PROVOKE, DESTROY from Virginia Beach have been rocking stages in Virginia Beach and beyond since early 2011. Their debut EP Rosewell earned them respect in the local metalcore scene for its heavy hitting tracks, including “Sumatra”. The band consists of screamer Bobby Hart, guitarist/vocalist Nathan O’Brien, drummer Tyler Melton, bassist Michael Mann, and gutarist Ryan Johnson. We caught up with O’Brien to discuss how they have been so successful in an allegedly dying metal scene, their new EP to be released later this year, as well as their views on “selfies” and social issues.

Recently, I have been noticing that a lot of people have been saying that the Virginia metalcore scene is dying. Do you think that is true?

It’s probably true for a lot of local scenes, but a lot people like to think that it is particular to their scene. I think its kinda like how people always say that drivers in Virginia are terrible. Its like, you don’t think there are bad drivers everywhere else? But there have been a few bands that have come up out of the local metal scene, such as HONOUR CREST. You could say it is dying, but any band that works hard enough can overcome that.

Your band is one of many talented bands in the area that have been pretty successful without a record label. What are the keys to your success?

One thing is that we work as hard as we can. Our drummer, guitarist, and myself are currently in school, but we are constantly writing and playing shows as much as we can. It’s got to be your number one hobby, and you can’t escape it. It’s something that is constantly on my mind. You can’t take a day off. It’s one of those things that you get out of it what you put into it.

I heard a rumor from Lucas Borza of HONOUR CREST that you might be signing with their former label Indianola Records in the near future. Can you tell us anything about that?

We have been talking to Lucas about it, but nothing is set in stone. I think Indianola is looking for bands to add to their roster, and we are excited that they might be considering us.

You guys just released your new single “Hellbent (feat. Shawn Spann of I, THE BREATHER)”. Can you tell us what that song is about?

I don’t wanna say that it’s about parents, but it’s about anyone that doubts what you are doing with your life. I know that I am not perfect, but I have a strong faith in what I am doing.

How did you get Shawn Spann to do guest vocals?

Our producer Andrew Bayliss is friends with Shawn, and it worked out really well. We weren’t in the studio when he recorded his part, but we were extremely excited when we heard it for the first time. I think it’s the best part of the song.

How has your band matured since you released your debut EP Rosewell, and how will that be reflected on your next EP?

We have gone through a few member changes so of course that has effected our sound and how we work as a band. I know all bands usually say ‘We’ve matured so much since our last record,’ but we do aim to write mature music that is as fun as possible to play. We try to write music that we would like to listen to and see and play live.

When you started your band, what did you hope to achieve from it, and has that changed at all?

I think we are all in it for the same reason as we are now. We never expected to go straight to the limelight, and we are still not there yet. We have been a band for about two years, and really our main goal is to make music that we are proud of. It is also an outlet for our lives. We love playing, and recording and touring together, but we hope eventually we can get paid to do it.

Do you guys support people taking “selfies”?

It’s not for everyone. Personally, I think it’s kinda goofy. It’s pretty vain, but if that’s what you are into, keep at it.

Are there any specific social issues that are important to you guys as a band?

We all have similar beliefs, but we haven’t lyrically taken a stance on anything. We were the Syke band of the month in March 2012. No one in the band smokes. It is so harmful, and it is no secret how cryptic and manipulative the propaganda and advertisements of the cigarette industry are.

Who are some of your favorite bands or musicians from Virginia?

Our bassist and vocalist really love DARKEST HOUR from DC, but I think some of their members are from Richmond. We also really like TURNOVER, and of course HONOUR CREST.

Do you have any final thoughts?

We would like to thank anyone that have ever helped us with even the smallest thing. Also, thanks to all of our fans that support us, and even to anyone that has checked out us on YouTube and thought we sucked. Thanks to those people too (laughs).

For more updates on PROVOKE, DESTROY, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube page.

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