-Interview- Descent (5/23/23)

Descent talks about their formation, the current state of Metal and much more.


From: Texas
Sounds like: Metal

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

Well, Brian (the drummer) and I (Mike) have been friends since we were little kids. We both picked up instruments when we were about him 12 me 14 ish I think. We got guitars for Christmas; he got an acoustic and I got N electric left handed black lotus Stratocaster copy and some little amp. After a while brian lost interest with guitar cause when your learning and want to rock acoustics are not ideal for that haha so he asked for drum set the next Xmas. This was all around the time of enter sandman getting big, nirvana, Green Day offspring those were the bands in our faces at the time and we’d spend every second we weren’t in school in Brian’s garage rocking out. Instead of school band geeks we were kinda the outsiders hung with the punks and skaters with all the other non popular kids and played house parties all the time eventually started played down in deep Ellum almost every weekend. We did our fair share of partying in those days too and I think after so many years we just kinda grew apart and split ways around 2002 .. Brian went on to play in several other bands with our old singer, (Dark Horse Darling, Bless the Broken to name a few) and I tried to continue Descent with a few other drummers, but that eventually just lost steam. I then went on tour as lighting guy for our old singers new band so for the next 11 years I spent out on the road with Sevendust, Iced Earth, King Diamond and other national bands running lights for them and I became a rapper on the side. Rap was a genre that appealed to me because it required no other flakey musicians to do, I could do it all by myself. Around 2018, I linked up with Drowning Pools original drummer Kevin Rinders, and started Descent back up again. I had also been playin guitar at that time with my coworker from House of Blues, Dylan Pike. the 3 of us, Kevin, Dylan and Myself re-formed a new group; and soon added my buddy Joseph Kuban (from another not as heavy but still badass dallas based band “Serosia”) to cover the bass parts for the recordings … and started working on old Descent songs.

About a year into that we sadly lost Kevin, as he had unexpectedly passed away, and we decided to try to have a tribute show to kinda finish his journey with us and try to play the 4 songs we were working on with another drummer but using Kevin’s drum kit, so he could be part of the completed journey… only drummer I could think of to do it was Brian, whom I hadn’t really talked to in years, haven’t jammed with in 20 years, but I reached out and he agreed to learn the songs for the tribute show.. well the tribute show ended up falling through; but we enjoyed jamming again so much that we just decided to see where it takes us. Originally the name DESCENT I think came from that computer spaceship video game “Descent” and we thought it sounded cool!! There wasn’t any underlying “going to hell, or on our way down” kind of sublims going on as far as I knew, though it’s cool to think of now. When we reformed a couple years ago we saw that there was now a bunch of bands named Descent, so we tried out a few new ones and settled on “inside us all” … but as we began getting things ready to do the EP, it just didn’t feel right, so we said fuck it, fuck those other bands haha we had the name years ago, we’re going back to it. If it was just one band with the same name maybe we wouldn’t have gone back, but if there’s a bunch then no one can really be mad at strictly us for using it!

And thus; Dylan, our other guitar player, became the newest old member and the oldest new member of DESCENT at the same time! Joseph has since returned back to Serosia and in his absence we’ve had our very trusty Merch mannequin filling in on physical bass duties haha until we find our next Cliff burton!

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

We want people to be able to get all their frustrations and stresses out and to be energized and feel confident in themselves when they leave our shows, we want to inspire their driving forces to live their lives and not pass it by. And hopefully they can see that good music just comes from passion and just getting out there and doing it, not from experts or special people. We all have fire inside of us that just needs to be excited by something they can relate to themselves and good ol crazy metal kinda touches everyone in a uniquely energizing way, hopefully in a positive way but not all things are positive in life so the negative has to be addressed and dealt with too and we try to touch on all of the spectrum of emotions… but mainly, brutal ness haha.

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

I’d say we’re like Pantera and Lamb of God had a baby. We’re old school heavy ass no frills metal.

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

Like dream tours? Metallica, Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold (Brian’s gonna hate that I put that last one haha) Real tours, probably same answer haha but realistically itd be nice to go out with Sevendust, All that Remains, or Killswitch.. I’d say those fans would very much enjoy what we would bring to the stage.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

Well both Dylan and I work in music venues so COVID shutting everything down actually gave us some free time to get things into gear really. Covid helped to restart Descent honestly.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?

I think Metal has gotten waaay too genre split up to where no one knows what’s what anymore; and just like everything else in entertainment it’s gotten flooded and over saturated with sub par artist jumping on bandwagons and trends.. and technology has made it really easy for people to cheat in terms of playing their music on actual instruments so the authenticity and whole dangerous vibe of metal has been lost. We think things need to be knocked down a few pegs and let’s get back to metal where metal should be; amps cranked up to 11, a REAL drummer beating double bass and sweaty guitar players riffing away stuck right in the middle of a swarming crowd of kids having the time of their lives not judging not thinking about what ifs, just living and expressing and getting all their stress out with no sort of preconceived expectation or rules to adheare to.

7. What's the current music scene like there in Texas?

Honestly I’m not too sure because I’ve been away from the metal scene locally for a long time, so I’m just trying to find it; but in general, the Dallas music scene is not really very tight as a community… artists from Dallas don’t get much backing until they’ve gotten big elsewhere, then Dallas claims them. Otherwise having a strong local fans base is hit or miss around shows; very split up into everyone’s own little worlds with not much inner bonding musically..

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

I don’t know cause I haven’t earned any yet! But I mean with the internet pretty much rendering everything for free; I think streams should definitely be paying out more directly to the artist since the actual art that sells all the Merch and gets all the attention can’t be properly Sold, people playing the songs becomes the only form of “use of product” that musicians get nowdays.

9. What's next for Descent?

Technically you mean what’s first! Haha and thats to finally release this EP, far from glory, and re-introduce metal fans all over the world that there’s still good authentic metal coming from people that just wanna kick some ass … then start playing anywhere and everywhere Metal is needed!! I’ve been behind the scenes for too long, it’s time to go play some guitar and scream into a microphone again haha it’s time to take over the world!

10. Any shoutouts?

Shout out to all the haters who doubted us! Haha. Big shout out over to Nino Helfrich at Skulltone Studios for mixing and mastering our EP and helping to bring out the brutalness! All of our friends that have stood by us during our other adventures, Shout out to my Sevendust and iced earth touring family guys for catering to my threats of starting a metal band again haha. Shout out to my audio friends Zack, Frank, and Dylan with Trees production staff who helped guide our journey while recording the EP and endured the torture of hearing these songs over and over as they progressed. Shout out to my friends Sheri, Paul, Chris and Phil, Nick, Eric, for always being behind Descent. Shoutout to all the metalheads and creatives out there feeling a little burnt out and hopeless but continue on because it’s what they love. And shout out to Mike and you guys at From the Depths for teaming up with us and having faith in our music enough to help us get it out to all of you guys out there!