November 14, 2017 Interview – Eric Vanlerberghe of I Prevail
Over the last few years a ton of new bands have come to the surface of the ever changing music scene. Struggling to stay afloat in turbulent times, one band which has risen above all the noise is Michigan’s own I Prevail. Formed back in 2013, in four short years the band has gone from unknowns to stars with hit singles, their 2016 debut album Lifelines charting at #15 on the Billboard 200, and headlining tours across the USA.
Currently out on their Rage On The Stage headlining tour with support from We Came As Romans, The Word Alive, and Escape the Fate, the ceiling for I Prevail is still well above them as they move forward. Recently, we caught up with Harsh Vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe to talk the wild ride of I Prevail, their plans for new music, touring, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – I Prevail has been together for a few years now and in a short time has built a following and reputation on the Hard Rock/Metal scene. What has the experience been like thus far?
Eric Vanlerberghe – It has been pretty crazy. I didn’t know what to expect when we started off. If you would have told me we were going to end up where we are at in four years or so, I wouldn’t have believed you. It has been an exciting and sometimes stressful, bumpy ride.
CrypticRock.com – It is certainly can be fill of highs and lows. Interestingly the band picked up momentum following a cover of the Taylor Swift track “Black Space.” Releasing a cover can sometimes be a stigmata, but I Prevail have really built their own identity beyond it. Did you feel it was risky at the time releasing a cover track as a first introduction to many listeners?
Eric Vanlerberghe – We were a little worried, but not enough to really think twice about it. We thought it was a really good idea to get our foot in the door and get heard by people who had never heard us because we were a brand new band. Something like that was a little somewhat familiar and just a little bit different. We thought that it was a great to get on some people’s playlists.
CrypticRock.com – It worked out well and since I Prevail has really taken off. In 2016 you released the debut full-length album Lifelines. Doing exceptionally well, with four singles released, including the most recently, “Lifelines,” it has been a good ride for the band. That said, what was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Eric Vanlerberghe – It was stressful. It was different because when we wrote our EP, we wrote seven songs in the course of about a year. Then when everything took off, we didn’t have the luxury of being able to sit back on our heels to take the time to write and record like we did in the past. It was somewhat of a little different a timeline and time crunch on our hands. We didn’t want stay out of the public eye for too long because kids attention span now a days its 15 seconds – you are in and then you are out. We knew we had to hurry and put something out.
When we went out to record it we had a vision and sound in mind. Then we finally had the availability to get two producers that we never had before. We had a bar that we set for ourselves and we went out to LA, started recording. It didn’t work out, so we ended up flying back home to finish the record between LA and a small town in Michigan where we recorded our EP with BJ Perry. It was stressful not knowing what we were getting ourselves into it. It was definitely a learning experience and makes me excited to go back and record the next record.
CrypticRock.com – Well the final product turned out very strong. You have released a handful of promotional music videos in association with the singles from Lifelines. It appears the band is very proactive at being hands on with your fans. Is it is important to I Prevail to connect with the fans in that way?
Eric Vanlerberghe – Absolutely! Like I said, kids attention spans are so quick nowadays, there is a reason Twitter only gives you a few characters and Instagram only gives you a few seconds to make a video. Kids don’t latch onto things on the first pass through many times. It is very important to us to reach out to the fans, not only to create an image/face to the music that people will recognize, but also because we love what we do. That fact we get the opportunity to tour and do this for a full-time job has been my dream since I was a kid. I do want to reach out, not only because of the business end to keep ourselves fresh, but because I have so many people to thank who helped us get here. We wouldn’t be here without those fans. We like to remind them of that.
CrypticRock.com – That really great to hear. It is important to remember where you came from and who is important. As one of the two vocalists of I Prevail, you provide the harsh side. That in mind on the track “Lifelines” you actually provide some clean vocals as well. Is this something we perhaps be seeing more of, or will you be sticking more with the harsh vocals?
Eric Vanlerberghe – I’m always down to try something new. I like singing, I have been practicing and working hard at becoming a better singer. I would like to have a few more opportunities and I think we’re going to try some different things out on the next record. I also don’t want people to think we straying far from our sound as a typical Metal band that starts fading out to radio Rock. There is no worry about that, we are going to have the same sound, be just as heavy, and have the same elements. I might try a few things here and there, but we are still going to keep the original I Prevail sound.
CrypticRock.com – Experimentation is always a good thing! Lifelines recently celebrated its one year anniversary and the band is currently on the road now through December. Amidst the busy schedule, has the band started the writing process for the next record yet?
Eric Vanlerberghe – Not so much. We have all had a couple of ideas for song ideas – some lyrics, some riffs. Steve and Dylan, separately have some ideas and notes. We really haven’t had time though and it feels like we have been on the road nonstop since Lifelines came out. After this tour we will be taking some time off to write and record during the winter.
CrypticRock.com – The band certainly has been touring rigorously over the past year or so. As mentioned you are currently out on the road touring with We Came As Romans, The World Alive, and Escape the Fate. There are still many shows ahead of you, what has the tour been like?
Eric Vanlerberghe – The tour has been great! Each one of these bands I have personally listened to since they put out their first record. We Came As Romans is a band I saw growing up, their hometown is just a few miles from mine. It is cool to be able to play with these bands who have gotten so much recognition in this scene and the music community. The fact that we are able to go out on tour with them, it feels like a stamp of approval from our favorite bands.
Aside from that, the fans have been incredible and the turnout has been great. We have been a little sick here and there, but we have pushed through. It has been kind of difficult with the sickness and the length of the tour, but to be able to tour with these bands, and see how many kids come out each night, it is definitely worth it.
CrypticRock.com – And it is a really great lineup of bands. I Prevail has toured a lot over the past few years and with many different bands as well. It was just this past spring that you went overseas doing some major shows. What was it like seeing the reactions from people outside the USA?
Eric Vanlerberghe – It was crazy! We went over to the UK, but first to Australia and that was awesome! The fact that we got to travel across the world, I never thought I would be able to do that with music, but here we are (laughs). It was cool to get to walk around the cities, getting to see a new country and new people. Actually all seven shows sold out. To be able to go up on stage and hear the kids scream, it felt like our hair blew back, it was crazy feeling to be all the way from a different country across the world.
The same with the UK, we played a festival that was three days and then a headliner that sold out. At the festival we played one of the smaller stages, and everyday we played that stage, they had to block off the room that we were in because there were too many people. It is crazy to see how much attention and how many fans we have in a country we had never been to. I have no words to describe it, it is incredible.
CrypticRock.com – That has to be a pretty surreal feeling. You had mentioned you have been a little bit under the weather during this current run. That is going to happen when you are on the road as much as you are and life on the road can be tough. How do you manage to keep yourself healthy on the road?
Eric Vanlerberghe – I don’t know, they make jokes on the bus that I am the least clean person, which is all shit! That is not true. I never take vitamins and I never take medicine, unless I absolutely need it. I feel like my immune system, from not taking medicine and being a dirty kid, made my tolerance to colds. Everyone else is drinking theraflu, mucinex like it is candy, and there are a lot of vitamins on the bus.
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) It is good that you have a naturally strong immune system. Beyond health, being on the road has its positives and negatives. You are out doing what you love, having the time of your life, but also, you are away from home. Being away from home has to be hard mentality right?
Eric Vanlerberghe – Yea it can definitely be difficult. I recently had a long talk with one of our crew guys. It is a trade off, every job has something you don’t like. I used to work in metal factories and the pay made up for how shitty of a job it was. But that is the kind of same thing here, it is such an amazing job, there are things you have to sacrifice such as being home, being able to see your girlfriend, friends, or family whenever you want.
It takes a little bit of a toll, but you have to have those friends you can facetime with whenever to see a friendly face. I have my playstation in a case with a screen, so when I am feeling low or shitty I just find a green room, plug it to lose sense of time and place to get sucked into a video game. Like I said, it’s a good trade off.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, the good outweighs the bad for sure. My last question is pertaining to film since CrypticRock covers both music as well as Horror and Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan, do you have any favorites in those genres?
Eric Vanlerberghe – Oh yea! I actually have a tattoo related to the film Interstellar (2014). I think it is a masterpiece, I have seen it about 30-40 times in the past two years. That is probably my favorite. I recently saw the new It and I thought it was really good. I was really impressed. Some remakes can be done over the top and ruin it. I thought the new It is a perfect renewal.
NOV 15 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
NOV 16 – SOMA – San Diego, CA
NOV 17 – Marquee Theater – Tempe, AZ
NOV 19 – The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
NOV 21 – The Truman – Kansas City, MO
NOV 24 – The Masonic Cathedral – Detroit, MI
NOV 26 – The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
NOV 28 – Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
NOV 29 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
DEC 1 – Cotillion – Wichita, KS
DEC 2 – 7 Flags – Des Moines, IA
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