Growing Pains

With the band's sophomore release, 'When Given Time to Grow,' on the horizon, Conveyer is poised to bring their punk rock ethic to a growing number of fans. Now that they're signed to a major label, vocalist Danny Adams is working through what it really means to keep it real.

By
Photo by Errick Easterday

“Being Christians in a band that is open and transparent about their faith doesn’t make you five pastors in a band whose relationship with God and personality should be scrutinized.”

I first met the guys in Conveyer at a small bar in Indianapolis. We had just come from Audiofeed Festival and were staying the night in town before the band joined the second leg of a tour with Strengthen What Remains, Comrades and Household.

It was here that I was introduced to the band’s vocalist, Danny Adams.

In the conversation, one thing became abundantly clear: This guy loves life. For Adams, traveling the world in a hardcore band still seems like the dream, not the reality. In the last few months, his new band signed a contract with Victory Records, successfully toured across the U.S. a number of times and recently filmed their first professional music video. The next milestone comes on Sept. 4 when the band will release their sophomore album, When Given Time to Grow.


For starters, tell me about Conveyer.
Conveyer is the melodic hard rock vessel by which five crucial dudes from the United States of America trek across the nation, hanging out with mosh pitters and keeping it real.

When did you join the group?
In the spring of 2014. Conveyer’s original vocalist decided to leave the band to pursue married life and his career.

And you’re now signed to Victory Records. What led you to them?
After spending the better part of a year shopping through a handful of other labels and weighing options, Victory approached us with interest in picking us up for our sophomore release. It has been a great experience.

They had you guys film a music video a few weeks ago. Tell me about that experience.
It ruled. The shoot lasted 18 hours or something like that. Definitely an awesome, professional experience. We got to shoot at an abandoned grain silo in Chicago with a ton of cool graffiti. … We actually shot part of another video that same day.

That’s rad. It was filmed right before a tour and a few festival performances. What were some fun moments that happened on the road?
There was a prank planned all tour to pie one of the guys (in the band). At the end of the tour, it was decided that I’m the better sport of the bunch and that I’d “take it” better. So I got a pie in the face on the last night (laughs).

I got a $10 Chipotle gift card in exchange, so that’s cool.

“No matter where we play, whether it’s a greasy bar in the armpit of the city or in a church or a festival awning or a deli/pro wrestling combo restaurant, we meet a lot of kids who say that they came to see us specifically.” Danny Adams

(LaughsTour dates have been a booked at strange blend of venues from basements to hole-in-the-wall venues to large Christian festivals. How do you react to the different crowds?
We’ve actually only played one basement show since (drummer Daniel) Glover and I joined (Conveyer) last year. It was our third show and (we played) in our bass player’s basement in Minnesota where most of us lived at the time. That show was actually crazy. That was only my second time seeing Servants and my first time seeing Comrades. It ruled. Township was also dope.

Sorry, that didn’t even answer your question.

I guess, by now, we’re all used to how different shows feel based on crowd reaction. I don’t know. No matter where we play, whether it’s a greasy bar in the armpit of the city or in a church or a festival awning or a deli/pro wrestling combo restaurant, we meet a lot of kids who say that they came to see us specifically. We don’t take that for granted, so we usually leave each show making some friends.

Side note: Christian festivals are a culture shock for a touring band.

How so?
It’s mainly a culture shock because the mainstream or social status quo of American Christianity is so far removed from youth subculture/counterculture. When we play festivals like Ichthus or Sonshine, we get treated by both attendees and staff like we’re in a band that is really prominent in the Christian music market even though most of the people who don’t watch our set have no idea who we are. Not a complaint; it’s just interesting.

It’s also a setting where we tend to meet a lot of different kinds of people, and that can naturally involve meeting Christians who have a set of beliefs that none of us were necessarily raised with.

Seeing diversity is rad, though. I’m glad you’ve been able to see a variety of audiences. What is the strangest fan interaction you can remember?
Hmm… For me, personally, other than the awesome youth group kids at Christian festivals who run up for pictures or autographs, I’d say our friend Tommy from the East Coast. He’s a younger dude, and his father drove him hours to see us play in a basement in front of 20 people once. He rules. That’s not a strange interaction, but it’s the heaviest one for me just because he’s an awesome kid and treats us like he’s our biggest fan, in a really good way.

Conveyer - Photo by Errick Easterday

Right on. Being in a band means you’ll have people at shows who look up to you whether you like it or not. Some will be offended if you drink, swear or don’t live up to the image they have of you. How did you carry this weight?
That’s an awesome question and something I’ve dealt with for almost five years now but even more so in the past couple months since we announced our signing and gained a bigger following.

First, I’d have to point out my distaste for the Christian music industry: lack of intimacy. Being an economy that perpetuates the entertainment business, the industry is a commodity that generates revenue because of musicians and the people who support them. This isn’t one big ministry program. There are shady people with shady ethics, some of them identifying as Christians and some not. The public, for lack of a better word, does not understand this. Being Christians in a band that is open and transparent about their faith doesn’t make you five pastors in a band whose relationship with God and personality should be scrutinized.

That being said, I haven’t navigated this weight. And it’s alright with me. I’m more content with being who I’ve discerned is myself without catering to and appeasing presumptions made by people I’ve never met because they like my band and think my image of holiness needs to coincide with their standards of being above reproach. If I’m able to navigate it in any way, it’s to have discernment of a place and time for everything. Everyone in Conveyer is well above the legal drinking age and on numerous occasions have shared beers with each other in legal circumstances. No one in my band is an alcoholic. In fact, I think I’m in a band with the four most responsible people I’ve ever met. But kids who grow up connecting their spiritual identity with subculture can often allow themselves to be let down by bands strictly because they’re not straight edge for Christ, whatever that means.

Straight edge is important, I just don’t find it to be a vital milestone in living life with Christ.

Then some fans get offended by a band swearing.
That’s an issue within my band in the sense that we’re all grown men who were raised in hardcore punk and metal scenes. Some of us were raised by parents who didn’t allow foul language in the house, some of us were. Some of us have had the calling to emulate and be transformed by Christ for a shorter time than others.

My father died a 65-year-old Special Forces captain who saw the end of the Great Depression and the Vietnam War. I can tell you now that cursing wasn’t taboo in my upbringing. Today, I value both good manners and a sense of humor when I’m surrounded by friends and strangers alike, and I’ll leave it at that.

Photo by Dustin Smith

There’s definitely the view that a “Christian band” needs to be a “missionary band.”
I think a lot of bands really feed the missionary-touring-band-image thing to a laughable extent. Not that I don’t value important qualities we’re called to naturally mirror via Christ. I really do. It’s just eye opening when you know everyone’s favorite band on a business level and you see how people act when their Christcore fans aren’t present. Disheartening, but money does things.

I’m not trying to make people jaded or think that everyone in a Christian band is an outlandish fake. I just encourage people to consider our humanity in all situations. It’s a good way to stop romanticizing the people you look up to and an even better way to give them grace.

I love that. Social media probably plays a role in showing fans a band’s true colors unintentionally.
Oh dude, social media definitely does. I’ve been an Internet moron since I was 13. Only in the past few years have people started really taking what I say on the Internet to heart, in mostly good ways. I’ve learned that I can’t always joke around on the internet because 90 percent of my followers on social media now are people I’ve never met who don’t know my heart and aren’t capable of knowing whether or not what I’m saying is from a good place or a place of humor. There’s a Knuckle Puck song called “Transparency” that comes to mind. There isn’t anything social about it.

“Being Christians in a band that is open and transparent about their faith doesn’t make you five pastors in a band whose relationship with God and personality should be scrutinized.” Danny Adams

Are there any bands you find yourself looking up to, as in musically, spiritually, socially?
I’m not a musician, but since I was a kid I’ve been inspired by some, for sure, whether it’s musically or socially or just how they’re carried. Sum 41, Comeback Kid, Aesop Rock, Life In Your Way, Norma Jean, Refused, Trapped Under Ice, Pennywise, The Chariot, Black Flag, Hatebreed, Billy Talent, Botch, The Shins, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Foo Fighters, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson. I don’t know man, I love music.

No list of influences is complete without Tim McGraw and Black Flag.
Tim McGraw is an amazing songwriter. So was Michael Jackson. I love a lot of hip-hop and R&B from the past 30 years, but I don’t dare talk about that in interviews because I’m a good Christian boy who is only influenced by Scott Stapp and Lecrae or whomever people are listening to right now.

Scott Stapp, Conveyer 2016 tour.
Three-fifths of this band would consider that tour a dream come true.

Victory and Wind Up Records better read this.
Nothing against Scott or Creed, selfie bombing him at Sonshine last year was hilarious. I am just in awe that my bandmates actually like Creed enough to say they like Creed now as adults. At first I was like, “Are you guys just saying this to be ironically relevant to lame music?” and they just flipped me off or something.

(LaughsJust two more questions. First, how have you seen spirit-filled hardcore change since you’ve been in a band?
I see the difference in two ways. First, it’s become less “cool” and appealing as a whole. Which is okay with me; the less people identifying as Christians solely because of music subculture, the better. That, and I’m uninterested in the Christian music industry despite the fact that my band is probably marketed toward it more than I realize.

Second, it’s changed in the sense that people who have been in this for at least the past five years can definitely take notice that the fellowship involved in the spirit-filled hardcore community is the fuel to the fire we call our ministry and calling. The people I look up to the most and have been poured into by the most are (largely) older men and women I’ve met touring who have been enjoying punk, metal and hardcore subculture as the mode by which they are called to love people. If that makes sense.

Good deal. To close this interview off, give me your best mosh call.
My best mosh call? Hmm… “Guac is extra!”

Conveyer was posted on August 27, 2015 for HM Magazine and authored by .