Denver-based post-hardcore/metal quintet One Way to Live took a few moments to answer some of my questions about their band and their positive message, the depth of their passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the possibility of a future as an X Japan tribute band. We also learn that Kevin kicks puppies.
Catch One Way to Live’s next show at Summit Music Hall’s Moon Room on April 30th.
When I met you guys, Schraeder said that the first time he hung out at Kevin’s to test out the scream thing back in high school, he basically ate all of Kevin’s food before he did any of the screaming. Is this how it generally works for you guys, you go over to Kevin’s house and eat all of his food and then try to get some work done? Does the rest of the band contribute to Kevin’s grocery bill?
Haha! No, nowadays we just get the gear ready and get straight to work. However, we do save all of our shenanigans for after practice and bring our own food so Kevin doesn’t need to suffer. No one touches Kevin’s chips; that’s just a bad idea.
What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about yourselves by being in a band?
Schraeder – I’ve learned how comfortable I am in front of an audience, and truly found where I was meant to be. Growing up, I’ve had a lot of development issues and it was difficult trying to fit in anywhere no matter how hard I tried. I’ve had to hide my insecurities and put on a front to get by, and the hardest part about growing up was finding my purpose. It wasn’t until I met the band that I felt like I belonged.
Kevin – The big thing I learned about myself is that I don’t have to rely on just myself anymore. These guys have helped me become a better person than who I used to be, and to this day they help me improve. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Ryan – The one takeaway I have truly observed about myself and this group of guys is that when you have the right team, nothing is impossible. I have the chemistry with these dudes to genuinely create something special for me individually and as a group. To this day, I haven’t experienced being a part of something that is quite as efficient and seamless as I have contributing to One Way to Live.
Dylan – I have always been a lone wolf my whole life. Ever since joining a band, however, I believe I turned my focus to the band. I will work with these guys as long as I can, even to the grave. The band turned me from a lonely identity to a band member that will keep pushing through to achieve anything.
Jake – It wasn’t until I played on a stage with the band for the first time that I knew my course in life. Music has given my self esteem the boost it needed for years. It’s been an outlet for me emotionally. And I’m very lucky to have a group of guys that get along as well as we do to experience this joy with.
Among some of the other embarrassing confessions you guys have revealed to me, you mentioned that you’re into Japanese music, specifically X Japan. If you guys could do a cover of any X-Japan song, which one would you choose? If OWTL doesn’t take off, would you guys consider buying a lot of makeup and hair product and becoming an X Japan tribute band?
Schraeder – I’ve known of X Japan but have not been enough into their music to see what song to cover. I like the song Desperate Angel, and would probably cover that if I had to, haha. Wearing leather, though? Shit, I put my pants on backwards as a kid and still don’t wear any that fit. Makeup, however, is a different story 😉
Kevin – I have literally never heard of X Japan. Haha.
Ryan – Jake, Dylan, and I didn’t have the most positive outcome while trying to cover “Kurenai,” haha. So personally, I would just leave the Aqua Net and leather pants at home.
Dylan – I would still like to learn “Kurenai.” I haven’t had success with it in the past. Ryan and Jake will say the same, but I think we would have improved from that time. Overall, I will prefer to stick to more commercialized songs and I will not let this band die by trying to be X Japan.
Jake – If anyone is willing to put aside our music for the sake of Japanese music, it’s going to be me. Though not my first option for sure, I still enjoy J-rock quite a bit. Maybe a future stage joke?
What’s the worst dispute the band has had to date? How did you resolve it?
Schraeder – We’ve been fortunate not to get ourselves into trouble as a band. Personally, that’s not my mission, but I know what must be done if any drama were to come our way. We have such a strong chemistry that’s almost unbreakable, and many would go through hell to have that. We know what it takes to succeed, and the first step is not to let petty drama get the best of us.
Kevin – I wouldn’t say there’s any disputes. Just a lot of arguing like family and getting on each other’s nerves. But that’s nothing a few beers can’t solve!
Ryan – Back to the point I made on our chemistry together – we are through and through like brothers. We all grew up together, and have known each other for years. That more or less shines light on the brotherly antics and teasing, rather than actual substantial disputes.
Dylan – It really comes down to what we want our sound to be or how many names we want to go through.
Jake – Brothers fight all the time. It’s natural. But at the end of the day, the biggest dispute is how cheaply someone wins at Super Smash Bros.
Which five Denver bands would make the best line-up for a Saturday night show at the Marquis?
Schraeder : We’ve played with so many great bands and I know this scene has some raw and pure talent! However, if we have only a few to choose from, I’d choose some of my closest buddies and bands that are turning the wheels. So, I’d say As the Sky Darkens; Wall of the Fallen; As Above, So Below; Enemy In I; and The Burial Plot.
Kevin – It’s so hard to pick just five! Every band we’ve played with are some of the coolest dudes we’ve ever met! If I could add just one more band it would be Forty Fathoms but they are no longer together, sadly.
Ryan – That is a hard question to answer, especially with the amount of time we spend shooting the shit with our hometown homies. Schraeder hit the nail on the head with his response. I think it would be cool to have Dorsia or maybe Skyburial on the bill somewhere.
Dylan – Honestly, the Denver scene is filled with many talented bands. It would be really difficult to pick the perfect lineup. If they were still a thing, Forty Fathoms would have to be in this lineup. Alongside should be Wall of the Fallen. The other three can be chosen by sticks.
Jake – Fallen and Forgotten would make for a great show, as well as Wall of the Fallen. As The Sky Darkens would be cool, too. As would Dorsia.
Describe each band member in three words.
Schraeder – Kevin: Muscle, Beer, Fashion. Ryan: Smart, Dedicated, Witty. Dylan: Quiet, Savage, Relentless. Jake: Wise, Dirty, Nerdy.
Kevin – Schraeder: Beer, Chud, Farquad. Ryan: Whiskey, Deadpool, Pokémon. Dylan: Quiet, Little, Memes. Jake: Nord, Bae, Nintendo.
Ryan – Schraeder: Short, Loud, Sexy. Kevin: Sensitive, Simpático, Sexy. Dylan: Quiet, Uncensored, Dead. Jake: Lush, Memes, Sexy.
Dylan – Sexy Ninja Warriors.
Jake – Schraeder: Dwarf, Dingus, Shrekologist. Kevin: Old-school, Gearhead, Big teddy bear. Ryan: Outgoing, Class clown, Smart. Dylan: Shy, Couch potato, Easygoing.
What’s the best way to cure a shitty mood?
Schraeder – I’ve always felt that the best way to cure a shitty mood is work. If I’m pissed off, I exert the energy on lifting weights or writing music. I’ve always been involved in sports growing up as well, so any physical activities are often outlets. I’ll play video games and blast music as well.
Kevin –I really enjoy drumming, it’s such great medicine especially if I’m pissed because I can hit as hard as I want. Also a double Jack and Coke is a good way to unwind.
Ryan – I cry it out mostly.
Dylan – Music and laughter have been said to be the best medicine.
Jake – Help Ryan cry it out. Then some video games or Magic.
You guys are all about bringing positivity into the world through your music. Are there any specific instances from your pasts that have influenced the band’s message?
Schraeder – The events of my past that have inspired spreading positivity were actually negative. I’ve experienced the passing of many friends and family members, which still to this day impacts me. I grew up around struggling friends that I tried my best to help, only to see them going down bad routes. I’ve had friends dealing drugs out of school at the age of 13, possessing weapons, and the list goes on. As much a story kicker it would be to mention, I’m not about sharing any distinct situations for the sake of privacy, but needless to say those situations inspired me to help others and spread hope.
Kevin – I’ve always used music to help me deal with whatever I’m going through, and I’ll see people talk on social media about how music “saved their lives” and so on. So being able to carry that torch and continue to spread positivity through music is the best feeling.
Ryan – I have always been a pretty positive person. Mostly, I resort to humor because that’s easier than taking anything seriously. Music, for me, was a platform I could use to express universally to any person. Instances that fuel my cause consist of mostly loss, or watching people I love(d) make decisions that aren’t worth the outcomes they receive. I like the thought of being a support system to someone who may not have that in their everyday life. Just be the change you want to see.
Dylan – Since we formed, I have always thought the message we bring is special. How I think of the message though is that the positive side didn’t always come from something good. In my opinion, I have not had the perfect life. There have always been ups and downs like every person experiences in the course of a lifetime. I just always tried to flip those negative outcomes into positive experiences. The past is in the past and time is of the essence.
Jake – I’ve always been the friend people go to for support. I figured I’m good at being positive, might as well keep it that way and try to make the world a slightly better place.
The love of your life and a rare collector’s set of Magic: The Gathering cards are hanging precariously from a cliff. You can only save one; which do you choose?
Schraeder – The love of my life, obviously. Luckily that whole situation will never happen because I wouldn’t bring Magic cards on a hiking trip with the love of my life…unless I wanted to show Ob Nixilis the Rockies.
Kevin –I don’t collect Magic cards, so the obvious answer here would be to save the love of my life.
Ryan – I would roll a 20 sided die. 11-20: she lives, 1-10: I mill two and find another significant other.
Dylan – I would save the love of my life, unless she’s going up against 1,000,000 1,000,000/1,000,000 squirrels.
Jake – They say money buys anything. So go for the magic cards and buy a new love.
How do you guys define success for yourselves and for the band as a whole?
Schraeder – Success is best defined by the road traveled on the way. I feel that success is achieved when you truly overcome your lowest points, and are content. Being the best man I can be to those that need me is my goal, and success for the band will come when we can share our story with the world. So, as a whole, I’d feel success for the band when we are told that our music has changed someone’s life for the better.
Kevin – I would have to agree with Ryan on that one. If I can sustain myself through music, I will have been successful.
Ryan – The entire journey holds many different kinds of success for me. I feel if I can travel, and support myself and my loved ones while playing music with my brothers, then I’m successful. Any impact I can make with someone through my music is successful in itself. If I can continue to grow myself, and get better at whatever I do, that would be really cool too.
Dylan – When you are able to make a living and think you have accomplished your goals overtime, that is success in my book.
Jake – I’ve always wanted for us to be the guys to hear, ‘”Your music saved my life!” or something along those lines. After what music has done for me, I want to do the same for other people.
Which member of OWTL would be most likely to do the following:
Fall up the stairs? Kevin
Drive the wrong way down a one way street? Dylan or Schraeder – for Dylan it would be on purpose, for Schraeder it would be accidental.
Forget to bring their instrument to a show? Jake
Hit a parked car? By physically running into one, Schraeder. By driving, Schraeder.
Kick a puppy? Kevin. He’s done it.
Cry during an episode of Pimp My Ride? Ryan. He’d think of the car owner’s reaction at the end of an episode tying in with Within Temptation’s “And We Run” playing inside of his head. From there, tears would be triggered.
Get a drink bought for him at a bar? Ryan
Have a panic attack during the “It’s a Small World” attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom? Jake
Go to Dollywood? Kevin, and he’d call for a ride back to the airport because his tractor ran out of gas.
Wet the bed when he’s drunk? Every one of us. But probably Jake most often.
Get fired from a job? Dylan, due to an outburst.
Get lost on the way to the venue? Dylan or Schraeder, due to an outburst.
Get a girl’s number at a show? Dylan, after asking if they come to the venue often.
Have a Justin Beiber song on their phone? Ryan or Kevin
The next time Stryper comes to Denver, will I see any of you guys there?
You will see absolutely every one of us, and we hope Stryper is alive and well! We are not ashamed to admit we have a lot of appreciation for 80’s glam.
Photos from One Way to Live’s show at Summit Music Hall’s Moon Room on February 9, 2017