Meet Issues, The Metalcore Band Inspired By Katy Perry
Issues' Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn visit MTV UK HQ to talk Katy, Miley and music...
It’s not your typical alt rockers that openly profess their love for pop music, but when MTV UK sat down with Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn from Issues, a six-piece metalcore band from Atlanta, the conversation was peppered with references to pop greats, from Michael Jackson to Miley Cyrus.
Because, despite the tattoos and guitars, the band have perfected a pop/metal hybrid inspired by artists ranging from Linkin Park to Katy Perry. “Our band started with me and my DJ,” explains bleach-blonde vocalist Tyler. “We were just writing pop songs and we are both fans of rock and metal.”
“And we started y’know, meshing a little hip hop into it, but we wanted to write heavier music ‘cause some of the songs were too dark for pop. So we started adding metal to it - we’re obsessed with bands like Linkin Park and the early 2000s era - and we wanted to kind of bring like, that vibe of hip hop and metal back to the scene.”
The result is thrashing guitars and screaming verses interspersed with Tyler’s catchy choruses. “I grew up singing R&B and our bass player’s really soulful and he likes funk fusion and everything, so we just put all of our tastes together and that’s kinda how the Issues sound was created,” Tyler explains.
Fellow vocalist Michael (he does the screaming) agrees: “We have the diversity. If we want to do a lighter song, we can. If we want to do a heavier song, we can. It’s kinda cool there’s not like, a defining genre. So we have that versatility.”
Which is why, where most metal acts would shy away from talking pop, Tyler is happy to name-check his favourite chart-topping acts, calling Kesha a “great songwriter” and praising Miley’s “incredible” voice. He even admits that, when it comes to songwriting, he takes inspiration from Katy Perry.
“My mentality on the pop side is, I try to be as catchy as, like, Katy Perry,” he says unashamedly. “You know, every song on her record is a hit. Every song on her last record was a hit.”
That’s not to say the group are ready to swap their guitars for candy-coloured costumes just yet though. “We would like to be the ones to hopefully cross over and bring some of that edge back to music,” says Tyler, recalling the rockier, more guitar based pop music of the early 2000s.
The band are also aware that alternative acts tend to have a longer shelf life (“I want this to definitely be a career band,” says Michael. “I’m here for the long run, I think we all are.") and they anticipate their sound will change as they grow.
“We’re not gonna continue to write the same record over and over, the same sound over and over just to please this little group of people,” acknowledges Tyler. “The real fans will be cultural as well and their tastes will change as the band changes.”
However much the band changes, though, no doubt they will continue to push musical boundaries. As Tyler puts it: “Issues is always gonna have Issues’ sound.”