I recently had the honor and pleasure of speaking with vocalist/frontman Luke Smith of the Christian melodic hardcore quintet The Danger Of Falling. A military serviceman and a brilliantly heartfelt vocalist, Luke and the rest of his fellow TDOF members are sure to make a lasting impression on your ears and the greater hardcore scene. We talked about a multitude of things- from his background in music, to art, and to his striking and uncanny resemblance to Channing Tatum.
Ouch That Hertz: So, first, tell us a bit about yourself!
Luke Smith: Hmm. Well, for starters, I’m really into art. I enjoy everything from drawing, printmaking, ceramics, to photography. I’m way into food! Love going out for Chinese, burgers, and all that unhealthy stuff. I love travelling and catching live music of all genres.
OTH: Oh, man, I absolutely adore Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Do you have a favorite artist or movement?
Luke: A favorite artist of mine would probably be John Sloan. I just finished reading his life’s diary. It’s really given me a whole new perspective on him and his work that I now enjoy! As far as artistic style, I really like the whole new realism and urban genre scenes that were being made by American artists in the early 1900s.
OTH: That’s excellent! I have a print poster of Sloan’s Six O’Clock- Winter. I’ve never read his life’s diary- I’ll have to read it sometime! Now, jumping to your band and music: How did The Danger Of Falling come to be and what is the inspiration/story behind your band name?
Luke: The band started up early in our high school career. We were all close friends who shared the common interest of heavy music and hanging out at local shows. One day we just decided to jam some music and we’ve been playing together ever since. At the time that we named the band, I was reading a book by Charles Stanley that kind of highlighted our lives together. The Danger Of Falling is the simple idea of keeping a clear and positive mind in a negative sort of living environment.
OTH: So, Luke, let’s talk about you for a bit. When did you get started in music? What made you want to get into Melodic Hardcore and- more specifically- with a Christian message?
Luke: I first got into music by practicing and playing in symphony orchestras all throughout school. It was my friends that truly got me into heavier music. There’s just a certain passionate feeling about it that no other genre can compare to. It wasn’t until recently that we decided to get into melodic hardcore. I think that we all kind of found a home within this new sound. It pushes us to explore outside of our comfort zone and lets us approach our musicianship in a more creative way. As far as the message in our music: I typically write the lyrics with a central theme of life, faith,and interpersonal relationships.
OTH: I absolutely dig your vocal style- you’ve got this wonderfully harsh, raw quality in your screams that adds just a dash of a brilliant tone of desperation behind each lyrical message. Who would you say you’re vocally influenced by?
Luke: Thanks!I really appreciate that! A lot of the material I write about in The Danger Of Falling comes from personal experiences that I’ve had. I just use my voice as true as possible without trying to mimic any other vocalist so that I can really stand behind each line.
OTH: I’m aware that you were previously in the military (and thank you for your service to our country!) Were you seriously playing/pursuing music before your military service?
Luke: Thank you! And, yes, definitely! I believe we were all around 16 years old when we decided we were going to really start pursuing this band together. I even remember playing a local show the night before leaving for basic training. It was a lot of fun and definitely one of the most memorable shows we’ve had.
OTH: Is your time spent in the service reflected at all in your music, or do you keep these two things (your music and your military experience) separate from each other? Will any of it come up in TDOF’s upcoming EP?
Luke: Usually I’ll let the written music influence the lyrical theme of the song. Our single “North” is about interpersonal relationships I had due to my military experience. I don’t have any lyrics influenced by my whole military experience in our upcoming EP Hope/Well, but it’s definitely something I plan on sharing in future material.
OTH: So, Luke, tell me, how often do people mistake you for Channing Tatum?
Luke: Haha, funny you say that. I don’t see it at all but I hear it all too often! It’s definitely a great compliment and I’m flattered that so many people make that mistake!
OTH: Jumping back to The Danger Of Falling- how do you like working with Slick Sound Recording?
Luke: I absolutely love working with producer Luke Bowman at Slick Sound Recording. It’s an awesome studio with awesome equipment and a good time all around! Luke Bowman is such a great guy. Not only is he a talented audio engineer but an amazing musician as well.
OTH: I’m curious- y’all are from West Virginia- how did you come to find Slick Sound and what drove you guys to pick this small studio out in Cambridge, Ohio?
Luke: We first met producer Luke Bowman of Slick Sound when he was playing guitar in Looking Down the Cross. Our band had opened up for them a number of times in our early years. They were the legends of our scene and by far the best live local act I’ve ever had the chance to play with in the six years we’ve been performing. Since then, they’ve explored new chapters of their lives, but Luke stayed active in recording. His current studio is set up in Cambridge, Ohio and so it only felt right to work with him for our new EP Hope/Well.
OTH: I’m itching for your upcoming EP Hope/Well. Can you tell me a little about the writing process for this album? What are you bringing/hoping to bring to listeners’ ears with this new EP?
Luke: In Hope/Well, we explore raw, heavy, and lighter aspects of hardcore all while keeping a dark theme. It was a lot of fun writing and recording together as a band with a collective effort. I can tell you that lyrically it is some of the best material I’ve ever written. With this EP we want to put something into our listeners’ hands that they can truly reflect on and relate with.
OTH: So, after the EP drops, what’s in store for The Danger Of Falling? Any touring in the near future?
Luke: Absolutely! We are hoping to break in the open road and play as many shows as possible after we release Hope/Well. For months we have been off the grid due to writing and recording at home [In West Virginia] and in Ohio. As the EP finishes up, we will have a lot more time on our hands to play shows!
OTH: Alright, I like to end my interviews with something a little bit more silly. Let’s say you’re rudely woken up early one morning by the sound of someone knocking at your door. You open the door to find Governor Early Ray Tomblin standing on your stoop with a box of pizza, a 30-pack, and a request. “Luke,” he says, “I need your help. I’ve got this opportunity to be cast in a revival production of The Wizard Of Oz. I’m Oompa Loompa #112. Can you read Dorothy’s lines for me?” My question is this: Do you help him or do you close the door, go back to sleep, and hope to God he doesn’t realize the practicality of the fictional slave-race and decide that he could paint small children orange and send them into the coal mines?
Luke: Hahaha wow… I hope this never happens… But in the rare possibility that it may… I would probably help him with his rehearse and memorize his lines. Only because I could definitely eat a box of pizza anytime, anywhere.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! Before you go, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Luke: Not a problem at all! Loved talking with you! This was a fun interview! If anything I’d just like to add a thank you for anyone keeping interest in The Danger Of Falling! I’m definitely looking forward to releasing the new music and excited to hear everyone’s feedback!
The Danger Of Falling’s new EP Hope/Well will be out in 2016 on Imminence Records.