MPR Interview With Without Sacrifice (by Joshua Kruszyna)

For 10 years, Without Sacrifice have been delivering their unique brand of metal to the Kansas metal scene. Claiming to bridge boundaries between many different sub-genres of metal, these guys care little for what you call them – just don’t call them anything less than heavy! Fresh off of the release of their newest music video for their song “We the People,” I reached out to Adam Baxter, the band’s lead singer, to learn more.

First off, congrats on the release of your new music video!

Thank you!

Q. Before we discuss the video, could you explain a bit of the band’s history to potential new listeners? How did you guys find your unique yet consistently heavy sound?

A. We came from a very different beginning than the sound we proudly blast now… When I first started the band in Wichita, Kansas in 2009, we were a hard rock act, doing covers and writing originals in the style of Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, and the like. Over the years, we had multiple line-up changes and with each new member came a new evolution in sound. Life happened – as it does – and I had to move for work down to the Dallas, TX area and temporarily take a hiatus. During this time, the band continued without me for a year and had a couple more lineup changes, prompting them to change the name and start over with new material. Instead of letting the Without Sacrifice brand fade, I moved the music and designs and started with a new lineup! After a couple of lineup changes (again), we have finally found the perfect fit for all positions! Our influences have grown into a smorgasbord of styles and sub-genres, but we stay true to our main influences – Linkin Park and System of a Down.

Q. That’s crazy! With that in mind,what goes into writing the average Without Sacrifice song? Any song-writing secrets you’d like to share with the fans?

A. Without Sacrifice takes a different approach to songwriting. All of our material is a collaborative effort – especially for the new album we’re in the process of writing. As we are all composers and most of us are also multi-instrumentalists, one of us may have written an entire song of riffs. We take that as a starting point and learn it/write parts to it and determine what – if anything – needs to be changed. We also contribute equally – each of us will have no less than 2 tracks that started with our own idea (times six members, you’re looking at 12 new songs, if not more)! The song-writing secret we’d share with anyone is this: have an open mind but be straight-forward with constructive criticism, whether positive OR negative. We leave our bullshit drama at home when we get into the rehearsal room. When it comes to writing, it’s okay to say “that sucked”, especially when it’s followed by “you can do better, bro!” Even if there’s a disagreement, we compromise for the good of the music.

Q. Reading through your lyrics on the band’s website, you guys tend to cover a variety of topics in your songs. What are some of the inspirations for your lyrics?

A. Simply put? Everyday life. Any member can contribute lyrical ideas, and in most cases they are singing their parts on the album! More specific details depend on the individual song, but typical song topics are heartbreak; current events; occasionally my outcry to bigotry witnessed first-hand from both sides of that mindset; hoes bein’ hoes; and pirates. Maybe. You’ll find out.

Q. Now I know you guys are fans of tons of different bands from many different sub-genres of metal, but do you have one or two that you tend to gravitate towards the others?

A. We would best describe it as the test tube baby of Serj Tarian (System of a Down) and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) vocally, with Amon Amarth and Pantera instrumentally. At least our new material that we’ll talk about later is. Our older stuff is mostly crossover folk-punk versions of Iron Maiden songs, but completely redone by a rock band drum set plugged into your computer’s USB port using Fruity Loops and a Chinese conversion software you can’t read.

Q. Regarding your latest release, “We the People,” there’s definitely some thought-provoking imagery throughout the music video. Could you explain the story behind that?

A. It’s open to some interpretation, as it means something a little bit different to everyone – including each member of Without Sacrifice. Generally, the song is about coming together not in a political sense, but in one of humanity… an outcry to rise above our divisiveness and look out for one another instead of tearing each other down.

Q. I think that’s a great message that anyone can embrace. Now you guys have been a band for ten years as of this past January. That’s quite a long time for the average local band! Got any tips for some of the up-and-coming artists?

A. We have definitely learned a lot in our 10 years as a group – both the positive and the “what-NOT-to-dos”! Rather than list them all (might write a song about that…), we’ll give the cliff notes version. Being the remaining “founding” member of the band, I have few regrets as they’ve made me and the music what they are today. One thing I have learned about myself is… I’m kind of an asshole. Especially when it comes to the music we/I create. That said, had I realized this years ago, things may have been different for the band – and we could have “made it big”, or failed harder than ever before. “Just because it’s YOUR idea, doesn’t mean it’s the BEST idea”. No, I didn’t say that…my wife did! I digress, though, she’s right. Provide the same criticism – both positive and negative – that you’d want to receive to perform your best. It’s not rocket surgery.

Q. Just to change up the topic, I’m curious, since you guys have been around for such a long time, what is the craziest gig that you guys have played? Got any crazy stories to share with us?

A. No really crazy gigs, but we do have a pretty crazy tour story! Okay, so get this: two years ago was our first trip back to my hometown of Wichita, KS to play a show. At said show, we’re hanging out on the smoking patio as there is no smoking inside the venue (it’s state law). One of my hometown pals – 5’ nothing, weighed no more than 130 lbs – was power-slammed into a folding table for no reason other than he requested it of one of the other show attendees (names omitted to protect the innocent). Little buddy went down…that table, however, did not. At least, not as much as it should have. The good news is, he was already so drunk he barely felt it and only felt a little hungover the next day! He’s a resilient little fucker for sure!

Q. I can relate to both your friend and the table, dude. Lastly, would you like to give the fans an idea of what they can expect from that “new material” you mentioned earlier?

A. Our new material is going to be Without Sacrifice like you’ve never heard before. Unlike previous albums, this new album has a few new factors that we’re bringing to the table. I sang and played guitar, our current lineup with 2 guitarists has allowed me to focus on vocals effectively.

Check out Without Sacrifice’s newest music video, “We the People,” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vReIqk69ix4&feature=

And be sure to check out the band’s official website, https://withoutsacrifice.com/

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