“We got paid with a Tony’s frozen pizza” – interview with Mitch of Silent Theory

In a society where new bands pop up every day, Silent Theory is here to set a new standard. The band found success with their single, “Fragile Minds,” released June 2016, charting at #97 for Media Base Active-Rock and #29 for Under the Radar charts. It has since surpassed 5 million video views on YouTube and continues to grow rapidly. Following this success in June 2018, through Loudwire, the band released their second single off of the album, Delusions, “Watch Me Burn.” The single charted at #67 on the Media Base Active-Rock chartsSilent Theory is made up of brothers MitchScott, and George Swanger, as well as Robert James and Dakota Elliot Tyler. They are currently located in Moscow, Idaho, but finding worldwide success. As of January 2021, they signed with Paul Crosby Management (founding member of Saliva), getting ready to release their latest single, “Shaking Cages,” and finished a brand new album which has been released in April 2021. Here’s our interview with Mitch!

Beginnings:

Three of us in the band are brothers (Scott, George, and I) so we’ve been playing music informally together all of our lives. I met Bob when we both worked at an auto shop together in 2006 and at the time, Scott and I were in another band called Faded. We needed a bass player and I had learned that Bob played the bass so that was his entrance into the band. When Faded ran its course in 2010, Scott, Bob, and I created what is now Silent Theory. We brought George in on bass and moved Bob to guitar. We met Dakota in 2013 when we were auditioning for a new singer. It was a “friend of a friend” sort of situation and he drove up from Boise to audition and we knew we had our guy from that weekend forward. The rest is history. 

Behind the name:

I wish we had a better story for this question but we really don’t unfortunately. When Faded had disbanded and we were starting over and trying to rebrand, we knew we needed a new band name. We could not agree on any names and so one afternoon we decided we’d meet at one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants and hash it out. We all agreed we wouldn’t leave until we had a name. Needless to say, four hours later and after many, many margaritas, we had settled on the name Silent Theory. I don’t remember who pitched it, but when we heard it, we all dug it. Totally lame story, I know. 

Inspiration:

This will definitely differ based on who in the band you’re talking to. We all have various inspirations and eclectic preferences when it comes to the music we like and let inspire us. I’ll answer this from my own point of view though. I am all over the place when it comes to the music I’m into, but when it comes to my inspiration for the band, I really draw a lot from bands that influenced me growing up. I love bands like Rush, Weezer, The Beatles, and a ton of classic rock. Those were the bands that got me into even wanting to be a musician. But I also pull inspiration from more modern-day music as well – for example, on our new album, one of the songs I wrote the music for was completely influenced by Theory of a Deadman and Unwritten Law. I’m pretty excited about it. 

We typically write about the world around us.

Whether it be things happening in the news, or interactions we are having with those around us. Our second album, Delusions, had an underlying theme throughout the album that surrounded mental illness and awareness. I’d say this album is a little bit angrier. We have been in the process of writing it for a few years and have had some high highs and some low lows during that time. During those low times, I think you’ll be able to feel the anger in the songs we are trying to portray. It was a way for us to vent. But the entire album isn’t just about us being angry over circumstances, we also touch on topics like opioid addiction and suicide. Overall, it’s a fairly dark album. 

Teamwork:

We have really changed our approach to writing. When we first started the band, there was quite a bit of band collaboration that took place. We’d jam a lot and write from there. Since Dakota has joined though, that dynamic has changed quite a bit. He handles almost 100% of the lyrics and Scott and I handle almost 100% of the music. I’ll typically send Scott a guitar or piano riff I’ve written and we will get together to work it out, and when it is at a point for lyrics, we will send it to Dakota. I do know that Dakota doesn’t wait for us to send him music though before he gets going on lyrics. He has notebooks full of lyrics and when he receives our music, he’ll go through those notebooks to see what fits and then will typically fill in the gaps to make it work for the song. Other times, he will write the lyrics from the ground up once he’s received the songs.

It totally sidelined gigs and tours, which sucks. My favorite part of being in the band is being able to play live for people. The year wasn’t a total loss though. Given we were stuck at home and not touring, it allowed us to buckle down in the studio and wrap up album #3, which honestly, was about four years late.

About COVID-19

Online concert:

Our worry is that it won’t sound very good and we don’t want to put out something for our fans that is going to sound like garbage. Unless you have a full production team behind the online concert, to me, it just sounds and looks kind of lame. I know that’s harsh and a lot of people probably think I’m a dick for saying that, but it’s how I feel. The sentiment is nice, but when bands set up an iPhone and then play a concert… It sounds and looks terrible.

Fun facts:

We have a ton of stories, so trying to choose one or two is fairly difficult. Here’s one though. Our very first tour nine years ago, we were on the road for about three months supporting our first album. We were co-headlining a tour, but the problem was no one had heard of us. So it was a lot of empty rooms in small towns, night after night. One of those gigs though, was in a strip club. Kind of. There was a strip club on one side and a “venue” on the other. The venue was actually Stage B for the strip club, so right in the middle of the stage was a stripper pole. The show sucked. We got paid with a Tony’s frozen pizza. You read that right. A single Tony’s pizza. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Tony’s pizza, but they are fairly small. I also don’t know how familiar you are with us, but we are fairly fat. Needless to say, we devoured the pizza in about 21 seconds. The stage was also fairly sticky, so that was gross. 

Story two: Three years ago we played the Metal in the Mountains festival, which was an awesome festival. We headlined the first night and it was a super fun show. The day was fairly jampacked though and we didn’t really get time to eat, so it wasn’t until after we closed the night out that we could eat. Immediately hopping off the stage I got a huge plate of nachos. As I start to eat them, we get asked to do a radio interview, on camera. So we did the interview. However, the fat part of me had already started in on those nachos. So long story short, I ate the entire plate of nachos, on camera, during this interview. Not very professional, I know. Also not very flattering. I’m sure that interview is floating around, and if it is, you’ll see me talking with my mouth full, shoving like eight chips in at once like it’s my last meal and licking cheese and guac and stuff off my fingers, all while trying to talk seriously about the happenings of Silent Theory. Not my proudest moment. The nachos were delicious though, thanks to Dan White and OL Skook Concessions. 

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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