Photo by John Christopher

Photo by John Christopher

One of the most recognizable rising bands hailing from Dallas, Drayter was founded in 2008 by guitarist Cole Schwartz. With time and experience Drayter has developed into their own sound and identity within the modern rock genre. Liv Miner joined Schwartz in 2015 as a guitarist/vocalist and the duo recently released Drayter’s first full length album titled `NINEˊ this past December, helmed by producers Matt Squire and Dave Fortman.

The band has shared the stage with well-known artists such as Stone Sour, Three Days Grace and Chevelle to name a few, while expanding their fan base across the continental United States. With the recent release of ‘NINE’ under their belts, the future seems promising for this aspiring rock group.

Music Enthusiast Magazine sat down with Cole Schwartz the founding member of Drayter, to discuss what inspired him to take those few steps towards the spotlight, and their recent album release `NINE.’

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Music Enthusiast Magazine: Let’s step back into your youth, you started playing the guitar at age six, saw Green Day in concert that inspired you, then Metallica and you were hooked. Twelve years old and you started your own band. How did those experiences influence your transition into professional music?

Cole Schwartz: That’s a great question. Well, when I would see these bands play, I always remember envisioning myself on the stage doing what they’re doing and that was always my dream to be up on stage. I had countless, countless fantasies of me performing alongside Green Day, Metallica. And so, when we started the band, pretty much what I went to do is just be like acts, so I would always try to sort of emulate their stage moves to whatever maybe in the style of music, showmanship and all that. And so obviously overtime I progressed into my own sort of style. In the beginning, I really was just trying to be in one of those huge supergroups that I love.

Drayter was initially labelled under the hard rock genre. What influence you to alternate in favor of pop rock sound?

I’d say that, that the biggest thing was we started maturing and evolving towards a specific sound and specific style that we like listening to and enjoyed playing. So, really it wasn’t like an effortless transition; it’s just kind of something we felt like doing and we thought, “This is probably the best thing for the band and the best thing for ourselves. So why not let’s go for it?” That’s why kind of really the transition, it wasn’t like, “Should we be doing this, should we not?” We just kind of went full and head on. It was pretty easy.

I have also seen Drayter labelled as hybrid pop rock? Can you elaborate on that definition?

Yes. Some of our stuff has, it’s very poppy though also has really strong guitar-driven and drum- driven lines. For example, like “Still Here” and “Best I Had.” Those are very like commercial songs, very hooky songs. But they also have a really strong driving force behind them. So, I think that’s where the rock element comes into play and meets up with the pop element.

There’s mention of TuneCore on your website? Can you explain what that is and the connection to Drayter?

drayter nine album cover artwork

Drayter

TuneCore is a music distribution company and pretty much what they do is they help get fans out iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, services like that. We’re very lucky enough that they found an interest in us and wanted to kind of connect with us. So, we got some stuff with them to interview with them… and they helped us promote the album, really get more people checking us out, which is fantastic.

You play Ernie Ball Music Man Majestic guitar. Why is this your choice of weapon?

The guitar itself is extremely. extremely versatile. Most people probably would assume that this John Petrucci of Dream Theater that being solely a metal guitar. But the guitar really does great under any circumstances. It can play country stuff, it can play blues, it can play acoustic stuff. It can really play all anything. So, I think that’s why, it’s become my number one just because of how versatile it is and in all the sound that it can do, it is really, really shines in each specific genre that you play. So if you’re playing metal or something, it cuts through the mix really, really well especially wired. So, that’s the biggest reason why I use it.

Liv Miner auditioned for and eventually joined Drayter in 2015. Did you have an idea what direction you wanted the band to go? And what drew you to feel this was the perfect fit?

When we have originally met Liv, we really didn’t have any sort of intention of branching into a different genre. That sort of came around after Liv was in the picture and honestly she and I had both been playing in bands for the past five years or so. She was an excellent guitar player. And when she got with us, we just had a really good connection, her and I. And just really hit it off right away. When we started jamming that kind of sound that we are both writing during rehearsals and stuff ended up evolving and turning into what the album is.

So you write together? It’s a collaboration between both of you?

Yeah. It’s a collaborating process.

Drayter used two producers, Matt Squire and Dave Fortman on this album. What did each bring differently and what inspired the band to split the workload?

That’s a great question. When we’re going out to record the album, we knew that half of the songs would be more rock-driven and then half of the songs would be more pop-driven. But obviously both sets the songs combine both elements at the same time. Just one was a little heavier on the pop and one was a little heavier on the rock. And so really what we just wanted was two different outlooks on the music. It was a fantastic experience working with both. They both brought very different things to the table with very different ideas and stuff. But I think that’s our big reason why the album turned out the way it did, which we’re extremely proud of, just because we have the insight of two very well-known producers in the industry work on it. So that was an extremely cool process.

Well it sounds good.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. You donated a 100% of your pre-sales from Drayter’s album release Nine to the National Bullying Prevention Center. What does this charity mean to you?

The reason why we did that and what the charity means to us is we’re really big on anti-bullying. I mean there’s a consistent message throughout all of our songs about self-empowerment and standing up for what you believe in. So we really kind of wanted to give back in a sense to a cause that really supports what we stand for in our views on certain things. And sadly bullying is become way too prevalent in today’s society.

Yes.

And so we want the listener and fans to know that you’re not alone, we’re all in this together. You can rise above and have that… you know you’re accepted.

Well that kind of answered a little bit my next question. The song “Not Alone” is very thought-provoking and become an anthem in support of this cause. What is the message you want others to learn?

Yeah. We, sometimes sadness and loneliness convince us that we must be alone and that no one else could possibly be feeling the same things that we spend enduring. But the truth is that we’re never alone and these words are meant to penetrate and uplift and to help us of the heartache and be invincible and also that the universal thought that you’re never alone.

 

The album titled “NINE,” is based on the puzzle drawing four lines through the dots without lifting the pencil. I think it’s a clever concept; as you described it thinking outside the box. What was this inspiration behind this title?

When we’re coming up, when we’re starting to figure out our album titles we really didn’t want to have a self-titled album or named out of after one of the tracks. We really wanted something that required our listener to think about the meaning and kind of question, “Hey what does that mean?” And so, the meaning of “Nine” was based upon a nine-dot puzzle and since our music is both pop and rock, it’s pretty much outside of the box. So, “Nine” seems to fit perfectly for that.

Is there anything memorable on this album that really stands out to you?

To me it’s just the production on it. We were extremely, extremely blessed to be able to obviously worked with two fantastic producers, multiple beautiful, beautiful studios, fantastic equipment was used, thanks to Ernie Ball and also the studios grinded as well. Probably one of the coolest moment I’d say on the album is the gospel choir. It’s a twenty-five-piece gospel choir out of South Dallas that we have the pleasure of recording with. That experience alone is just really breathtaking and really kind of inspires more music to be created because you see a bunch of people singing your song, acting it out well that is really, really cool. It kind of touches you in a way but it was just, that’s probably is the coolest experience on the album for me.

What is next as far as touring or what is being planned to promote this album?

Right now we’re working on getting spring tours and summer festivals. Obviously, had history working with some pretty big acts. So we’re continued to work with possibly them in the future and some more artists and we’re looking forward to playing some more shows that are branching into the pop rock genre. So it should be fun just spreading music.

Locally, or a US tour?

We’re up in the tour in the US. We’re looking forward to that.

It would be nice to see you live.

Oh yeah that would be great. I cannot wait.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans, even your future fans?

I really appreciate you taking the time out to interview me. To all the fans out there, just know if you’re going through any hard times or whatever, you are not alone. We really appreciate all your support that we have received on our new album. We hope to see you at the show.

Great, its pleasure talking with you, thank you very much.

Okay. Yeah, no problem. Thank you very much for having me, I really appreciate it.

You’re welcome and we wish you more success on this album and future.

Thank you and I hope to see you out in California sometime at a show.

Yes, of course. I’ll be watching.

Yay! I’ll hook you up with some backstage passes.

Thank you. Alright, we’ll talk with you soon.

Have a good one.