Opening acts are often relegated to the status of second-class bands, but the Sacramento CA-based band, Die Trying, earned their spot in the limelight last Thursday night, April 3rd, when they opened for Papa Roach at Pop’s in Sauget, IL., just outside of St. Louis.
For those of you who skip out on opening acts, I hope you didn’t miss this one. If so, it’s your loss because these up-and-comers from Sacramento, CA took the Pop’s crowd by storm. Playing an energetic, albeit short, set, they introduced a sound best described as a mixture of punk and metal amid smooth harmonies and catchy tunes. Their spirited stage presence was contagious whether you came to hear them or not (and I did).
With St. Louis as the 17th stop on a long tour, drummer Matt was happy to visit with his parents who reside here, and the guys were cool to sit down and talk for a few minutes. (Jassen – vocals, Jack – guitars, Matt – drums, and Steve – bass) Here’s what they had to say:
NT: Is there a story behind the name Die Trying?
DT: Not really.
Jassen: We were always suggesting names to each other and one day someone said it and it stuck.
Jack: We don’t know who actually thought of it.
Jassen: Jacoby [Shaddix] swears it was his idea.
NT: I understand you’re all self-taught musicians, and that Jassen writes the songs. Are there any particular songs on the album that fans should pay special attention to?
DT: We all like different songs.
Jassen: My favorite is probably “So Long,” but “Oxygen’s Gone” is our biggest single and “Turn Up the Radio” is pretty good.
NT: In less than two years, you have managed to establish yourselves as a band, sign with a major record label, and now your debut album is hitting the stores. That’s pretty impressive. What do you attribute your success to?
DT: Hard work!
Jack: Yeah, we’ve really worked hard to get where we are today.
Jassen: We practiced every single day, and when we weren’t practicing, we were out trying to get publicity for the band.
NT: Have you guys ever pulled any crazy stunts in order to gain attention and get your songs heard?
Matt: They (pointing at Jack and Jassen) broke into a radio station.
Steve: Yeah, that was the biggest thing.
Jassen: We broke into this radio station in Sacramento. We told them on the first floor that we had an appointment and then we went upstairs to the radio station like we owned the place and demanded that they play us on the air. They kicked us out really fast, but then they called us back an hour later and told us they’d play one of our songs.
Jack: We were beating on the doors of the radio station, screaming for them to play us.
Jassen: The whole thing was in the paper and the radio played clips of it all the time.
NT: It sounds like it worked! What would you say is your biggest challenge right now?
Jassen: Probably still trying to gain more publicity. We want everyone to know who we are and that we’re out there. Even when someone on the Internet says something negative about us, I figure they still mentioned our name and people will see it.
NT: Yeah, they say there’s no bad publicity, don’t they? Do you have any big goals for the rest of this year?
Matt: To conquer the world!
NT: That’s cool. What do the rest of you think of St. Louis so far?
Jack: Well, all we’ve seen so far is the parking lot.
NT: Well, I can vouch that it’s better than the parking lot. Is there any advice you would give to someone struggling to get into the music industry these days?
Jack: Work your ass off. Don’t doubt.
Jassen: Don’t doubt yourselves. Don’t give up.
NT: And what is your message to the St. Louis scene?
Jack: Start up bands; work hard! It will pay off! And don’t give up.
You don't want to miss the debut album of this dynamic band. It's called Die Trying (Island/Def Jam Records) and it will hit record stores June 10th. Until then, you can hear the single, “Oxygen's Gone” on the airwaves now.