Music is that little tool that you have in life, it can change a bad day to good. It can fill you with so many emotions, it’s sometimes overpowering. But music, in itself, is a magically little gift that can either make you want to get up and move or transports you to another place when your world around you is making you berzerk.
A few years ago, after getting onto my Twitter account, I saw I had a new follower. It was a band from very close to where I grew up, Unparalleled Height. I thought “hmmm ok, cool local band” I, for one, will 1000% support any local groups. they are the grassroots of music, you gotta start somewhere. I checked them out and I really liked their music. One of the best metal bands I’ve heard in a long time! Since then I have talked back and forth with the members of the band and I consider them very good friends but at the same time, I’m a HUGE fan of their music! The band is made up of Marshall on Bass, CJ and Tyler on guitars, Justin on drums and Dave on lead vocals.
Recently, I asked their leader singer, David Kelly, if I could possibly interview either himself or the band for my blog and he wholeheartedly agreed and said ABSOLUTELY! He is one of the most giving and amazing people I know and I am honored to call him one of my very good friends. But for this interview I had to put myself into the shoes of a fan, of an interviewer and set the “friend” to the side for the moment.
Here is that interview, enjoy!
*photo credit to https://www.facebook.com/studiokatphotography/)
ME: First off, everybody has a dream in life right? Writing or singing, whatever you want to do in life. Did you want to make music at an early age? When did you come to realize that making music is what you wanted to do?
DK: Music has always been a massive part of my life. My mom and grandma introduced me to music at a very young age and I attended my first concert when I was 5. Growing up I played several sports, and loved them. I wanted in the worst way to be a professional athlete. I still love sports a lot, even as much as I did then. But as I got older I began to fall in love with music more and more. I began to love the freedom of creation through it. There is no coach that can tell me what I can and cannot write or do with my voice. I love that. I knew that I wanted to make music about when I was a junior in high school. And that passion has just grown and grown over the past 5 years.
Me: When I listen to the tracks on your EP Bridges To Nowhere, even on Rise of the Voiceless, I hear a lot of Avenged Sevenfold keynotes and Bullet for my Valentine influences in the songs, what would you say is some of your biggest musical/non-musical? What fuels that creativity and fire to continue to make more amazing music?
DK: I am very influenced by some composers of movie soundtracks such as Hans Zimmer and Henry Jackman. I am also very influenced by my moods and emotions. If I become very upset, angry, happy, etc. I want to capture that moment because music that is fueled by emotion is the type of music that moves people. That is the biggest difference between our old material and the album that will be coming. The emotion in the new music is captured greatly in my opinion.
I am fueled by the desire to create more music because I don’t think we are anywhere even close to our potential. On top of that, I want to be the BEST. I am not anywhere close to that, but I will continue to put the work in to capture that.
ME: Being a writer, I know things take time to plan out, create and manifest into a finished piece, a complete project. Can you remember a song/songs that you kept going to and revamping over and over again?
DK: This is pretty much every song we write. We always are editing and improving the song. Even until it is fully recorded. In my opinion you cannot be satisfied with what you are hearing until you get the final master tracks back. At that point then, the song is “done”. Then it’s time to execute it live!
ME: let’s talk about 2 songs for a minute. Dethroned and Legacy.
Dethroned, first off, wow! Amazing song! I listen to this song a ton when I’m at work or even when I hit the gym. It has almost an anti-bullying feel to it, or even like someone telling a critic who is being negative of their work to kiss their ass, Where did the idea come from this song? Was it just a general feeling or a personal experience?
DK: You are dead right on the anti bullying feel. That is precisely what I intended the song to be about. However, the beautiful thing about music is it bears different meanings for certain individuals. I think that listeners could draw several different outcomes from the lyrical content of the song, but for me I wrote it about bullying. The idea from this song came that we see a lot of listeners in our genre that struggle with this issue and we wanted to make a song that they could go to when the times got tough for them. It has seemed to help a lot of people in that way so I feel very good about that since ultimately that is what this band is all about, being a hand to those who are struggling.
ME: Legacy…. I’ve said it before, it’s probably one of my absolutely favorite songs! Certainly one of the tunes that when I share with friends their response is usually “Damn!” The vibe to this song really hits home with me on so many levels, so relateable. Dealing with loss, possibly someone wanting to end it. what do they leave behind. What was the reason you wrote this beautifully amazing song?
DK: This song really takes me back. Justin, CJ, Tyler, and I all were in the same 7th grade classes together. There was a girl that was a friend of mine who I knew since pre-school that ended up tragically passing away. As a 12 year old this was so hard for me to understand. My locker was right next to hers and I will never forget the emptiness of that locker rest of me. That was one of the worst feelings of my entire life. About 5 years later I decided to write a song dedicated to her and that was very therapeutic for me. But that song can be applied to anyone that has dealt with losing a friend or loved one. It is about the legacy they leave behind in the world while moving onto the next.
ME: Going back to the bullying issue, it seems like the country/world has been off kilter. Alot of people seem so angry and bullying also seems to be getting worse, even from when I was in school. What do you think changed? Where do you stand, personally and as a band, on this?
DK: Well this gets into a much much larger issue in my opinion. I think that people are mad and angry because they are living lives that are not rewarding and give them a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment both in terms of success and spiritually. This creates a lot of passive aggression and people who do not use outlets to expel this anger such as the gym, music, or sports, end up laying their anger into someone else. Sometimes the result of that is bullying. But there are several other reasons for bullying as well too.
As a band we obviously do not stand for anyone taking advantage of another individual whether it be bullying, domestic violence, or in business. Bullying happens in the music industry too… Don’t take BS from anyone. Be the bigger person and respond in other ways.
ME: Negative engery or feedback, it seems to be everywhere. How do you release the stress and toxicity of the world that is put upon your lives? Whether it be from music, critics or Joe Schmoe on the street talking smack.
DK: This might come off in the wrong way when I say it, but I really don’t listen to criticism or compliments with too much seriousness. The reason for this is because if you let a bunch of people tell “wow that song is so good, you’re an amazing vocalist!” then you become complacent and think that you are already good enough. And then in the same regard when someone says “I don’t like your music too much and you aren’t a good vocalist” you will become unconfident. You must become accustomed to appreciating those who love your music but listen to your own inner voice about what you think of yourself as a vocalist, musician, or person in general. Your opinion of yourself is far more important than someone else’s!
ME: Let’s jump ahead 10 years, where do you see Unparalleled Height? Where do you want the band to expand musically?
DK: 10 years from I see this band headlining major festivals all over the world. In my opinion, there is no other way but to aim for that. I think that with our upcoming album we are going to take a GIANT step towards this goal. And as far as how the music will sound then, I think all of us have a great idea of what we want to develop into but that’s for us to know and for all of you to find out as we grow ;). I also see us changing and improving many many lives through our lyrics and meeting fans as we begin to take this process the next step.
ME: Dream collaborations, any musical genre at all, what would you be the most psyched about putting together?
DK: Wow that’s tough to say. I would love to have Hans Zimmer or Henry Jackman compose some symphonic stuff for us in the future, that would be awesome. I also would love to collaborate with my influences such as M Shadows, James LaBrie of Dream Theater,
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, and many many other vocalists I look up to.
ME: We always have those moments where we look back and wish we could have done something different with our lives, changed one thing or a lot of things. Is there anything, if at all, that you’d go back and change personally or anything within the band’s history? or would you keep it all the same?
DK: I would keep it all the same because it has led us to the place in our career that we are now. We have been limited on where we can tour and such for a few years but now that is all about to change because of the new album we will be putting out and who we will be working with. I am an incredibly thankful and blessed person.
ME: The NEW album, I know I probably speak for many of your friends and fans when I say I cannot wait for it to be released! super pumped up for this release guys! Without giving any of the bells and whistles of the new record away, how much did you grow musically with this album? What can we expect to hear?
DK: Wow there is just so much to say about this album. The one thing I can say, is that we grew sooooo much as songwriters and musicians in this. I literally don’t even sound like the same vocalist, it is literally night and day in a good way. I worked my ass off for a year to improve my voice for this album. I can’t wait to release it. As for what you can expect to hear, we can talk more about that as the release date gets closer!!
ME: Ok enough seriousness….. letting the goofball out now.
Stranded on a desert island as a band, little food, no cell phones…. Who is the first to get blamed?
DK: CJ 100% hahaha
ME: who’s the first to try and gilligan’s island and build a coconut phone? And who’s the first to completely go gary busey crazy? haha…..
DK: The phone building would probably be done by me and Tyler and I could see Justin going off the deep end haha.
ME: Who in the band is the comedian or do you consider yourself the band of stooges?
DK: Oh we all have our moments. One person starts joking and it just snowballs into everyone being ridiculous.
ME: who’s the serious one?
DK: All of us can turn the switch on and off which is very important.
ME: who’s the mediator when it gets too off the beaten path?
DK: Usually Tyler or me
ME: Zombie apocolypse Dave, save yourself and leave others behind or do you band together and kick some major ass?
DK: We stick together and do our best haha
ME: And lastly, besides being an obvoiusly very talented band musically, what other talents do you all have that you could use if Heaven forbid, you stop making music?
DK: I am a great cook. I am a pretty good golfer, and if I worked at it more I could be pretty damn good. I also am a good public speakerand understand a lot of aspects of business.
ME: You guys are releasing a cover of Cowboys from Hell from Pantera, which I am pretty sure will be hellishly amazing! Who would you be honored to be asked by to cover one of YOUR songs?
DK: We are at the stage of being a band that if anyone covered any of ours songs I would be very honored.
(After initially releasing this interview, they released the cover to Cowboys from Hell, check it out below!)
ME: There is always that stigma, “Music saves souls….” I have heard some people actually deny that is possible. That music is just that, music and musicians cannot in fact save a soul. I can honestly say, there have been times music has stopped me from making really big mistakes in my life, without getting too deep into it. But I can honestly say, music did save my life. Some of your songs actually as well. How do you feel when someone comes up and says “thank you for this song…. you stopped me from ending it all” or just simply saying it really helped them through a tough situation in their lives?
DK: I don’t think I will ever able to explain that feeling to someone else. When you sit down to write lyrics with that intention fully in mind and you achieve that result, it is so so rewarding.
ME: Last thing, in closing. What message would you like to end with? This is your open mic to leave whatever message you’d like to for your fans/me, whoever….. the floor is yours. Speak and drop that mic like a beast.
DK: Live a life that you love. Make sure that you enjoy what you are working towards. Have a vision in mind for your life and work towards it
There you have it! David Kelly and the band Unparalleled Height are a group of the most amazing guys you’ll ever know!
I want to thank David again, for taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer my questions, you are a stand up guy and this really meant a lot to me! And like I said, come hell, highwater or f-ed up knee I’ll be at your next local show! Thank you for your time, it was truly an honor.
If you would like to check out Unparalleled Height and their amazing music, look them up on Facebook (Unparalleled Height), Twitter (UPH_Official), Instagram (unparalleledheightofficial), look their music up on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify. Or check out their personal accounts on Twitter (Dave_UPH, Marshall_UPH, CJ_UPH, JustinUPH, TylerUPH and NOW JoshWillisUPH) or Instagram (davekellyuph, justinuph, cj_uph, marshall_uph, tyler_uph and joshwillisuph)
Thank you again David! YOU ROCK!
This all would not be possible without the support of my momma bee Sue and my three best friends Michelle, Samantha and Jennifer. Thank you all for allowing me to follow my dreams!
Thank you and STAY TUNED!!!
Coming up next on Stack Attacks Music, my interview with Josh Willis….. Music’s true jack of all trades and Unparalleled Height’s newest member!