It is always reassuring to see a Christian metal band sticking to the roots of their faith, and metalcore outfit Exiting the Fall does that very thing. I got the chance to set up an emailed interview with the band in which we discussed their history, challenging stereotypes within the metal scene and remaining true to your faith.
MEB: Could you guys give a history about the band? How did you end up forming?
ETF: Exiting the Fall formed around 2006 when our old vocalist, John Cissel, and current vocalist, Matt Vacaro, met at Lexington Christian Academy. They decided to start a band and after a series of names, stuck with Exiting the Fall. A few years later, the band went through several member changes and within the span of a couple months, Filipe Inacio, Kevin Klein and Jon Miller all joined the band. Within a couple years, Jon decided to leave the band and Matt, who was the guitarist at the time, decided to become the vocalist and Filipe, who was the bassist, took Matt’s spot on guitar. After another member change, DJ Williams joined the band in 2010 on bass after moving up to Boston from Pittsburgh and we have had the same line up ever since.
People have that stereotype that metal is this aggressive and evil genre that condones and encourages violence. What is your take on that stereotype?
Evil is in the heart, not in a genre of music, first and foremost. If people believe that metalcore or hardcore or metal is evil, they might want to take a look at any other genre as well. I have heard more violent things said in a rap song than most hardcore songs. Metal is a style of music that makes people feel the need to move around, and it’s all in good fun.
There is also that delightful stereotype of metal being “satanic”. Has this stereotype ever affected the way people perceive your music?
Yes, for sure. People are thrown aback when they meet us and hear we play metal, but what would make a song satanic? The music itself is just noise, so it would have to be the lyrics. If we are singing/screaming about God, how is that satanic?
People are often shocked to hear that there is such a thing as a Christian metal band and cannot believe it due to the aforementioned stereotypes. Are you guys here to challenge those stereotypes?
I think there are plenty of Christian Metal bands, but I think ultimately, we didn’t form as a band to prove anyone wrong about stereotypes. We are a band that feels called to love each person as they are, as Christ loves us regardless of whether they listen to our music genre. We try to let our walk do the talking and let people come to their own individual convictions. If people have a problem with our music, we gently try to change their mind, but if they don’t change their mind, they are entitled to that opinion.
You guys form part of the Christian metalcore scene. This is a huge scene within the overall metal scene with bands like Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red and As I Lay Dying. It is also a scene that has exploded into success in the past few years. Why do you think that is?
Christian metal has become a success because it is where God wants to be, he will provide. For example, in Acts, the Holy Spirit convicted and saved thousands of people at Pentecost. Where the Holy Spirit is, you will see growth; however, in that growth, you will also find that there are some who aren’t really in it for the right reasons. There are a lot of Christian Metal bands who many may have started off as genuine, but many have fallen to the ways of the world.
One thing that is notable in the metal scene is that fans aren’t always open to discovering new bands and tend to be very critical of new bands. Has it been difficult to gain a foothold in the metal scene?
Getting the word out there is one of the toughest things. It seems that everyone has a block set up where they are constantly tearing down bands because they are either jealous or spiteful of the other bands’ success. The metal scene has changed and lacks brotherhood as it used to and the introduction of social media and YouTube has not made things easier because there are more and more bands trying to do the same thing. The analogy I like to use is that there are 50,000 lemonade stands on the same street and every one of them is trying to convince whoever walks by to drink their lemonade. People have to put their guard up or they’ll be drinking lemonade all day, and what’s to say that one is better than the other? This makes it very hard to get the word out.
Where do you guys see the metal scene going in the next decade?
We see the metal scene going back from the overproduced to more natural-sounding music. People are starting to look for musicians who can sound as good live as they do on CD while putting on an amazing show. Local bands will get poorer and bigger bands will get richer. The middle bands will have an extremely difficult time finding success. It’s just the unfortunate nature of the industry and the impending future.
Besides your faith, what influences your music?
Writing music and lyrics that mean something and are passionate. We just want to be real, so we write music that is real and honest and we connect with people that way. If we don’t mean it, we don’t write it.
Are there any bands that have played a role in shaping your musical style?
We are really influenced by As Cities Burn‘s Son I Loved You At Your Darkest CD as well as Underoath and August Burns Red. We look to those bands because in a scene where every band seems to sound the same, they somehow made a way to create music that stands out from what others have created and no one has been able to replicate them since. That is truly inspiring.
Your lyrics reflect a lot of brokenness and seeking salvation and sanctuary in Christ. Do you have any message for people who may be feeling similar things or just feel lost in general?
We write lyrics about how we are broken because we are broken. We are nothing without Jesus Christ. If you can relate to our lyrics in that you feel broken, Jesus is the answer. Our music is meant to show that no matter how broken or far you feel from life and reality, Jesus is the answer and he is enough.
What do you guys stand for as a band?
We stand for the Love of Jesus and the ability to love everyone as they are, just as Jesus loved us.
If there is one thing that you wish people would take from your music, what would it be?
Live a life where you are honest with yourself and your situations. The more you hide, the more you will find that secrets are where the devil dwells. It’s okay to be vulnerable because being vulnerable means that you can begin to strengthen yourself where you need it.
What plans does Exiting the Fall have for the future?
We have a lot planned for the future, but not a lot we can talk about right now. Most are ideas that we will solidify in the near future so be on the lookout!
Finally, sum each other up in five words.
Matt – Spreadsheets and Numbers
Filipe – Brazilian and a Coffee Fanatic
Kevin – the baby of the band, but acts the oldest
DJ – future CIA agent
Jon – Food, sleep, drums. The guy knows drums.