INTERVIEW: O, HOUSE OF JACOB

O, House of Jacob are a Metalcore band from Richmond, Virgina. On Sunday I took time out to talk with the members about upcoming music,faith and the band’s history.

Jeffrey: Hey, hope you’re doing well. I want to start this by you telling us your name and role in the band?

Brendan: Hey Jeffrey. I’m Brenden and I do the vocals for O, House of Jacob.

Austin: I’m Austin, and I play drums

Philip: I’m Phillip and I play bass and do back up vocals.

Rob:  Hey Jeffery,Rob Volkoff, I play guitar and push buttons (lol jk) but I do a lot of Demo & Pre-production for the band with my studio, Renewing Music Studios.

I actually Recorded, Mixed & Mastered our Debut EP “A Parable Discourse”

Jeffrey : How long have you been doing vocals? Do you play any other instruments?

Brendan: I’ve been doing vocals since about 2009. I didn’t really know what I was doing back then and was listening to a Warped Tour compilation disc and just tried to sound like what I was hearing. I do help write guitar parts for O, House of Jacob. So, outside of the band, I play guitar, bass, drums, piano, and I’ve been learning the violin.

Jeffrey : What are you biggest musical influences and how does that affect your sound?

Brendan: For me my biggest musical influences are Dayseeker, Fit For A King, UnderØath, Silent Planet, Phinehas, and A Day To Remember. Which I do a lot of chorus writing.

Austin : I taught myself how to play drums by playing along with Blink 182 and Green Day and pop punk influences are subtle in my technique. My influences that shape my metalcore drumming most would be For Today, We Came As Romans, August Burns Red, and Wage War.

Philip: I draw a bunch of influences from For Today, Knocked Loose, Fit For A King, Gideon, Knuckle Puck, We Came As Romans, and A Plea For Purging.

Rob: I am a huge fan of Phinehas, Fit for a King, Within the Ruins, Red, Killswitch Engage, After the Burial & Tesseract – The EP had very little influence from me otherwise than some lead guitar work, Degradation though has my most influence, being wrote the guitar during a majority of Ryan Kirby’s feature & the solo! Our new stuff, will show more of my influence.

Jeffrey: What is the background of O House of Jacob? When did the band form and how did you guys meet?

Brendan: O, House of Jacob actually started out as a solo project in June/July of 2016 officially, though I had been writing my own music since about 2013/14.

I got the name from Isaiah 48:1, “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.”

We started meeting when I called Guitar Center about equipment for recording and was referred to Rob, who would later become our guitarist. Through Rob I met Phillip, our bassist, and Austin, our drummer.

Jeffrey : How would you describe your sound to someone who randomly stumbles upon your music and is curious what you sound like?

Brendan: With our sound for our Ep, we definitely had a whole mess of style clash in a sense. It was all very metalcore but with different styles or levels of metalcore. Degradation and False Idols we’re heavier and more along the lines of Fit for A King and Wage War, The Discourse was and instrumental that was softer than the rest, You Can’t Keep Something Alive That’s Already Dead was more A Day To Remember-like in a way, and Step On Some Toes was very dirty, down home, southern metal.Our new sound however is very reminiscent of bands such as Architects, Silent Planet, and Dayseeker.

 

Jeffrey: You released your debut EP A Parable Discourse this year, how was the writing and recording process?

Brendan: The writing process for A Parable Discourse was basically writing about God in everyday life. How he gets you through hard times, how you really don’t need to rely on the company of others when you have God, The Miracle of Salvation, the beauty of Jesus’ love for us, and ultimately how God is in the midst of all of his children, even those that are poor examples.

 

Jeffrey : What’s your favorite track from the EP and what does the song mean to you?

Brendan: My favorite song is Icarus (Wax Wings). It’s a metaphorical representation of my journey to salvation. Whereas when the character of the song dies, it represents the old, sinner dying and being reborn as the child of God.

Philip: My favorite track from the EP is False Idols. I love the riffs and the flow of the song. It’s also one of my favorite to play live.

Rob: Mine is Degradation, I really enjoy that song because it was what Brenden and I connected on, it’s the most “challenging” song live and it’s really cool the energy that the song has.

Jeffrey: Being a faith-influenced metalcore band, do you ever get backlash from fellow Christians or non-Christians?

Brendan: I haven’t, personally. That’s because I don’t approach in the sense of condemnation. But in the sense of peace and love and acceptance. I used to be against believing in Christianity because I saw bad examples.

I had to discover faith myself and find God for who He actually is. Not some angry being condemning the world left and right, but as someone who loves us for who we are.

I generally have positive experiences and even had the bassist of a band we played a show with tell me that he could feel the presence of God with us as we spoke about the Bible and Christianity.

Jeffrey: Would you mind briefly sharing how you came to have faith in Jesus?

Brendan: Absolutely. When I was 14, I was in a very dark place. I wanted nothing to do with God, I was very depressed, and I wanted to die. Not kill myself, I just wanted Death more than anything. I was listening to a lot of August Burns Red at that time and the song that turned my life around and made me decide to go to a tent revival was this song called “Spirit Breaker.” There’s a spot that talks about seeing a few rays of light from the sun for a few moments and finding happiness in it. It made me realize that there is so much more to life. This world is so beautiful in itself. Why would someone need proof to know God exists, when the proof is right outside our doors? I heard a message that night about Ordinary Andrew.

About how he used the few talents he had for God instead of living in his brother’s shadow. I connected with that because I knew I was talented, I just wasn’t using it. I found a reason and a purpose in finding God.

After that I spent a while as a “Cold Christian.” I claimed to be a child of God but did nothing to show it. Then I went to Warped Tour ‘16, where I met Garrett Russell from Silent Planet. Being around him was a blessing. You could just feel the presence of Christ RADIATING off this man. He made me want to go home and become better Christian and person in a whole.

Philip: I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. I never really believed until I was turned away from the church. I hated the fact that people were turned away for who they were or what the looked like or listened to. I knew that the God I followed and believed in was better. I searched for churches and groups that shared my beliefs and I ended up doing my own thing with bible studies and worship bands.

Rob: I grew up in a religious home but it was very much shoved down my throat & my parents were hypocrites, I knew a lot of the Bible so basically after some bad life choices, Jesus saved me and I learned to love and experience God so I became convicted of who He is and I now pursue a relationship with God.

Jeffrey: Can you briefly talk about your other music projects/bands, past and present?

Brendan: I originally had a small band that never made it past the writing process called Degradation, afterwards I remade the band into a mock deathcore group that made fun of the “tropes” of deathcore, then reformed Degradation, and then did solo stuff that turned into O, House of Jacob. On the side I’m also starting to write with a side project under the title of Surviving the Crossfire.

Austin : I joined a few bands in the past that needed drummers, but I had to quit them, or the bands broke up before ever doing any shows (one broke up before we could even decide on a name haha). I did play drums for two years with a metalcore band called Fall of a Sparrow, and we were not very well received by our local scene for the most part. I didn’t step foot on a stage for about 5 years after I left that band, and it wasn’t until I was approached about filling in/joining O, House of Jacob that I got back into doing music.

Philip: I was in and out of bands since I was 13. The last band I was in was the one I met Rob in by playing a show with his former band. This project is the furthest I’ve gone with band and the most successful.

Rob: I have been in a few bands HAHA, my first one that got out of the garage was a band called Fear No Evil while I was in high school, after I graduated I started a band called I Prayed For An Afterlife and it lasted 2 1/2 Years and had 2 line ups & an EP, I joined a band called Countermeasures (the band I was in when I met the AMAZING Phillip Choi!) And I contributed to 2 songs and wrote a song one on their EP. I have also, booked a few shows and have a solo project called Life Renewed and I have 2 other projects that will be surfacing in 2018.

Jeffrey:  In what direction do you plan to take Surviving the Crossfire musically?

Brendan: Right now, we are writing more metalcore/Pop Punk stuff. About like the heavier side of A Day To Remember. We may turn it into a Djent kind of style. We’re testing ideas right now. Surviving The Crossfire will not be a Christian band, as I am the only one in the band that is heavy in faith.

 

Jeffrey: Now A Parable Discourse is out, what’s next for O, House of Jacob?

Brendan: We are trying to decide on an EP or a full length for right now. All I can say is that it’s a drastic change from the EP.

Jeffrey: Are you a full-time musician? If not, what do you do full-time?

Brendan: Music is my passion but it’s a side thing. Full time I’m a CNA and work at a nursing home and I’m getting ready to go back to school.

Austin :  I work for a steam cleaning company, so I clean carpets, tile and grout, and upholstery for my residential and commercial clients.

Philip: I’m a student full time at Radford University.

Rob: I try to stay musically busy but I am a lead restoration technician and assistant coordinator for Michael & Son services in Raleigh, North Carolina. I try to run my studio, renewing music studios seasonally as well.

Jeffrey: When you’re not doing music, what do you like to do with your free time?

Brendan: I usually play video games and watch Gotham, Rick and Morty, and Game of Thrones.

Austin : When I am not doing music, I like to sit down and watch movies while cuddling with my cats.

Philip: Well I’m a Music major so my life is music. I don’t really get a break to be honest haha.

Rob: I try not to have free time so I need to keep myself busy with working as many hours as possible or writing music if I get burnt out then I’ll either watch TV and music sleep or occasionally go to concerts and hang out with other musicians and some friends.

Jeffrey:  Awesome! That’s all the questions I’ve got for you today! Thanks for doing this! Any final words you’d like to share?

Brendan: No matter who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’ve gone through, God loves you. You are beautiful, and you have a purpose. Please feel free to personally talk to me. Be on the lookout for future O, House of Jacob and Surviving the Crossfire material!

Philip: Thanks for the questions man! I was happy to answer. To all of our supporters and friends, keep your eyes and ears peeled, we have some cool stuff coming your way!

Rob: Thank you, Jeffrey, for taking time to talk to all of us we’re really honored to be able to share our hearts and our experiences to you and I hope that our Music & who we are has an impact on others. To anybody who reads this interview – feel free to message the band page and I am sure that all of us are open to people contacting us and talking to us on our personal Facebook pages.

Check out their free EP:

https://ohouseofjacob.bandcamp.com/releases

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/oHouseOfJacobForChrist/

 

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