Each year, Ernie Ball gives bands the opportunity to play the mainstage at a select date of Warped Tour, and this year, the competition is solid! Over the next 5 weeks, we will be highlighting some of the bands who are killing it in this year’s contest!
We are kicking it off with Detroit rock trio A War Within.
Check out our exclusive interview with Nikhil Rao and get all the info you need to keep them in the number one spot in the contest!
Infectious Magazine: What would it mean to you to perform at Warped Tour 2017?
A War Within: Playing the Detroit date of Warped Tour this year would be a dream come true. All of us have gone to Warped Tour for years, and being able to share the stage with some of our idols would be beyond amazing. Personally I can remember being a kid at Warped Tour and feeling so overwhelmed thinking that being on that stage seemed like an impossible feat. So to be given the opportunity to play would mean so much to me.
IM: What is one thing you do that no other band does that makes you a unique choice for Warped?
AWW: One thing I really pride myself on is our live performance. We try to go as hard as we can and put as much energy into the show as possible. I know that if we were given the chance to play, we would put as much intensity into that 20 minutes as humanly possible.
IM: Looking back at past Warped Tour’s that you have attended, what’s a memory that stands out the most?
AWW: One thing that stands out about Warped Tours that I’ve gone to in the past is that it is just such a cool thing to see so many people with the same taste in music able to connect for the day. A lot of people don’t go to a lot of concerts, so Warped Tour is their opportunity to see a lot of the bands that they love. The atmosphere is absolutely indescribable, it’s truly something special.
IM: If you could do a headlining tour with two of the bands on this year’s Warped Tour, who would those bands be and why?
AWW: I can’t answer this! There’s so many fantastic bands on Warped Tour this year. We’re a really small band, so it’s very difficult for us to tour with bigger bands. I would say that getting a chance to tour with Blessthefall again would be great we toured with them last year and it was fantastic. However, Attila, Memphis May Fire, I Prevail, Our Last Night, Silverstein, or Beartooth would be amazing. Also, I’m personally a huge fan of Counterparts, Knocked Loose, Dance Gavin Dance, and After the Burial. I’m sorry I couldn’t answer this question properly; can you tell I’m stoked on this year’s lineup?!
IM: The vibe of Warped Tour shifts and grows with each passing year. Last year they brought back a ton of older bands (ie Yellowcard, New Found Glory, Sum 41), and this year Kevin Lyman wanted to take the tour back to its roots. What’s the next Warped Tour trend you hope to see?
AWW: It’s very cool to see Kevin Lyman take Warped Tour back to its roots. Honestly, I think the man’s work ethic is incredible, and I’m going to be excited to watch whatever direction he decides to take it in the future!
IM: Each year, Warped Tour has the Think TEI workshops. If you could attend one of this year’s workshops, whose would it be? Also, if you had the opportunity to teach your own workshop, what would it be about?
AWW: I’m a huge fan of the TEI workshops. The company was started by Matt Halpern, the drummer for Periphery, who is one of my biggest inspirations. He’s done several classes on CreativeLive which I’ve taken, and I really admire his business sense. His prior business BandHappy was another very cool concept, so I’m glad he’s continuing under the TEI name. I think TEI is so cool, a unique way to connect fans with artists, as well as offer important lessons to both groups. I think it’s groundbreaking, and very important. The lessons that I took with my favorite guitarists when I was younger were very important to my development as a musician, and I’m glad TEI offers this opportunity on a much wider scale.
I would like to take Matt and Trevor Wentworth’s class. I’m such a huge fan of the way that they have developed their band independently. They crank out consistently amazing content, and they have mastered internet marketing for their band. As a small band who struggles to get the attention from industry professionals, I know I could learn a lot about how to improve A War Within independently from those guys.
If I could teach a class, I would love to teach what I know about vocal and guitar performance! Or gear based classes. Growing up, I remember being very confused by how professional musical equipment works. I think it would be very cool to get an in depth lesson on the rigs of my favorite musicians and be able to ask questions about them! There is now a lot of Rig Rundown videos on YouTube, but being able to learn in person would be a very helpful experience.
IM: The music industry is a fast-paced world with lots of changes happening all the time. If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be and why?
AWW: One thing that is very difficult about the music industry is how the whole thing is built upon relationships. If you don’t have connections, it can be difficult to enter the inner circle. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; working with people you know and respect is a great way to create positive results, so it makes sense. Being a professional touring musician is a very difficult path; financially, health-wise, and more. However, being patient and working hard on our own has helped us create a small but strong family of fans that I am very proud of. All I can really do is be sincere, act professionally, and work hard. I’m still learning more about the industry every day, and I’m glad to be in the arena rather than the stands!
IM: Final comments or important information you would like to pass along to our readers?
AWW: Thank you very much for your time!
To keep A War Within in the rankings, click here.
A War Within is a metalcore band from Detroit, Michigan. Formed in 2014, A War Within is comprised of Spencer Mabey, Nikhil Rao, and Zac Bardsley. They have toured the country several times over the past few years, including a full US tour with BlesstheFall in Spring 2016. They are currently first out of 12,000 bands in the Ernie Ball Play Warped ’17 contest. They believe in hard work, energetic live performances, sincere attitudes, and being strongly connected with their fanbase.