Melanie Mae Bryan

An Interview with IF NOT FOR ME

Music Scene Media
Aug 8, 2023
17 min read
Photo Provided Courtesy of InVogue Records

If Not For Me is a rapidly rising metalcore band out of Harrisburg, PA. After the success of their single "Demons", the four-piece recently released their latest track, "Feel Me Now". Of the latest single, vocalist Patty Glover says: “I wrote "Feel Me Now" about a handful of toxic relationships I had to navigate through in my early adulthood. I was going through a major transitional period in my life where I desperately needed to figure out who I was, and more importantly, who I didn’t want to be. Feel Me Now expresses the desperation and heartache of feeling confined in a broken relationship that you know is only hurting the both of you. We make mistakes, we cling to a love that is fleeting, and we hurt each other in ways we can never take back. Not from a place of malice, but from a place of fear and unresolved trauma, and a longing for something we know we can’t have.”

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Patty (vocals) and Cody (drums) about the challenges of being a metalcore band, what they've learned about the music industry, and more.

MSM: Your music blends different genres and styles seamlessly. How do you approach genre and style when you're creating a new song?

PATTY: That's a good question. I feel like we all have very different influences. It’s funny cause a lot of people ask us, what are you guys listening to in the van? And they're expecting us to say huge metal bands and stuff like that. Which sometimes we do, but a lot of the time it's like Dua Lipa or Ed Sheeran or Tribe Called Quest and other stuff. I know Cody listens to a lot of hip-hop. I listen to a lot of pop punk. Hayden listens to a lot of pop, and then Zac is like, more active rock and metalcore. So we all draw influence from a lot of different places and we all like to bring a little bit of that to the table.

MSM: What is your songwriting process like?

PATTY: It depends on the song, really. We're pretty collaborative. There are a lot of bands that have one main songwriter, and we're not really like that. We all do a good bit of the writing. Zac, our bass player, does a whole lot of instrumentals. But, for a lot of this record, we've been writing with various producers because we wanted to write some stuff that we probably wouldn't normally come up with on our own. So we've been doing a lot of co-writes with different producers, and we'll go in and hammer out an instrumental. And then, for me, I like to sit with an instrumental for a couple of days so I can, you know, think of lyrics and melodies and stuff like that. But normally the instrumental will come first because I'm not very good at just coming up with a melody or lyrics on the spot. I have to hear an instrumental and like, really feel something out of it. And then the rest will kind of fall into place.

CODY: I guess, to elaborate on that a little bit, we like working with a lot of different producers doing co-writes, and just with us all having our own separate influences, it's really cool to see the start of a demo come together. And so, once everything's all written, I'll go in and put drums on it then, too. But a lot of it starts with Patty's vocals and the hooks. And we’ll change things we need to about the instrumental to better frame the vocals. We're a very vocal-oriented band. 

MSM: Okay. So what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced since you started?

CODY: It's a loaded question. We're always constantly plowing through adversity. Regular jobs in society don't really take too kindly to creative outlets like this when you're trying to make it as a musician. We're all in our mid-twenties, and it's just always about having that duality of being able to be a functioning adult while trying to tour constantly and be in a metalcore band making literally no money at all. So I guess some of my biggest challenges, and I'm sure that the rest of the guys feel this, too, is just kind of navigating that duality. Like just trying to look at the bigger picture and just the passion behind all of it. And sometimes not really making the most responsible and logical decisions in your own adult life to try to work on this passion project you're trying to do and get your product out there. And yeah, a lot of that's just kind of disappointing my family <laugh> just with a lot of the choices I make. I mean, I've had very nice jobs outside of college and whatnot, and I've had to leave a lot of them just to go on tours and other stuff that most parents don't like to hear. After you graduate college, you're gonna go and join a metalcore band, and the debt really will pay itself off that way <laugh>. But yeah, just maintaining a level head and really sticking towards your passion when the responsibilities of being an adult come crashing down around you all the time.

PATTY: Yeah that’s all dead on. I’d say some of my biggest challenges over my career have just been juggling my work/life balance, struggles with self doubt, and battling my own mental health. We work so hard to be able to do what we do, and then we also have to integrate ourselves into everyday society so we can do neat stuff like feed ourselves and pay rent on top of that <laugh>. And it honestly feels like a lot at times. There’s been plenty of moments where I feel like I’d be better off doing something easier and more stable, but it’s times like that I just have to remind myself why I do it.

MSM: Yeah. That sounds rough. Can you talk about the creative process behind your latest single, “Feel Me Now”? 

CODY: Yeah. So, full disclosure, I'm a newer member. Ironically, I actually run the label that the band was signed to before InVogue. And then I lived really close to them. I ended up playing drums for them and then figured it was probably not the most ethical thing to have them on the label and drum for them. So I started working with our buddies over at InVogue and was really happy that they picked us up. So when I actually heard “Feel Me Now,” it was a demo that was sent to me from a label perspective. So I was completely blown away by it. I was so stoked to get it. And yeah, I just thought it was probably the best song that the band had done before. And then it was really cool to actually be able to go then and put my own kind of creative angle on it as well. And it's really interesting. The single was actually co-written by Ricky Armellino from Ice Nine Kills. He’s a good friend of ours, so it was really great working with him.

Patty: Yeah writing with Ricky was pretty sick. I think we had maybe just the main riff and rough chords for a chorus before going into the studio, and so the whole first day was basically just spent writing as many cool vocal hooks as we could. And it’s rad cause we ended up using a whole lot of them for various parts of the song. And then we built the rest of the song around those vocals. And we’d throw out a cool lyric or two as we went. Then I got to go home that night and write lyrics and really dig into the vibe of what I wanted to say, and we tracked all of it the next day. Well, demo takes, I should say. But yeah the song was actually sounding really solid after just two days in the studio working on it. And then we put the finishing touches on it by ourselves and tracked the whole song at Hayden’s studio. 

MSM: Do you have a favorite track or lyric from the latest album, Eulogy?

Patty: Yeah “Dearly Deceased” definitely has some of my favorite lyrics. I did a couple songs on that record where I was trying to write from the perspective of a different person, and that song was written from the perspective of someone who takes their own life and is lashing out at those around him for not seeing the signs. There’s one particular section I always end up coming back to: “Bury your pain as you commit this body to a shallow grave. Can you find, in your heart, the right words to speak while you deliver my Eulogy?” And that line is actually where the album name came from. I’m also really fond of “Ghost,” because the lyrics are extremely personal to me and I get to do a lot of cool stuff vocally in that one!

CODY: I think my favorite song off of Eulogy is probably “Ghost”. I really like Patty's lyrics in it. I really like all the lyrics on Eulogy. It's all struggles with mental health. I think he does a really good job at taking those different concepts and really making them relatable to the listener. “Ghost” is really cool because it's a little bit heavier. It has some of the more intricate breakdowns and heavier breakdowns in the middle, but it also has this huge bridge that Patty just crushes. That one always really resonated well with me. And then probably “Voices”, which is just a really fun song to play live. We have been opening our set with that one. It's just a perfect intro song. It's really hard right away and it's really fun to play on drums. 

MSM: Yeah. I was gonna ask you that, too (what was the most fun to play).  

CODY: Probably that one. And then probably the most fun song we have to play on drums is “Feel Me Now”. And we haven't introduced that one live yet, but hopefully soon. But actually, there’s one song that's a standalone single and not really associated with any album or EP. It's called “My Own Way”. It’s just an absolute metalcore ripper and has a lot of tropes that I love about the genre and their previous drummer just went so hard on it. It was such a challenge to learn every night. 

Patty: I absolutely love playing “Demons” cause it’s honestly such an easy song to sing so I like to let loose a little bit and let myself get lost in it. And the breakdown absolutely slams <laugh>. But yeah, “My Own Way” is another great live one. It’s just super high energy.

MSM: So, you have shared the stage with some pretty amazing artists like Killswitch Engage, Currents, August Burns Red, Ice Nine Kills, Palisades, and Attack Attack. What are some words of wisdom that you may have picked up along the way? 

CODY: Hmm. I guess my biggest lesson I've kind of learned might not have been directly from them, but just from playing caliber shows like that is, don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to have a bad show. Because like, I know every lesson I've ever learned from music, music industry, and drumming has all come from me having a huge crash and burn moment, just trying to feel it out. And then it's really up to me if I want to kind of get back on my horse or if I just wanna let that one incident kind of define me, you know? And like a lot. I've had my whole drum set fall off a stage already. I've had a guitar player playing in the wrong tuning at the biggest festival of my entire life. Just stuff like that where I've had the click track completely fail or like, shooting stuff out to front of house that shouldn't go there. And it's just stuff that in the moment when you drive home and just think back in retrospect, you're like killing yourself on. But then again though, I always tell myself, I never want to feel that way again. So I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that situation doesn't happen. So just kind of keep persevering because we’re all going to fail. Like, a lot of this is just trial and error. What really works for you? You know, what works well for you as a musician? Well, with your bands, every member of the band has their different strengths and weaknesses. You can't define your group by your weakest member, like a teamwork/partnership thing. And yeah, it's just about sticking in there. This kind of  stuff's hard. I always call it the trials and tribulations of the metalcore band. You know, it's just like, you're constantly gonna be faced with things that you never thought you'd have to deal with. And it's just how you handle it that really defines you.

MSM: Yeah. Are you back with us, Patty?

PATTY: I think so. Hopefully, it'll stay this time. I restarted my router and everything, so hopefully that's the issue.

MSM: So you've joined us on, what are some words of wisdom that you may have picked up along the way? Possibly through bands that you've shared the stage with. Or just, you know, being in the industry.

PATTY: That's a good one. One thing that's kind of stuck with me is the phrase, “fake it till you make it.” And not in like, a way of you know, be fake. Mainly what I mean by that is if you don't take yourself seriously then you're never really gonna break through to that next level. Like, you have to want it, and you have to act like you're there and you have to act like you're supposed to be there. I don't know, it's more about professionalism to me than, you know, being fake. But if you wanna get to that next level, you have to be like you're already there. You have to carry yourself that way. And you have to have that professionalism. And it kind of rubs off on the people around you. Like fans see that, bands that you work with see that, you know, producers see that. You just have to take yourself seriously, I guess, if you want other people to take you seriously.

MSM: Yeah. Okay. What musicians do you both admire and why? So, we'll let you go first, Patty, since you’ve had a bad connection.

PATTY: Okay, cool. One of my favorite vocalists that I draw a lot of influence from is Chris Roetter from Like Moths to Flames. I like him a lot. And also Spencer Chamberlain from Underoath. They’re like my top two as far as Influence goes. I've always just looked up to those guys a lot and I get a lot of my style from them. And then as far as bands go, I think Killswitch Engage was the first band that I heard with screaming vocals and I was like, whoa, this is insane. Like, it's a game changer. So that style of metalcore is what really kind of got me into music.

MSM: Yeah. What about you Cody?

CODY: In terms of bands probably a couple really stand out to me. Bring Me the Horizon is one of them. I just love how they can just completely innovate the core game anymore. Like, I mean, it's just every album they put out that completely changes the landscape of metal. Now, I would even say rock in general. It’s pretty crazy like that. I'm sure there are still a bunch of metalcore bands trying to recreate Sempiternal, you know what I mean? It's just like they have paved the way for what this genre is, and innovation. The kind of innovation that I think is really sick. Another band like that I think is Paramore. I'm a huge pop punk fan and an emo kid. And I just have grown up adoring Paramore and I just love watching how they change and progress and grow.

And now they're like a huge pop artist and Haley Williams even has her own pop project, which is crushing it. And probably in terms of drummers, I would probably say Matt Greiner. I mean we're based outta the central Pennsylvania area, so August Burns Red came up there and just seeing the stuff that Matt Greiner did on the drum set was awesome. Kind of changed the way I think of doing fills and any kind of writing. And probably the biggest band I would say, even though I don't really listen to them too much, I have a huge admiration and respect for Periphery. Just because they're honestly some of the most talented in the game at their instruments, but they're also some of the smartest business people the music scene has ever seen. It's insane. Like they all have so many side hustles that they do. They even have a record label now. They bought their back catalog back from Sumerian Records and own it now. I just, I dunno, everything they do, I'm just very impressed with. So kind of a culmination of all those really.

MSM: Okay. So how has the music industry changed over the years for you guys? Do you think it's easier or harder to be a musician now than when you started?

PATTY: Ooh. That's actually a really good question. I think we both will have good insight on this. But for me personally, I think it's kind of like a double-edged sword. In some ways it's harder because now on top of being musicians, we also have to be content creators. And so we're kind of, you know, getting our feet wet in the whole TikTok scene because you have to be on TikTok now. And it's kind of a learning curve. But the internet has just kinda done strange things for music because I feel like live music maybe isn't as much of a focus as it used to be just because of, you know, how accessible it is on the internet. But at the same time, that accessibility means it’s easier to be heard than ever before. So I think that's just been the biggest aspect of it is adapting to new changes in technology and stuff like that and trying to stay ahead of the curve to reach people and be seen.

CODY: Yeah, I agree with Patty a lot on just the content creation game. It's not really just about having the best songs or being the best live band anymore. It's about just really selling yourself on the internet and creating some sort of content. A lot of listeners just don't have interest anymore to just digest an album. You have to just be hitting their newsfeeds on social media with different reels and all sorts of different content, which a lot of times is kind of a struggle to make as a musician. Because that’s not the mindset we really grew up with. We're like, musicians, you know, making songs and not trying to make different trendy TikTok trends and stuff. It's been a big learning curve coming up. But with that being said though, I mean, the internet obviously changed everything. Like I remember when I was younger, I used to just hang out in FYE and Hot Topics and go to their listening booths and kind of look at all the recommended albums or the album covers. I thought that was really cool. But in order for you to be heard back then, you had to have a label that distributed your music and put it into stores and you had to tour a ton. There was a huge barrier of entry to being able to be heard. Nowadays with the internet, there is literally no barrier of entry at all. So with that being said, for like a brand new artist who doesn't have the connections to a label or the funding and marketing behind them or touring experience, you could still become a huge viral hit just by having a little interface and a microphone in your house and making songs or videos or something. You don't even have to have a whole band to put music out there and get huge numbers on social media. So the fact that there's no barrier of entry anymore kind of made this huge oversaturation of songs that are just clouding everybody's newsfeeds. So it kind of just makes it where musicians have to adapt to some of the concepts that Patty was talking about, like TikTok and stuff. And you have to be flooding people's timelines with content. And you also have to keep pumping singles out all the time, or you're gonna lose all the momentum you have. I'm still very fond of just buying an album and listening, but now that's not the game anymore. It's about putting a single out every six weeks. It's almost like these digital service platforms like Spotify and whatnot encourage that. If you want to have a lot of success with that kind of stuff, you almost have to  cater to their demands, which a lot of times almost takes away from the passion that you have as a musician or the art that you're trying to build with it. You're kind of forced to keep putting content in.

MSM: Yeah. Can you talk about a particularly memorable performance or moment in your career so far? 

CODY: Probably some of my most memorable ones didn't actually come from this band. I think some of my biggest ones are from my one band that I play drums for called A Scent Like Wolves. We actually got to play a couple of huge festivals over in China.

MSM: Oh wow.

CODY: Just kind seeing that landscape and how that music scene is over there and the reception we got was just absolutely incredible. Just to see a bunch of Chinese people singing the words to our songs and stuff was just <laugh> such a surreal experience. It's also pretty cool cause they all kind of come together and do these big unison head bangs. So it's like, there's a wave crashing down all the time when you get 'em really going. It's pretty nuts. Thought that was really cool. And yeah, playing with Killswitch at Launch was a pretty surreal experience too. I mean, like Patty said, Killswitch was one of the bands we kind of grew up with and they were a band that I remember being a kid in like eighth grade just going to a listening booth and seeing The End of Heartache there, you know, and listening to that for a while. Just the fact that fast forward like 15, 20 years, I'm playing with them at a music conference, which is pretty nuts. So that was definitely fun.

MSM: Yeah.

CODY: Patty, have you got any memorable show experiences?

PATTY: Did you just bring up Killswitch?

CODY: I did, yes. I got that one. 

PATTY: Yeah. That was probably my most memorable one as well. Just because, you know, growing up listening to that band and all of a sudden I'm like,  watching them side stage, playing this huge show in front of thousands of people. So I don't know, that was so nuts to me. Like, that was such a surreal thing. It didn't even feel real until after it happened, I guess. Like several days after it happened. I was like, wow, that was pretty crazy <laugh>. But other than that, I'd probably say I remember the first time we were ever in Atlanta, Georgia, and this was in like 2018, I think on our EP release tour. And I didn't have that much tour experience before, that was like my first real shot at touring. And we were playing Atlanta, Georgia, and it was like a Tuesday night. And we had never been anywhere close to Atlanta before, but yet there was this whole car full of people that came out just to see us, and they were singing every single word to the songs. And that was like one of the coolest things that I had ever seen at that point. And I was like wow man, this feels really good. And now that we, you know, we've been touring a lot and we've put a lot more music out, so the following has grown significantly. And every single night stuff like that'll happen no matter where we are. It’s just crazy to see that kind of growth over the years, I guess. But yeah, that's one thing that was really special to me.

MSM: Okay. My last question - is there anything else that we haven't talked about that you would like to share with your fans?

CODY: I would think of things later from now, but <laugh> just yeah, “Feel Me Now” just came out. We're really proud of that one. We're really proud of “Demons.” We're stoked about this new chapter with InVogue. A lot more to come with that. Definitely, new music coming soon. Hopefully, we'll be touring a lot more. I guess just, we're a pretty personable band if anybody kind of relates to the music in a sense and if you feel like you wanna reach out to us, our messages are always open.

MSM: Okay. What about you, Patty?

PATTY: We're just gonna keep crushing singles and I think we're gonna have at least a couple more by the end of the year. And, hopefully, as we finish up this album, we're gonna have some more good songs for you guys. And next year's gonna be a big year for us. We're gonna crush it. And I'm really stoked for more people to hear what we’re up to.

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