Thomas Smith of heavy metal crew Strength Betrayed takes on the Band of the Day questions…
We are from a small town called Dunn, North Carolina. Kind of a farming town. A lot of woods and open fields lol
How did you meet?
We had always grown up together. Taylor, our drummer, is my brother, so we always hung out and got into the same music as we grew up. Jacob, our lead guitarist, went to our church ever since he was little, so we grew up knowing him. He got into music earlier than the rest of us, so with his head start in music he got super good on the guitar lol. Jacob and Taylor knew Seth, our bassist, form high school so when we needed a bass player, we gave him a quick call and a tryout video and boom, he was in.
How long have you been playing as a band?
I would say, Taylor, Jacob and I have played together for almost 10 years now. Seth has been playing with me since 2014 but has been jamming with Jacob and Taylor for about 6 years or so. So, we know our way around each other musically. When you’ve been playing with the same guys for a number of years, you kind of learn how to each of us tick musically and it just super fun to play together now.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
I don’t mind the questions at all! The long story is, Taylor and Jacob were in a band that is a good friend of mine about 7 years ago. Their name was Strength Betrayed and I was like “I love that name!”. When that band didn’t work out and we decided to start a band together, I called my friend up and asked ‘can we use your old band name?’. since they didn’t play a single show he was cool with it. We are a faith-based band so the name Strength Betrayed name comes from the Biblical story of Sampson, and how the strengths that were given to him betrayed him when he used them in the wrong way. It serves as a reminder to us that our egos and out ‘strengths’ can destroy us if not kept in check.
What are your influences?
We could write a book on everything that goes into our influences. As a songwriter and an artist, you got to have your ‘radar’ up all the time. You pull creatively from literally everything and everywhere. The rhythm of bands like Korn and Static-X, the melodies of bands like Breaking Benjamin and modern pop artists, and the live energy of bands like Slipknot and Skillet. I pull from a lot of strange places like pop and rap, and as we continue to write music, we try to refine combinations of influences.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
This is a question we actually ask close fans and friends and it’s amazing the different responses we get. I don’t personally believe we or any other artist could be “unique” anymore. Everybody builds off of their influences to craft something similar but different. We just like to combine a lot of factors into one song and one sound. Heavy, rhythm focused and melodic. As the vocalist, I love pop/melodic melodies. I like baritone heavy vocals so that’s where I thrive. Seth brings that Rhythm front and center that gets the people moving, Taylor and Jacob just add that heavy SLAM that we love to hear. Combine that with my rhythm guitar behind Jacob and that’s our sound.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
I guess with our past and current life situations our lyrics have been relatively dark lol. AS you grow older, your view of the world changes and can turn towards the negative very easily. We are a band of faith, so with that topic in mind, we write about everyday emotions and situations and how we deal with that. Sickness, depression, anger, anxiety, injustice, and a lot more topics we cover. We will see if that changes moving forward. We don’t want to be a band that is locked into one topic or another. Despite what we write about, we are pretty happy go lucky, so I guess this is our outlet for these feelings so to speak.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We are our own worst critics lol. But If I had to sum it up, we try to put on a high energy, aggressive show while having a smile on our face. I know metal is the ‘angry’ music or the ‘sad’ music, but we want to turn that on its head and lets all just have a good time. We aren’t there to “put on a show for you”, we are there to have fun with you. We are adding lights and all that, but if we are not doing a lot and interacting with you guys then we aren’t really doing anything worth doing in my opinion. We throw down and all that, but we just want the audience to feel like we are good friends with them and lets jam to some music together.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Chick fights are a thing! So far things have been tame but I’ve done some dumb stuff on accident. One time I was doing a guest vocal spot for Set For The Fall and the have pretty intense fog blasters. There is a screaming part on their song “3 Nails” that we do. So, I propped my leg on their stage boxes, bent down for the scream and completely forgot that their fog blasters are in the boxes. So, I go to scream, and I get blasted in the face with neon light and a hurricane of warm syrup smelling fog! I did good holding the scream, but my band was laughing because literally half my body disappeared as I planted my face in their fog blast. All I could think is “okay, let’s not ever do pyro in case I forget about those too!”
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I play a PRS Mike Mushok Baritone with an Egnater Tour Master. Our drummer plays a Mapex Saturn V. Lead guitar plays a PRS PRS Torero SE with a Blackstar Mark 2 100 Watt. Bass is a Jackson C5 with a Hartke IH1000. Most of the guys are gear junkies but I’m very simple, I know what I like and I stick with what I like so I don’t see myself getting away from the Mushok unless someone makes something just like it and gives it to me for free!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Right now, it’s pushing our singles and our upcoming album on Sept 28th. We’ve been working super hard the past year and we are beyond excited to be sharing our hard work with the fans. Trust me when I say this has been an absolute labor of love. So to repeat, we are dropping our first official album Sept 28th which is available for preorder!
What are your plans for the rest of 2019/2020?
To finish getting this album out there, sending it out and possibly hitting the road summer 2020 if things pan out right. Pretty much pray to God we actually make some money lol! But in all seriousness, we are very excited about the future of this band and the love we have received from this project has been overwhelming.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Oh man I could think of so many. Besides choosing our influences, the two bands we love to play with on a consistent basis are Relentless Flood and Set For The Fall. We have played with many other bands but if I had to choose a tour that would be a great hang with good friends it would be them two. Enter change headliners between the tow but those guys are the best for real!
What is your dream venue to play?
So, there’re several. Ether the Ritz in Raleigh because of the memories of the bands I’ve seen there. I’ve seen many first’s there and that would just be an honor. Second choice would be if we could have a LIT show in a cornfield that would be so legit. Like, that would be my dream! If we could draw hundreds of people in a cornfield that would be amazing!