HHM – Why don’t you introduce yourself to the readers, and state your position in the band.
Sean – I am Sean Arata, and I play bass and do some singing in the band.
HHM – Sean, how is your day going so far?
Sean – It’s going well!
HHM – Tell me a little bit about how Downstait came to be?
Sean – Downstaitstarted with a couple of the guys in middle school as a literal garage band. I joined my freshman year of high school, and somehow in the last few years we moved out of the garage, picked up some WWE themes, an MTV theme and wrote a couple of albums!
HHM – What is it that sets you guys apart? What extra element do you guys bring to the table that other bands do not?
Sean – I think our live show sets us apart. We leave the stage every night with absolutely nothing left to give. If we don’t feel just as beat up as the guys in the pit, we didn’t do our job to our expectations.
HHM – You guys are quite the “touring machine.” Does it ever get rough? Or are you just having a blast? Also, in general, how is the tour going?
Sean – It absolutely gets rough. Sleeping at weird hours, eating terrible food and driving all day isn’t exactly the most comfortable situation, but we love doing it. Whenever we have a break from tour, we’re immediately anxious to get back on the road. In general, this tour is going really well! We’ve had great responses every night and have made some new friends, which is what it’s all about.
HHM – What is your favorite song to play live?
Sean – My favorite song to play live is “Bad.” It’s a new song which happens to also be our new single, so it feels fresh on stage. Also, the attendees of the shows seem to really dig it too!
HHM – Do you guys have a favorite city to play in?
Sean – Fort Wayne, IN will probably always be our favorite city to play, because it’s home and we see a lot of our friends and family. But recently we’ve been playing a lot of shows farther west in the Midwest, and we’ve been having a great time. It’s hard to really pick a favorite.
HHM – Craziest tour story so far? No filter!
Sean – Haha, just in the off chance my grandmother or the FBI were to read this, I’ll pick one of the less incriminating stories. One time in New York City, we were on a tour bus with the band Ra, and the battery died. A normal car couldn’t give us a jump, so a city bus had to drive onto the sidewalk and give us a charge. They smashed a bunch of garbage and almost took out a building. I think I still have some video of that somewhere, it was pretty wild.
HHM – What was it like sharing a stage with Skid Row [huge fan, have to ask]?
Sean – Haha, those guys are awesome! We had a great couple of nights with them and got to have a pretty kickass hotel party with them too. I’d love to hang out with them again!
HHM – I understand you’ve sold a considerable amount of records independently [DIY], walk me through that, and how were you able to be successful?
Sean – Well, it took a really long time, a lot of touring, and here we are still touring. You really just have to work all the time to keep people interested in you, while also picking up as many new fans as you can along the way. Our fans have been awesome, and we see a lot of familiar faces at each show, and a lot of times they bring a new friend or two. It’s all about never taking a day off.
HHM – Any tips for other bands trying the same approach?
Sean – Sure. Work hard. It’s not as glorious of a lifestyle as television would like for you to believe. You’ve really got to want to do this, and be prepared to be dirty, tired and hungry sometimes. Once you accept that, everything gets easier, haha.
HHM – Tell me a little bit about your experience with the WWE? Did you enjoy that recording process?
Sean – Absolutely. We’ve gained so many new fans and exposure through the WWE. The songs have been fun to write, because we’re given a basic idea of what they are wanting for the wrestler, and we have to craft the song into fitting that vibe. It’s a strange and challenging process. Also, it’s pretty cool hearing myself on a video game, haha
HHM – Will it ever get old hearing your song on MTV or ESPN programs [hah]?
Sean – Absolutely not, haha. We understand how fortunate we are to have even gotten this opportunity in the first place, so every time I hear it, I get really excited. Plus i figure it’ll be cool to show my kids someday.
HHM – I had a chance to hear your new single “Bad.” I must say, it’s pretty catchy, very rad, and it’s got a bite to it. Can you explain the meaning behind that song?
Sean – We wanted the song’s meaning to be along the vibe of something big and bad (no pun intended) because the song feels big and bad. Some of the guys in the band are huge comic fans, so it ended up taking on a Ghost Rider theme. I wish I weren’t a tall and skinny guy, or I’d say it was about myself, haha.
HHM – Fans can pick that track up on iTunes, and… Amazon?
Sean – Yes they can. It’s already up on Amazon, and should be on iTunes soon! (Possibly by the time this is printed)
HHM – After this tour, what is next for Downstait?
Sean – After this tour, we’ve got a new album coming out (sometime in mid-January) and then more touring. The touring will be extensive for quite some time. Chances are, wherever you are, we will be playing near you soon.
HHM – What are your major hopes & goals for the future of Downstait? And how optimistic are you in your path towards obtaining them?
Sean – We want to be a household name. I think we have a pretty good shot at it, but we understand there is a lot of work still to be done. We can sleep when we die I guess, haha.
HHM – Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans, and the readers?
Sean – To any current fans, thank you for your support, and we’ll see you soon! To any readers who haven’t checked us out yet, give us a listen! You might like it!
HHM – I almost made it through the entire process with asking, but now I have to know, what is the meaning behind your name?
Sean – Well, to preface the story, we were 14 and really brilliant guys. Basically, we were called Label Kills (after the skate company) up until I joined the band. We realized we probably would get sued for using that name if we ever succeeded, so we decided to change it. We flipped through a dictionary, and found “Downstate.” Unfortunately, there was some band on MySpace with that name (yes, MySpace) so we spelled it differently. In hindsight, that band probably doesn’t exist anymore, but we’ve kinda gotten used to the name at this point, and have probably gone too far to change it anyways.
HHM – Thanks you for your time Sean, best of luck on the tour
Sean – Any time, thanks for chatting with me!