Strength Betrayed was formed in 2014 with band members Taylor (Drummer), Jacob (Lead Guitar), Seth (Bassist), and Thomas (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar). Strength Betrayed is a Christian Rock band that believes in sharing the love of Jesus, but also being honest about the message we deliver. The name “Strength Betrayed” comes from the biblical story of Sampson and serves as a reminder to the band that the strengths that are given to us can betray us if we allow our strengths to go to our heads, consume our lives, destroy the lives of others through inflated egos and self-importance.
The mission of Strength Betrayed is to provide heavy, high energy and meaningful music to those who would listen, to reach out to all people from all walks of life, to provide hope for the hurting and to let them know that they are not alone in their struggles. Each of us has a past. Each of us hurt. Each of us makes mistakes. But each of us was made to be more. We are not our struggles. We are not our sins. We have weaknesses and strengths. We are Strength Betrayed.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Thomas Smith: We have been working so hard on releasing singles and putting together our live show, while is coming slowly but surely. But coming up September 28th is our first official album “War-torn”! You can go and stream our 4 singles out now! The album is up for pre-order on all music stores! So go pre-order/pre-save our new album now!
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Thomas Smith: Man, its def been a while! THIS band particular has been together since 2015. Jacob (our lead guitarist), Taylor (our drummer) and I have played in different bands since 2010, so we have been playing together for almost 10 years now! We originally played worship for our church and kind of learned how to play together there. We joined an 8 piece band that ran for about 2 years before we decided to do our own thing. After worship practice, we would down tune our guitars and just start jamming to the heavy stuff, and it annoyed everybody else lol.
So, we got together for a jam session and wrote one of our singles “Playing With Hearts” the first jam session. We were like “okay….we got to do something with this”. At the time Taylor and Jacobs tried to start a band with a friend of mine called ‘Strength Betrayed’ and I remember thinking “That name is AWESOME”! So, when we started this band up we were like, well we like that name so good, so we called my friend up and got permission to use the name and BOOM Strength Betrayed was born!
Seth was a high school friend of Jacob and Taylor so once we found out he was really good on the bass, we had him send a video. We brought him in for a few jam sessions and BOOM he was in.
Jacob Hair: Just over 5 years officially. We’ve all been in other bands and jammed with each other over the years but it all finally came together when Seth, Taylor and I graduated high school. One day before we graduated, Taylor asked me to jam with him and Thomas after school one day and we immediately began to click. We even wrote the majority of our first song in our first “practice”. A couple of practices later we were looking for a bassist. We looked at a few guys but nothing ever clicked. And then Seth sent in a recording and it was an immediate, YES! We’ve found our guy!
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Thomas Smith: Music is such a funny thing. Sex, drugs and rock & roll never appealed to me. There is an aspect of music that is that fun and energetic aspect, but what I have discovered is the songwriting and creative process is overwhelmingly rewarding to me. To have a song idea, then to write the song with a band, record it or even work with a producer to get a different angle, to hear that song on a track, and to hear people singing the lyrics back to you is so beyond rewarding. We write about our faith and all that, so if that helps someone, I am super fulfilled.
Growing up I didn’t really consider myself good at anything, but I remember singing along with the radio, along with joining the school choir. It kind of helped me learn how to sing or at least have an ear for it. So, when I was 18 I just went for singing in church and was given opportunities to continue to develop my voice. At the same time, I picked up the guitar. I learned through worship songs and then bands like Seether and Red at home to learn the heavier side of music. That feeling of not really being good at much but being good at this one thing still sticks with me. It feels like its either this or a 9-5. But this isn’t anything I can see myself ever stopping. Even if Strength Betrayed were to discontinue for some reason, I’ve already got the taste in my mouth and I can’t stop writing songs.
Taylor Smith: My main motivation for being in a band is to try and use my music to help people… and also to mosh. My motivation for starting a band was to just have a great time with my bandmates. We used to play in a praise and worship band, but I always wanted to play heavier music.
Jacob Hair: Our main motivation is to make a difference in the world. Just to be a good group of guys that want to talk to people. Our main goal is to let people know that there is a God that cares about you and if you need someone to talk to, we’re here and He’s here. Our songs speak on a lot of different issues everyday people go through. If any of our songs speak to people, then mission accomplished.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Thomas Smith: Like mentioned above, being a part of choirs, both in school and at church, and screaming my head off to songs while driving around my hometown.
Taylor Smith: I first started playing Southern Gospel at my home church believe it or not. I then played in a praise and worship band for 5 years. Each one of these has taught me a lot about music, but this band has definitely taught me the most about music in general.
Jacob Hair: I’ve been playing guitar for about 13 years. I got my first guitar when I was 10. I wasn’t incredibly serious about it to start with, but then my Dad bought Van Halen Live Without a Net. It completely changed my life. I never knew a guitar could make those sounds. So, a few weeks later my uncle Gary began teaching me the guitar. I would try and practice every single day. Soon after I began playing in the church band. Started out as the rhythm and eventually became the lead guitarist. It was a dream come true just to be considered a lead guitarist. I also began playing guitar at school for Chapel. Then I play at events and so forth.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Thomas Smith: You know, it seems to be different per person. But I can only say what I hope our music conveys. I hope our fans can hear the images we sing about. Its heavy music so there is a ‘bang your head’ aspect of the imagery, but what I want people to see is wild passion. A fierce urgency. A compassionate anger. A violent love (not abusive lol).
Jacob Hair: Our music is aggressive. Being in a hard rock/metal band that’s not shocking lol.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Thomas Smith: To actually make money for a change lol. In all honesty, it is the ‘dream’ so to speak to tour, play shows, have people scream your name and all that, but right now once this album drops and we push it to all the right areas, hopefully, we will be seeing some of you guys very soon!
Jacob Hair: Just to make a difference. Like I said in one of the questions before. My personal career goal is to make a difference. Obviously making a living doing what you love is up there, but making a difference in the world is number one
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Thomas Smith: That’s a really really hard question. I have to be honest and this isn’t a cop-out but both are so good and are really rewarding experiences. The songwriting process is always rewarding. Playing live is mostly a rewarding experience if the crowd actually cares you’re there lol. But when they love you and know the words, that’s the best.
Jacob Hair: All of the above. Because writing new songs, recording new songs and playing in front of a live audience all goes hand in hand to me
Taylor Smith: Taylor Smith: Live audience… definitely
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Thomas Smith: Honestly, we write about what other bands write about without expletives lol. We kind of avoid the “drugs, sex and rock and roll” themes the best we can and go straight for the juggler on hard topics. Depression, anxiety, addiction, suicide, fear of death and politics, both religious and governmental. We observe the same world the rest of the world observes, we just write our songs through the lens of our beliefs. We are Christians and believe in the divinity of Jesus, but we will never kick it down anyone’s throat.
Jacob Hair: Our song lyrics touch on a lot of topics. We write about addiction, depression, anxiety, and faith.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Thomas Smith: Another difficult question lol. There are so many positive factors but I would say the fan reaction during a live performance is always the most important thing to me. It helps me realize what we are doing is meaningful.
Taylor Smith: Most important thing as a musician is to put on such a great show that the audience feels the same way as I feel about the music, lyrics, and how I’m feeling while I’m playing.
Jacob Hair: Seeing the smiles on people faces and having them come up to you and tell you, thank you. When people come up to you and tell you the song touched them, I don’t know what else could make you happier.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Thomas Smith: We Haven’t been on tour yet but we are planning on it. If I had to tell a live performance story it be this. One time I was doing a guest vocal spot for Set For The Fall and the have pretty intense fog blasters. There is a screaming part on their song 3 nails that we do. So, I propped my leg on their stage boxes, bent down for the scream and completely forgot that their fog blasters are in the boxes. So, I go to scream, and I get blasted in the face with neon light and a hurricane of warm syrup smelling fog! I did good holding the scream, but my band was laughing because literally half my body disappeared as I planted my face in their fog blast. All I could think is “okay let’s not ever do pyro in case I forget about those too! Lol
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Thomas Smith: Some requests can’t be explicitly repeated in an interview lol. When you have fans of all walks of life, we occasionally get asked by drunk fans to…. do things our wives would leave us for lol. We kindly decline the offer if you get me.
Jacob Hair: I don’t know if this is incredibly crazy but recently, I got to sign a purse in the shape of a guitar. That was pretty awesome lol. Other than that, I don’t have anything that’s way out there.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Thomas Smith: At first it was pretty rough. But slowly friends and family have cone around, we have the most support we have ever had now but occasionally we will run into some people who don’t get it. We are a faith-based band that plays in almost all rock venues so some of our more religious fans may have a problem with that.
Taylor Smith: Friend and family have been super supportive. Even if they aren’t into the style of music. My wife is not a metalhead by any means, but she still comes out to our shows and headbangs the best she can.
Jacob Hair: My parents are extremely supportive. My Mom and Dad have grown up around music all their lives. They’ve pushed me a lot to be the best I can be. I couldn’t ask for better parents.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Thomas Smith: Understand that you are never good enough. Always practice. Watch your videos and be honest with yourself. Listen to other people who may be trying to help you with constructive criticism, but also know when someone is being a hater. Kick people out who need to go and NEVER get an ego. Ego is almost certain death for a band.
Jacob Hair: Stay true to what you love. A lot of bands go away from their sound to try to impress the wrong people. But also, don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with. You can stay in your style while bringing in new ideas.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Thomas Smith: Either War-Torn or Sour! War-Torn is so heavy and is awesome to see the crowed throw down! Sour is like a freakin’ prison riot! When that main riff kicks off, the whole place usually goes berserk!!
Taylor Smith: Favorite tracks are My Fight and Sour.
Jacob Hair: I absolutely love playing Waiting right now, which will be on our new album. The lyrics speak to a lot of people, including myself. I’m also incredibly proud of the guitar solo I wrote. When we went into the studio with BlackPlate Productions, they helped me finalize what would eventually be the solo for Waiting.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Thomas Smith: Too many to name. Just know that I take inspiration from all sources, so there’re many performances I take in consideration depending on what I’m trying to pull for. It spans from hip-hop to death metal.
Taylor Smith: Breaking Benjamin and Creed inspired me to play live. BB because they are just the best band ever. Creed because it was the first secular Rock band I ever saw live.
Jacob Hair: Van Halen. Watching Live Without a Net along with hearing 5150, 1984, Van Halen’s debut, Fair Warning, etc. They just blew me away. They’re my all-time favorite band. Their performance on stage and the amount of talent they have is unmatched. Van Halen just started it all for me. Van Halen with Dave or Van Halen with Sammy……either would’ve ended up being my favorite.