Today, we introduce you to our Artist of the Week, Dead Poet Society. Originally from Boston, the band broke into music in 2015 and now are creating more, ready for the world to listen. Read below to learn more about Dead Poet Society, whether they prefer coffee or tea, and which member can’t stop listening to U2.
1. Introduce yourselves to our readers, but also describe your sound for our readers who haven’t heard before!
Jack Underkofler (Singer) Jack Collins (Guitar) Nick Taylor (Bass) Will Goodroad (Drums)
The sound is like a heavy indie rock sound. Our friend recently called it “djent pop,” which I think is pretty close. We use a lot of drop tunings, but try to keep it catchy as well.
2. What’s something unique to Dead Poet Society?
Our most recent song, Lo Air, (coming soon) uses a fretless guitar that Nick and Jack (guitarist) made by searing the frets off back when they were in grade school. It’s such a unique instrument; you can create riffs that aren’t possible on a regular guitar. The intonation is all about where you put your fingers. There’s a sort of odd voice-like quality to the timbre. You simply have to hear it to understand what it sounds like.
3. You’ve landed some really cool opportunities in the last year, which one was the highlight for each of you and why?
I (Jack U) think, as of this past week, touring Mexico has been the highlight of our career. We finally got to see our fans and make some new ones. We toured with a band called Sputnik and those guys, along with their crew/friends – Juan (live engineer), Ivon (personal manager), Frodo (photographer and march manager), and Josh (road crew bro) are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I don’t think I’ve bonded with a group of people faster in my life. I’d go as far as to say I love them like family.
4. What is the first song of yours that you would recommend to someone who hasn’t listened to you before? Why?
Probably “Sound and Silence.” It’s heavy, but catchy. It was the first song we wrote together that made us go “oh, this is kinda cool.” We can’t wait to put out “Lo Air”, though because I think that song will be a true presentation of what we want people to hear.
5. Do you feel more at home on the stage or in the studio?
I think for us the stage is where everything we’ve worked for comes together and makes sense. There’s this moment at every great show where you and the audience just become this entity. It’s like this universal understanding of each other glued together by something you created. There’s nothing more magical on Earth than that moment.
6. How did Dead Poet Society become a band?
Dead Poet Society started as an idea between Nick and I, and two other members, Chelsey Jones and Landon Trimble. I (Jack Collins), and with Nick by my side, was dying to start a band the minute I got to college. School was always secondary, and in this case and it might as well have not existed. I found Landon from a Facebook post, and Chelsey was my girlfriend. However, the lineup quickly changed and constantly shifted members for a period of about a year, until we finally decided to just try one of our best friends, Jack, as a singer and Will as a drummer. The original DPS lineup sucked. In fact, there was a meme floating around our school that said “Dead Poet Society is the worst thing to come out of Berklee”. No one is ever willing to tell you to your face that you suck, so you have to accept the signs around you and act accordingly. Never take hate personally – otherwise you’ll act in spite and make your music even worse. Accept that the public is right. Will was my first choice when going back on the drummers we had tried out, and I quickly learned I was right with my instinct.
7. If Dead Poet Society could collaborate with one artist, producer or band, who would it be?
I think if we had to work with one artist, it would be Jack White. He’s such an imaginative writer and producer, and our favorite thing to do is try interesting, new shit (as long as it’s catchy). I can’t imagine what kind of ideas we would bounce back and forth if we got in a studio with him. That is, if he likes our music. Also, Josh Homme – similar thing, one of our idols.
8. Is there an overall theme that you think your music holds that is signature to your writing style?
We don’t aim to write within boundaries unless we think it’ll help us improve as writers/musicians. I think all of us really just like to write and if somebody comes up with a melody or riff that hits us in the chest we go with it. The beauty about being independent in this day and age is that you don’t have to fit into a genre, you don’t have to write a certain way. You can literally write whatever you want and it’s awesome.
9. What’s a piece of advice you would give someone just getting started with their music?
There’s a quote by Jill Bolte Taylor that goes “Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.” I believe that the validity of this quote can be directly linked with music. Forget the “rules” — there are no rules. There is no theory, there is no right or wrong, there is only feeling. If you want to write music, there is only one thing, and what I mean is that one thing is what’s required of you. Make you and whoever listens to your music feel something.
10. Where would you like to see yourselves in 5 years?
Considering we’ve already toured internationally, gotten hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and have had multiple licenses in the past three years, I’d like to think in five years we could double or triple that rate of progress. Touring Mexico and the U.S., maybe Australia and Europe, headlining large scale tours. We want to be full time touring and living off of it within two years. But we’re young, I know we have a lot to learn about how difficult this really is. We’ve always thought our music is built for arenas (hence the crowd/gang vocals in almost all of our music), so no matter how long it takes, that’s the end goal.
11. What are your goals for 2016?
We want this music video to be huge. Every day we are working our asses off on either tour booking, writing, planning, practicing, recording or video editing, but we really just want people to love this video and song. It’s the first time we feel like we’re making a staple in the future of heavy music. We’d like to see it take off and lead to a serious tour with big acts in both the states and Mexico. I think it can happen. We’re actually pretty proud of this one, considering this is the first time we’ve done it entirely ourselves. So if we’re not completely fucking wrong, I think it could break us.
12. Coffee or tea?
Jack Underkofler (lead singer): Coffee
Jack Collins (guitar): Tea
13. Sweet or salty?
Jack U.: Sweet
Jack C.: Can’t have one without the other.
14. If you could sit next to a musician (dead or alive) on an airplane, who would it be?
Jack U: Chris Martin
Jack C: Bono
Nick: Jimmy Page
Will: Buddy Rich
15. Most played song on your iPod?
Jack U: “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – U2
Jack C: “Out of the Black” – Royal Blood
Nick: “Josie” – Blink 182
Will: “Music for Shoplifting” – POS