Out Of The Darkness... [An Exclusive Interview with I Am Infamy]
Seattle, WA misfits I Am Infamy were faced with some very tough decisions a year ago. After dealing with the wrong people and things turning out for the worse, the band seemed to hit a dark, rocky bottom. According to singer Michael Vanson, that bottom is exactly where he wanted to be going forward, showing that sometimes you need to hit bottom to learn and succeed going forward, fueled with talk of any naysayers. A year later, they have regrouped and are ready to take the scene by storm with their new single “PAINKILLERS”.
We sat down with Vanson for a short chat to talk about how I Am Infamy decided to not only dust themselves off, but learn new things going forward, their new single and the teaser trailer, and what’s in store for the coming year.
MHW: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Let us be the first to congratulate you guys on your teaser video for “P A I N K I L L E R S” as well as the release of the single.
MV: Thank you very much! Painkillers is unlike anything we’ve done in the past, so we’re very excited for people to hear.
MHW: Besides the singles [NOT] Like You, and Heartstrings, not much is known about I Am Infamy. Tell us a little about yourselves and how the band was formed.
MV: The band came together through pretty interesting circumstances. Most of us are odd characters that came together after our old bands broke up, or kicked us out. We’re a bunch of people that no one thought was cool growing up, so we started our own group and community around the band, trying to make a space where it doesn’t matter who you are, at one of our shows, you’re part of *our* tribe, and we’re all equal here. I think this message really resonated with people as it eventually led to a really close “cult-like” following in our hometown of Seattle Washington, and here and there throughout the rest of the US.
The music and show are dark and theatrical. We try to put a large emphasis on showmanship in our live performances, and our interaction with the crowd. We love everyone that’s supported us, and chosen to be part of this insane journey, and that’s what’s kept it going through some of the tough parts.
MHW: What type of musical influences go into the bands style of playing?
MV: Everyone in the band contributes to the writing process, and our music tastes and influences are all across the board. One thing that we all agree on though, is that Infamy will always sound heavy, violent, and have catchy choruses. We’re trying to push the musical envelope even further with some of these upcoming releases, so be prepared for that.
MHW: The lyrical content is very deep which is always respectable. What type of influence or experiences go into the lyric writing?
MV: Thank you! I‘ve always enjoyed writing. It’s a huge outlet for me, and I have a thing for interesting words and literature in general. Music for me has always been an exercise in self therapy. I’ve experienced a lot of trauma in my life, and I deal with depression and mental illness on a daily basis. Writing music, and writing about my experiences in the lyrics are a way for me to heal and rid myself of some of my demons by getting them out of me, and onto paper. I try to write lyrics that may not always have a silver lining, or a positive spin on it, but may be something that someone else is experiencing, and can relate too. I want to show people that feel similarly to me that they’re not alone. Every time someone tells me they relate to something I wrote or talked about in a song, that in turn makes me feel less alone too. And that makes it all worth it.
MHW: How was the experience for in filming the teaser video for “P A I N K I L L E R S”? What was the creative process behind the video?
We shot that video at 3AM in a hotel after a show in Seattle. It was done kind of on a whim honestly. The song we’re putting out is called Painkillers, and is about anti depression medication. We thought it would be cool to do a double entendre and have me take a bunch of pills in the video. We wanted it to have some shock value as well, which is where the vomiting came in.
We had a lot of fun shooting that, and will definitely be doing a lot more video content in 2019.
MHW: It seems things have picked up for I Am Infamy this year with the addition of guitarist Maezi. Do you see this lineup as something as permanent as it looks?
MV: (Laughs) Yes, Maezi is staying in the band. She’s actually been a permanent member for awhile now. Maezi and I actually started our first band together when we were kids, and all kinds of crazy adventures together doing that, so she is a familiar, and welcome addition to our band of misfits.
MHW: Do you feel that you are hitting your stride and gaining some good momentum going into 2019?
MV: 2018 was a bit of a rebuilding year for us. The end of 2017 was pretty dark for the band. We just came out of a totally botched EP cycle due to not working with the right people, and people’s personal lives crumbling. Some of us were homeless, our bass player had to move out of state briefly, and the band had nothing to go on in the scene locally. We were faced with either breaking up, or doubling down and working twice as hard to fix things and secure a future for our art. It took a lot of work, but coming out of this years cycle, I think we did pretty well, and I think we’re set up to have a very successful 2019. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone in the band, and everyone in our community that supports us.
MHW: Any plans for an album in the foreseeable future?
MV: We will *finally* be releasing an EP in 2019, as well as a few other extra things. Thank you everyone for your patience!
MHW: Did you finally get to tour Europe yet? Any tour plans in the works?
MV: No plans for Europe as of now, but I am very familiar with the European festival circuit, and how crazy that gets. Making our way over there is definitely a long term goal for us.
We will however be doing a lot of touring in the US next year. We’re getting a new vehicle soon, and making it a goal to do as many outings as possible next year.
MHW: I see you have performed with well known acts such as Wednesday 13 and also participated on the Warped Tour last summer. Did you learn a lot working with these bands and did it help in formulating your unique style that “P A I N K I L L E R S” presents as well as showmanship?
MV: This summer, Maezi and I worked for a record label called P.A.K.Y on Warped Tour. Huge thanks to Jake Langely from Handguns for having us out! It was an amazing experience, and we got to learn a lot about the music industry in the 2 months that we were out. We got to meet and connect with thousands of new people, and we made a lot of new friends all around the country that we can’t wait to see on tour again next year. Warped Tour was an amazing experience that we’ll remember forever.
MHW: Michael, you seem like a very charismatic, laid back, and yet very intense and complicated kind of guy. Who exactly is Michael Vanson?
Oh man, it’s hard to sum yourself up! (laughs)
I’m someone who has a huge passion for art, and for people. When I was a kid, music helped me process so much of the negative stuff I was
going through, and I want to give other people that same thing. My life’s goal is to connect with as many people as I can, and try to leave a positive impact on their life, and I think the best way I do that is through music.
I feel like a lot of people misunderstand me, and don’t necessarily like me or what I represent. Over the years I’ve definitely experienced a lot of adversity from people that don’t quite “get it”. I live for that though. I thrive on negative attention honestly. If people throw me, or the band a bunch of hate, I get excited. Cause we didn’t start this for those people, we started it for the people they hate, and those people love us.
We will never “fit in” with the rest of what’s going on, and that’s how we like it.
MHW: If you got to do a festival in Europe and you were able to choose any 3 bands to perform with, who would they be?
MV: Oooh, that’s a really hard one…
I’ll make them all “up and coming” bands people should check out.
Desolist, from Los Angeles, California.
Designer Disguise from Seattle, Washington
Crystal Lake from Japan
MHW: Any words of wisdom going into 2019?
MV: If your year is starting off terribly, don’t despair. We started this year off on a terrible start, but after working our asses off, our situation has completely changed, and we feel very optimistic about the future!
MHW: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us and we wish I Am Infamy nothing but good things in your future. Anything else you would like to add?
MV: Thank you again so much for having us!
Be sure to check out our new song, “Painkillers”, which is out on all platforms now. Also, check us out on our social medias and send us hate mail: