Stephanie talked to the band The Protest recently as she discussed their new album Legacy due out July 13 as well as their favorite sports teams and MORE! - Read it HERE
THE PROTEST hail from the heartland of Indiana; not a spot you would think a huge sounding rock and metal act would come from but damn these guys are making some waves from the sounds of this new album they are on the verge of releasing. LEGACY due out July 13th on Rockfest Records/Sony have songwriting abilities through the roof, with melody driven elements and heavy hard rock soundscapes. The album shows a vast diversity. I felt like every song was a new adventure but they intertwine the “sound” of THE PROTEST in each track but keep surprising you with sprinkles of new clever musical elements in each song.
WHAT ELSE YOU GOT is the bands first look into the upcoming album and what I like about it is the positive monologue they are promoting along with the big anthem rock attitude. The single though doesn’t really show off the diversity in the album. Tracks like VALOR and KNOCKOUT and LEGACY shows you the meat and potatoes (aka; heavier side) of what the band can do when let loose to create. Especially LEGACY; sorry but I fucking love this track so different yet so needed on the record!! Then I was whole heartedly sold on the radio rock “pretty” styles of TAKE MY HEART. With those two songs hitting my ears I was sold that I needed to get to know this band on a better level. STRAIGHT FROM THE BARREL another notable rock anthem has more of a sassy quality, good groove and just a fun song.
To sum up LEGACY and how I see the band is they are out there making great radio hits but also are able to spice it up with a heavier rock sound to really get a live crowd going. I think growing up with Cornfields and a great football team (hint hint GO COLTS!!) has molded Josh Bramlett - Lead Vocals, Adam Sadler - Lead Guitar, TJ Colwell – Rhythm Guitar and Jarob Bramlett – Drums into solid musicians, creative souls and a bunch of hard working dedicated men; who bring positive words and quality songs to the forefront of the rock n roll era of today!
I had a chance to speak with vocalist Josh Bramlett about being in the industry for some time now, co-writers, rising up the charts quick and touring life.
BEFORE WE GET INTO THE BAND AND MUSIC, YOU GUYS ARE FROM INDIANA - SO ARE YOU FOOTBALL FANS AND ARE YOU ALL COLTS FANS??? (HUGE FAN OF THE COLTS HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS!)
We are big Colts fans and Indiana Pacers fans! That is amazing and shocking that you are, considering that you live in evil Patriots country! The Colts have had a couple rough years, but we will pull out of it.
YOU RELEASED YOUR FIRST ALBUM IN 2012, SO YOU’VE BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A LITTLE BIT OF TIME NOW. HOW HAS THE PROTEST GROWN WITH THE CHANGES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PRO AND BIGGEST CON BEING A BAND IN 2018?
We have been at it for some time now and you hit nail on the head when you mentioned how much the industry has changed and is changing. We have gone from being a local band; to a regional band; to a national band, and then to an international band in this time. We are humbled by the moderate success we have had in past 6 or 7 years but realize we are still a small player in a big industry so we are always working hard. As the industry has changed we have had to as well. Social media has become so prominent in the last few years, and we have had to learn how to reach people on the various social media platforms. When we were first started out Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was very new. Social media makes it easier to connect with fans, but we don’t want to settle for just Facebook fans and friends. Our band has made a point since our inception to sow good seeds and be a light to everyone we meet. We want to get to know our fans in person. We want to hear their stories and build relationships with them. I think no matter what happens in the industry people still crave that personal, one on one connection. It isn’t easy to make a living playing music these days because of a flooded marketplace, but that being said its easier for fans to find out where you are playing and what you're up to.
YOU’RE RELEASING YOUR NEXT DISC LEGACY IN JULY. IN YOUR OPIONION HOW DO YOU FEEL THE BAND HAS CHANGED SINCE THE LAST RECORD, AND HOW DO YOU BELIEVE THIS ALBUM WILL IMPACT NEW FANS AND OLD?
Our band has grown many ways since our last record in late 2014. We have become better musicians, songwriters, and have had a lot more life experience to draw from. This record is extremely diverse. It has some of our most anthemic and radio ready tunes, but on the other side we have some of our heaviest works to date. We hope that this record reaches so many new people, but we also think our current fans will love it. We really pushed ourselves to write the best songs that we could and I think that reflects in Legacy. The album is still classic Protest in many ways but also a small rebirth musically if you will.
YOUR NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR “WHAT ELSE YOU GOT” IS A VERY POSITIVE INSPIRING SONG. AS A BAND, IS THAT HOW YOU’VE ALWAYS WRITTEN: TO SHOW FANS AND THE WORLD THERE IS ALWAYS GOOD EVEN WHEN THE WORLD IS SO MESSED UP?
From the beginning our band set out to be different. Just because we play hard rock n' roll music doesn’t mean it can’t uplift you. There is so much doom, gloom, and anger that comes with rock and metal music. We want to carve out a little space for light in that darkness. We want people to leave our shows or hear our music and be uplifted, encouraged, and even changed. That is our mission and frankly more important to us than any personal gain being in band can offer. We LOVE people!
WHY DID YOU BRING IN CO-WRITERS FOR THIS SONG? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PEOPLE YOU DID TO WRITE WITH, AND IS THIS A COMMON THING YOU AS A BAND DO?
With this record we really swung for the fences. Sometimes the best way to do this is take advantage of the opportunity to work with friends who want to help you create something special. We were admittedly pretty new to the whole process, but we enjoyed it so much. It gave us a chance to collaborate and bounce ideas off of someone that has a lot of experience in writing great songs. We choose co-writers that understand our vision and have the same goal as we do a lot of times. "What Else You Got" was the culmination of creative sessions with Jeremiah Jones, Josiah Prince (Disciple), and ourselves. We did a few other co-writes for Legacy as well and look forward to doing more in the future.
THIS SONG ALSO HAS BEEN RISING PRETTY QUICKLY ON THE ROCK CHARTS. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS DIFFERENT WITH THIS SONG VS OLDER STUFF YOU HAVE DONE?
I think the hook is so undeniable on this song. It’s the most anthemic song we’ve ever put out! It’s catchy, relatable, and still has the ability to rock hard. Our producer really taught us how to expand our horizons and we so grateful that we did. We love the song and are blessed by its performance so far.
THE REST OF THE ALBUM I LOVE BECAUSE IT’S VERY VERSATILE. THERE IS HEAVIER STUFF AND MORE MELODIC STUFF SO ITS ALWAYS A LITTLE DIFFERENT WITH EACH TRACK. ONE SONG THAT STOOD OUT THAT I KEEP PLAYING IS THE OPENING TRACK “VALOR”; THERE IS A MIXTURE OF STYLES. HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT AS AN OPENER FOR THE NEW ALBUM?
We wrote "Valor" very early on in the writing process. We are very proud of our past releases but we wanted to write a song that was super uplifting and that even sounded uplifting. Our guitar T.J. wrote all the music and sent it over to me one night and I loved how intense the song, but what I loved most was the parts that let up and kind of changed the songs attitude. I would listen to his music for the song constantly when I was driving or working out and just tried to come up with good melody ideas. One day, out of seemingly nowhere, I was hit with the idea for the chorus. After I had the chorus, melody and lyrics the rest just came naturally. We love the vocal layers on the song and it keeps with our theme of standing strong in the face of adversity.
I READ YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS ARE A LOT OF BANDS FROM THE 80’S LIKE KISS AND DEF LEPPARD. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THAT ERA OF MUSIC THAT MADE YOU GET INTO MUSIC?
Our band has extremely diverse music tastes, but it was classic rock and metal from the 70’s and 80’s that got us into music. It was all just so big sounding, especially in the 80’s. So flashy and over top! A lot of the artists of those areas created songs that everyone can sing and will stand the test of time and that’s what we want to do as well. Though we are a modern hard rock band in every sense of the word, I think our music and our energy on stage packs a lot of fun in a rock world that takes itself pretty seriously a lot of times.
HOW IS IT WORKING WITH BROTHERS IN A BAND AND IS THIS THE ORGINAL LINE UP FROM THE START?
Our drummer, Jarob, is my only blood brother in the band. That being said our guitar players T.J. and Adam might as well be - we couldn’t be closer. We are family for each other and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else. Of course, we have disagreements at times but things always get resolved pretty easily because we all share the same drive and purpose. At the end of the day we are all in this together. T.J., Jarob, and Myself have been playing music together since 2003. Adam (guitar) joined in 2009. Bass players have come and gone but the 4 of us have been steadfast for a long time.
YOU HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS ROAD WARRIORS WHERE YOU PLAY AT LEAST 150 DATES A YEAR AND HAVE BEEN OVERSEAS, ETC. HOW IS IT BEING OUT ON THE ROAD THAT MUCH AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BANDS JUST STARTING OUT? WHAT SHOIULD NEW BANDS KNOW BEFORE THEY DIVE INTO THE INDUSTRY?
We love touring and playing live - that is what we live for. It’s a chance for us to play the music we love, meet and connect with amazing people, and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Road life isn’t always easy. We have spent many nights sleeping in Walmart parking lots. We've driven over 12 hours just to get to the next date in time for load in and sound check but we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Some of my fondest memories have been made on the road. My advice to anyone wanting to play music or be involved in the industry is sow good seeds and work hard. It’s easy to get caught in the fever chase of trying to “make it” but never forget why you started from the beginning and stay humble, driven, and passionate. You may not end up being a “rock star” or having tons of money but if you love what you do than that sounds pretty successful to me. Trust me, I have to pray and repeat positive things to myself every day. It’s not easy - but stay strong and keep your head up!
SPEAKING OF TOURING – WITH THE ALBUM ABOUT TO RELEASE DO YOU HAVE TOUR DATES LINED UP AND CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THEM?
We look to do a lot of touring in the coming year in support of the album. While we don’t have any official tours lined up just yet, we do have a lot of festival dates throughout the summer and fall. We are also heading back to Europe in the fall for a run of shows.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A LIVE SHOW FOR PEOPLE JUST GETTING INTO THE BAND? WHY SHOULD COME THEY COME OUT AND SEE THE PROTEST?
We don’t have a lot of smoke and mirrors. We don’t have giant stage props or impressive lighting, but we what we offer is an authentic, in your face rock show. We go as hard as we can no matter where we are or how many people are present. We strive to connect with the audience and “win them over” so to speak. We leave it all out there. There is lots of hair, sweat, and energy!
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO STAGE CLOTHES?
There is a lot of black involved. Usually black skinny jeans, a black tank, cut off, or t-shirt, and boots or chucks that are also black. ☺ I love wearing friend’s band tees on stage to show support. There are nights we jokingly call ourselves “The PROVEST” because we show up for pre-show prayer unknowingly all wearing vests. It’s then time to decide who gets to keep the vest that night and who has lose it, HA!
HOW DO YOU STAY HEALTHY ON THE ROAD?
Planet Fitness has been a Godsend! Not only is your membership good all over the country but you can also get a shower which is huge on the road. We try to work out as much as we can on off days or at the venue before or after sound check. Eating right is the hardest part. It’s cheap and easy to eat a couple dollar cheeseburgers on the bus but we have been really trying lately to consume healthier snacks. Many of the catered meals have a lot of healthy choices so it’s just about being smart. That being said many nights after a show nothing hits the spot quite like Taco Bell!
OTHER THEN BEING MUSICIANS AND HAVING A BAND, WHAT ARE THINGS THAT YOU LOVE TO DO THAT ISNT MUSIC RELATED?
Our band is band of nerds! We are huge movie buffs, gamers, and avid readers. We love playing basketball and hanging out with friends and family as often as possible.
FAVORITE SONG OFF “LEGACY” YOU ARE CRAVING TO PLAY LIVE AND WHY?
The title track "LEGACY" is one I cannot wait to play live! I think it’s going to hit so hard. I’m worried that we all might turn green and start tearing stuff up on that one. ☺
WHAT ARE 3 FACTS ABOUT THE BAND MEMBERS THAT PEOPLE MAY BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS?
We love the song “Incomplete” by the Backstreet Boys. Many nights on tour we belt that song out as loud as we can. Our band has to have one Chinese buffet each tour. We absolutely have to. Usually it’s on an off day. If we don’t get one in, we feel a little cheated. Our pre-show ritual has been the same for almost 10 years; we huddle up, pray, and then “Let the dogs out.” Letting the dogs out consists of taking a deep breath and then kicking our feet while in the huddle while saying, “Who let the dog’s out? Who, who, who, who, who, who, who!?!??”
ANY LAST COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
You can keep up with us by following us on Social media – come to a show and say Hi, you'll be glad you did!
Connect with The Protest:
Official Website: https://www.theprotestrocks.com
Bands In Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/107415-the-protest