Posted On 12 Jul 2018
Even though they hail from rural Indiana, known more for cornfields than as a “Hot Bed” for Hard Rock and Metal music – the members of The Protest have embraced that American heartland work ethic and used their talent, drive and determination to bring the band’s music to a global audience. Positive energy is abundant in their live shows and is showcased in the new album “Legacy”, due tomorrow on July 13th on Rockfest Records/Sony.
Their new single “What Else You Got” is a fist pumping anthem about never backing down and fighting on despite adversity – it’s sure to be used as a rallying theme song for college and pro sports in the near future. The song is the fastest rising of their career and has already climbed to #36 in just two weeks on the Mainstream Rock Indicator chart and #21 on the Billboard Christian Rock Chart. Previous singles “Rebel Static”, “Vicious Cycle”, and “Welcome to the Freakshow” have laid the groundwork for the band’s current radio success.
The “What Else You Got” video premiered @ AXS. Singer Josh Bramlett says “We hope that this song inspires the listeners to keep their heads up. In an age where the world tries to tear us all down, we extend this song as a rallying cry: An anthem to stand strong in the face of adversity. Trials and tribulations are inevitable – how we handle them is our choice. We can let them overpower us or we can use the fire inside to conquer them. We co-wrote this song with Josiah Prince (Disciple) and Jeremiah Jones”.
He continues: “The video was filmed by the wizard, Mr. Adam Shewmaker. The actual filming was full of adversity – it was shot in late February and it was COLD. The temperature was in the 20s (you can actually see our breath in the video!). We were leaving for tour in just a couple days. Re-shoots anytime soon would not have been an option, so we needed to get it right in the limited time we had at the location. We transformed this garage that housed semis into a video space. It was a humble setting, but we are very happy with the finished product. All in all Adam, some of our close friends and family who were volunteering, and the band spent 10 hours straight filming “What Else You Got”. We are very thankful for the amazing people involved. We hope everyone likes it and takes the words to heart!”
Brothers Josh and Jarob Bramlett met guitarists Adam Sadler and TJ Colwell while they were in high school, in small communities about an hour outside of Indianapolis. Josh & Jarob caught the Rock N’ Roll fever after hearing KISS “Alive” when they were in middle school: it inspired Josh to begin learning how to play guitar and sing, and Jarob grabbed the sticks and kept time on the drums. After hearing “Detroit Rock City” Adam knew that he wanted to learn how to play guitar and followed that dream all the way to Los Angeles, where he studied at Musicians Institute. TJ was inspired by Def Leppard’s two-pronged guitar attack and taught himself how to play, starting at the age of 13. They came together as The Protest in 2009 and released their first album “Game Changer” in 2012, which they supported with their first national tour. The band released their 2nd album, “Great Lengths” in 2014 and has been staying busy by playing across the US.
The Protest are “Road Warriors” in every sense of the term by playing more than 150 dates a year. They’ve expanded their reach by branching out internationally and have toured in Germany and Canada. The Protest have been direct support for Tesla, 12 Stones, Demon Hunter, Ashes Remain, and Righteous Vendetta, among others. They just wrapped up the Rockfest Tour and will continue playing live throughout the rest of 2018 into 2019, including some festival dates.
The Protest wants to bring a little hope and redemption to Rock N’ Roll. Says front man Josh Bramlett: “Just because the music is heavy doesn’t mean it can’t uplift people and encourage them. We have a desire to serve others and reach people around the world. We want fans leaving our shows feeling different – and better – than when they came in”.
Connect with The Protest Here:
Official Website: https://www.theprotestrocks.com
Bands In Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/107415-the-protest
Learn more about The Protest in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So what do you all think is this summer’s big break-out song or artist??
Thank you for speaking with us! We are huge fans of rock music and this summer has no shortage of awesome music. We are humbled to be a small part of it. As far as the summer’s break out artist goes I’ve been hearing a lot about Greta Van Fleet and Bad Wolves. My brother saw Greta a few months back and was blown away. I’m just happy to see rock n’ roll coming back in a big way.
How has 2018 been treating you so far? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
2018 has been incredible so far. We got to take part in the City Rockfest tour this past winter and spring, signed with Rockfest Records, and have a new management team. Both the label and management believe in us and we are very humbled to have their support. As far as goals, many have come to pass already this year – the top being the release of our third studio album “Legacy” on July 13th! “Legacy” has been a musical goal for some time now. It’s taken a couple of years to write and record this record. We have put our hearts and souls into it and we hope that it reflects in the music. We are blessed by the things happening for us this year, but we are taking nothing for granite. We are going to keep our noses to the grindstone to reach people with this music!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? How did you all first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
The saga of The Protest goes back to the early 2000’s. My brother Jarob (our drummer) and I were pre-teens in love with rock n’ roll music. When our friends introduced to the band Kiss that was pretty much all it took to make the decision to start a band! Jarob got a cheap drum kit and I received a little guitar player’s starter kit and we were off to the races. The problem was we really didn’t know how to play. My father, a high school teacher, enlisted the help of one of his students to teach me guitar. His student Adam Sadler (Sarge), our current lead guitar player – began giving me lessons and we really hit it off. I began teaching what I was learning to our other current guitarist, Mr. T.J. Colwell.
In just a few short months T.J.,Jarob, and I began playing shows and since then we have never really looked back. Adam went on to live in L.A. studying guitar for a couple years, then returned home to join our band. I took over the front man spot and its been the four of of us as a unit since 2009. Amazing bass players have come and gone – but the four of us have remained steadfast throughout.
Honestly, I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think of the blessings and opportunities we have seen in our time as band. We aren’t rich, not even close, but we are able to do what we are passionate about and have some of the most amazing support in the business. I think the moment I realized we had something special was when we played our first show with the current lineup. We played this big high school assembly in our hometown. The connection we felt on the stage was incredible and I’ve felt that special connection every show since!
How difficult was it to come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
Coming up with the band name was a very interesting process. We went by the name “Protest for Pluto” until 2012. It wasn’t until we hit the studio that year that we wanted a name change. We worked with a brilliant producer named Travis Wyrick (POD, 10 Years, Since October) that morphed our sound. Through his guidance we came out on the other side a better band with a new sound and a new purpose. Our purpose was and is to reach people with a message of hope through rock n’ roll music. With this reinvention it was only fitting that we rename the band.
We settled on The Protest after much prayer and deliberation. In a world where music is filled with such anger and gloom we want to “Protest” by making music that uplifts people and brings light. Other names in the running were Sevenstar, I am Victim, and sticking with Protest for Pluto. We’re glad we made the switch.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We hail from East Central Indiana and are small-town boys, through-and-through. We grew up in a agricultural community made up largely of selfless people who serve one another and work hard. We have tried to carry this mentality to our career as a band. We are hard workers that want so serve others with our music. We aren’t in rock n’ roll for personal gain or glory. We want to impact people with hope in a real way. The people around us instilled these values in us and we carry that with us wherever we go! We have had such great support from our community and are so humbled by that.
Let’s talk about your upcoming album, “Legacy” that will be out on July 13th. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Do you recall what it felt like the first time you heard it all the way through?
“Legacy” took a couple of years to make. Our band went through a lot of changes during the writing and recording process for the album. The songs came from a mixture of co-writes with amazing writers, to music and lyrics that were on our hearts during that time. We really expanded our horizons with this new record and did a lot of things we had never done before. We had never really done many co-writes to this point and it was amazing to have another music-minded person to bounce ideas off of. We all pushed ourselves creatively. It wasn’t easy but we couldn’t be happier with the finished product.
The album would not have been possible without the guidance and skill of Matt Arcaini, our producer. The first time I listened to the album all the way through the band, my wife, and I piled into my 2002 Jeep Liberty and took a drive. I personally had tears of joy listening to it… I couldn’t believe we were finally listening to “Legacy” after all he time we spent working on it! I still think I’m dreaming. ;o)
What was the inspiration for your newest single “What Else You Got”? How did you decide that it was going to be the lead single of your forthcoming album?
“What Else You Got” is the most anthemic song we have ever recorded! It’s very modern, but the drums and sing-along style lends itself to something off of Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” – which we are totally okay with. Making the single was a unanimous decision between management, band, and label. We all felt that the song is very strong, has a memorable chorus you can sing along to, and most importantly relatable. We hope it uplifts the listener.
What was it like making the music video for “What Else You Got”? How creatively involved were you with the making of it?
“What Else You Got” was our fourth video shoot with video director/producer Adam Shewmaker. The shoot lasted about 12 hours in all. We filmed the video in late February and it was freezing. The location was a huge garage/warehouse that just a day before was filled with semi-trailers and unfortunately there was not a lot of heat in the building. Off camera we had countless space heaters and blankets just to stay warm. You can see our breath in a lot of the shots! A lot of what made the video cool was editing and small cut scenes.
If you had all the money and time in the world, what song either yours or someone else’s would you love to re-create? What the video be like?
If we had all the money in the world we would probably make a music video for every song on the whole record, sparing no expense! We would fly to remote locations and have a lot of cinematic things happening. We would have to be careful that our videos didn’t turn out like a Michael Bay film! ;o) We love shooting videos and each song definitely lends itself to different themes and images.
Why do you think that Rockfest Records is the right place for this band and your music today? How did you go about deciding to be represented by them?
The Rojas family behind Rockfest Records are some incredible people with our same vision in mind. They get what we are trying to do and believe in us. CEO and founder, Joe Rojas, reached out to us months ago to share his vision. We loved what he had to say and signed on. We love the bands on the label and we love everything Rockfest is doing. They are family not just a label and that is rare.
Where do you think you are all happiest: In the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I think for my guys it varies. I do love recording but I’m most alive when I am performing. I love that immediate connection with the audience and my guys. I feel like a completely different man on stage. I’m confident and I use it as a release. We really try to leave it all out on the stage when we perform.
Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
We are currently finishing out booking some headlining dates in August throughout the south. We are adding more dates daily so head to theprotestrocks.com for the details! One show in particular we are very excited about – it takes place August 11th in Logan, OH. It’s a huge out door event called “Move the Hills.” We will be joined by Disciple and Fireflight and the event is totally free. It’s definitely one of our favorite shows of the year!
I have read that you are called “Road Warriors” because of all the touring that you do. How do you keep up the energy night after night? What is one thing that you have to take with you on the road each tour you go on?
Playing high energy rock n’ roll can really gas you out. Each night we pray for energy, then stretch, warmup, and maybe have the occasional energy drink or two. We also make time on the road to work out and try to stay fit. Planet Fitness has become a regular stop for us when we have time. Eating healthy on the road is a whole different story and hard to do. It turns out there are a lot of good cooks out there in the world that want to feed us and that’s a blessing! Sleeping can also be tough on the road. There are so many late night drives but with four band members we are able to switch out as many times as needed.
There are a few things I can’t leave home without when we hit the road. I have to have my iPod classic, my bible, and a few horror or mystery novels to read. As a band we keep an SNES classic on the road. Playing Donkey Kong and Street Fighter really helps pass the time!
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
Playing music together is a dream come true – we love traveling, writing, and performing. What gives us the most joy, however, is connecting with our fans. We are adamant about meeting those who attend our shows. We love hearing their stories and building those relationships. We have met some of the most amazing people out there and are happy to call them our honorary Protest family!
What do you all think of the rock scene these days? How would you say that you changing it up or adding to it?
The rock scene these days is extremely diverse and is filled with super talented bands. Many say that rock has been struggling and while that may be the case in the wider world, we believe that the genre is strong and on the rise. Rock may not be as big a part of the overall mainstream zeitgeist at the moment, but it’s alive and well – and going strong! Our band is really just looking to add a little bit of hope into the rock scene. The genre at times can be very angry and full of gloom… We hope that we are able shed just a little light and uplift people, but still throw down just as hard as everyone else!
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
We choose to stay out of politics for the most part as a band. This doesn’t mean we don’t care about our country, we just choose to offer an escape from these trying times for the listener. They hear about the chaotic state of the world from the media constantly. While we do hope our music impacts people, we aren’t looking to make a political statement. Some bands are more politically fueled and I think that’s fine. Artists have a unique platform to express their beliefs through music and every artist has a different message.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it?
Social media has really changed the industry in a lot of ways. When we first started the band Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was an extremely new concept. We have had to learn how to use it and are still learning. One thing we love about social media is the ability to connect with fans all over the world and get important announcements and updates out quickly. We still handle all of our socials and we like it that way. We like to respond personally to the fans. That being said our label, PR, and management give us good content to post. Having new things to share with the fans is key.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
We have had an many opportunities to work with some amazing artists, producers, and writers so far in our career and want to continue to do so. Some of our current favorite rock artists include Avenged Sevenfold, Memphis May Fire, Volbeat, Disciple, Atreyu, and many, many others. Rock is in an amazing place now with so many incredible artists but working with Avenged would be stellar. They have influenced our music quite a bit. I really think we could make something special!
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
I think each member would want something different. We would definitely need some acoustic guitars and some kind of percussion for my brother. Being a singer I have a my instrument built in, so I would probably bring my guitar as well. This way we could still create music and they would require no electricity! It may not count and it isn’t technically a musical instrument but we all love listening to music so much having some kind radio or recording device that could play back music would be killer…. As long as we had a HUGE supply of batteries, HA!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Music is an amazing vessel and tool to bring the listener to a special place. Every band has a different message and objective. We just want to be a light in the world. We want those who attend our shows or listen to our music to be uplifted and encouraged. At the end of the day our financial success or fame is meaningless if we were unable to do these things.
All photography provided by Ed Bunker – NP!M PR and Marketing