Capulet Fest Preview: A Chat with Of Virtue

By Ryan G

Featured image credit: Alexander Bemis

On a Saturday afternoon in May, I had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Damon Tate, one of the frontmen and also a guitarist for Of Virtue. The metalcore act had just wrapped a tour with Imminence and they are getting ready to embark upon a North American tour promoting their 2023 album Omen. Next week, on June 30th they play the quickly growing New England Alternative event Capulet Fest at Thompson Speedway in Thompon, CT – which features headliners Skillet, August Burns Red, and Nothing More. This rising act has a sound that’s perfectly suited for this festival, and as you’ll read below, their values are in alignment as well.

I was quickly taken by the band’s passionate, accessible heavy genre fusion. They aren’t just another chug-chug-chug metalcore band. You’ll fun the music moving and fun.

It was privilege to sit down with Damon Tate, the co-lead vocalist and guitarist of the band. I hope you enjoy our conversation below. Follow the band on Instagram and check out Capulet Fest here: Capulet Fest

Tuned Up: Hi Damon. My name is Ryan. How’s your day going so far?

Damon Tate: Oh man, its busy. This is like the technical last day of a tour. So, like we just got back from Harrisburg last night. We played our final show with Imminence and instant Catch our breath. Today we have a hometown festival. With Nonpoint, Taproot, and currently where I’m actually in the van right now, we’re heading to the festival to start our loading. So like all this is working out perfectly in the timeline.

OK. Fantastic. Well, I appreciate you taking a little bit of time out of your busy schedule to have a conversation with a music Blogger in Ohio.

Oh yeah. No, not a problem, man. We just we just left you wonderful state. So what part are you from?

I live in Columbus.

OK. Well, we will be in Columbus tomorrow to drop the van off, so yeah.

Thank you, David for again for being here. So, first question and I’ve been asking this for a long time. If you had to sum up your bands in a beverage. Whether it is whether it is. A cocktail or a coffee or something else? What would you say that would be?

What would we be? Oh, let’s see. I would say if. We were a nonalcoholic beverage. I would say that we are part mineral water. We’re good for you gives you a little bit. Light refreshing on a nice hot day. If we were in alcoholic drink, we’re a Long Island iced tea because we’re a mixture of a whole bunch of different things, and they knock you on your ass all at once.


So those probably be the two.

I feel that. You seem as a group to really be really good at walking that line between being very accessible to a new listener, you know such as myself but having that punch you in the face, knock you on your ***, you know, vibe at the same time. So that’s. Not necessarily easy to do, so I respect that. So again, congrats on the end of your tour with Imminence. Uh, what’s been something unexpected? You know, that’s happened on the tour so far.

Honestly, I would even just say probably the tour itself, just like the crowds, the reception, like the bands themselves, were great known eminence for a while. Catch your breath there. They were coming off Breaking Benjamin tour. So those dudes were on fire. like the crews. Everybody was great. The fans themselves like they showed up from the jump like we’re the opener on that tour. But we were playing to basically, the entire crowd, every single night and you know, for bands like us, for any band, really for that matter, to have the audience’s attention from the Jump until the show ends is astonishing. So I would even say in that regard that that was kind of like the most pleasant surprise of the whole thing.

Yeah, and that’s certainly what you that’s certainly what you hope for. when I put shows together one of my goals is music discovery. So I find that really rewarding. Get to introduce people to a new artist and they respond well, so I’m happy for you guys.

Thank you.

So. who would be an artist or a band outside of the say, the heavy alternative realm that you think you would be fun to share the stage with at some point?

Oh man.

You could take this question however you want. As seriously or not seriously as you want.

No, I mean that’s the thing is we all we all listen to many different kinds of music I. Even a band like twenty one pilots like we could go well with something like that because even their fans are like receptive of some of the heavier stuff. There’s an artist called Grandson. I’m wearing the T-shirt right now.

Oh, nice, yeah.

Like that would be sick. Even some, like electronic artists like you see like Illenium or you know, Marshmello like these dudes doing all these crossovers. And it’s like to do stuff like that and really cross pollinate. And we’re in genres where they’re kind of adjacent to, like, heavy rock and metal. But they do provide like a little bit of relief and there’s some or even, honestly like rappers, man, like, you know, doing stuff where it’s like some Travis Scott or Migos or just something that’s, like, kind of left of center. But there’s a lot more like, people that are into hip hop now that are getting into my rock and metal like, stuff like that would be super sick.

Yeah! One of the coolest live concert experiences I’ve ever had was it was in a local festival that’s not around anymore, actually.  But they had a stage that was literally like underneath a railroad bridge. It was mostly hip hop and then there were a couple random hardcore bands that played in the middle of the day. And uh, it’s just to see. These kids that were there for hip hop, you know? On the they had a mat set out for street dance, for break dancing, and they were doing that in rhythm to the breakdowns. I just thought that was so cool. I appreciate you’re saying for sure. So, you were just in Columbus a few days ago, playing with Nothing More. Correct?

You are.

Yes, Sir. And as you mentioned before, that’s our hometown. And did you have a chance to check out any local haunts in Columbus while you were here?

Uh, not as much. Like when we got in. It’s again. Usually when we have our show days, they’re pretty busy from jump start and on this tour we didn’t bring any crew with us, so we only have the four to do all of the jobs that are necessary. So, once we get there, we’re kind of ripping. But I have been able to explore Columbus before and there’s a lot of cool stuff, little record shops some vintage places to get cool t-shirts. I got a Nine Inch Nails shirt and this cool little local spot last time. Food’s always great. And. And. You know the college atmosphere. You got it.

What’s one of your favorite places to visit?

Oh man, I’d have to think about it. Like I said, usually I’m not very good with names, but I’ll go around the Kemba Live area, just kind of walk around and see what I see. And even like there’s some like, random little places that we played; this place called Ruby Tuesdays Live a lot a while ago on Ohio State campus. And like just walking around that area and seeing little things to, you know, first time stuff.

Ruby Tuesdays is a vibe, for sure.

That’s old school, man. Like I said, stomping grounds, first getting started.

Yeah. Yeah. I had the opportunity years back to book a band called The Funeral Portrait at Ruby Tuesdays.

Friends of ours.

Yeah, yeah. Nice. Very cool. I wasn’t exactly sure where to put this question in the interview because this is a little more random. What’s the most embarrassing CD you owned as a kid? And do you still listen to it today?

Huh. Embarrassing. I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.

Or a guilty pleasure.

No guilty pleasures here.

Or unexpected. Maybe we should all just take embarrassing music out of our vocabulary and replace it with unexpected.

I think, yeah, that’s the thing, man. We love all different kinds of music. You know, you grow up and people call it guilty pleasures, but at the same. Time. It’s like I like what I like, and I don’t really care what anybody else thinks and nor should anybody else. So, you know, when I look at it that way, I would say. You know. N’Sync, maybe Backstreet Boys like I liked. I loved like the Britney Spears, like the pop. Stuff. Like that shit was awesome to me. But you know, do I listen to it now? Uh, not as much, but. There are points when. You know, I’ll go back and jam it a little bit and you know. Who knows? See what happens.

So your so your hometown is Lansing. I’ve only been there once for a show. It was it was Mutemath and Paper Route at the Loft.

Oh, Mutemath is sick.

So that that was worth the five-hour drive for sure. So, what’s an iconic or underrated spot in your hometown that you think everyone should check out?

Let’s see. There’s a place called the Lansing Shuffle. It used to be like a little eatery, but you can go there. It’s a nice little dope food spot. It’s right on the water. So, if you go there at night, you can. It lights up. You can kind of walk around downtown a little bit and really that whole area real town is great. So, what that is kind of like they’ve rebuilt places where they’ve had, like vintage shops. There’s a record lounge with our friend Heather. Great BBQ spots sushi spots like so I’d say REO Town is great, Old Town is also awesome. I have a friend of mine, one of my best friends growing up he has a shop there called Grave Danger. He does like, resell, like action figures, stuff from all different time periods again. Brian Jupin shout out to you. Meat BBQ. Lansing’s got a bunch of cool little spots.

Would you say there it’s kind of an overlooked city?

All, yes, yes and no. It’s a small city. I would say that it can be overlooked for certain things, but I can also understand why people would not want to live here. So, it’s big enough to be a city, but it’s also small enough that you can start to know everybody, and it gets a little annoying.

Oh nice. Yeah, I mean here, here, in Columbus, we’re a bigger city, obviously, but it’s, but there’s this weird phenomenon that even though we’re in metro area, pushing 2 billion people. Once you get into your rhythm, you start to. See the same people over and over, over and over again. You think “How is that possible?” OK, switching gears a little bit, what’s a band or an artist? That’s perpetually slept on. I was thinking it’d be fun if you could answer that question, and generally and then maybe specifically shout out somebody, someone else from your hometown as well.

I wouldn’t even say slept on, but bands that are coming up like this band called Make Them Suffer. This band called Silent Planet. Those bands are killing it right now. Again, Imminence, they’re not really slept on, but I think people are starting to figure out like these dudes are the real deal, so definitely need to check them out. As far as hometown love, like we got our buddies. We’re playing a show tonight at that festival. Our friends in Heartsick. They’re going to be playing. People need to check them out. We’ve been knowing those dudes for a super long time. Grinding it out. So. That’s another band from here, our friends in Assume Nothing. That’s another local band. So those would be a few that probably, you know, like I said, shout out.

Nice. What about those hometown bands specifically, are meaningful to you?

Just and like again, they’re friends, great friends of ours. We’ve all come up together, play shows, put our, put our time in, put in. The work and the energy. I think Michigan’s got an interesting scene where it’s like we have. We’re kind of a melting pot for everything. But I would even say like bands here get overlooked because, you know, you think about the coast, think about LA, you think about New York, you think about maybe Texas. Chicago. You know some of these other places in between. But Michigan’s got. I mean, we’re the birthplace of *******. Motown, techno and still in if in some ways it feels like we don’t get our just due so.

Yeah. Right. Right. Well, that’s one of our goals. So is that one of our secondary goals over at student up is to try to uncover some of those hidden pockets. And hopefully spread the good word. Cool.

Where’s the most Unusual location you’ve ever played a show?

Uh, unusual location is probably. Either a pizza shop basement or somebody’s house. And neither one of those were very fun. So.

Did the pizza shop basement happened to be Donato’s in Columbus?

It was not. It was a place called Sweet Melissa’s in Savannah, GA, in the middle of the summer time when it was 130°. So you can imagine that’s not very fun at all.

Man. Well, I’m glad it wasn’t Columbus, but because I threw a lot of shows in that space back in the day. But I can see definitely see how someplace with the low ceiling and. Basement would be not very fun, super packed out. But on the upside for you, did you at least get a free pizza out of it?

We got a couple of slices. We got a couple slices. Out of it. So OK.

Well, silver lining, right?

Exactly. Exactly, man.

Yeah, yeah. Very cool. What’s left here? So just kind of getting back to sort of the core. What would you say the core values of Of Virtue? What would you hope that a first time listener or even a seasoned listener. You know, let’s take you know, what’s taking away from really engaging with the band?

I would say like core principles and values, man. It’s like we just want to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. We know that we’re not perfect people, but at the same time, we’re also not going to present ourselves like that like we are human. We  **** up, we make mistakes and at the end of the day it’s like I feel. Like people can connect with. That more seeing like obviously you do have some like rock star stuff and everything else, but it’s like we are. Kind of like. I’ll say like anti Rockstar tropes and ideas where. It’s. Like if you want to talk to us, you can talk to us. You can reach out. We have the same struggles that you do. You know the platform might be a little bit different, but everybody does have a platform in their own right, you know, social media is a great equalizer. The Internet can do a lot of different things. And if people have a talent or, you know, want to get their voice out there. They don’t have to just resort to music. We just have this for our medium. And we encourage everyone to find their voice and if they struggle with doing that, then we’re going to try to do our best to help. Maybe along the way be a small part of that journey. So it’s really again the foundation for us is just coming together, looking out for one another. And trying to build up more of the community instead of tearing it, tearing it down, man. It’s like there’s enough of that going on in the world of politics, religion. You know, race, ethnicity, creed, color, all that stuff to where we can just create a safe space here just for a little bit of an escape.

That kind of brings me to the end of what I have prepared actually. I just want to like kind of give you the floor. Is there anything that you want to plug or shout out?

Thank you for having me on today. Like I said, I know, you know today’s gonna be a little busy for me. But like I said, I love doing these kind of things. I appreciate all that you do. Keep doing it. Keep killing it. As far as plugging ourselves. Like, you can find us on all of our socials, you know, ex Facebook, TikTok. Literally Spotify. Apple Music  @OfVirtue for almost everything. We have an actual website You can go on there, find all of our tour dates. Uh merchandise store. If people are so inclined to do so, or just kind of generally keep up with this. We have a lay low link so it’s a texting service that allows us to stay in contact with everybody that’s available on our site as well. So yeah, other than that, man, like I said, I appreciate you. You know, giving me your platform for now, but uh, yeah, that’s all I got.

Sweet. Thank you, Damon.

The full Capulet Fest lineup can be seen here:

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