Love, Faith and Clean Underwear? An Interview With Justin Olmstead from Righteous Vendetta
Today I make my debut here at Unsung Melody. I’m Heather Rodgers and it’s nice to meet ya’ll! Yeah, I’m from the South. So ya might as well get used to that ya’ll thing! My first assignment is with a Christian rock band ready to release a new album. The band is Righteous Vendetta and I’m honored to have them be my first interview here on the site.
Guitarist Justin Olmstead is checking in with us today. Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions today!
Absolutely! Thank you for having us!
We are currently awaiting the release of your next album, and can’t wait to hear the new tracks. What is the most exciting thing that you can share with your fans regarding the new album?
We are very excited to share the new music with everyone. For anyone who has known of us for a while, they will be familiar with most of the tracks on the record, but they are all re-recorded and remixed. But what we are most excited about is the 4 new tracks. We feel like we have finally found our perfect mix of heavy, melodic, and catchy. It will give the fans a better idea of what the future of RV will sound like.
Y’all are one of the most active touring bands on the market right now. Touring with Hurt, 10 Years, Taproot and Trapt in the near future. What has been your favorite tour so far, and which one are you looking forward to the most?
At the moment, we are fresh onto the 10 Years tour, which is so amazing. We have been jamming these guys for years, so it’s such an honor to share the stage with them. Our favorite so far was our 2 months out with Hurt. They were such genuine dudes, and they were kind enough to share a lot of the knowledge they have acquired over the years, covering everything from gear, business, touring, experiences. Smile Empty Soul was on the first part of that tour too, which was just the cherry on top. As far as what we are looking forward to, we are in a situation where we can’t decide which one in particular. It’s so surreal to us that we are touring with these bands that have had monster hits and lasting careers. We are just excited to absorb as much knowledge as we can from all of them and take in the experience.
Social media plays a very important role in today’s music scene and communicating with fans. What advice would you give other up and coming bands on how to handle those avenues?
Social media IS today’s music scene. It is absolutely necessary for bands to keep up with the latest forms of social media and upcoming internet trends. It is so easy for bands to get their music out for the world to hear thanks to the internet, which also results in a higher difficulty of attracting attention, regardless of how good your music is. The only way to get the interest of potential fans is to be personal with everyone. There are many social media platforms that attract certain age groups, cultures, etc., so make sure you cover every possible one you can. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, and anything else you can think of. The more, the better. Therefore, regardless a person’s social media preference, you have the opportunity to personally interact with potential fans.
Do you see more interaction with fans on Facebook or Twitter?
It seems like a hit and miss between the both of them. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Facebook was our go-to preference, but there has been a huge decrease in the amount of interaction a page can have seen without paying. Facebook is still the quickest way to build hype for a particular event, such as a contest or a release, as well as the easiest way to talk via messages. Twitter, however, gains us more fans faster. When somebody follows you on Twitter, everything you post will be seen on their feed. Therefore, when somebody retweets your band, that will be seen on all of their friends’ feeds.
I am a huge lover of music, both secular and Christian alike. What elements do you take from each side, and how do you handle crossing the gap between the two?
There has been a growing segregation between both styles, and with that, each has begun to take on their own sound. Different people have different opinions on what they prefer and what the differences are. For us, we just strive to make the best music possible, and sing what is on our hearts. Musically, we take influence from both sides of the board, many who are secular bands. We don’t want the general sound of our band to fall into the guidelines of what a Christian or secular band ‘should’ sound like. Music is music, and if you’re not making the music you want, then you’re taking your art for granted. Lyrically is where it can be a struggle to cross that gap. All of our lyrics are based off the gospel, and overcoming our struggles through Christ. However, we want everybody to be able to take something from our music. Therefore, our lyrics are typically based around situations that could be relevant in anyone’s life. If our songs can get somebody through a struggle with faith, family, addiction, depression, or anything of the sort, then our music has done it’s work.
Which part of your faith do you wish to communicate the most to your fans?
Love. It is so simple. In all the miracles and teachings of Jesus himself, they were all done out of genuine love. People hear about God and the gospel all the time, but people rarely SEE the gospel lived out. What does the gospel look like when it is lived out? Love. It is not a quick glance and hand-off of a bible tract, it is not condemning those struggling with sin, and it most certainly is not a pedestal placing you above anybody else. When you become a follower of Christ, you instantly become a servant. When you serve out of love and SHOW people what the truth really looks like, they will see that there is something in your heart that can’t be filled by anything on this earth.
We know you guys are quite the heavy hitters, but what is your favorite track to play acoustic and why?
Well, other than the bluegrass rendition of Amazing Grace Ryan and I have been working on, it has got to be What You’ve Done. It is probably the most hard-hitting song from the EP, but for some reason transitioned really well to acoustic, and we were able to throw almost a folk feel to it, which makes it fun for the audience as well.
As a self-proclaimed cover snob, are there any covers that you guys love to perform for your fans? Also, as a flip on that question, what one song would you like to see covered from your music?
When this band was first starting out, we would play End of Heartache by Killswitch Engage every show. That song was a blast, not only because it had such an influence on us and our writing, but because everybody knew it and loved singing along! From our music, it would probably have to be Inside My Eyes. That song was a pretty far step outside of the box for all of us, and it would be cool to see how someone else interprets the style.
Anyone that knows about being in a new band, tour life, etc. knows how financially difficult it can be. How do you guys handle that aspect of life without it holding you back from your goals?
It’s honestly just all hard work. You get out of it what you put into it. We all work in between tours to raise as much extra money as we can and we don’t take our own comfort into consideration. When you let comfort overshadow your desire to succeed, you’ll often start developing a grudge against the road, and your ambition begins to fade. If you keep your head on straight, are very concsious with your budget, and do whatever it takes to keep yourself and your band financially stable, it’ll all work out.
Music videos are always a fun way for fans to see a different and creative side of bands. What was your favorite part about creating the video for “The Fire Inside“, and what will you take away for the next process?
I think our favorite part of that video, as with any video, is just the experience of it all. Being with your friends, choreographed dancing like idiots to a recording of your own song! It’s always fun working with our videographer, Jeffrey Moore. He makes it an enjoyable experience, even though the process of getting all the shots really takes endurance. Endurance that our out-of-shape butts don’t have. The other cool thing is being in a different place for each video shoot. We have shot in forests, historic buildings, fields, shops. Each new environment adds a new creative element to the band, and each new video is just another documented experience we can have to look back on for the rest of our lives. What we will take away from ‘The Fire Inside’ video is to never use dirt from a 150 year old house attic for ‘make-up.’ We rustled up the dust for all the shots, and by the end of the shoot, I guarantee our lungs looked like we’d been smoking for 80 years. It took a couple weeks to recover from that one.
Righteous Vendetta – The Fire Inside:
The site generally ends interviews on a random question. So, I’ll keep that tradition going. If given your choice of a superpower, what do you choose and why?
I’m not sure if it is technically a superpower, but I would definitely choose time travel. Playing metal music opening up for the freakin’ Beatles would be hilarious. And we wouldn’t be looked down on for not changing our underwear everyday.
The judges will allow the time travel, but the jury is still out on the underwear deal! Thanks so much your time Justin. All the best!
Keep Up With Righteous Vendetta Below:
Preview or purchase Vol. 1 below: