For some bands, success comes pretty quickly. Play a few shows, get signed, and then BOOM! You’re touring, playing arenas, and have an impressive discography of successful albums. Like Judas Priest.
Some bands are a cookie-cutter result of the music industry’s corporate machine, and have never actually played a show prior to formation. They’ve done nothing of significance, and yet the industry shoves them down our throat and tries to make them a “thing.” Like Panic! At the Disco.
Then there’s bands that never make it all. C’est la vie.
But what about bands like Zac Brown Band? They were around for years before making it. That is actually more common than you think, and I recently had the opportunity to talk to a band that has experienced the very same thing.
Within Reason released their first album “Bloodshot Life” all the way back in 2009, and they did so completely on their own. No label backing, no one signing them. They recorded it, mixed it, and popped it up on iTunes. Three years later they released the “After the Crawl” EP. Same deal. All on their own, no label, nothing but their own blood, sweat, and tears.
Fast forward to 2015. After an unrelenting amount of self publication, free shows, and an insane amount of hard work, Within Reason was able to land a spot at Uproar, as well as tour with big ticket bands like Godsmack, Pop Evil, Buckcherry, and even Seether. Now they’re gearing up to go on another tour, this time with Hinder.
I got to speak bassist David Koonce about the band’s rise, and the hard work they’ve put in to get where they are today.
David Koonce playing bass at a recent Within Reason show
So, you and the boys of Within Reason have had a pretty eventful year so far
For sure. lots of touring this year for us. We also got our first Top 40 single.
of touring! From Uproar, to tours with bands like Godsmack and Buckcherry, it seems like you guys are really starting to gain momentum.
Its been the result of a lot of hard work. getting to network everyday with bands on a tour like Uproar is a perfect storm for independent bands like us. We gained tours with Godsmack, BuckCherry, Seether and Pop Evil from relationships that came from Uproar.
And in doing so it seems like you guys are on the fast-track to becoming a heavy hitter in your genre. And now you’re getting ready to hop on yet another tour, only this time with Hinder. I bet you guys are pretty pumped for that.
Of course! We have actually played a few shows with Hinder over the years before. Now that we have been on a few trips around the country, its fun to get out there on a tour and look forward to returning to cities we have visited in the past. At the end of the day, music is art. We only get a small window to connect with the audience, and music has a special way of doing that. Every tour we gain more fans, and that is the goal. We have been extremely lucky to be able to get on tours with big bands who play to big crowds.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. So audiences have been very receptive to the band?
Most of the time. There are a few nights when we play a city that we have never been to. we have a short period of time to make an impression. The band kinda jokes around with a quote from the movie Gladiator; “Win the crowd and you will win your freedom”. That’s a way to look at it. We usually have about 30 minutes to touch everyone in the audience in some way. Somehow we need them to take Within Reason home with them and tell their friends. All we can do is play our best set and spend time at the merch table after the show talking and getting to know the people who are interested in the band.
That can definitely be a trying experience, but I’ve had just as much fun with bands at their merch tables as I’ve had in the crowd. As an avid concert-goer, I always appreciate a band that go out of their way to get some face-time with their fans.
Alright, let’s talk about Within Reason’s first Top 40 hit on the Active Rock chart. That’s a pretty big deal for band without a major label backing them
Its was very exciting to reach that goal. That was a huge milestone for this band. I can promise you it was not easy! We had to build relationships with radio stations all over the country, get to those cities and play shows for them. A lot of times we would go play special events for stations for free just to build those relationships further. All of this we did by ourselves with no label and not financial backing. it was extremely difficult and a lot of time frustrating going up against huge established bands. We were definitely “grasping for airtime”. Radio is just another battle that we try to win every week.
Absolutely it is. And the band’s hard work is really paying off, after all “Here Comes the Light” really is a solid tune.
Thanks, that’s a really special song. it was the first one we wrote on that record.
Overall, I’d say the “After the Crawl” EP is really solid and well mixed. With all this building momentum, exposure, and seemingly non-stop touring, I bet your fans, both old and new, are clamoring for new music. When can we expect some new materiel?
We are planning to record right after the holidays. The new album is just about ready to take into the studio and chisel it out, and we’re actually hoping to release the first single to radio in February! I can’t tell you much about the record, but i can tell you it has some of my favorite stuff on it that we have ever done. We don’t want to make the same record twice. I feel like we are good at capturing where we are in our lives in the songs we write. this record will be that very thing. Our lives as bandmates have changed dramatically since our last album, and we have accomplished a lot. But, at the same time, we’ve had to shovel a lot of s**t. Listeners will be able to really feel those emotions in these new songs.
“After the Crawl” is available for download on iTunes
Well I’m certainly looking forward to hearing it! It’s always great when a band pours everything into an album, and it always shows too. I know fans will definitely be excited. Now how about signing with a label? Or are you and the boys taking a page out of Wilco’s book and going on independently?
We just don’t think a label deal will benefit the band right now.
It seems like more and more bands are starting to feel that way.
When you start tour with other bands, you form a really tight bond. We always ask questions to artists that have been down roads before us. We always ask them to tell us the biggest mistakes they made as a band at our level. We just take that information and make sure we learn from their mistakes instead of making them ourselves.
A wise decision. One that has noticeably set Within Reason apart from other bands in your genre. It seems like you guys are making all the right calls, and this upcoming Hinder tour is another huge step in the bands epic rise.
We do our best to make the right decisions. We are not always on point but i feel like there is a positive every time as long as you genuinely try to do the right thing.
Well said. So, we’ve got an upcoming tour and a new album in the works. I, for one, am certainly anxious to see what’s next to come from Within Reason
Thanks! Me too. it has definitely been a real adventure, that’s for sure.
Be sure to catch Within Reason on their upcoming tour with Hinder starting this month!
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