Stray From the Path is a fresh-faced act that fuses hardcore and metal in their own unique way. I caught them on the Never Say Die! Tour with The World We Knew, For Today, Despised Icon, and Winds of Plague, and boy do they own that stage. I sat down with the band and I realized that they’re just as crazy off-stage as they are on-stage.
Tanner Fisher: Guys, I’ve got to say, I love your music; its nuts. You guys seem all pretty young too. Could you just pass the mic around and say your name and how old you are?
TW: I’m Tom Williams, I play guitar, and I am 22 years old.
RT: I’m Ryan Thomson, I play bass, and I’m 21 years old.
DD: I’m Drew Dijorio, I sing, and I am 48…no I’m kidding, I’m 22.
BD: I’m Dan Bourke, I play drums, and I’m 23 years old, about to turn 24.
TF: Now you guys are always on the road…is that a self-driven thing, is it the records label pushing you? What is it?
TW: It’s definitely a little bit of both. Both [Stray From the Path and Sumerian Records] want to grow. I mean we’re not a huge band, at least not yet…we’re going to be fucking enormous. But we want to be on the road to benefit the band, and we always want to grow and get as popular as we can, just playing the songs we wrote, playing the songs we believe in. It is definitely a joint thing between us and Sumerian though, which is cool.
TF: Well speaking of Sumerian Record, you guys kind of seem like the odd man out on their roster. I mean there are a select few other bands but do you want to talk about that?
TW: Yeah we get this question a lot, but it’s cool. We were like the fourth or fifth band that they signed, so we were signed before Sumerian had their ‘sound’, so yeah…they signed like Stick to Your Guns, Born of Osiris, The Faceless, and then us. [laughs] And then you have band like Creature Feature…I mean they’re doing their own thing, whatever. I don’t even know if they’re on the label anymore, but you know it’s cool being like with I See Stars, now that Sumerian has their own sound it’s like “what the fuck is this?”, but I guess it could get those deathcore kids into a band like I See Stars, or Us, because of the label we’re on. But it’s cool, I’ll be on any label…I’ll be on Vagrant, or whoever is going to believe in us, or Def Jam, or whatever…[laughs] or Space Jam, with Michael Jordan…
TF: Speaking of the whole deathcore/Sumeriancore thing, what do you think about it? And let’s be honest.
DD: [laughs] No, no, it’s cool. I mean my favorite artist on Sumerian Records is definitely Veil of Maya. The band is incredible. Their live show, and them just on record is fucking unreal. I mean it’s cool…I guess Sumerian is known for that deathcore sound right?...[laughs] Sumeriancore! It’s definitely sick, I mean Born of Osiris does it really well, and so does Veil of Maya, but I think soon, it might go downhill a little bit, like get old or something. It’s cool for us though, like Tom said, we stand out on the label, but some people just see our name on a Sumerian roster, and they assume that we have that same sound, but we’re obviously not.
TW: Another thing too is that the label has a lot of good bands, and Veil of Maya especially, which they kind of prompted us to stay as a four piece, because we just parted with our other guitarist, Justin [Manas]. They’re a sick band, and they really pull it off as a four piece. I mean they do fit the Sumeriancore sound, but the other bands are incredible too…The Faceless, After the Burial, Born of Osiris…I don’t think the ‘sound’ thing was intentional, it just happened. They have bands that are taking over the scene right know, which is awesome.
DB: [laughs] Well I’m kind of a Dan Bourke expert, so I’ll answer this question.
DD: I mean I’ve known Dan for a long time, and we’ve been friends for a while. He actually filled in on a tour…[laughs]…alright, I’ll tell you the whole story. This is what happened. This dude, I don’t think I should say names, emailed us, and said he wanted to play guitar for us, because we were for a guitarist at the time. He was in a very big band, you know a band that has toured all over, gone to Europe, you know, so we were pumped about it, like “this is sick, this guy wants to be in our band.” He came from Chicago, and…alright, let me hand the mic to Tom…I’m missing details…
TW: Alright, this guy hits me up, saying, know he’s in this big band, and I’m like “fuck yeah, that’s awesome. This guy is sick, I used to watch his band all the time”. So I was like “cool. I’ll send you some videos of how to play the songs, and you send me some videos of you playing the songs back, and we’ll go from there”. I sent him all the videos on how to play the songs, and he’s like “aw man, I don’t have a video camera, but I got the songs down. I got them down like the back of my hand.” I was like “alright”, and I hit up some people who knew him, and I got recommendations for him to see if he was legit, so we thought we were good. This was for the tour with Soldiers and Recon tour. So the kid comes down to my house at two in the morning, two days before we’re supposed to leave for the tour. He comes in from Chicago. He sits down, and he can’t play a single fucking note. And I have a beagle in my bedroom of my apartment, right. And I swear to something, that this is true, we’re both sitting down playing, and I’m freaking out because we have to leave for tour the next day, and he can’t play shit. My dog comes out while we’re playing, and my dog has never done this, he goes between the guy’s legs, and he took a shit right there. I swear this happened. He looks up and says, “I guess I’m not doing very well.” The next day at practice, we’re at Ryan’s house, and this guy says, “aw, I’m going to go get my guitar out of the trailer.” When he goes outside, I’m like “He can’t play anything! Like he can’t play a fucking thing…what are we going to do?” So we start practice, and everyone can’t stop laughing. After a while, he’s all saying he can’t do this all and all this shit. So we call Dan up, who was in Soldiers, doing the tour with us. He learned our set in thirty minutes. He came over and practiced them all, and it went from there. Afterwards, he was all like “dude I want to be in your band”, and I thought he was joking. But no, now he’s in our band, and he’s brought in a higher level of drumming, and I was a little worried, because he’s only been in punk and hardcore bands, so I didn’t know if he could play all-over-the-place shit like us, but he did, and he rocks it. That’s about it.
TF: [laughs] alright. I know it’s a simple question, but who are your main influences?
RT: The main influences for writing this CD would be, I guess Every Time I Die…we get compared to them a lot because their CD Last Night In Town was a really new sound at the time, and I think we’re doing something new today, not so much that we sound the same but just because of that.
TW: I think some of my personal influences are just bands that have a genuine heart. There are so many band that do this for money…well there really isn’t any money to be made in this whole thing, unless you get super big. Even bands like Winds of Plague, they’re not making a real income, like any of your buddies who went off to college, or who went out to work 9 to 5 jobs. Anyone who has a genuine heart, and has those original hardcore ideals would be someone who I draw influences from, because we grew up on Long Island, and everyone was like that. You know, not wanting to do it for the girls or the money, or just being on the tour bus, looking cool, and having Myspace pictures and shit. You know, bands like BrokenCyde, or some bullshit like that. That stuff pisses me off, and they’re a fucking disgrace to music and a disgrace to things that we do, and things that we hold very sacred to our hearts. It’s embarrassing that bands like that exist. I can also get some inspiration from them to never ever be a piece of shit like that.
DD: Tell BrokenCyde to go fuck themselves.
TF: I know that Kurt Ballou, from Converge recorded your first album, Villains. Would you say that Converge has been a pretty big influence on you?
TW: Yeah, I’d say that Converge is one of my top five favorite bands. Recording with him was awesome, because his band was one of the first bands I listened to, but honestly, I probably had a better experience recording with Misha Mansoor, who did our new record [Make Your Own History, out now on Sumerian Records], because he actually produced it, and I don’t know if musical genius is too strong of a word, but he’s a fucking talented guy. It was really awesome having him work on this record. Kurt was awesome, and I’ll never forget that experience, but I definitely enjoyed working with Misha.
TF: Alright guys, that’s it. You guys were a great interview, and good luck tonight. Rip it up.