"DEAD TO ME"
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Both as a band and as individuals, Awake At Last continue to stand for positivity, spirituality, self-help and making an impact every single day. After the successful release of their debut full-length, The Change, they have returned with a brand new single THIS MEANS WAR featuring lead singer Rick DeJesus of band Adelitas Way. Released on June 26th, the song originally was written about a post-apocalyptic world that can be seen reflected in the track's artwork. However with everything happening in the world, the song took on a double meaning. "To stand up and use your voice to fight for what you believe in, to be the change you want to see reflected in the world." says lead singer Vincent Torres. The lyric video shows imagery of both the recent Black Lives Matter protests as well as the viral footage of Flint, Michigan police sergeant Chris Swanson and his men marching together in unity with the protestors and allowing their voices to be heard.
The collaboration came about after having done dates together with Adelitas Way in May 2019, which sparked a friendship between the two bands. Awake At Last and Rick hung out together in Las Vegas on an off day of the Octane Accelerator Tour in Las Vegas and the idea was sparked. Rick Dejesus commented "I loved the song the second I heard the original demo! Awake At Last is a hard working band and I believe they are capable of having a long bright future. I always love teaming up with friends and This Means War is a hit song that I was excited to be a part of!"
The band's debut full length album The Change. was a massive success - earning some impressive first week chart placings - #2 on the Heatseeker Chart, #3 Hard Music Album, #8 Independent Album and #27 Top Billboard Albums, after selling a combined 3700 units week 1 alone. The response from fans has been “astronomical and amazing”, and has only served to make them more intent to get their message out there. “We pushed ourselves to our limits as songwriters,” states guitarist Imran Xhelili. “There is more variety on this record and there are songs that lean in a heavier rock/metal direction with other songs being a lot lighter and more dynamic. All of the choruses on this album have huge hooks, and there are more sections that are less guitar heavy and carried by different elements, like pianos and orchestral instruments. The lyrics are also more direct in how they carry across the messages we have always had at the forefront of our music.” While making waves with their previous output, this combination is the sound of a band who have truly come into their own, and this has been borne out in the critical reception, with Devolution magazine writing ‘Driven by a ‘nothing worth having comes easy’ spirit, full of anthems for self-belief, and a resource for self-help, Awake At Last’s solid soul-baring gem sounds young and fresh – and is full of encouragement to live, love and follow your dreams.’ From front to back, every song carries a message of hope. Having commenced writing for it even before the release of their Life/Death/Rebirth EP in 2017, the finished result is not something that came easily. “We all had demons we had to battle mentally and physically,” explains vocalist Vincent Torres. “You wouldn't believe the pressure that comes down on you when you begin the process for a full length record. After we pushed through the turmoil and embraced the wonderful things that came as a reward it became pretty clear that what we had made should be called The Change. I think this is a perfect name, because it represents the spiritual evolution that we all went through.”
The band went on to achieve a lot in 2019 after the initial successful charting of the album on Billboard - going out to support From Ashes To New and Palisades immediately upon its release, and performing mainstage on massive rock festivals such as InkCarceration Fest and ROCK USA that summer. They then went on to open the Octane Accelerator Tour in the fall alongside Ice Nine Kills, Fit For A King and Light The Torch. Sirius Octane went out to play four songs off of the album to help champion the band - rounded out by guitarist Eric Blackway and drummer Jon Finney - giving four tracks from The Change extensive airplay, helping to get their core message of positivity out to the masses as they continue to place their fans first, and wanting to do all that they can to help improve their quality of life. “I want people to understand the symbiotic relationship between a band and its fanbase and I want them to feel like they're along for the ride with us,” Torres states. “We are a band that is built on the foundation of endurance and perseverance, and nothing we've accomplished has been easily accessed. I want our fans to know that the reason we are able to live this dream is because they continue to support us and allow us to do so, but most of all I want them to understand that whatever it is that nurtures their soul can also be obtainable if they strive for it and believe in themselves.” Xhelili expounds on this, noting “As individuals, it can feel hard at times to find our own identity and our individual greater purpose. It all may feel rather heavy and bog us down constantly. However, we are here to take a stand and try to rise above all of that and be a respite for all of the darkness around us, as a shining light.” The casual listener also might be unaware of the interconnectedness of Awake At Last’s releases, with Torres explaining that there’s a deep-rooted storyline following a character on their journey through multiple lives. The Change in fact serves as a direct sequel to Life/Death/Rebirth.
“I feel like there are so many people who do find strength in the words and messages. I’ve had people come up to me and burst into tears because they feel so connected to the message,” states Torres. “We always seek to elevate and inspire people to battle the harsh realities of mental health, and overcome the obstacles that keep us away from happiness. I love knowing that my words have helped people through their hard times, or got them through a tough workout. It feels like it’s taking on a life of its own.” This has also served to bolster the quartet’s underlying aspiration: wanting to establish an even stronger connection to their fanbase. “I want to create a movement where individuals from all walks of life can come together and support one another as we continue to evolve and make changes in order to pursue fulfilling lives.”