Review Fix chats with Of Virtue’s Damon Tate, who details the band’s origin, creative process and new album, “What Defines You.”
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
Damon Tate: Mike and I played have played in bands together since 2006 and we wanted to start something a little different when our last band broke up. We knew Jon from playing/going to shows so it was a natural fit for him to join us. Tyler played in bands throughout the years that we had crossed paths with and when it came time to find a new vocalist, he filled in for us a few times and the energy was in sync so we decided to give it a shot. As for Kyle, we were sans drummer 3 weeks before a tour and a friend of ours recommended a kid who could play with the charisma of August Burns Red so I sent him a message without knowing who he was, asked if he wanted to tour and if he could learn the songs. From there the rest is history.
Review Fix: How does the band create music? What’s the process like?
Tate: Our process has evolved over the years as different members have come and gone. When we first started out, we would get in a room and jam together and come up with riffs/piece them together little by little until the songs were whole. Over time, as people have grown more skilled with songwriting, ideas and even whole songs would be brought to the table and we see what works best with the vision of the band. Every now and then, a riff might be made during a practice or during soundcheck and stick with us. I pen a lot of ideas into my phone to remember them later and work on so there’s no one way we write in the band.
Review Fix: How was the album written? Any cool moments?
Tate: The album was written over the course of 3 1/2 years and involved dozens on dozens of demos/songs to get the formula right. At first, we tried to maintain more of our older sound with Tyler coming in as the new vocalist but soon realized that wasn’t going to work. We then started to tailor and tweak everything to more of his style and from there, started the course of finding the space we are currently occupying. The album itself was recorded in three sessions over two years and this benefited us greatly. Being able to test out material a few songs at a time live allowed us to really hone in on the energy of our live show and deliver exactly what we and our audience want. Another cool moment from recording involved the song “Alone”. This is one of my favorite songs on the record and was the last one written in the album sessions. We actually went into the studio thinking we were recording five songs to find out that we actually had to do six. We had three days to write another one and that’s exactly what happened, haha. We had really good chemistry during those two weeks, so being able to come up with everything off the cuff almost felt effortless.
Review Fix: How have your previous albums gotten you to this point?
Tate: They laid the groundwork for where we are now as people and as musicians. When we initially did the first EP, I had never played guitar in a band and had only started at since forming OV. Each album allowed us to showcase and exercise our experimentation, learn what works for us and what doesn’t, and connect with people and build a fanbase that is largely still with us to this day. We have moved on from playing material from those records but they hold a special place for us.
Review Fix: What makes music from Michigan special?
Tate: The seasons for one. The beauty of autumn and the leaves changing, snowfall in the winter, trees blooming in the spring and the Great Lakes of the summer and so on. We want our listeners to go through a wide range of emotions and feelings that we have as people and in some ways, our environment has shaped that.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Tate: The new album “What Defines You” is out now on SharpTone Records! Be sure to go pick that up and help us spread the word of Of Virtue to every part of the world who hasnt heard us. We are getting ready to go to Asia this July and after that we have some other plans in the works that we can’t wait to unveil to all of you but for now, listen to the album and we hope to see you at an upcoming show!