XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Steven Parent: We just released a new single entitled Retrograde, and it features Matt Good of the band From First to Last on vocals for a guest appearance. He also recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered the tune. We’ve got several other tunes we recorded with him that we’re looking forward to releasing soon.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Kegan DeBacker: We have been a band for about 4 years now. We originally formed under the name Cordelia and spent all that time cultivating our sound and playing shows. Our original drummer, Austin Drolet left the band after about 2 years due to personal reasons, and Steven Parent has been writing drums ever since. With the exception of Austin, we have all stayed in the band since its beginning. As our music grew, we felt it necessary to rebrand as Never Us because we feel that our new music is a new chapter for the band.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Jesse Clark: I’ve been in bands since I was a young child. Basically, I was bred to do it. I fell in love with all of the facets of this industry, even the heartbreak of it.
Steven: I always felt growing up that music was a beacon of hope for others as it really helped me through a lot of tough times as well as greatly enhanced good times, or just otherwise greatly inspired my life in a multitude of ways. I have felt that its my responsible to pass that on – I want to be to someone what my musical idols were(and still are) to me.
Chad Ralph: Music has always been a thing in my life whether I knew it or not. I first wanted to be in a band when I went to my first concert at the age of twelve. And as I’ve gotten older, music has been a way for me to meet new people and feel close to ones I’ve lost. It’s a way for me to show I am and who I’m meant to be.
Kegan DeBacker: I’ve been playing music since I was about 10 years old. I have always loved creating music and jamming with other people, so forming a band would allow me to do that. I spend a lot of time just listening to music by myself and love how powerful it can be. Those moments I spend jamming out have always made me want to use it as an avenue to express myself.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Jesse: I started playing drums when I was about 10. I loved guitar too, so I eventually switched to guitar, bass, and then decided to stick with vocals. In my opinion everyone should now how to play each instrument in a band to make it more successful.
Steven: After seeing a few local performances and seeing my dad play in his band, I became very infatuated with the drums. They were such a primal and expressive instrument and I was completely drawn to them. Sometime in elementary school I got my first kit and took some drum lessons. It ended up being a hobby for many years where I would just run and go bang out my favorite tune at the time and end up feeling much better about life afterward. At around 16 or 17 I was introduced to Dream Theater, and that opened the floodgates. From there I discovered Rush, then went backwards a bit and got into Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, then I started making more esoteric discoveries like Porcupine Tree, Devin Townsend, Spock’s Beard, Animals As Leaders, and many more. All of this music has ultimately shaped me into the person and musician I am today, and has consistently fueled my desire to become a better player in order to express myself as authentically as possible.
Kegan DeBacker: I started playing music back in elementary school in Orchestra. I played the Bass all the way until my senior year of high school. I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was in junior high and since then I have been playing regularly. I took guitar lessons for all 4 years of high school and my teacher, Jason Spencer, taught me most of everything that I needed to play and write music. Aside from that, I just listen to wide varieties of music and always have tried to implement it into my play style so I can learn even more about song writing.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Jesse: Triumph and good feels. Our music has very diverse emotions it portrays even without vocals. We all have really come together and put our hearts into our craft and had this realization that our music inspiration came from really tough times and overcoming them.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Kegan DeBacker: We just wrapped up our EP with Matt Good at Good Sound Studios, and right now we are focusing on releasing and promoting our new music. We are planning videos and working on developing our live sets as well, however we are mainly focused on promotion at the moment.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Jesse Clark: Oh man, that’s an insane question. I would say it’s a tie between recording and playing. I love the faces and the energy of playing live. However, I also love the camaraderie of recording and the teasing that comes with it in the studio when someone messes up.
Chad Ralph: As much as I love playing shows, being in the studio is a lot of fun. We all get to create and convey new ideas and try to figure out what’s best for each song. It can be pretty stressful at times wondering if something is going to work, but working with Matt Good has made our recording sessions a lot smoother. But overall, being able to sit down and get creative with everything and lay down tracks is a lot of fun.
Kegan DeBacker: Definitely love writing and recording new songs. Playing live is amazing as well, but not many things compete with that feeling of writing a brand new song and seeing it all come together.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Jesse Clark: Growing up I had a tough childhood. Overcoming obstacles when there was no hope or light at the end of the tunnel was not new to me. I made it through by keeping my head down and pushing through those tough times. So my message is no matter how terrible things get you can do it. One of our songs off this new album we wrote was closely inspired a dear friend of mine who I consider family having a massive stroke. She overcame it with such positivity and never stopped believing in herself. No matter how many times internally you think, “is this really happening? I don’t think I can do this” somehow someway we just don’t quit like it’s in her DNA. In just four months or even less she’s is back to her witty, wonderful self. We aim to inspire, help people overcome anything, and have fun.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Steven: For me its authenticity – I feel like I can tell a lot of the time if an artist is sincere or not, and that really turns me off of their music if I can’t feel that.
Chad Ralph: For me, I really strive to learn new instruments and other styles and genres. I feel like if I’m not familiarizing myself with other ways to play, I’m going to plateau instead of progress.
Kegan DeBacker: To me, it is important that you stay true to yourself as a musician and write music that means something to you. Also, having versatility and the willingness to always get better is extremely important.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Kegan DeBacker: I don’t think we have any crazy road stories actually. I hate to disappoint haha.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Kegan DeBacker: I actually haven’t had anything too crazy come from a fan. We have had fans on stage to sing a song or two in the past which is always a fun time.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Steven: I think our friends and family know that this is who we are and that we have to pursue it. For me personally my family has been immensely supportive every step of the way, like theres no way I could’ve gotten this far without them. They have always understood that playing music on a professional level has been my dream and they have done everything in their power to help facilitate me achieving it. They never wanted to force me into a destiny that I didn’t choose. I’m extremely grateful for them.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Steven: I would say learn a trade.(haha just kidding) To anyone starting out, the number one thing I hear people say who have a career in this industry, is that perseverance what you need to make it. I would agree with that 100%. Never give up if its what you truly want, and most importantly, work your ass off diligently toward your goals.
Kegan DeBacker: Consistency. Consistency. And a little bit more consistency. Just make sure that everything you do as a band lives up to a standard that you set for yourself. Say you write a guitar part that just isn’t as good as your others, but still works. Don’t use it. Say you take some pictures and they don’t come out too great. Don’t post them. Bottom line, make sure you act often as a band and that it is held to the standard you want.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Kegan DeBacker: It is pretty hard to say, because I like all of our songs. I would probably say my favorite track right now is a song we haven’t released yet called Hollywood Fake.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Chad Ralph: This band isn’t in our genre, but my first concert was ZZTop, and even though they’re old and have been touring for four decades, it made me sit down and say, “you know what, I want to be a touring musician”.
Kegan DeBacker: My favorite band growing up was Funeral for a Friend, and their album, Hours is a masterpiece. Listened to that record everyday back in school and I was really inspired to play guitar after listening to it. The song Alvarez off of that album still gives me chills. Honestly, any old school emo band inspired me when I was younger, but Funeral for a Friend holds a special place in my heart.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Chad Ralph: Slaves, Dance Gavin Dance, Polyphia, and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
Kegan DeBacker: Nothing,Nowhere, Dance Gavin Dance, Fall Out Boy, and Slaves
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Kegan DeBacker: As of right now I think our greatest accomplishment is finishing up this new EP and recording with Matt Good. We all grew up listening to From First to Last, so getting the opportunity to record with Matt was an amazing experience for us.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Steven: I think I share the sentiments of Troy Sanders(bass player for Mastodon)when he said he’d probably be a garbage man or a serial killer if he wasn’t playing music. Haha. Seriously though I honestly have no idea. Nothing makes me as happy as playing music, and I’m definitely not even nearly as good at anything else.
Chad Ralph: Well right now I am actually in school studying geological sciences with a focus in paleontology, so if you are thinking Jurassic Park, you pretty much got it. I also teach high school drum line so I would probably be doing one of those things if I wasn’t in a band.
Kegan DeBacker: I recently graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Health Sciences. I am fascinated by medicine and want to attend medical school in my lifetime. I also been an artist for most of my life, so another plan would be to pursue a career in art.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Steven: I play Tama drums and hardware, Meinl cymbals, Vater drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Alien Ears in ears, and use SKB cases.
Kegan DeBacker: I currently use an Ibanez ART100 Off-white guitar with standard pickups and will use a Kemper Profiler Rack for live performance.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Kegan DeBacker: The current music scene is somewhat of a love/hate sort of relationship with me. Since we have been kids, technology has made the music industry much more accessible for any aspiring musicians. The downside is that the barrier for entry now is so low that there is now tons and tons of bands or artists trying to make it. This makes standing out just that much harder. However, the upside is there is so much good music constantly coming out which is always a plus.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Chad Ralph: We used to legit practice in an abandoned hospital in the early days. Like seriously abandoned. Papers, machines and tools scattered every where, broken drywall and cabinets, and phones were all disconnected. We would practice at night and sometimes being the first one to rehearsal was a little freaky, but we had a security guard who would come watch us practice.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Chad Ralph: We just released our single “Retrograde” which features Matt Good of From First to Last. It is currently available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Youtube. It blends all sorts of genres and definitely one of our best songs to date. So please give it a listen and show everyone you know! Thank you!