On January 31st, the multi-platinum band THEORY (Theory Of A Deadman) will release their forthcoming album, “Say Nothing” via Atlantic Records. “Strangers” is the latest track out from it now. This song addresses the current tense state of American politics and the divisive nature of our culture. “Strangers” strikes a chord with its thought-provoking prose, calling out how nasty it has become between those with differing political affiliations and our society’s increasing inability to openly listen and relate to one another. .
On “Say Nothing,” THEORY is speaking up through timely lyrical commentary that finds the band’s finger on the pulse of the current climate and the issues that our society is grappling with today, threaded together with a message that’s both a cautionary warning and a hopeful wish for our collective future.
“‘Strangers’ talks about American politics and the divisiveness our country is facing right now,” shares lead vocalist and songwriter Tyler Connolly. “It was inspired by the continuous onslaught of tragedies that keep happening. On this song, I’m not trying to speak from a perspective of bias, I just can’t figure out why we can’t all do it together. We need to come together instead of pitting against one another. We hope the song serves as a bit of a wake-up call. We’ve become so desensitized to it all that I think it’s imperative for us to start talking about these kinds of things in our music.”
“Strangers” is the follow-up to Say Nothing’s lead single “History Of Violence,” which has already racked up over 2 million collective streams and has been featured on key playlists across Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, including Spotify’s New Music Friday. Telling a gripping story that turns the tables on domestic violence, the video for “History of Violence” illustrates a searing snapshot of a woman enduring an abusive husband as she plans to fight back, eventually ending up in jail but free of her abuser. THEORY is encouraging anyone affected by domestic violence to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) for help.
Peeling back the layers of THEORY, members Tyler Connolly [lead vocals, guitar], Dave Brenner [guitar, backing vocals], Dean Back [bass], and Joey Dandeneau [drums] created a depth and breadth like never before on this collection. “Say Nothing” was recorded in London with producer Martin Terefe [Jason Mraz, Yungblud]. It is a continuation of their musical and thematic evolution, displaying the band’s powerful storytelling in full force and introducing fresh sounds and sonics. With undeniable anthems, scorching songcraft, experimental vision, rock ‘n’ roll attitude, and clever pop ambition, THEORY explores domestic violence, racism, the divisiveness in American politics, anxiety and depression, and more on the 10-track album.
Following a fall headlining U.S. run, THEORY recently embarked on a U.K. headlining tour that began on November 19th. Then, they will then travel throughout their native Canada at the top of 2020 to coincide with the release of “Say Nothing,” commencing January 31st in Vancouver.
Connect With Theory Online Here- Website
Learn more about Theory in the following All Access interview-
Now that the year is about over, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band? What were some goals that Theory had for the year? What are you already excited about for 2020? What are some goals for next year?
For 2019, everything is going amazing. We’re all super proud of the release of “History of Violence.” I think for us it’s just a continuation of the new Theory sound. 2020, for us, is about having fun and really enjoying what we’re doing. We’re really excited for January 31st, which is when our new album Say Nothing comes out. We’re pumped for everyone to hear what we think is our best record. From there, I don’t know – it’s wide open. We’re looking forward to all of it!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could all agree on?
In the beginning, everything is going so quick you don’t really have time to think about the people you’re getting involved with. But from the very beginning, we were all friends. We all lived really close to one another. Dave would ride his bike over to my house for band practice and Dean lived about four blocks from my house. From the very beginning, it was just doing something with friends, so it didn’t take very long to know this was something we wanted to do, and could do, together. The band name Theory Of A Deadman was actually a song title of ours. We didn’t have a name for the band and I think we actually had a record deal/were signing a record deal, and they were like, “you need to come up with a band name,” so we just took the name of one our songs that we were recording “Theory of a Deadman” because we thought it was such a cool band name. But I don’t know if anyone’s really thought that it was great. Even to this day, we sometimes struggle with it. I think that’s maybe one of the reasons why we’ve been kinda looking forward to shortening it. It just makes it easier for everybody.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? How has the music scene there changed over the years?
Well, I haven’t lived in my hometown in years, but when we started, there was a bit of a scene. There were quite a few bands that had kind of a sound. I don’t know if I’d call it a distinct Vancouver sound, but I think being close to Seattle, we felt almost like a sister city to the place that birthed grunge, so I think there was this big post-grunge element sound that came out of Vancouver at that moment, in the late ‘90s to early 2000s, when we were getting started. It definitely influenced us. It rained a lot in Vancouver and that influenced kind of that dark, riff rock for us. There was kind of a dirty sound in the beginning.
Let’s talk about your upcoming s album, Say Nothing. What was it like putting this collection together? How is this your most honest album to date?
It was actually really easy. Writing the record was the most difficult thing for me, because of personal stuff but also getting a lot of stuff off my chest about how I felt about what was going on. It’s our most honest album because I’ve matured a lot with the way I write lyrics and I think after “Rx,” it’s given me the strength to try to write about things I hadn’t written about before, like domestic violence, racism, what I’m seeing in the news. It all comes from an honest place. Before, a lot of it was written from a place of insecurity and maybe I was hiding a bit.
How do you think your single, “History of Violence” prepares fans for the rest of your album? Were you surprised by all the fast, positive support for it?
Yea, I think we’re always surprised. We never pick the singles, the label always does, so we don’t really have a lot of time to prepare. “History of Violence,” which we love, is a great, impactful song to show the fans that we’re getting started again. It has some riff guitars in it, which is great. It’s one of my favorite songs! It’s a great set-up song for the rest of the record. But yea, we were super surprised and amazed at our fans and the positive feedback. A song about domestic abuse maybe has an expectation to have people support it and want to get behind it because it’s a very serious issue. We’re so glad for all the support.
How creatively involved with the making of the video for “History of Violence” were you all?
That was mostly Sam Sulam, the director. We felt that we wanted the video to be all about her. The song was all about the woman in the song and we didn’t want to be in the video, we thought that was very integral to make sure you’re not focusing on the band members because we didn’t want the attention away from her. But other than that, Sam did a fantastic job. The treatment that he wrote came from something personal. I don’t know what exactly, but something happened to him when he was younger, so he wrote it from a place that he could connect to and we picked it immediately. I love the video – it’s fantastic!
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
It’s always been the same – I usually start demoing everything here in my studio, the panic room, and then I’ll send it out to the guys for their feedback. I send stuff out without drums, so Joe will usually put the drums on, but that’s usually been the process where I get things started myself. Sometimes I’ll send out just vocals and guitar or I’ll fully produce a song so the guys can really get the idea. Once we’re all in the studio, we all put in our two cents.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? When you aren’t working on music, do you guys hang out for fun?
On the road we do. Off the road, we all live in different cities so we can’t. But on the road, yes, we’re best friends out there and we always try to have fun. We play PlayStation 4 – we have NHL 2020. Every year, we get the new hockey game for PlayStation 4 and then we’ll usually play as a band on the same team. It almost creates this comradery of teamwork. It’s kind of silly but it’s something we always do together almost every day; we’ll get in a couple games together. But yes, we actually enjoy being around each other on a day to day basis!
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
We’re still really grounded people. We’re not rockstars, we’re just dudes that play music and I think that’s really important. It would be silly if one of us just started having a bodyguard or something; it would just be weird. What’s changed is that we’ve become really comfortable at what we do. We enjoy what we do. We don’t take it too seriously that it takes a hold of everything we are. The guys have families outside the music and it’s a part of our lives, it’s not our lives. For me, in the beginning, I took it so seriously that it really disrupted everything that was happening outside of the band.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
We’re happy at all of them, it’s just a little different. The studio is so much fun because we’re creating our future and there’s a pressure there. For the last 2 records, we got to live in London so that was fantastic. On tour, on stage, it’s just something that’s hard to explain to people. This adrenaline – it’s like a roller coaster ride for an hour and a half that we get to be on every night and have people sing along to our songs. That’s an experience that I wish we could do a contest one day – to have someone feel what it’s like to go through that because it’s unbelievable.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately? How is your current tour going? Where are you looking forward to playing at next on this tour?
We get asked a lot if we prefer small shows or big shows, and it’s interesting. The intimate, small shows are a little more nerve-wracking than the big shows. When you’re playing in front of 20,000 people, it’s actually quite easy to perform because it’s hard to see all those faces. I think an ideal show would be a sold out one, lol. Those always seem to be the best ones, when you hear “Yea, we’re sold out tonight!” It’s almost like you’ve won already before going on stage. It gives you that extra boost of excitement when you hear it’s sold out. We always enjoy playing in places that are new. I think all the guys would agree that going to new cities or new countries – we’re always looking forward to the next new city, since we’ve played so many places at this point. Coming up we have a couple shows in our hometown of Vancouver celebrating the release of our album. Two nights at the Commodore Ballroom, which is such a historic place. It’s one of the first places that we played as a band. We did our record label showcase at that venue, so it has that history for us – we got signed from playing there! That’s definitely a nostalgic place for us, and shows we’re really looking forward to.
How do you think that social media has impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Being able to communicate to fans and get that instant feedback is amazing. Doing the Facebook Lives and Instagram Lives is great. We’re terrible at it though, lol, and probably don’t do it enough. It’s probably because we come from a different generation. But we’re getting better! I love social media. It’s so good for bands and is a great way to find new bands and new sounds and artists, which was not there when we were growing up. We had to go out and dig to find something.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now, so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today?
We live quite sheltered lives with that because we’re all over the place. Being in a band, the greatest thing that we have is a voice. With this new album Say Nothing, with a lot of these songs, we have the ability now to speak our minds and allow our fans to get involved themselves when they hear the new music. That’s one thing that gives me hope – that we have the power as Theory to go out there and say what we feel.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music? Who would you still love to work with?
We still listen to all the same stuff we did when we were growing up. Dean still loves Guns N Roses; he just went and saw them in Hawaii. I have this wonderful photo in my house of Robert Plant holding a dove on stage and I was looking at it this morning wondering if I’ll ever get to meet him. So, Robert Plant is definitely a guy I’d love to work with – that’s all bucket list stuff, of course. He/Led Zeppelin are one of my favorites of all time. We were also inspired by a lot of grunge bands, but it’s sad what’s happened to a lot of those bands we listened to growing up – STP/Scott Weiland, Layne Staley/Alice In Chains (one of my favorites), and then recently Chris Cornell. Soundgarden is one of my favorite all-time bands. For me, obviously, a lot of singers inspired me and I’ve definitely stolen some stuff from all those guys, for sure those 3, ha!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We don’t really have a distinct message. I think, being in a band, you allow people to take the songs and make them their own. Once we record our music, it’s yours. So, maybe you listen to a song that helps you get through a bad time. Whatever your message wants to be, it can translate into whatever helps you. So that is, in a sense, our message – make the music your own.