Dynamic Tallahassee, FL based rock band Defy The Tyrant have, in just a few years, developed a polished fusion of Southern and Classic Rock with Nu-Metal, nodding to such diverse influences as Garth Brooks, Slipknot, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Motley Crue, Fuel, Sevendust, and Creed.
Defy The Tyrant was originally formed by bassist David Norton, aka Slim (Inside The Nine, 86th Earth, and Achilles Heel), guitarist Ian Mackenzie (DethDefy, Adamant, and Detour), drummer Dylan Sirmons aka Dilly, and lead guitarist Stuart Ledbetter aka Stu (Respawn and The Young Bucks) for a cover show in April of 2016. The band went through 4 different vocalists, including Ian, before picking up Curt Rogers (Inside the Nine, 86 the Earth, and Achilles Heel).
Creating a slow-burning style of heavy rock, with soaring screams tempered by polished lyricism, they released their debut EP, Voices Pt. 1 in February 2018 and lyric video for the title track on August 5. With percolating energy throughout, Defy The Tyrant is positioning to push a fresh voice and sound into the heavy rock machine and redefine what “alternative metal” means.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
(Ian) Hey, Thank you for giving us the time to answer your questions.
Our new album comes out on July 31, so that’s big news.
No shows…we had cancel or postpone everything because of COVID.
Our new single comes out soon. Bones! It’s the same name as our album.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
(Stu) the band has been together a little over 4 years.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
(Stu) I’ve always loved playing and performing music. It’s a desire to connect with a massive amount of people and share in an energy that can’t be had any other way.
(Ian) Stu sums it up well there.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
(Stu) I have been playing guitar for almost 25 years. The other guys in the band and I have played in various other bands around Tallahassee
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
(Stu) We convey an intense and brutally honest depiction of life in the present day.
(Ian) I agree with Stu. Our music comes from a very honest place. The Riffs, Lyrics and melodies are all driven by our views of today’s world and our relationships with the people in it.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
(Stu) We are currently focusing on the upcoming release of our debut album Bones. Top priority is maximizing our reach so that we can bring our music to as many listeners as possible
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
(Stu) As much as we love recording new music, performing live is still the big payoff. There is nothing like the energy and intensity of playing in front of a live audience
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
(Ian) That’s more of a Curt Questions, but will do my best.
We write about our experiences within this shell of a world. The relationships we have with the people and places that comprise our lives.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
(Stu) I want to write good music that will last for years to come.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
(Ian) Yes we do. No we can’t share them, our mothers might read this.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
(Ian) Our fans tend to be pretty normal…Crazy in the pit and monsters in a crowd, but damn right civil when they speak to us one on one. It’s an odd dichotomy.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
(Stu) Since day one our families have been supportive without which we could’ve never gotten this far.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
(Stu) Never give up. If your passion is performing music pursue it at all costs. Oh and make sure you like the guys you are in a band with.
(Ian) If your goal is to get rich and famous, FUCK OFF! This is not an easy life and there are not groupies lining up around the block. We lift and move heavy equipment every night. We ride in a small truck or van in pain most the time and we don’t see our family’s. This life is for people that love music. Either be in it 100% or don’t be in it at all.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
(Stu) Tightrope and Bones are my favorites tracks to play live.
(Ian) I like to play all of them.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
(Stu) My first inspiration was Stevie Ray Vaughan. His tone and intensity just cut right through me and I knew I wanted to get as close as I could to having that kind of power.
(Ian) My first inspiration was the Power Rangers theme song. After that, I found the movie Crossroads…the one with the Karate Kid and Steve Vai. After that, I moved on to Mark Tremonti and Zakk Wylde. The songwriting is what always caught my ear.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
(Ian) Sevendust, Nonpoint, HED PE, Tremonti, Defy the Tyrant (in no order, lol)
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
(Ian) Connecting with our Label and Management. Those 2 things have helped us more than anything else.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
(Ian) I would be selling something…..something. lol
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
(Stu) Gibson Guitars, Prs Guitars, Marshall Amplification, Curt Mangan Strings.
(Ian) Same as Stu except I use Egnater amp and ONLY PRS
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
(Ian) we can only speak to the music scenes we know. The scenes we know are full of die-hard, Ride, or Die fans. There are some ass hats that want people to, “stay in their lane” or they want to control everything. But, the scene is what it is. People need to just enjoy the ride and the music. Stop bringing personal shit to the shows. Also, there are a lot of SHARK promotors… They need to FUCK OFF
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
(Ian) Nothing. We are open books. We play Rock and metal. We are what we are and we don’t hide anything so there is nothing that will surprise anyone.
……………..except when there are Loaded Corona’s involved….or Jager.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
(Band) Thank you. To our friends, family, and friends. We love you and hope to make you al proud.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
(Ian) Thank you for your time. Keep your heads and Horns held up high.