-Interview- My Dark Reality (2/21/20)

My Dark Reality talks about their start with music, the Ohio music scene and much more.


From: Dayton, OH
Sounds like: Rock

Oz - Guitar
Grunge - Vocals
Death - Bass Guitar

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "My Dark Reality" and is there any meaning behind it?

Grunge: "I got started with music when I was 7 years old. My mom sent my brother and me to record our first song at Popo's production in Dayton, OH. He gave us a platinum and gold duplicate and told us that we were going to be famous. We were so excited that we never went to sleep that night and it never happened. Somehow though... here I am so.. We shall see."

Oz: "Let's see…I got started in music as far back as I can remember. My father exposed me to music for the first time. I have been doing it ever since."

Death: "My start in music was probably when I was still in diapers. I didn't know it then but music took my soul. Dad would play guitar for me and my sister when we were children before we went to bed. He would manage to allow us to be around his music and life as much as possible. Some places would even let us sit up spots behind the amps and speakers where we could listen and play with our toys. I was just always around it. I became a roadie at the age of 11. My first tour was my father playing with my Godfather, Guy Davis, and Jethro Tull. At the time they had Ian, Martin Barre, and Doane Perry. I was helping to produce my Dad's music in the studio. By age 13 I was his road manager and producer. Then, by age 15 I played my first show on guitar with Dad at my Grandmother's AACW music festival. Our second show together was opening for B.B. King. That all started me in music. Dad had me listen to lots of music growing up as well. I never would have imagined that this would have happened."

Grunge: "As to how our sound developed, we all came together, our band, because we all write, we all make melodies, and we all know sound very well. What happened pretty much is that we took certain strengths out of each other. Most of the lyrics come from Death, most of the instrumental writing comes from Oz, and most of the melodies and singing comes from me."

Oz:" As a personal artist, developing my sound just came from every artist, all types of music. It came from everything from symphonic orchestral music to most any artist and every artist. It came from flamenco, jazz, to blues…it came from basically every corner from classic country to country to country rock. Every genre you can imagine I was exposed to. As for the band, we just vibe well personally together...there's magic when we create."

Death: "They are both right. The glue to our sound is individuality. We push one another to grow which helps the band to grow. We push each other out of our comfort zones. Our sound developed because opposites attract. Yet, we also learned that we were not so different from one another. We all 3 listen to all styles of music, we have our preferred types, but it is our imperfections that we glorify much like human creation. In nature, imperfection is true perfection. The communion of light and dark. The balance between peace and chaos. That is how our sound developed. We are a family and allow each person to speak freely and we do not write within boundaries. The sky is not the limit, there are absolutely no limits with us."

Grunge: "We, our band, have been through some pretty crazy stuff in our life. We shared our stories. Death and Oz have known each other longer. They learned of my story recently and then cumulatively, Oz thought of My Dark Reality because it captures all of our stories."

Oz: "It was for a tragic time for both me and my son. We realized that a lot of the life that we are living in is considered a dark reality; which doesn't always mean it's bad. It means that where our life is we are just coming back into the light. It has been a dark reality; it has ironically been that way for our band."

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

Oz: "I want them to take away hope, spirituality, hope that there is a better world. I want them to take away positivity. These are stories that are written about real life and real things that go on in life and our lives. Hopefully, through our music, they can get to know God on a spiritual level…get to know life on a spiritual level. That's where we're at. I want people to be able to take away the positive experiences, even out of dark reality there are always positive experiences. It makes you tougher, it makes you stronger in life, it makes you see life differently. It makes you work harder at life…makes you work harder for a better life. So, I would like people to see the positive side of what my dark reality is as a band."

Grunge: "I think we just want people to understand that this music is our real life. We are writing about things have happened in the past, things are currently happening, and what's happening in the future, we are foreseeing some things. What we want people to get from our music is that if you feel the same way then come join our family. Our band, our fans, we are a family. A lot of people know that we are different just by talking or seeing us. Those people who resonate with us, our fans, we just want them to know they are not alone and to be themselves.

Death: "I want people to know that they are not alone. We are all different people but our stories are the same. They each just contain different characters and settings but the structure is always the same just with different names. I hope our music can comfort those in need, empower those who need strength to awaken in the morning and give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves yet. Our band want's to create a home for anybody who needs a family to accept you for being human. It's ok to be weird. One last thing, to know that with every shade of dark there is light."

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Oz: "I would compare us...if I had to use a comparison like Alkaline Trio or old Funkadelic…mothers finest. Those are some of the older bands who started playing rock first. That came out there, stepped out there, and started playing it first. If you listen to My Dark Reality I would say it is ass-kicking rock and roll with a very heavy funk vibe."

Grunge: "To the average listener, I would say it is very eclectic. Our sound ranges from rock to punk rock, to alternative. I have heard people say that we have some type of soul in our music and even some blues, so it is just an eclectic sound."

Death: "Our sound...that's a hard one. I tend not to pay attention to labels and genres often. Our music has so many influences. I would certainly describe it as the perfect balance of dark and light. I would describe our music as raw, unhinged, and in your face. It's music you can cry too, dance, and even mosh too... you can just let yourself go."

4. Who are three bands you'd like to tour with?

Oz: "Obviously Alkaline Trio, they are one of my favorite bands. That would be a cool tour. Avenged Sevenfold for sure…they destroy and Synyster Gates shreds. Anti-Flag would be cool…there are too many bands this is hard to answer with just three ...Green Day would be fun to jam with…HIM if they were still around…Machine Gun Kelly too!"

Grunge: "Ooh, Yungblud, Twenty One Pilots, and...the Pretty Reckless."

Oz: "I would like to do something in touring with bands that most people have never done, Jethro Tull did this. It was so cool, we toured an entire week. What we did was have a grand finale jam session at the end of the night. We got the biggest standing ovation because we had that giant jam session. That was fantastic, I would like to see that on tour with any band."

Grunge: "That's awesome!"

Death: "That is. My 3 bands....I am never good at this. There are too many great groups. I would love to tour with Marilyn Manson, Black Veil Brides, and Bring Me the Horizon. I too would like to tour with all of the bands Grunge and oz listed. I hit my 3 band limit but Die/May and the Gazette from Japan would be sick to tour with. Dream Drop, Kerbera, and Deadlocked State too...I'm just gonna stop. Motionless In White and My Chemical Romance final bands...sorry I exceeded 3."

5. What are your three desert island albums that you'd never get tired of listening to?

Oz: "From Here to Infirmary by Alkaline Trio, Abraxas by Carlos Santana, and Elegant Gypsy by Al Demiola."

Grunge: "The Underrated Youth by Yungblud, Hotel Diablo by Machine Gun Kelly, and Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance."

Death: "Zoot Suit Riot by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Scary World by Night Club, and Razorblade Romance by HIM."

6. What's your take on the current state of Rock?

Oz: "I think that the current state of rock and music in general is...if a lot of these big major corporate conglomerates keep the same path they are going to destroy music. What's so disheartening is that there is so much great talent out there. You hear musicians say this a lot, everyone from Jethro Tull to Journey. People I've toured with when you hear all of these different bands that carry so much talent and they are just sitting there rotting away because everyone wants to stay safe because this musician draws or that one does. Crowd draw is good but I think what needs to be done is these up and coming artists need to be paired with these bigger established artists and get us working together as opposed to always working against one another. The current state of rock right now is that; it's not drawing a crowd because there is nothing out there that is interesting enough for crowds to come too. So, what happens is if rock artist gets up here, jam up into these clubs, five-hundred million bands are playing; you know? It's too much for people to sit through four, five, six, seven bands play. Especially doing this all night. You have a situation where people are bored with whatever plans are being made. People are bored with it and not coming out. It's creating a situation like with any genre. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and over it becomes redundant. It turns into oh, they always do that. It's becoming so redundant that even the bigger rock bands are coming back to the smaller venues because they have no choice. A lot of people are not going to spend elaborate money. Another thing is that you get these terrific rock bands that break up because they decide well, I want to do this and I want to do that. If you look at what rock was and the bands who are making some money like AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, people like Journey. All these different bands have been hanging out. What they did is they remembered how to have fun, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, AC/DC, these bands remembered how to have fun playing rock and roll. Now, you have a lot of musicians that are doing a lot of drama. They get great bands going and then they just break up. It's usually over stupid corporate stuff. They wind up breaking up. You have a lot of good bands and just when they start drawing a crowd then it's this guy wanted to go and do his project and that guy wanted to do his project. All of a sudden you've got a group of guys who find out, like the Beatles, just how good they were. The Beatles realized how good they were just because they knew four chords and music. They knew how good they were. They decided that they would stay together and just play until they can't play anymore. Look at the tribute band doing the Beatles, they're packing coliseums and everything. Most of the bands that are enjoying the longevity of rock n' roll, most of those bands have kept that one theme going. Let's just play the music and let's rock our asses off and have fun."

Grunge: "I think it's more underground, rock is. I believe that the underground scene is more lucrative. It's a place where you can dive into being more intimate with your friends and whatnot. That's pretty much I feel like what we are trying to do is shape the minds of our fanbase and show them that it's not just an intimate underground lifestyle. We want people to hear our stuff on the radio and not think that it's some minority type of genre where only certain people can listen to it. I want to go mainstream with it but maintain our individuality as well.

Death: "The current state of rock...Dad and Grunge covered it relatively well. People do need to go out to shows again and support live music so bands without a million dollars will have a chance too. Rock...it's fascinating how it has come down to who can play the heaviest and fastest. I have hope in the current scene of rock. Some amazing bands are coming back together and a lot of gnarly groups coming from the underground, and by underground, I mean less known. So...the current state of rock is chaotic!"

7. What's the current music scene like there in Ohio both locally and statewide?

Death: "The music scene in Ohio is dead."

Oz: "It's dead. People aren't coming out to clubs. People don't come to clubs. It's not what it once was. I can say that because I was part of the scene when it was. That's why Sugarfoot of the Ohio Players took me under his wing, trained me, and taught me. Now, we don't have clubs that pay, bands are just jamming up and getting together doing shows that are making no money when they leave. You can't stay alive like that. The bad thing is that people are just not coming to clubs anymore like they used to come out. Even the nationals don't do well here. Enuff Z'Nuff, Saving Abel, Bring Me The Horizon, HIM, Otep…they had issues too. These people all came and had issues. This is not the music mecca it once was. This is a dead zone for musicians."

Grunge: "The music scene, I believe, is very good in rock. The metal scene is very popular in the midwest. If you are a metal artist then the midwest is the best spot to be at. Like I said, we are eclectic so we have touched the tips of our feet in that water as well. That's the scene here in Ohio."

8. What's your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

Oz: "Legal music downloading is a perfect tool for a musician, bands who are unsigned, bands who have not been given chances by record companies. Record companies are at this stronghold because they have sown up everything too tight. Now they are just reproducing the same old stuff. All their doing is taking reproduced canned music that once was and they are reproducing it again trying to sell it again. That's why these artist sales have gone way down. Legal downloading is good because the artist can get paid. After all, the artist can get paid directly to their account and survive during this time. Illegal downloading cripples the artist and the music industry. That's the downfall to it. When people are bootlegging CDs, burning them, and all of that stuff it's almost as bad as playing a copy tune in a club. I think, even us as a musician, we give accolades to that artist but those people need to pay for that. They should be paid! The artist should be paid when you're playing their music. Even the club owners are making money off the people coming to see that band performing another artist's music. So, somebody, there has to be held accountable. When you're downloading free music from an artist, I think it's terrible and it's a bad thing to do!"

Grunge: "I honestly do have an issue with it. You've got to support your artist. If you like somebody and you want to see them flourish, the biggest thing you can do is buy their music to help them get to a level where they can keep producing new content. People who do decide to download your music for free not to sell it but because they truly cannot afford it because they are poor, I feel like hey go ahead. There's good and bad in everything just like guns. Some people say it's important to have them and some say it is dangerous to have them."

Death: "Grunge just changed my mind honestly. I am against illegal downloading because when 1 person says my download doesn't count a million others just said that too. Streaming services are helping music to be accessible to those on a budget, which is good. I feel like, if you are truly desolate and need our music to survive the day then go ahead but overall I wish people would pay for their downloads. Illegal downloading made it hard for bands to keep touring. Think about it like this...if you worked for a year straight, invested money into your work uniform, supplies, gas, anything to make it happen and then you found out that you didn't make a single dime. If you don't get paid for work how do you get to work? No gas money. Music is the same. We play because we love to play but we need to make back what we invested so that we can continue to do what we do. "

9. What's next for My Dark Reality?

Oz: "Well, like any band we hope to get on tour. We are ready to tour and we are going after this music industry with a vengeance. So umm…what's next? We have a kickass album coming out…an EP coming soon, kickass singles to release. We are going to keep pushing forward in this business. We will not take no for an answer. We'll just keep pushing in a positive direction and hopefully rule the world. My dream is to be known as one of the greatest rock bands that ever walked the face of the earth."

Grunge: "Shows, concerts, tours, videos, music on the radio, and tour merch."

Death: "For sure. We have a music video coming soon. An EP, some singles, and merchandise. We have an online store coming as well, for sure more gigs. We plan on being one of the biggest rock bands worldwide."

10. Any shout outs?

Oz: "I would like to give a shout out to my son, "Death" because we are the two that have…this is a dream that we both have had for years and chased together. I would give a shout out to God the almighty because the things he is doing and the miracles he is working in our life is amazing. Spiritual forces are at work and it's to our betterment thank God. One of the biggest shout outs is to our fans. I can't name you all but the people who have supported us, who do come to those shows, buy our music...it truly means more than words can say. I always say that if I can look out into the crowd and see one of my fans smiling with a guitar, then I know I've done my job. What's next for My Dark Reality is for me to be the best guitar player I can be and make God proud of every note I play."

Grunge: "I would like to give a shout out to all of the people that are in the band who's not in the band that's actually in the band but you can't see them like Austin, Brittany, Evan, and our fans. To everyone who is supporting us, it has been a fun short road so far but it is going to be an, even more, fun long road ahead. We want you guys to stay with us. The more you keep coming we will continue to show you the best content and the best experience that you've ever had."

Death: "I would like to give a shout out to God. That person in the sky is gnarly as hell. I'm thankful for my bandmates, God set that up. I would like to give Victoria from Buzz Music a shout out for putting our band into the music blog and helping to give our band a chance, also to the radio DJ's both nationally and internationally. You guys are all the best. To the homies at Stencil Magazine. Also, to my friends and the people who have believed in us when nobody else would. I would like to give a shout out to the skateboarding community, the brony community, and the rock community. All of you have helped me become who I am. Above all, to our fans, thank you so much for giving our band the opportunity to play and for giving a reason to wake up each morning."