Sam, Sammy and Steven Of
Don’t Feed The Birds
We reviewed Don’t Feed The Birds EP, Hatchlings, last month, and we loved it! We recently got a chance to chat with DFTB about their start, touring life and a possible new member!
The Entertainment Outlet: Looks like the band started in 2014. How did Sam, Sammy(Oakley) and Steven become “Don’t Feed The Birds”?
Sam: Well I started the band in Orlando a couple years ago with friends from college. Over time members came and went as they usually do in a band. Steven (drums) is my brother and [Sammy] Oakley (guitar/screams) I’ve known for many years. We all played together in church growing up so it felt like a natural fit.
Oakley: I’ve known Sam for many years, one day while he(Sam) was visiting family back home in Texas we were talking about music and band stuff. During the conversation he off hand was like “move to Orlando” so i did. Not too long after I joined the band as a member, when we found ourselves in need of a drummer Steven was the obvious choice.
Steven: They were like “Hey, you wanna join the band?” and I was like “Sure”.
TEO: How old is everyone? How long have you been playing music for?
Sam: I’m 25. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.
Oakley: I’m 22. I’ve been playing music since I was 4, I started on the violin. Once I heard U2 I knew I had to learn to play guitar.
Steven: I’m 21 and I’ve been playing drums for almost 10 years now. Before that I took piano lessons for a couple of years, but music in general has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
TEO: Who writes the songs? Is it a group effort between lyrics and music, or is one person in charge?
Sam: Most of the time it’s me doing the writing. I do the recording/production so it all goes hand in hand. I play guitar, drums, and bass so I’ll have a complete song done in a day or two. Then I’ll go to Oakley and discuss the lyrical ideas or Steven and let him add fills or beats. Its great because we get to take as long as we want and really revise over and over until it’s what we want it to be.
Oakley: Yeah Sam does all the work, I just yell stuff.
TEO: How is touring? I saw the picture of the van you said you would be sleeping in, is touring worth the discomfort?
Sam: What discomfort? Touring is great!
Oakley: I love being on tour, what more could you ask for, visiting different cities, trying all sorts of great coffee, and of course playing music with my friends. I don’t really find it uncomfortable, it kinda feels like summer camp all over again.
Steven: I didn’t get to go on the last tour with these guys but I have been known to go great lengths between showers, so I’m sure I’ll be right at home.
TEO: I’ve stated that “Ghost” was the standout track on the EP. What’s your personal favorite?
Sam: I think mine is “You’re So Scared”. But they all have certain sections that are my “favorite”.
Oakley: “Find Your Way Back” is my favorite, I feel like the message behind it is something people can relate to. That’s the song that fans tells us helps them keep going. To me that’s what DFTB is all about.
Steven: “A Million Miles” is fun to play because it’s a little different from the rest of the songs on the EP being the “ballad” track. It gives me a chance to throw in some different flavors in terms of style and fills. It’s a powerful song and the crowd usually responds pretty well.
Sam: It makes the drunk girls cry!
TEO: Do you see yourselves sticking with the Electronic/ Metal sound, or do you think you will branch off into other genres?
Sam: Well I think the great thing about what we do is it has 3 genres in one. Metal, EDM, and Hard Rock. With an EP you are kind of just mushing everything together as a sampler of what you are capable of, so its like three toppings on one pizza. But for our album that we’ve been writing we get the chance to explore all of those individually, without getting too far away from our sound. But yes, apparently the electronic thing is the future so we’re sticking with it.
Oakley: The electronic sound gives us more options, and a wide variety of dynamics, i think it’s a keeper
TEO: What made you want to cover a Taylor Swift song?
Sam: We actually had the idea a long time ago. Me and our old drummer Steve (Yes another one) were in PacSun and we heard “New Romantics”. We were like let’s cover it! I love covering pop songs because they already have everything that we do in them. Big choruses, electronics, and good energy. But all the rockers are like “that’s weak!” Doing a heavier version breathes new life into an already good song and then people like it better than the original. Go figure.
Oakley: I love “T-Swizzle” so when Sam suggested covering one of her songs I was so happy my eyes puddled up. It was fun doing something different.
TEO: What does it mean to you to have fans? When someone says they love your music, what goes through your mind?
Sam: My first thought is me wondering if they are joking or giving me lip service! (laughs) Even though I like the music I make I’m always thinking of all the reasons why “the scene” will nit pick and say “he doesn’t sound like so-and-so, this sucks!” But then they will start talking about what the song means to them and how it speaks to them. Or even just that they listen to it at work. I relate to them on that level because that’s how it was for me when I first heard my favorite bands. Like I couldn’t get enough. The right music will lift a person’s spirits in a way that spoken words cannot. That’s the reason I do this.
Oakley: It usually comes as a bit of a surprize but it’s definitely an honor. As a kid I always wanted to make music that people enjoyed, but at the same time had a positive influence. When people say they like what we’re doing, it makes all the hard work worth it.
Steven: I think it’s crazy. Growing up I always looked up to musicians in my favorite bands, and to be on the other side of that is a little surreal. I know how much influence bands and their music had on me and I hope to give as much inspiration as I was given.
TEO: How important of a roll is social media playing in your music journey?
Sam: It’s a million percent of growing any business or fan base. Social media runs the world now. It drives politics and news and trends and revolutions and everything. Anyone is just a message away. I love talking to people but it can get a bit overwhelming!
Oakley: Social media is the new(ish) thing, it makes some things easier, but at the same time it’s easy to get lost in everything.
Steven: Social media is a great tool. Sometimes I hate it, but I’m always on it. Memes are great too!
TEO: Since everyone’s name starts with a ‘S’, and I’m Sara, can I get a part here? Cowbell? Triangle? Nose flute?
Oakley: Can you play bagpipes?
Sam: You can be our bass player! You don’t have to know how to play bass we got that covered!
TEO: I have a soapbox you can stand on if there is anything you would like to say to our readers? This is your chance for a shameless plug or political party push!
Sam: Everyone needs to shut up and quit whining.
Oakley: Let’s all be friends, if we try hard enough hopefully we can make this world a better place. God bless
Steven: Chill out and be good people. Take time to just relax and ponder the world. People today are always on the go, looking at screens, and trying to compare their lives to those of whom they’ve never met. Learn something new, discover things for yourself and don’t let society weigh you down. Live slow and try to get a good night’s rest!
TEO: Thanks guys! We are looking forward to new music and catching you on tour!!