SAUL – Their Fans Rise As Equals
By Dave Schwartz 

We first spoke with Zak Bedsaul about 18 months ago.  Saul’s first single “Brother” was burning up the charts and the world awaited this young band from Sioux City, IA.  Today, their first full length record, “Rise As Equals” is out but the pandemic has made the world a different place.  We caught up with Zak Bedsaul to learn all that has happened and all that will.

DB:  Let’s get going on the interview.  First of all, congratulations on the new record, “Rise As Equals.”  As you know, the album is about to come out.  I would like to hear all about the new record.

ZB:  Yeah, we’re really excited about it.  This is our first full length album.  Before that we were only doing 5-song EPs.  I think that was the goal for my brother Blake and myself and the band – to get signed to a label and put out a full-length record.  So, everything kind of worked out in our favor.  This is a bangin’ CD.  We worked with a lot of awesome people on this record and we’re really excited to put it out.

DB:  We last spoke about 18 months ago.  Your song “Brother” was on SiriusXM in a big, big way.  I recall the tone of your voice during the call.  Your level of excitement was justifiably high.  I’m interested in hearing what has happened since to that regional band from Iowa that blew up all over Sirius.


ZB:  “Brother” really started picking up on SiriusXM.  Then we did a full-on radio campaign and the song went to a bunch of FMs across the country.  As an independent band we debuted at #28 on the media charts which is a big accomplishment – especially since this was our first single.  We got the attention of a lot of record labels.  Spinefarm was one.  They hit us up, flew us out to NYC and rolled out the red carpet.  It was an awesome experience.  We got to know the team really well and they treated us like family.  They took us out to eat, and then we started talking business.  Out of all the record labels, Spinefarm seemed like the best fit for us.  So, we signed with them the middle of last year.  They immediately wanted us to return to the studio and finish the full length.  We went back in and finished a handful of songs with our manager, Chris Dawson.  He worked with us on our “AEOS” EP as well.  We went in and started working on the record.  About that time, we released “Trial By Fire,” our follow-up single to “Brother.”  It did pretty well.  It debuted at 30 on the media charts.  And then everything sort of went dead as Covid hit.  We were all set to release “Rise As Equals” earlier this year and then, obviously the world stopped.  So, then the label asked us to go back into the studio and write a few more songs.  So we went in and wrote four more songs.  “King Of Misery” was the very last song we wrote with David Draiman (Disturbed).

DB:  You mentioned “King Of Misery” which is your first single on this record.  It must be exciting to be able to write with someone as established as David Draiman.  Please talk about how that opportunity came together.

ZB:  So, it turns out that our A/R rep from Spinefarm also works for a management company.  A few years back he was working with Trivium.  Trivium wanted to do some co-writes.  They already knew the manager of Disturbed so they reached out to him.  So, our A/R guy asked if he could get ahold of Draiman, would we like to do a song with him?  We were like, are you really asking us that?  (laughs)  I don’t know of anyone that could even say “no” at that point.  So, he reached out and David got back to him.  It turns out that David knew all about our song “Brother” and had heard it on SiriusXM and was actually a fan of the song.  It was completely surreal.

DB:  It must be cool when a band can have that fortune.  There’s really no other way to look at it.  You had several guests on this record.  Drummer Morgan Rose (Sevendust) sat down behind the kit for a song or two with you.  I see that as a spectacular opportunity for a young band to have so many seasoned musicians join you on an album.  Talk a little bit about the many things you can learn from being around so many talented people.

ZB:  Yeah, talking to seasoned vets like David Draiman and Morgan Rose and you know, we actually did a song with JD, the guitarist from Ice Nine Kills.  We really look up to those guys and JD is a phenomenal guitarist and songwriter.   You know, there’s always one thing in common that these bands tell us.  Be humble, be respectful and make sure you treat this as a business because, it truly is.  We pickup a lot of things like that.  The main thing I like talking to people like that isn’t even about the music.  It’s about the business and how we can better ourselves.  But obviously it’s nice to jam with people like Morgan Rose!  (laughs),

DB:  I absolutely get it. A lot of bands are reaching out to fans by streaming shows.  What have you guys been doing?

ZB:  Yeah, we’ve done two streams this year.  We did one by ourselves – out of our garage actually! (laughs)  And then we had an opportunity.  Our booking agency, SPG, hooked us up and we opened up for Clutch on a live stream.  So, that was pretty cool.

DB:  I agree.  It’s cool to have those opportunities.  As you have mentioned, Covid has hurt the music business significantly.  You talked about holding the release of your album for a few months, what was that conversation?  We’re you just hoping for a better vision of the future or just holding it back until you could go out and support the new record?

ZB:  I don’t think any of us knew just how bad Covid and the shutdown of the country was going to be.  So everyday was a little different for us.  Slowly but surely you could see how everything was drifting.  We had an idea that the record company would be calling.  Lo and behold, the label reached out to us and said that we needed to have this conversation.  We saw it coming and weren’t even really that upset about it because, with Covid, you can’t really point fingers at anyone.  So it was alright and it gave us the opportunity to go out and do the four additional songs.  We had finished the record but these last four songs made the record that much better.  So, we’re cool with it.

DB:  It sounds like it was time well used which is fortunate for everybody.  With 2020 coming to a close soon, we’re all hoping for a better 2021.  Has there been any thought by the band about touring – getting out on the road?

ZB:  Yeah, absolutely.  We’ve been talking to the label and management and our rep, Eric Powell at SPG.  It’s really hard to have a serious talk about touring because we don’t know when things will open up.  But we still have to finish the Hellyeah, All That Remains, Butcher Babies tour.  That all got postponed earlier this year.  I’m assuming that that’s all going to loop back around.  And I would like to go out and do some headlining shows.  You know, just to show that we can go out and support our own record, hold our ground.  That’s one thing that we don’t want to be pigeon-holed in, that we’re always the opening act for the bigger bands on tour.  We want to go out and show that we can hold our own ground and do our thing.

DB:  That makes complete sense.  I never considered the perspective that you just presented.   I know that there is a long list of bands that got stuck in that opening act role and trying to break free of it must be challenging.

ZB:  Yeah, it’s very challenging.  Booking agents will say – we know so-and-so will do the opening spot for this price.  Once you’re stuck with that reputation, it’s hard to get out of it.  It’s hard to put your foot down because there are so many great opportunities that come out of opening for the bigger bands.  The people, the merch sales, but at the same time, unless you are spectacular or it’s down properly you can find yourself overlooked by fans just there for the main acts.

DB:  I agree with you.  Younger bands like yours need to grab onto opportunities but the situation has to be a win/win.

I want to thank Zak Bedsaul for sharing a moment with DaBelly.  Be sure to check out the new record, “Rise As Equals.”  And watch all of Saul’s socials to keep up with the band. 

No. Title Length
1. "Trial By Fire" 3:31
2. "Looking To Fight" 3:51
3. "Brother" 4:20
4. "King of Misery" 3:56
5. "Get It Right" 4:14
6. "Rise As Equals" 3:17
7. "Inside" 3:39
8. "Don't Close Your Eyes" 3:57
9. "Levee" 4:00
10. "Here And Now" 3:17
11. "The Troll" 3:57
12. "Things Change" 3:32
13. "Sticks and Stones" 3:19
14. "Welcome To The Machine" 4:02

  • Release:  October 23rd, 2020
    Spinefarm Records
Saul - "Rise As Equals" 


Blake Bedsaul- Vocals
Zach Bedsaul- Guitar/ Vocals
William McIlravy- Bass/ Vocals
Myles Clayborne-Drums


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