I Prevail Co-Vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe Says Detroit Will Always Be Part of the Band
I Prevail are still riding the high of releasing their latest album, True Power, last year. The album—their third full-length release since forming in 2013—is one that will forever be significant to the band, not just because of the music that's on it, but because of how that music was created.
"After a couple of weeks of being at home [near the start of the pandemic], we were like, 'Let's not waste this opportunity and let's get into the studio and work on some stuff,'" co-vocalist, songwriter and founding member Eric Vanlerberghe told Chuck Armstrong on Thursday night's Loudwire Nights (May 11). "We weren't trying to dedicate the time to writing a record, we were just trying to write some singles while we had some time—trying to keep that creative muscle flexed. After a couple of months go by, we were all like, yeah, this isn't going to be any short amount of time."
While the pandemic was obviously brutal for so many different reasons, Vanlerberghe admitted that their newfound time together as a band without any other distractions was actually an unexpected gift.
"To be able to work on songs and demo songs and sit on them for two or three months and revisit them later," Vanlerberghe explained, "it had helped us bring out some really creative stuff. When we worked on all these songs together over this long period of time, all these songs kind of grew together and they formed their own identities, but also it felt like a cohesive record. Which made the record so long—it was hard to axe some of those songs because all those demos just grew together. It was a blessing."
He added, "[It] was a blessing mixed in with all this shit."
I Prevail Will Perform at the 20th Anniversary Download Festival
The blessing of writing and recording the songs that would become True Power grew even more as I Prevail hit the road as soon as they could. Vanlerberghe and his bandmates found themselves back onstage sooner than most bands, and they haven't slowed down at all since things returned back to "normal."
Now, all of that momentum is leading toward their massive performance at the 20th anniversary of the legendary Download Festival in England.
"I'm beyond stoked," Vanlerberghe admitted. "It's awesome, it's awesome to be 10 years [into our career] and be right below that first line, underneath the headliner, that high up on the billing...it's crazy to look back, I've got pictures saved and T-shirts saved and to look back and see where we were just a few years ago—it's been a wild ride and to be able to play alongside some of these bands I grew up listening to, I don't even know how to explain it. There's a glitch in the simulation, man."
For a guy like Vanlerberghe and a band like I Prevail, getting to this point of receiving high billing at Download is not lost on him. Since day one, they've embodied a DIY spirit; as far as he's concerned, those early days don't feel that long ago.
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"It feels like it was yesterday that we were self-producing our first record and releasing that and then going and getting signed and then doing that record, just keeping the mentality of wanting to have our hands on everything as much as possible," he told Chuck. "Just being able to have our voice heard and be able to feel that everything we've done is something we're proud of, it's awesome. It really is an awesome feeling."
And as much as the band is proud of all it has accomplished throughout the years, Vanlerberghe knows there is one group of people who makes everything possible.
"I'm very proud of the thing that we've been able to accomplish through our fans helping us ... to come back and see these people, these fans, at our shows, it's been nothing but amazing."
Remembering and Honoring Their Roots
I Prevail hail from Southfield, Mich., a city just north of Detroit, and as soon as Vanlerberghe talked about his pride in the band's work and in the band's fans, it was clear there is also pride in the band's roots.
"Growing up where we grew up definitely inspired and influenced us in some ways," he admitted. "There was a good music scene in Detroit when we were growing up and then there are the legends that have come from Detroit years before. Being able to grow up in a rock environment definitely played a part in who we wanted to be and what we found enjoyable."
Even the band's name is a nod to the attitude and work ethic that Detroit has long been known for. When Vanlerberghe and his bandmates started to think about what they wanted to call themselves, he said they decided to turn to their roots.
"We wanted to have a name that brought some kind of empowerment from it," he explained. "Being that we're from Detroit, if people are gonna recognize us, we wanted to give them a name that was positive and didn't dwell on the shit that we had to deal with."
That empowerment has resonated with fans worldwide over the last 10 years and it's clear that it's drawing in more and more new fans, too.
"We never thought that screaming at people on a stage would go this far...it's pretty insane."
Watch I Prevail's Official Music Video For "Deep End"
Eric Vanlerberghe joined Chuck Armstrong for Loudwire Nights on Thursday, May 11; the show replays online here, and you can tune in live every weeknight at 7PM ET or on the Loudwire app; you can also see if the show is available on your local radio station. Stream True Power at this location and then check out I Prevail's full tour schedule.