Dropout Kings - Taking
"AudioDope" on the Road
By Dave Schwartz
The Dropout Kings surprised many when they
erupted from Phoenix, AZ. Some felt that nu-metal was so 15
years ago while others realized that the genre was once again
gaining a foothold. The band, which includes Adam Ramey
(vocals), Eddie Wellz (vocals), Chucky Guzman (guitars), Staig Flynn
(guitars), Rob Sebastian (bass) and Trevor Norgren (drums), wasn’t
about to make any apologies. The Dropout Kings just play the
music that they feel and the result, “AudioDope,” was released in
August of 2018. Since the release, the Dropout Kings have been
touring with bands like OTEP and currently they’re out with
Crazytown. I caught up with vocalist Adam Ramey to find out
more about the record and touring.
DB: Congratulations on the record.
"AudioDope" has been out for about a year now and you’ve had a
chance to get out on the road with it. Are you happy with the
success that you’ve found through the record?
AR: Yeah, we kind of just scattershot
it. We had an idea in mind of what we wanted to do and we took
it into the studio. We wanted to do a little something for
everyone. We had heavier songs, a couple lighter and catchier
songs. So, we just kind of scattershot it out there and saw
what people responded to the most. For this next record we
kind of want to focus in on a more unified sound. But it was
cool to see the reactions because we didn’t know how people would
react to the music. So, it was cool to see the reaction and
how positive they were.
DB: You released your latest single in
February – a video for “Bad Day.” Talk a little bit about the
song and video.
AR: Yeah, so that was one of the first
songs that we ever wrote together. I was just having a real
shitty day at work and I was like, you know what, I’m just going to
do my writing thing and just kind of fade. And that’s how that
song came about. I gave it to Eddie (Wellz) and, he’s the
other vocalist, and he just kind of built more of the story around
it too. So, there’s two different perspectives on it. It was
really cool how we told the story. And when we did the video,
we wanted to do like a play-by-play type deal where we go scene by
scene what were saying in the lyrics and so that’s how it turned
out. It was actually really stressful because we were doing a
tour at the time, there wasn’t a lot of preparation and we had
trouble finding a location. I was actually the most stressed
about the video but it turned out to be one of the best ones in my
opinion. It turned out very cool and I was really excited
DB: Yeah, I think the video came out
very well and really, “Bad Day” is a song for everybody. I
think we can all relate. I mean who hasn’t had a bad day or a
shitty day at work?
DB: We can all relate. We’ve all
AR: Exactly. And that’s what we
try to do – make our songs relatable. Like you were saying,
everyone has had a really bad day at work and I wanted this to be
one of those songs that you could listen to after a day like that
and say, he’s been there, he knows how it is.
DB: One of my favorite songs on the
record is “Scratch & Claw.” For me, it’s the song that ties
together everything that you guys do. It was a pleasant
surprise to have it pop up in the middle of the record and think,
holy shit, this is really cool. You did a video for that song
AR: Thanks. At the time I was
working at a gym and next door to us was a MMA gym. I was
like, I knew everyone that worked over at that gym and I know they
had a pretty good Instagram following and they were friends of mine.
I wanted to do a cross-promotion thing. I wanted it to be a
song that people could lift to and go workout to or go running.
I wanted it to be inspiring. So, I wanted the visuals to be
about that too because the song is about overcoming struggle. I
really wanted to show a fighter’s perspective, a bodybuilder's
perspective, a female bodybuilder's perspective… So, I just
thought it was cool to do that kind of stuff. It was strange
shooting the video because a couple of people bailed who were
supposed to do it. But it kind of just worked out.
Someone came in clutch for us and it turned out really good.
That was actually the first song that we ever wrote as a band.
DB: Wow, that’s impressive.
AR: Yeah, definitely when we first
started writing that, I wanted something big to happen with this
band. It was kind of like an accident. We were just
messing around, and we were like, let’s make a band and all of a
sudden it turned into that and now to this. It’s just kind of
crazy to look back at the progression and that song is a good
reminder of where it all came from.
DB: Yeah, I spent many years in bands
and I can recognize when a song like that pops up and you realize,
holy shit, we really do have something here. You’ve mentioned
writing a couple of times. How do your songs come together?
Does one person write, everybody writes or write as a band?
AR: Most of the time we like to start
the song off with a beat. One of the guys will write a beat.
And then me and Eddie will write parts to it. Me and Eddie
will decide ahead of time what the vibe of the song is giving us.
And we’ll take a subject and that way we can kind of write our
parts. So, we’re kind of on the same page subject matter wise.
And then we just sort of put our vocals over it. We both write
a full song each and then whatever chorus or verse that we like
better of each other’s we’ll use that. Then we’ll put the
vocals over the beat. And then we’ll put all of the music and
instruments over the beat. After we’ll go in and change up the
vocals to make it all match the music. The band helps a lot
with lyrics too. We’ll go over it a lot with each other and
they’ll go, instead of this you should try that. So, writing
really is a full band collaborative effort but as far as lyrics,
it’s mostly me and Eddie.
DB: You’ve hinted that you’ve already
started writing a new record. Is there anything that you can
AR: Yeah, we’ve got three or four
demos so far. We’re just trying to plan out what the next move
is going to be but we definitely want to get back into the studio
and write a full record. We really just haven’t had time.
We have been doing a lot of touring and stuff. We do a little
bit of writing on the road but not a lot. So, we’re just
hanging out and letting this record play out a little bit and
deciding what the next more is.
DB: You mentioned writing on the road.
There are a few bands that are successful at doing that but it seems
like most bands struggle with it. There are so many
distractions, so many obligations and so much happening. And
like you mentioned from the beginning, just finding some quiet space
can be a challenge.
AR: Honestly, I do a lot of my writing
when I’m driving. When your brain does an automatic behavior
like walking or driving, I feel that it’s easier to be creative.
Like I said earlier, usually we have a beat first and sometimes
we’ll use that as a skeleton for a song.
DB: You mentioned that you’re out on
the road right now. You are out with Crazytown. How is
the tour going?
AR: It’s pretty good. It’s been
real fun. They are all cool guys. It’s been a fun
experience and because they are all cool guys it makes it a lot
easier on the road when you’re will cool people like that.
DB: Do you have any other tours the
rest of this year?
AR: We do but nothing that I can
announce at this time.
DB: I can’t tell you how many times I
I want to thank the Dropout Kings for
sharing a moment while on the road. Be sure to check them out
live when they hit your town. And follow them on social