Melanie Mae Williamson

An Interview with Metalcore Band OF VIRTUE

Music Scene Media
Aug 15, 2023
5 min read
PHOTO: Matthue Cole

Of Virtue has been quietly growing over the years, gaining a loyal fanbase everywhere they go, but they're about to truly stake their claim in the metalcore scene. The Michigan-based band have announced their latest album, Omen, to be released September 29th via Arising Empire. This album includes last year's SINNER EP, along with eight additional tracks. There's truly something for everyone on this album. If you're looking for your latest metalcore addiction, look no further than Of Virtue.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Damon Tate of the band, and this is what he had to share with us:

MSM: What first ignited your passion for music?

DAMON: My mother! She put me into music school as a child and kept me involved with various musical programs throughout my childhood. She is a huge MoTown and music lover herself so I’m so glad she passed that down. Our schools used to have recitals for us to sing and one of my first memories performing was at one for my grade school. I was pretty nervous but I think it was a sign of things to come!

MSM: How did Of Virtue form, and is there a story behind the name?

DAMON: Mike and myself (Damon) started the band after our old band broke up and we wanted to pursue music more seriously than before! We’d known Tyler over the years from playing bands around our scene so when we were looking for a new singer, he was a no brainer. Ryan came to us shortly before the pandemic hit and the rest is history!

The name was meant to remind us to always strive and be the best version of ourselves throughout whatever we do in life. Our foundation as a band has been to spread this message of hope and love, even through some stories of heartache, loss, trauma, tragedy and other more serious subject matters.

MSM: Do you have a favorite song or lyric from your upcoming album, Omen?

DAMON: So many great ones to choose from but if I had to pick, the title track is one of my favorites. The vibe is so ominous and brooding - It sets the mood on the record in a way no other song we have written could do.

“Walk the line and pray to your master

Ball and chain - a slave to disaster

This is an omen, a warning, a lesson to take

So listen to the words that I say”

MSM: Can you talk about the creative process for Omen, and any themes or messages you want to convey?

DAMON: “Omen” was special because we forced ourselves so far outside of our comfort zones and found so many new ways to express ourselves as a band. The pandemic cut our last record cycle short and as a result, we went a longer period of time without seeing each other or our friends. When we did come together to write and create, there was so much pent up emotion and frustration that it felt like therapy. We wanted to dig deeper than ever before lyrically and use our music to help ourselves overcome some personal demons and battles we were facing. In some way, we all deal with addiction and this theme runs through the entirety of the record. From processing that you have a problem, acknowledging the damage you have done so you can grow - this record resembles a set of memoirs. An instructional guide, if you will, to not repeat the mistakes of the past or we’ll always remain stuck in an endless cycle of pain.

MSM: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and how have they helped to shape your sound?

DAMON: Some of our biggest musical influences are bands like Linkin Park, Killswitch Engage, Misery Signals, Thrice, We Came As Romans, Breaking Benjamin, Story Of The Year and many more awesome artists. In their own ways, they’ve shown us how to be authentic and true to ourselves while being able to connect / grow with this vast world around us.

MSM: Do you have a favorite music video that you've done so far?

DAMON: That’s like picking a favorite child! We’ve enjoyed all of the videos that we’ve released so far in different ways but one that stands out is “Cannibals”. Our friend Scott Hansen directed that one and it was one of the most intense experiences we’ve had as a band. From Atlanta, Georgia downpours all day to muddy zombies and so much fake blood (we all went to a Waffle House covered head to toe after), it made that video stand out in the best way.

MSM: You are playing quite a few international festivals this year. Are there any other festivals that you hope to play one day?

DAMON: So many! In the US, we had the pleasure of playing Inkcarceration for the first time this year and we would love to do more of the DWP fests like Aftershock, Welcome to Rockville, Louder than Life etc! Some UK/EU ones would be Wacken, Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park, Download, Slam Dunk, HellFest, Resurrection Fest just to name a few. There are places we haven’t gone yet like South America, Australia and some festivals in Asia so we have quite the bucket list to check off.

MSM: Can you tell us about a particularly memorable performance or moment in your career?

DAMON: Inkcarceration Festival this year was a magical moment for us. We were on our way back from Europe when we received the call to play and knew instantly this was going to be a special one. For a little band out of the Midwest, being able to show up earlier in the day and still rock out with thousands of people having the time of their lives was so sick.

MSM: What’s your motto or some good advice that you live by?

DAMON: Stay consistent with healthy habits. Take each day one at a time and set little goals for yourself along the way. Life can be hard when you try to make everything big picture all the time so breaking down everything into more manageable pieces can help move your progress along.

MSM: What have you been listening to lately?

DAMON: A little bit of everything! Bands like Spiritbox, Turnstile, Imminence, Sleep Token, and all the way to Silk Sonic, Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, and more!

MSM: Are there any bands you’d recommend that people might not have heard of?

DAMON: We just played some shows on our last tour with our friends in Lightwave, Knockout Concept, Leyka, Rxptxrs just to name a few! All sick bands in their own right.

MSM: Lastly, is there anything else that you’d like to share with your fans?

DAMON: To everyone reading, thank you so much for your support throughout everything over the years. It can come off as cliché, but no band exists without those supporting and with everything happening now in the world, for people to still care and push us forward is something we’ll cherish until we’re old and grey.

That and if you haven't already, pre-order your copy of our new record, 'Omen' out Sept. 29 via Arising Empire! We worked very hard on it - love it or hate it we want to know how it makes you feel.

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