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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Interview with Justin Olmstead of Righteous Vendetta


Maybe you have heard of Righteous Vendetta.  They are a Christian metal band from Wyoming dedicated to sharing the life of Jesus Christ to everyone through their unique brand of music.  Maybe these guys do not look like the typical Christian music guys but that is what makes their music all the more powerful because they reach a relatively untapped market.   Made up of Ryan Hayes on vocals, Carl Heiman and Justin Olmstead on guitar, Zach Goggins on bass, and Isiah Perez as drummer, they call their musical style, metalcore.

The band will be performing on Sunday October 13 at House of Rock in White Marsh.  The Greyhound recently spoke to guitarist, Justin Olmstead about his background and the band in general.  Also stream the album here, :

How did you first get started in music?

My dad had always enjoyed classic rock, so I was exposed to all the great guitarists before I had even thought about playing an instrument. He bought me a guitar my 8th grade year after seeing the interest I took in concert band and music theory. The thing that solidified my desire to pursue a music career was when he took me to a Def Leppard concert my sophomore year of high school. The whole experience had such an impact on me, and I knew I wanted to recreate that feeling in others with my music. From that point, I was ready to do anything it took to become a full-time musician.

Who are your biggest influences?

-The groups and players that have influenced my playing directly are Killswitch Engage, Disturbed, Spoken, Richie Kotzen, Mark Tremonti, Jesse McDermott, Steve Vai, and Andy Timmons.

How did you all meet?

Ryan and I met at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, where we started the band with our piano professor. Carl lived in my hometown, Colstrip, Montana, and he was a fan of the band before we asked him to join. We found Isaiah on YouTube after a recommendation from Matt Baird of the band Spoken. Zack is our newest member, and we knew him through the band he used to drum for.

Describe your album.

Our new album “The Fire Inside” is our third full-length record, and it is our first full-length release since our recent genre shift. Our music used to very ‘core’ influenced, and we decided to move away from that and try to find a distinct sound that we could be proud of and that better suited our songwriting abilities. In the past, our songwriting consisted of throwing a bunch of cool riffs and breakdowns together, and weird time signature here and there, a mosh section, and that was it. There was really no depth or substance to the process. With this record, we pushed our songwriting abilities to their limits, aiming to make every song a potential hit single. We wanted to make a sound that had something for everybody, and kept listeners interested through each track, making them want to listen to it over and over again. Our goal was to find that perfect blend of catchy, melodic, groove, and heavy. We feel we reached that goal with this record.

What is your favorite song off the album?

My favorite song is “What You’ve Done.” It was one of the tracks we weren’t quite sure about in pre-production, but ended up turning out way better than we could’ve imagined. It’s the song I have the most fun playing, and the audience seems to really enjoy hearing the song live every night.

Christian metal band seems like an unlikely combination, why did you decide to pursue that style?

All the original members in the band loved metal music except for me, but I started playing it just because that’s the music they were playing and I wanted to be in a band. However, as any metal fan knows, it was only a matter of time before I got hooked. All of us were Christians and a lot of our early influences such as As I Lay Dying,  August  Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada were also Christian bands, so it just sort of happened. As time went on, we put more and more focus on how involved our faith was in our music, and it eventually turned into what it is today, which I consider not only a faith-based band, but a ministry.

800 shows in four years is impressive, what do you like about being on the road?

It would be a shorter list to say what we don’t love about the road! The main thing we love about the road is meeting all the amazing people we get to meet. We love hearing people’s stories and encouraging anyone who happen to be going through struggles. It’s also awesome being on a lifelong road trip with your closest friends! The fact that we can do this full-time is literally a dream come true.

Why should college students listen to this band?

Most of our music is based on our personal life experiences, making it very relatable to this age group in particular. All the songs have a gospel-focused meaning to us, but they are also written to encourage anybody, regardless of their beliefs. Not only that, this music will make you feel every emotion you love to feel, much like the feeling you got when you were 8 years old watching Power Rangers, and you can take that to the bank.

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    Dennis DavenportMar 2, 2014 at 12:36 am

    You all have done great. Justin if you are home when school is in session I would like you and the band talk to our students about your journey what it takes to get to where you are. Great music and continued good luck.

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Interview with Justin Olmstead of Righteous Vendetta