True to their faith and music, you'll find no weakness with Strength Betrayed
TRR: Hi Thomas. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. I'll try to make this painless.
Thomas Smith: Thanks (lol)
TRR: How'd you guys get your band name?
Thomas Smith: Honestly, we decided on the name “Strength Betrayed” pretty fast. It was actually a band name of a friend of ours and one that our drummer Taylor and our lead guitarist Jacob were a part of. The band never played a show when they broke up, but I remembered loving that band name. So, when we put this band together, I called my friend up and was like “hey man can we use Strength Betrayed?”. And he was cool with it! We still keep the same meaning of the original name. Taking inspiration from the biblical story of Sampson. The name serves as a reminder for us to never let our strengths get to our heads.
TRR: Who are the players?
Thomas Smith: Well, I’m the lead vocalist and also hold down the rhythm guitar. Jacob Hair is our lead guitarist and that dude shreds like nobody’s business, for real. Seth Altman kills on the bass, just down and dirty with it! Taylor Smith is my brother and holds down the drums and is pretty much the brains of the band.
TRR: How did you guys get together?
Thomas Smith: We had always grown up together. Taylor, our drummer, is my brother, so we always hung out and got into the same music as we grew up. Jacob, our lead guitarist, went to our church ever since he was little, so we grew up knowing him. He got into music earlier than the rest of us, so with his head start in music he got super good on the guitar lol. Jacob and Taylor knew Seth, our bassist, form high school so when we needed a bass player, we gave him a quick call and a tryout video and boom, he was in. The stars just kind of lined up as far as our band. We all wanted it to happen at the same time and we just made it happen.
Taylor, Jacob and I have played together for almost 10 years now. Seth has been playing with me since 2014 but has been jamming with Jacob and Taylor for about 6 years or so. So, we know our way around each other musically. When you’ve been playing with the same guys for a number of years, you kind of learn how to each of us tick musically and it just super fun to play together now.
TRR: How would you classify your music? There's tons of genres these days. Where do you guys fit?
Thomas Smith: This is actually a question I personally ask close fans. The best way I can describe us would be FOLK-CORE……jk.
TRR: Yeah, I can hear that. How about a metal version of “If I Had a Hammer!”
Thomas Smith: (laughing) Actually, I would say we are def between that Post-grunge sound and heavy metal. The best description I think I’ve heard is Hard Rock/NuMetal. I mean, we don’t rap, like, at all but I do love bounce riffs. Just anything that gets the crowd moving. If the crowd is moving to your music, then you got them in the palm of your hands. We just pull from all genres of heavy music so it all bleeds into our songs.
TRR: What do you think makes your band stand out from others?
Thomas Smith: Nothing is unique under the sun in my opinion, but we want to be a band that leans into the rhythm a little more. We want to drive those melodies with jump riffs with a mix of old school metal sound in there. Like our single “War-Torn” is a good middle ground to getting an idea of what our sound is, and then from there we go into punk, or hardcore, or whatever we feel like, but we keep that core sound consistent. Also, I’m like 6 foot 5 and 230 pounds so if anything, my height can keep attention. (laughing)
TRR: Do you feel that rock is starting to climb the ladder again?
Thomas Smith: I actually do, but we, as a Metal community, have to decide what we want. Do we want Metal in the mainstream or not? If Metal goes mainstream, that means celebrity drama and news, reality shows and all that. We also got to throw out the idea of a “Sell Out”. Yes, there is a level of knowing if a band is phoning it in, but the Metal community, in particular, is very harsh toward those they believe have sold out or even bands that haven’t sold out but are popular. Metal can grow and is growing quite well. I read today actually that it is the fastest-growing genre in the world, we just got to make sure we don’t kill the blessing we’ve been given
TRR: Who are some of your musical influences?
Thomas Smith: We could write a book on everything that goes into our influences. As a songwriter and an artist, you got to have your ‘radar’ up all the time. You pull creatively from literally everything and everywhere. The rhythm of bands like Korn and Static-X, the melodies of bands like Breaking Benjamin and modern pop artists, and the live energy of bands like Slipknot and Skillet. I pull from a lot of strange places like pop and rap, and as we continue to write music, we try to refine combinations of influences. Jacob and Seth primarily pull from the 80’s and 90’s while Taylor pulls from bands like Killswitch and ADTR so it all just varies between each band member.
TRR: How do you write your songs? Is it a collaborative effort?
Thomas Smith: It is absolutely a collaborative effort. We all pitch in our idea and our influences to make a cohesive song. It’s a lot of work this way but it's just the best way to write a song that sounds like “Strength Betrayed”.
TRR: Speaking of collaborative, if you could get together with any band or musician to record a song together, who would that be?
Thomas Smith: I’m all about working with creative people outside of my genre or musical style, I can only speak for myself, but I would work with someone like Post Malone or Juice Wrld. Just someone that could offer a completely new perspective of a heavy song. It would be super cool, and I’m a Posty fan so …hate me!
TRR: What other bands would you like to tour with?
Thomas Smith: Oh man, I could think of so many. Besides choosing our influences, the two bands we love to play with on a consistent basis are Relentless Flood and Set For The Fall. We have played with many other bands but if I had to choose a tour that would be a great hang with good friends it would be them two. Enter change headliners between the two but those guys are the best for real!
TRR: What is your most memorable show, good or bad?
Thomas Smith: Let’s not talk about the bad, lol. The good is the first time I ever heard people singing our songs back to us. We opened for Decyfer Down and when we played “Playing with Hearts” we could hear the crowd singing the lyrics back and it was absolutely euphoric. When we opened for Puddle of Mudd and the pure surprise of the crowd was absolutely amazing! Something I will never forget.
TRR: Very cool. What would be your dream show?
Thomas Smith: Lord, Breaking Benjamin, Altered State, Post Malone and Killswitch Engaged with Howard Jones! Possibly lil Wayne! Lol
TRR: You know, we can probably get you hooked up with Howard Jones. As far as Lil Wayne, that’s gonna be up to you.
Thomas Smith: (laughing)
TRR: What has been your craziest fan interaction?
Thomas Smith: Plenty of drunk girl stories but we as a band stick together so nothing truly gets out of control….yet. Plenty of… offers if you get me but so far so good!
TRR: Ah! Sex! Gotcha!
Thomas Smith: Yep!
TRR: What’s on the table for the rest of the year?
Thomas Smith: Release our upcoming album “War-Torn” that drops Sept 28th! And hopefully, make money! Tours may be coming but we will see.
TRR: Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank you to?
Thomas Smith: Shout out to Set For The Fall, who gave us our first few opportunities. Shout out to Relentless Flood and band called We Were One for the Same! Blackplate for recording us and dealing with our craziness! And to the fans! You guys absolutely kill! Keep It Up! And shout out to TRR for taking having me on this interview for real!