The band is ready to show their full range. 

Vermont-born independent metalcore band Saving Vice have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Founded by guitarist Robbie Litchfield in 2017, the two vocalist band— comprised of vocalists Tyler Small and Chase Papariello, guitarist Robbie Litchfield, bass guitarist Kenjamin Smiertelny, and drummer Sam Whelton— weaves catchy choruses, early aughts emo, and relatable lyrics together. This makes for a dark yet nostalgic listening experience, and they are ready to ratchet up the heaviness of their tunes. 

 Releasing their new single ‘Phantom Pain’ on July 23rd, 2021, the tune signals a move to a heavier sound, reminiscent of their debut album and EP Colder Than Dark. Filled with heavy breakdowns, melodic cleans, and screams that perfectly fit the song’s tone, listeners can hear the styles of both vocalists— Papariello solely screams while Small screams and sings —and how well they melt together. The song perfectly suits the tastes of its fans and has garnered 100K views on YouTube. 

Formed in 2017, the band have made a huge impact on their local music scene and played numerous festivals such as iMatter Festival, Warped Tour, and Heavy Fest. Additionally, they’ve been able to share the stage with acts such as The Plot In You and Like Moths to Flames. Their independent debut LP Hello There earned 1.2 million streams and a spot in Alternative Press Magazine. Their first body of work is a self-produced five-song EP titled Lost Words, a project that led the band to tour the New England area in hopes of expanding its audience. In January 2018, the band released their first single titled ‘Exhale,’ and their EP Colder Than Dark followed in May 2018. 

Tyler Small, the band’s vocalist, sat down with Highwire Magazine to discuss the new single, the hardships of being in an up-and-coming band, being influenced by hip-hop-infused metal, and more. 

Your band’s new single, ‘Phantom Pain,’ is a dark tune. What inspired the track? 

I feel like that song has two meanings: it has the meaning I want everyone to relate to, and [then] there’s all the underlying stuff I sneak into it. That’s the one thing I wanted to put in, that you don’t have the one positive thing that keeps you going, and all your other shit kind of drowns you. A lot of it was [also] the idea that everyone has something that they’ve grown from, changed, are ashamed of or think, said, or done that they didn’t mean or regret and wish they can take back. Like, a friendship that had a falling out, or you used to watch Superbad too much, and you used to say a bad word that hurts people, and you didn’t realize that. 

Your band takes influence from bands such as Linkin Park, Ghostmane, and nothing,nowhere. What is about these hip-hop-infused metal bands that inspires you? 

Linkin Park was a band that managed to be emo rock and metal yet was still mainstream to the point where everyone could digest it. I’ve always wanted to do that with Saving Vice. nothing,nowhere. is an excellent example of that where they have honest lyrics with super catchy, sad, moving choruses where they were still poppy. I’m a big believer that something can be lighter and still have the weight of something heavy. I think that we do that well. I’m not so much a listener of that stuff. You can get all of that and more if you give this whole genre a chance because that opens you up to just pretty much all the artists that those bands [Lil’ Peep, XXX Tentacion] took all their ideas from, to begin with. Half of Lil’ Peep’s samples are from bands that I’d listen to in high school. I want to be able to play honest music and the music we want to make. I want to play arenas too. I want songs that we can play at Lollapalooza and at a house show. [As a fan], I want you to be able to bounce, jump, sing, dance, and then turn around and elbow someone in the jaw. I don’t think those things need to be excluded from each other because most people like both of those things.

Being an up-and-coming band is so hard. How do you deal with the doubts and uncertainty that can come along with that? 

For us, it was rough because we never really got our shot at touring full-time and doing all that stuff. [I thought] 2020 would be our year to do that finally. We’re independent, and we all almost went broke trying to pay for the album, all our videos, and promoting ‘Phantom Pain.’ We put so much work into that and planned it strategically. At the album release show, we thought, “This is it. This is the jump-off point,” and then a week out, everything got canceled, and we had to figure out what to do with that. It was a lot of recordings, acoustic songs, music videos, and us trying to start our own businesses and make use of the time and feel like the world wasn’t ending.

Looking at the grand scheme of things, we’re still a nobody band. We look at everything, and it kind of feels like a label is just a bank. It’s literally what gets you magazines, what gets you on tour, what gets you verified. If we can get those things without selling ourselves to someone, we’re going to try. If a label comes along with the right idea and recognizes us for what we are and what we want to do, it’s always something we’re open to. But we’re not a band that thinks being signed means we made it. We’re not going to jump at a contract, like a lot of bands seem to.

What kind of content do your fans look forward to seeing from the band? 

Behind the lyric stuff, videos, we do many acoustic versions of our songs, just merging content. We have our SVIP thing, which is unique content we do for fans who are SVIP, and they get to hear the songs early and get access to stuff that we put extra work into. More than content, it’s about keeping our brand at that [certain] standard. So many people think we’re a lot bigger than we are, and perception is a huge deal in this industry. It’s almost like the people who like us and hype us up [do so] like we’re an Ice Nine Kills band. We don’t want to let those people down. 

From a business standpoint, it’s in our best interest that people talk about us in that realm. People talking about us like we’re bigger than we are is what got us here because we’ve put out a product that most people bands can never do. Phantom Pain is probably the most significant example. The most common thing we heard is, “How the fuck is this band DIY? How are they independent?” Nobody helped us write that song; we wrote that song.

You’ve said that the “catchiest and heaviest of Saving Vice is yet to come.” What can listeners expect? 

Hello There wasn’t so much a tester as it was a way of saying, “Here’s all of our sounds we’re going to do. Get ready to expect this forever.” We had deathcore, pop-punk, ambient metalcore, nerve damage rapcore, jumpy party metal, everything. We love all of those things, and we want people to think of all those things when they think of Saving Vice. Hello There set us up, and for now, we can say, “Here’s ‘Phantom Pain’ and then here’s the next song,” which is a lot heavier than ‘Phantom Pain.’ 

I can’t say any more than that; I don’t want to get anyone excited and have them think we’re dropping a new song next month because it’s a little bit out [of the way]. Every song we write, we all think it’s our best song, and we like to keep it that way. It might be heavy, it might not be, but it’s whatever we’re in the mood for, and we’ve been in the mood for sounding like Spiritbox and Underoath, so that’s what the next song sounds like, a little bit. I don’t like to say we sound like anything, but I like to name the bands that I think most people will understand if I say it. So if you had to paint a picture in your mind of the next song, we’re dropping sounds like, pretend Underoath, Currents, Spiritbox, and Darko had a baby. 

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