By Tiffany Clarius
Dark Sermon, a local metal band, played their last show of 2014 in Tampa at Epic Problem, and I got to sit down with their drummer, Jordan Jensen, for an exclusive interview about the band, their genre, tour life, getting their name out there, and what’s to come in 2015.
Dark Sermon shared the stage with Adaliah, Captivator, I Shot the Albatross, And One for All, Upon Our Rise, Figures, The Transient, Love Like Enemies, and Awake Aware. The bands’ live performances brought quite a crowd. About two to three hundred fans showed up to support their local metal bands. During my interview with Dark Sermon’s drummer, Jordan Jensen, he said, “The scene in Tampa is very strong. Tampa is like the death metal capital of the world.”
When it comes to music genre, metal is not the most popular for most people. Popular radio stations don’t typically play metal. Jordan states, “Being in a metal band, it’s a very small bubble. It’s a very abrasive genre. It’s not really a fan favorite in nine out of ten ears, but that one ear that we appeal to, that’s a big ear!” He continued by saying, “It’s a tight knit group because, in metal, it’s a lot smaller so the shows are a lot smaller and they’re a lot more intimate. Whereas you go to a stadium to see a country artist, not to knock them because that’s a freaking awesome show, but they’re on stage and they are hundreds of feet away from you. Then, you got people in the back of the stadium that show up, tailgate, get drunk, watch the show, and then leave. There’s no interaction with the artist.”
The band consists of five members who are Johnny Crowder (vocalist), Austin Good (lead guitarist), Paul Stellmach (bassist), Neal Minor (rhythm guitarist) and Jordan Jensen (drummer). Not all of these members were with the band from the beginning. The band got started about five years ago under a different name, In Reference to a Sinking Ship. Throughout the years, they lost a couple of the original members and gained new members around the time they changed their name to Dark Sermon. Jordan, one of those new members, joined the band about a year ago. Johnny Crowder and Austin Good are the only original members left in the band. Jordan said, “It’s a really good group after years and years of all of us outside and being on our own.” He went on to say, “Now all of us are driving around the country in a van and living out of IHOPs and Super 8s. It’s pretty fun!”
Tour life has its ups and downs for any struggling musician. Jordan shared some of the bands struggles and successes while touring. He said that the downsides are sometimes pretty bad. When money is scarce, they have to worry about how they are going to get food to eat where to sleep. “Getting to eat at fancy establishments like Chick Fil A, is a blessing,” Jordan jokes. He also says that when the venues don’t offer certain things such as parking, food, and money, but a charge for using their venue “it can get pretty depressing.” They usually use a “merch rate”, which means the venue takes a percentage of however much money the band made selling their band merchandise. But he says, “You always have to take the good with the bad and understand, alright, today was a pain in the butt and there’s only an hour left in today so now we’re moving on to tomorrow and Taco Bell! Alright!” The upside of touring is that you get to travel the world, see many different places, and meet many different types of people. The band went to about twenty-five different locations on their last tour. “I’ve gotten to see and do a lot of stuff that I figured would be twenty to thirty years down the road when I’m retired!” He went on to say, “All the pros are definitely everything you’ve ever dreamed about.”
Dark Sermon will tour again in 2015. Tour dates will be posted on the band’s Facebook page. You can also expect an upcoming album, which they hope to release by spring/summer 2015.