“We don't want to follow a wave. We don't want to follow a trend. We want to create it.” —Devin Oliver
Nick Major chats with I See Stars vocalist Devin Oliver on Warped Tour 2016. Their chat runs the gamut from Oliver's blonde hair to how he and the rest of the band decided to let go of two of their best friends.
I See Stars started as a mere middle school talent show band, covering artists like Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. Pieces eventually started falling into place when Oliver got into Coheed & Cambria and Chiodos. He had pinpointed Chiodos frontman Craig Owens as the kind of frontman he wanted to be before he'd even taken on the lead vocalist role in the band. Brent Allen ultimately saw Oliver's potential at the time, saying he could be a frontman with one stipulation: “Stop wearing cargo shorts.”
He explains some of the obstacles I See Stars went through as a band of young people below age 18. “They would set up tents outside the venues,” Oliver explains of the work-around many 21+ venues had to do to book the band.
Following a brief retelling of the band's history and on a more serious side: Oliver delves into the band's lineup changes over the years—mistakes made from the naivety of youth and hard descisions that needed to be made for the better of the band.
So, why let go of co-vocalist Zach Johnson and guitarist Jimmy Gregerson?
While Oliver stresses that Gregerson and Johnson are still friends whom he loves and and of whom he never wants to speak ill, he says that the decision to let go of the two key members of the band (who had seemingly disappeared when the band came out of a one-and-a-half year off in 2015) was ultimately a business one for the better of the band.
“I feel like as a fan, it would be hard for them to understand,” he says of the touring world and the business complexities behind the decision they had to make and why it's been hard to articulate the member changes to this point.
While the band took time off, the remaining members sans Gregerson and Johnson had continued to live and work together. Gregerson had taken gigs driving for bands while Johnson moved to North Carolina to spend time with family. “I look around and see who's present and whose moving this band forward,” Oliver said. “You're only as involved as you let yourself be and [they weren't] there for a year-and-a-half”
Did it make sense?
“It was hard but it made sense…It's one of those things where all you really want is to be happy with what you're doing and happy with who you're doing it with. At the time, we weren't confident with who we were with and we weren't necessarily happy.”
“I feel like I have to watch what I say even while talking to my friends, because they're my friends,” he says. “My job as a friend is to make sure that I don't knock down my friends. They're good people. I would never want anyone to think otherwise.”
Hear these stories and more (like how ISS nearly signed to Victory Records!) in our extensive chat.
Host/Editor: Nick Major
Videographer: Bryce Hall