UFest: Radio Rock Band Devour the Day's Joey Walser Talks Tacos and the Pressure for Perfection
Devour the Day rose from the ashes of Egypt Central.
Devour the Day might sound like a morbid name for a band; but that's because the members were going through some pretty dark times. The group was born out of another band's demise, and the uncertainty that followed.
When American rock band Egypt Central disintegrated in 2012, bassist Joey Walser and drummer Blake Allison decided to form Devour the Day and share guitar and vocal duties. In just two short years, the hard rock duo (touring lineup also consists of guitarist David Hoffman and drummer Ronnie Farris) has toured with Sevendust, Theory of a Dead Man, In This Moment, Sick Puppies and other well-known bands -- they've even shared the stage with Aerosmith. In 2013, their debut album Time & Pressure was released, and then was re-released in 2014 as a remixed and remastered format.
It's one of those success stories that comes as a pleasant surprise in the industry -- as well as to the band members. While Egypt Central had a strong following, it can be difficult for new projects to gain the respect of fans of the older group. Then again, Devour the Day's music presents catchy hooks, head-banging breakdowns, a mixture of melodic choruses and chanted or screamed vocals, and a touch of nu-metal-meets-alt-rock. They were even asked by Gus G [Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind] to collaborate on a track recently. It's pretty much a formula for success on the radio rock circuit.
Up On The Sun talked with Joey Walser about the end of Egypt Central (and beginning of Devour the Day) and the pressure for perfection.
So what exactly prompted the breakaway from Egypt Central into the concept of Devour the Day?
Honestly with Egypt Central we had our singer ... quit, really. I'm trying to think of the best way to say that but that's what it really was. The way that he quit was really unprofessional, is all how I could put it. So for us we didn't want to stop making music. We went back to the beginning of our goals as far as songwriters and musicians. When we started writing we didn't have a name for it and there was no concept behind the band we were going to start. We just wanted to be completely honest and transparent and try what we haven't done musically. It was the music first, then the name. Which I think is cool because it's usually the opposite for bands. It was therapy for us, though. In that, we wanted a name that inspired us, so we felt like Devour the Day was very carpe diem, seize the day.
You said before that the debut album was totally different than what you've done before and there was an enormous amount of pressure for perfection. Why is that?
I think one; it's because we are super analytical people and pretty hard on ourselves as far as making sure that [in] the music we put out, there's an evolution to it and a growth. We don't want to play the same music over and over again. And secondly, we thought we were done, you know? We thought it was over. We were very scared because we thought we could only have that one project and that nothing else would be successful. As a musician, that's just terrifying. You don't want to be done recording and sharing music and making artwork. We didn't know what we were going to do, if people were going to be into it or totally hate it. We feel very blessed that people like it.
So the album title is pretty self-explanatory then?
Yeah! I think it's the obvious connection with that pressure of making that record. But actually the record title comes from Shawshank Redemption, the movie adapted from the Stephen King novel? In that movie, [main character] Andy and his friends talk about how all life comes down to time and pressure. And you know, I think that the album ... we wanted to be as truly honest about what we were doing. The root of us. So that name and idea really spoke to us. And at the end of the movie, Andy climbs through a river to the other side. And we felt we had done just that in a sense. So the metaphor was really cool for us as well, and also the obvious. How was it working with Gus G on "I Am The Fire"?
Really, really, really cool. Gus was such a laid-back dude and incredible musician. It was a very cool process as far as him sending us the music over on the Internet and us working on it on the road, and sending it back. We just felt honored that he liked Blake's voice and our writing style. It was done in like four or five days while we were out in L.A. And uh, at the end we joked with each other, because we ate so many tacos when we were out there, and it ended up being kind of a bonding thing. Getting fresh carnitas.
You guys have shared the stage with other strong acts like Sevendust and Butcher Babies and Aerosmith. What has been a tour or show that has really stuck out in your mind that has been a favorite or a least favorite?
In This Moment and Hail the Yeti, I think. The community that was out there from crew to van to everyone; it was a really, really good group of people. At the end point we had a dance party and she had all the girls on tour. It was a very diverse group of people and I really enjoyed that group. It was cool to have girl-fronted bands and guy-fronted bands at the same time. Everyone was really open-minded and having a good time.
What's your favorite band and the first time you saw them?
[Long pause.] Some of my favorite bands I've never been able to see, so it makes it harder -- like original Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, [which] are big influences. I will say when I was younger we went to Warped Tour and I saw a ton of bands, including Rancid, Less than Jake, 311. I had a really good time at that one. I thought that was one of the cooler shows I've seen in my life.
How old were you then?
17 or 18. Somewhere around there.
What is the band currently working on now?
We are about to ....we actually just got back on the bus and started tour. We're doing all the summer festivals. Rock on the Range, Rockfest, Carolina Rebellion. ... Then we have a handful of other shows.
Are you doing any writing currently?
And we've actually been writing quite a bit. We'll be heading to New York to write some stuff and we have new music coming just around the corner. And we're really excited; we just dropped our third single "Respect." And we will be in Phoenix soon at UFest! A lot of the bands we like to listen to are at UFest!
Devour The Day performs at KUPD's UFest on Saturday, April 12, at Quail Run Park in Mesa.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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