Metal band, Descent!
Who are the members of Descent?
“Metal Mike” Ames - vocals/guitars
Dylan Pike - guitars
Brian Knox - drums
How would you describe your unique sound and style as a rock band? I’d describe it as if you took Pantera, Lamb of God and Testament and mashed them all together, that’d be us!
What sets Descent apart from other metal bands in the industry? We don’t program any parts or use a bunch of weird sounds and extra low tunings.. we don’t feel the need to “overdo” things just to be heavy. We came from old school plug in, turn up, and riff the fuck out … no math planned for weeks grooves you can’t groove to, so ten thousand fake layers of compressed computerized quantized cheats. Real drummer playing real drums, real guitars etc.. We try to play music that’s gonna change your mood for the better, music you don’t have to take a college course study to enjoy, but not dumbed down to laziness or repetitive songs. Every song has its own kicks, ups and downs and grooves you know, but when you hear it you’re always like “yeah let’s do this” pumped.
How did you all come together? Well Dylan and I both worked together at the House of Blues in Dallas doing production stuff; lighting, audio, etc. And we started jamming during the Covid break with our buddy Kevin Rynders (original drummer for drowning pool actually) until he unfortunately passed away. Wanting to fullfill our goal of getting those songs recorded for Kevin, Brian (who started Descent with Mike 20 years ago!) agreed to fill in for the recordings and we kinda kept going from there!
How do you approach songwriting and what inspires your lyrics? Most of the time, as far as the music goes, we’ll start with a riff or two and start adding parts as we build up the song structure. More often than not, there’s no lyrics yet. Once we have a basic song laid out, I’ll sit with it and either write straight off the dome in the moment, or I’ll try different song ideas I have written already in my log of lyric ideas. We don’t really “try” to write a song about a particular thing from the start, they usually grow into their own life as the writing process progresses them. A lot of these lyrics were taken from the original versions of the tracks written by our old vocalist, but with words changed here or there to make them make sense or bring them up to date I guess.
How do you engage with your audience during live performances to create an unforgettable experience? We like to just bring the energy and let it loose so the audience has the freedom to take in the music and experience individually as well as with the group, whether someone wants to mosh or headband or just sit and soak it in is fine with us. But the crazier the audience goes, the crazier we try to go back and forth! We aren’t afraid or opposed to letting loose and having your best night you’ve had ever at our shows!
You, as lead singer, has an amazing voice for this style of music. How do you prepare your voice? Well thank you, actually I’m only lead singer by default and I’m really not good at traditional heavy vocals; I have to do inward breathing screams and growls which can be pretty exhausted switching from inward growls to outward clean singing. And in the beginning I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to hit the right low growl everytime. If I have not warmed up, my voice just squeaks and whistles instead of screams and growls! So my warm ups are just a lot of low growl long inward breaths to get my throat to the right condition, too dry and it squeaks, too rough and I lose attack so it’s a fine line between Satan and Sally (haha). So before shows our dressing room can sound like demonic long lamas class.
How do you handle creative differences within the band and ensure a harmonious collaboration process? Originally we All put our heads in and came up with songs, then during the hiatus, those songs all got written by myself and the parts either played or programmed in. Then when we all reunited; we took those “demos” of the songs and translated them into personal parts; if someone has an idea, we hear them out and give it a try and then we vote on whether we like the idea or whatever. Sometimes ideas take the song out of its original design and has to either be redirected as a result of this new vision or the idea has to be pro and conned to win the argument of its addition. So outlandish ideas either get shit down quick or argued about until pre-plode and have to be put on the back burner or re-approached at a later time. But all in all, we each write our parts and come together as a group to decide on the final creative product.
What strategies do you use to promote and market your music in the digital age? We used to use the word of mouth and here’s a Flyer technique, but times have changed drastically! So now we try to post on the socials when we feel it’s pertinent as not to become the annoying bothersome feed invaders. And we try any and all playlist curators or submit opportunities we can find! These days it seems that being seen by anybody at all depends on the amount of money you pay; which sucks but with the over saturated market to compete with; I guess there’s not really any other fair way to push your stuff to the top of the list.
What are your long-term goals and aspirations for Descent? Our long term goals are to be playing arenas Metallica style, having built up our fan base and proven ourselves to gain a routine of touring when there’s a want to play shows and not having to slum it out playing to no one at a nowhere club. We wanna do this big time and for a long time! Not just to get rich and famous, but get to the point where our music really reaches people to make changes for the better, to enhance their lives by spreading the best energy, the most entertaining fulfilling way we can for the music fans that deserve the best show they can get; we want to be capable of providing them with awe inspiring live shows like the pros we look up to that have been putting in the time and the hard work to build their presence in the history music makes.