Interview: Deepfall’s Rich Hopkins & Tim King

Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt

Michigan newcomers Deepfall are currently taking the rock/metal scene by storm with its’ cut to the bone rock edge sound, relentless energy, blue-collar work ethic, and no “Plan B” mindset. Deepfall also recently dropped a debut album Broken October 16 through its’ artist partnership with Pavement Entertainment group (Puddle of Mudd, Candlebox, Powerman 5000, Soil, Flaw, Tantric). The album is a seven-song collection of heavy, yet memorable rock and alternative infused metal tunes with deep lyrics for the fans to absorb and draw inspiration from. Now is the time for the remainder of the masses to get on-board the Deepfall bandwagon and hold on for the ride.

Read on as Alt Revolt caught up with Rich Hopkins (vocals) and Tim King (keyboard/synthesis) during a quick breather from the road at their Michigan home front.

Alt Revolt: Rich and Tim, greetings and welcome to the Alternative Revolt family. It’s great to chat with you both.

Rich: Thanks for having us man, we appreciate it.

Tim: Thank you for having us on.

Alt Revolt: As we sit down to discuss all things Deepfall, you are catching a quick breather from a recent heavy tour schedule including dates with Alter Bridge, Clint Lowry, Sevendust, Nonpoint before you pack up and do it all again?

Rich: Yeah, we just got back home this past Saturday afternoon from the tour and using the term “sitting” is very, very funny right now, especially for me. So, about a week into that tour, my back was starting to hurt pretty badly and I’m telling everybody I need to get a masseuse, get some kind of pain killer or something. We couldn’t make that happen, so right after we got home, the next morning I woke up at 5:00am in the morning, had some coffee and blew out my back (laughs)! So, I have literally been sitting down since we got home (laughs).

Next we go out with All That Remains which will be in direct support for the first week of that show and then after a week of that, All That Remains jumps on the Hell Yeah tour where we become the first of five bands on that one (Saul, Butcher Babies also).

Alt Revolt: That tour has a very cool/unique line-up and tour schedule with an almost equal amount of dates within both variations compared to one here, one there fill dates within a larger tour package?

Tim: Yes, there are filler dates as Hell Yeah takes some time off and does festival stuff, etc. so they put together a package where the rest of us can continue to go and keep ourselves busy while they are off with their own thing. It’s great how it worked out as there was a few three-day gaps in there and although they can be nice here and there, nobody wants to just be out there living in a bus just doing nothing and twiddling thumbs for that time.

Alt Revolt: Let’s talk about the reason you are on the road. You dropped your debut album Broken October 16 through your artist partnership with Pavement Entertainment Group. The label itself seems like they’re are carving a nice niche for themselves with the combination of those established artists alongside up-and-coming acts such as yourselves.

Rich: Right, it’s pretty nice with the partnership for sure. We had played some shows with Soil a few times and that’s how we got hooked up with Pavement. Basically, they help us distribute the album as well as a lot of other great opportunities we are seeing right now.

Alt Revolt: For fans just being exposed to Deepfall, the band isn’t totally 100% new to the scene.

Rich: Right, the current line-up we have is very much brand new, however. Overall, we’ve been around for 2 ½ – 3 years locally. We basically decided to pull the trigger on the touring gig back in October.

Alt Revolt: Also, going into a heavier touring schedule as you move up the industry ladder can also add other challenges. I imagine for various band members with other possible work/family type commitments?

Tim: Yes, it was then an all-in and the reason about half the line-up disappeared back in October was because they weren’t all willing to make that leap.

Rich: Let me give you a little back history on this thing here. Tim and I have known each other going on about seventeen years. Long story short, I ended up moving my entire family back here to get this rolling about three years ago with them. When we started, Tim and I looked at each other and said in two years we want to be on the road, we want to be doing touring, festivals and everything. Two years to the day, the trigger was pretty much pulled and here we go (laughs). So, it was decided awhile ago at least for Tim and me as for what we wanted to do. It’s always “Plan A” for us and the existing members of the band kind of thing. There really is no such thing as a “Plan B.”

Alt Revolt: When that all came to fruition, you have it all lined up, you are on your two-year window, on Pavement, getting ready to put out the album, at that point did it start to feel surreal?

Rich: Yeah, I mean it’s easy to talk about it, but when everything gets announced it’s easy to say, “hey look this is actually happening.”  But it doesn’t really start to feel surreal until your in the bus, the door is shut, and you are on your way 700 miles to your first show.

Alt Revolt: Do you have to pinch yourself at that point?

Tim: I still don’t think for me it hasn’t even set in, it feels as if we are going through the motions and flying as fast as we can. With that the reality check hasn’t even happened yet (both laugh).

Rich: It’s incredible seeing everything that’s happened since October, so those things keep us lifted enough to keep doing it, but we always keep that “rock in our pocket” to keep us grounded.

Alt Revolt What type of expectations did you have when the album dropped, and has it lived up to your hopes so far?

Rich: So far yes. Even to this day artists have the hope of playing that small town bar, having that major label roll up, watch the band, shake your hands right on the spot and tell you they want to sign you on a million-dollar contract. We’ll put you on the road, you’ll be famous and here’s your name in lights and starts and all of that. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work anymore (laughs). I think we’re doing a vey good job at trying to keep the momentum going and to keep our eyes on the main prize here for the future. As these goals continue to come up and we are hitting them we are happy.

Alt Revolt: Everything I see from the outside tells me you are going about business properly and going about all your other things the right way. You are a part of a good music family, surrounding yourselves on the road with recognizable names and artists, etc. so at least from a fan’s point of view the perception is strong.

Rich: It doesn’t feel like we are at that point yet (laughs). We are hoping someday soon though where we can all feel calibrated with the bands we are now opening-up for. Right now, it’s more like the “local band” on the road. We’ve been learning a lot from all these different bands we’ve played with (Hell Yeah, Alter Bridge, Nonpoint, Texas Hippie Coalition). We are trying to be sponges with all the information they give us.

Alt Revolt: I’d imagine with that group collectively, they’ve probably seen it all over the years good, bad or otherwise?

Rich: Right, we had an end-of-the tour group photo and I got to sit down with Myles Kennedy (one of my most idolized people on the planet). When we had a chance to talk, it was really confirming in my head that we were on the right path as what he was telling us was the same thing, we’d been telling ourselves the entire time. He advised we’d have positions in our career where you think you’re not making any headway and you want to quit and give up. But then the second you decide not to give up, better things happen in the end. It’s a roller coaster for sure my friend.

Alt Revolt: The whole reason you go out on the road is to support an album you’ve done. As a musician, you create your art and you want to share it with as many people as possible. As a listener, I pick up some common denominators with your new album lyrically surrounding the title “broken” being one of them. Was there a common-type thing you were working towards or play out as such?

Rich: All the songs on there are bits and pieces of the past fifteen years pretty much. We put everything on there we experienced.

Tim: It was definitely a title afterwards thing.

Rich: We sat around and asked what does this album mean listening to the songs and it was “broken.” We’ve had so many fans come over after our sets and tell us the message in your music is incredible and it’s helping me. For me since the beginning, that’s all I’ve really wanted was to be able to convey a message that helps people see there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Alt Revolt: Like many artists, there is a lot of time spent on crafting that first album, then when it comes time for the sophomore follow-up, that time window is much less. Add to that the heavy touring you’ve undertaken, what is the plan as far as finding time to write the next effort?

Rich: When we first pulled the trigger, the plan was to write the album for a year and a half to two years, push it out to as many people as possible. As we are out there now, we are also writing the next album whether it be together or everyone separately doing their thing and then coming together with all our ideas. I think everyone in the band is already itching to put out another album.

Tim: We should call it “new songs”, not a new “album.” Get it on tape right (laughs). We’ve had some stuff that was developed on the bus on the last tour, some recordings in green rooms. Before the next run we plan to get together again and try to outline as many of the new things as possible so we can work out the details then when we are back out on the road.

Alt Revolt. Going out on the road that first time after putting out the current album, have you seen now that you go back with new material that the road may have changed your perspective on song writing?

Rich: Oh yeah, that’s all that writing is. Basically, when you are out on the road you’re not technically concentrating on songwriting. What you are doing is taking in all those experiences. It’s like a well, once the creative well is filled out with those experiences, you can draw from it. Then again at some point, the well dries up. So, you basically sit back and let it fill up again and move forward. I think that well for us is almost overflowing right now.

Alt Revolt: Any additional singles and/or videos planned for the current album at this time?

Tim: There’s a single/video being storyboarded right now. It will be “Cancer.” The push will run through the next tour as well as the current single “Wasted” as well throughout. They continue to pick up additional radio airplay each week.

Rich: There is also a certain cover we play we’ve talked about seeing if we can go in and make that a single as well. Right now, I’m finding myself challenged getting the proper mechanical rights done on that one. It’s not following the normal method (laughs).

Alt Revolt: How did you decide as a group to pick that Journey song “Separate Ways” as the song to cover/play live of all the options out there? I love the idea and your version, but I’m greatly intrigued by the selection.

Tim: I’m a keyboard player (both laugh).

Rich: Everyone got tired of listening to Tim complain he didn’t have a “highlighted song” (both laugh again).

Tim: I’d just drive everyone nuts during practice. You know, at practice guitar players just make random noise, drummers beat on things and the bass player sits in the corner and plucks away. I just started playing pieces of Journey tunes all the time. That one happened to be one that we felt we could run with.

Alt Revolt: I will say as a live-music fanatic and a picky one at that, I’m so glad you have the keyboard out front on stage and have the six band members playing everything verses living off a computer to do the dirty work. Just saying and thank you for that.

Rich: We do kind of pride ourselves using the minimal amount of tracking as possible. I know a lot of bands do that and you hear this amazing beat, and no one is playing it. I’m sure it can be discouraging for the fans.

Alt Revolt: Here is an impromptu question along those lines. You play live as a six-piece band. What are some of the spacing hurdles do you have most frequently and how do you overcome that with stage limitations in an opening slot?

Tim: We literally stand on top of each other some nights (laughs), shoulders even touching sometimes.

Rich: Some nights we talk about putting Tim and the keyboards backstage (all laugh). Yeah, we all laugh about it and actually one night on the Alter Bridge tour it was super tight and we were talking about that and I look over and Tim is pulling his keyboard as close up on the stage as he can (more laughing).

Tim: In all seriousness, we’ve already been talking with the production team for the next tour as well as the bands about sharing as much stuff as possible at least for our first couple of acts to be as efficient as possible. The way we have our production set up, I’ve clocked it several times on tour and we are pretty much off the stage in less than three minutes. So, if they are doing 15-minute changeovers, we are in good shape.

Alt Revolt: I think we’ve been all over the map here and a fun conversation for sure. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Rich: We appreciate all you do as well as all the support we get from the fans.

Tim: Thank you! Thank you to Alternative Revolt and the fans. We will see you soon.

Deepfall is Rich Hopkins (vocals/guitar), Nick Gray (drums), Tim King (keyboards), Anthony Battista (lead guitar 1), Max Carrillo (lead guitar 2), and Taylor Brandt (bass).

Stay connected with Deepfall at https://www.deepfallband.com

Interview by Rick Lindner for Alternative Revolt

Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt
Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt
Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt

 

Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt
Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt