might include guitar and vocals, pre-chorus, and a main verse. An idea might be a theme that we want to talk about or an emotion that can be expressed instrumentally. From there we’ll all just jump in and go with it. Other times we’ll get together and start on a new idea from scratch. We might just start jamming and improvising and a song will emerge. We typically start with a theme, vocal melody, and guitar chords. Then we fill in the lyrics during and after. Sometimes we come up with instrumental ideas and then build lyrics around them. If we have chord progressions and a vocal outline done first, we later add bass and drums. However, we’ve done guitar and drums first, then bass and vocals. Again, it varies. Usually any synths, strings, or piano will be added in the studio. It probably sounds a little crazy, but there’s actually a method to the madness! Understanding the balance between creative expression and goals is key. We all want to be creative and work on music, so we give each other space. We appreciate what it means to have goals and meet them.
Review Fix: What do you think makes you guys special?
Schwartz:We don’t think of ourselves as “special.” We are just driven musicians/artists who get together and do what we love. We are very different but alike in many ways, so it’s a nice balance that we hope adds uniqueness to our sound. We are inspired by music of all kinds and from all eras, and want to find our own originality in the music scene where everything seems so recycled. We also love to put on a kick-ass live show! So we put a lot of heart and soul into the stage performance. We started playing live at the age of 13, and we still play with an unfiltered, high energy spirit. We want to keep ourselves from being boxed into a specific genre and labeled this or that, but we understand that it will naturally happen. So we hope that we make enough noise (sonically and visually) to get everyone’s attention! What would be truly special is having people set aside their differences and celebrate life together. As they say, music is the universal language and we all know how connected we feel to strangers when we jam out together at a concert. Now that is special.
Review Fix: What causes are important to you?
Schwartz:Bullying awareness and prevention, ASPCA, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this album?
Schwartz:There are many goals that went into the making of our album, “NINE.” Now that it’s finally released, we are ready to move on to the next goals. Whether our music reaches one person or millions, we hope to have an impact on them. So the main goal is to get it out there for people to hear. Music is such a powerful force; it can evoke every emotion. Being an artist is about expressing yourself. We hope that through our art, through our music, others can relate. We hope that through music someone is able to endure a difficult time at home, or another person chooses to reach out for help, or maybe someone just leaves work smiling and ready to have a good weekend. We have experienced music on every emotional level, so much so that we have chosen it for our life’s work. It is a powerful thing, and it would be humbling and gratifying to have someone experience this through our music. We are currently working on touring dates to support the album, along with filming videos for a few of the songs so that people can visually connect to the music as well.
Review Fix: What’s the standout song on the album? How was it written?
Schwartz: A standout song on the album depends on the listener. If you’re into upbeat, funky-fun songs, then “Run” will stand out. The song “Mother Says” is a beautifully written ballad with emotionally driving music and vocals. “Best I Had” is a fast, love-punk tune about the confessions of an ex who is still in love, and it is sure to stand out. Also, “Not Alone” is a big anthem with contrasting verses and main choruses. It’s sure to strike a nerve in anyone who has ever felt depression, loneliness, and been on the receiving end of bullying and mistreatment.
Review Fix: How do you want this album to be remembered?
Schwartz: There are many rewarding aspects of creating music. Once your music begins to reach people and you get lucky enough for it to be heard far and wide, it’s so important that it resonates with people for life. We want our music to be on people’s playlists in 20, 30, 40 years. We all have songs that have been speaking to us our whole lives, and it would be deeply gratifying to have music that lives with people that way. That’s one of the reasons why we stay outside the box and make songs that range from light and fun to deep and intense. We want fans to enjoy our albums forever, so we have to continually put out material that they will relate to on a deeper level. In the writing process we try to dig deep and expose our own joyful and painful memories so our music will connect and resonate.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Schwartz: Currently our management is working on the spring touring season and summer festivals to promote the album. Over the past couple of years we have had some great opportunities with bands like Stone Sour, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, and Flyleaf, to name a few. We look forward to shows like that and branching out to the pop/rock arena as well.