Independent rock band Messer is out on tour now. The band’s tour comes on the heels of its latest album, Re:Turn Re:Visit Re:Mix. The band’s tour includes a performance later this month at one of the year’s biggest hard rock festivals, Metal in the Mountains. Front man Dereak Messer took some time to talk with this writer about the band’s tour and his view on making music, build fan bases and more. Maddox’s whole interview is featured here.
PS: I know you’ve probably been asked this a lot, but right off the bat, how does it feel to know you’re going to be getting back out in front of audiences again, after such a long time away from the stage?
DM: It feels amazing! We love performing for our fans and that long break made us appreciate those moments with our fans even more.
PS: There are a lot of reports about the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant. There were even reports this week about concerns about Lollapalooza being a “superspreader” event. So considering that are there any concerns in the backs of your minds about the possibility of live music being shut down again?
DM: Unfortunately yes. It’s scary as a touring band to even think it could happen again with so many venues being closed permanently after the first lockdown and the amount of people who lost their jobs.
PS: The last record that you all released was, for all intents and purposes, more one big re-mix record more than an album in the traditional sense. It was still very impressive in its own right. So what can you tell your fans about work on the band’s next record. I know you’re already out on tour. So is there any writing going on between shows?
DM: Yes. We actually have a new single already recorded. We are looking at an early October release for it, as well as a music video. As far as a full length album, I’m not sure we will do one of those for a while. With the life span of an album in the radio world you can only get maybe 3 singles before that album is considered old and they want something new. So then you are left with 7+ songs that could potentially never see the light of day.
PS: Speaking of touring, you are scheduled to perform at Metal in the Mountains this year. What was your first thought when you received word that you had been booked for the festival? It is going to put you all among some well-known company and plenty of other up-and-coming acts. What does it mean to you all to be featured alongside such a conglomerate?
DM: We were very excited to be chosen for this one! We played up there in West Virginia before for Octoberfest and met a ton of cool people and gained a lot of fans that still keep up with us. So to get the opportunity to go back up for this monstrous festival is a huge honor and we are stoked to share the stage with all these killer bands!
PS: Speaking of the festival’s lineup, which band(s) are you looking forward to seeing when you’re not on the stage? I know you guys recently played alongside Pop Evil at another date. They are one of my favorite bands, personally. Given they aren’t on the bill for MITM, but again, who would you really like to see?
DM: I’m really looking forward to seeing “A Killer’s Confession”. We toured with them before with Nonpoint. Also, Sunflower Dead. We toured with them when we were main support for Scott Stapp. But we are all super pumped for John 5 and Attila! And possibly finding a new favorite band out of all the other ones playing that we’ve never heard of. We have toured with Pop Evil a bunch. We just hung out with them in Dallas at show. We always have a lot of fun with them. Leigh always gets me up on stage with him to sing and has always been so down to earth and willing to pass on his experience. So definitely one of our favorite bands as well!
PS: Staying on that topic, looking again at the acts at this year’s Metal in the Mountains schedule, are there any that you would personally like to tour with that you haven’t yet?
DM: Well we haven’t toured with Soulfly or Sons of Texas. I think those could be some fun tours. We just like to tour with bands that don’t have big egos and who do their best to make it a fun tour.
PS: Knowing that Metal in the Mountains is going to be one of the biggest shows that Messer has played to date, does it add any pressure to the band? It leads at least me to feel like people are really starting to take notice of the band, which means you all really are getting the exposure that you deserve and will likely keep seeing that upward trend continue.
DM: Actually I think we are all pretty comfortable on those bigger shows. Sometimes the smaller shows seem to add a bit more pressure because they are real intimate and you tend to feed off the energy of those large crowds. But our motto has always been, “5 or 5000 they are still getting the same show.” But we do feel that upward momentum and will always promise to give everything we have at every show. Large or small!
PS: Have you started finalizing your set list for Metal in the Mountains? Which songs have you found generally get the best response from audiences in a live settings? Are there any songs that you haven’t tested out yet that you might test at the festival?
DM: We have been looking at the set. We try to start hard and build from there with our style of passion and music. Each one of our songs has its own emotion behind it and that keeps our set growing until the end. We typically start with our current single “Everything Beautiful” which wastes no time getting you moving from the beginning riff. “Throw it Away” and “ Simple Man “ always get the crowd moving too. But to be honest our “softer” song Lay Down Your Heart always pulls on the heart strings of the crowd if I’ve done my job right. We also get the crowd jumping with Fight of My Life. So you don’t want to miss a song lol We may add our new upcoming single. So you’ll have to wait and see that night.
PS: Changing gears some for a moment, independent bands like Messer have relied a lot on word of mouth, live shows, and of course online attention. To that end, what is your thought on the growing trend of digital streaming as a means of music distribution versus getting physical media in people’s hands. Have you seen more coverage through digital or physical means?
DM: Well we definitely have a lot of loyal fans that stream and come to live shows and buy our physical vinyl album. But cd’s are a thing of the past so you really have to rely on streams and we have been blessed that our fans have done that for us. But physical merch sales are extremely important for touring bands. So we have to constantly be reinventing our merch and trying to come up with fresh ideas and find the next great thing to put our name on.
PS: Getting back on topic and closing things up, (thank you again for the time), you guys are, again, among some good company at Metal in the Mountains. There are those out there who have said for years that rock is dead. I continue to disagree with that statement from so many naysayers. Looking at all the talented bands that you will be among at Metal in the Mountains, what do you think is the state of rock (and even hard rock and metal) today?
DM: Well for those who say Rock is Dead, haven’t been to a rock show lately. Rock music fans are some of the most loyal and down to earth fans. They aren’t buying into the corporate pop world where they are force fed the song of the week that had 15 producer and writers. I believe rock music still brings out the everyday man and woman that work hard and appreciate great music still and enjoy going to shows and experiencing it with other metal heads. Long live Rock n Roll!
More information on Messer’s tour and upcoming single is available online along with all of Messer’s latest news at: