Have you ever had one of those bands that you really liked, but somehow lost track of? Then one day you come across them again to ask yourself, “How did I not keep up with these guys? They are amazing!”. Well, Throw the Fight was one of those bands for me. I had been introduced to them a few years ago when their last album, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” came out. I loved the album and listened to it quite a few times. But I never really researched the band, didn’t buy the CD due to money constraints (I would have the world’s largest collection if money wasn’t an issue), and just lost track of them. Fast forward a few years and I get a follow on my personal Twitter account from Throw the Fight. When I saw who it was from I knew the name but could not put it to the music. So I checked out their latest video for the song, “Don’t Let me Down” and it was a revelation. “I know these guys! I love their last album!”.
Throw the Fight is a rock outfit from Minneapolis, Minnesota that has put out multiple EPs and LPs since their inception in 2003. Their current line up consists of James Clark on vocals, Jeff Baustert on drums, Kade Kastelitz playing bass, and Ryan Baustert, Kris Weiser, and Brandt Jorgensen all taking on guitar duties. They have been making a name for themselves by writing heavy guitar driven heavy rock songs and touring extensively with the likes of Bullet for My Valentine, Sevendust,Avenged Sevenfold, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, and more. Their latest release, “Transmissions” came out on April 8th and they are currently getting ready to do some shows and tours this summer in support of the album.I recently was able to get some time to talk with guitarist Ryan Baustert about their latest album, connection with the fans, what it takes to get things done in the music industry, and much more. Here is what he had to say:First off the new album is amazing. I have been listening to it a lot over the past few weeks. “What Doesn’t Kill Us” was a great album, but I feel that “Transmissions” is a definite next step in the evolution of the band. For those who may not have heard the album yet, what can they expect to get from it?
Thanks so much! We’re just trying to keep it simple by writing strong rock songs with solid melodies and heavy riffs.
I read where you guys demoed 25 songs for this album. That is an insane amount of songs to demo for an album.
We started writing in June of last year and the whole process came about as I wanted to get my feet wet on the engineering side of things. So I built a little home studio and started writing with a couple of buddies. Next thing you know it we had a huge body of work in various stages of completion that ended up being a lot of tracks on this record.
We had 25 in various stages, but I would say we had 15 really finished songs. So it was kind of easier to narrow it down. And, obviously, our label had some input also. We had also sent them over to the producer and they had some input too. So it was kind of a collective thing where we felt the songs that ended up making it where the strongest of the bunch.
Is there any chance we will be hearing any of the other songs that did not make the cut in the near future?
Maybe, but I don’t know. We haven’t really decided what to do with them. On one hand we could probably keep working on them, so that they can see the light of day at eventually. But on the other hand, there is the old school of thought that if they aren’t good enough to make it on the record, they are probably not good enough period. When we came back from doing this record in November, we were in just a good spot creatively so we wanted to continue writing. So it is possible that by the time this fall gets rolling around we get ready to start writing again and start looking at the next record already. There’s been no shortage of material, that’s for sure.
I know you just got back from a tour with Trapt recently. Anything other shows or tours in the works, that you might be able to talk about, to support the release of the album?
We are working on some stuff. We have three or four dates that are confirmed and announced online around Minnesota and Wisconsin. We have a few more supporting national acts and a festival date that is in the works. Nothing we can announce quite yet. But we should be able to pop it up online in the next week or two.
Even though you guys do an amazing job of directly connecting with your fans on social media, you also have developed a loyal fan base by getting out, touring, playing shows, and showing everyone what you can do. How important do you think it is in the day and age to not get complacent with just using social media to connect to the fans, but to also get out and playing and touring as much as you can?
I think touring and getting yourself in front of people is the biggest thing. We have been around for quite awhile, 13 years at this point. And we have been touring for quite awhile. For us, our whole philosophy is we try to work every angle that is possible. We want to be aggressive with online stuff, but we also want to be playing live and touring, and radio play is a huge factor too. You want to make sure you are songs on stations and things of that nature. Video, that’s another area too. We really try and tackle as many of those facets as we can at the same time. Once you have all of those things in conjunction, that’s when you start to see doors open and things start happening pretty quickly.
A lot of it was just us wanting to do something really simple with this first video here and really didn’t want to over think it too much. We wanted to give people a good vibe of the new guys and get a visual of what it’s like live. We really just said let’s do a live performance in our rehearsal spot and invite some friends over and call it good for this first one. We are going to do a video for “Bury Me Alive”, which will be our next single. So that one will probably be a more concept video.
One of the things that I personally find interesting about the band is that you have three guitarists, not the usual twin guitar attack that a lot of metal bands use. I feel this creates a very cool dynamic and allows even more layering of the guitar sounds. How did having three guitarists come about?
It just kind of happened organically. We didn’t set out to have three guitar players. What ended up happening was that I started out writing with Brandt last summer and we started the process of demoing material between just the two of us. We ended up with all of these tunes and we pitched them to the dudes and everyone was on board to do a new record. We said, “let’s not limit ourselves” and so we invited all of our buddies in. We ended up bringing in friends that we have known since high school and dudes we played with for years in other bands. And it ended up being the core six of us that ended up writing this record. We finally got to the point where we were, “Okay, who’s going to be in this band? Who’s going to be playing live?” So we said, “Screw it, we will just have everyone play and we will figure it out later on”. It has been a bit of a process for us to try and figure out how to get these three guitars to work. I think the trick is to make sure that the tones are different and everyone is not playing the exact same thing at the same time ever. So we try to always have some lead going on, and we try some guitar harmonies while still having some rhythm under it which is kind of nice. It has been kind of a learning process and it is not something we set out to do in the beginning. But it is something that we are trying to make it work right now. Plus it is flexible. If we have a guy that can’t make a show, then we still have two other guitar players.
Your lyrical content speaks a lot about the daily struggles that a lot of us face in life and self-empowerment to not give up and rise above whatever may be holding you back. How much of your music would you say is based on personal experiences?
I would say it is all based on personal experience. James, our vocalist writes 95% of our lyrics. So, it is pulling a lot from his experiences. But we try and keep the lyrics open ended so that people can hopefully relate to it, and interpret in their own way and find some meaning for themselves.
With that being said, a lot of fans can connect with your music on a pretty deep level. How does that make you feel when someone connects deeply with your songs?
It’s amazing. It is pretty much the ultimate compliment. It means a lot that people are getting it. So it’s very cool.
Here at Don’t Let the Music Stop, we are trying to inspire those who are dealing with difficult times to not give up. Although we focus on music, it is just one way of finding inspiration. Sometimes it is the people who we have been involved with in our lives that end up inspiring us the most. Who has inspired you personally in your life?
My biggest inspiration is my parents. They have been influential in more ways than I can count. I owe a lot of what we have been able to do musically in our careers to my parents. They were supportive when we were learning our craft when we were kids and growing up. My wife, she has been very supportive too. She has played a huge role for me.
photo by Graham Fielder
What would you like those that may be suffering currently to know?
The main thing is to know that you are not alone. Everyone has these struggles and these issues at one point in their lives. If you are hurting, reach out to anyone.
Lastly, we have a playlist that is solely comprised of songs that the bands we have worked with have suggested as songs that have inspired them. Can you give me a couple songs that have personally inspired you.
Recently I have really been into the new Beartooth single, “Aggressive”.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Ryan for taking the time to talk with me. I will definitely not be loosing track of them again. Make sure you check out this amazing band and don’t loose track of them either by following them on your favorite social media site:
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Never give up, never give in. You are needed, you are important.