After enjoying some success with First Decree a few years ago, brothers Zach, Isaac and Dane Lopez-Smith found themselves in need of a new vocalist after an amicable split with former frontman Travis James. Enter Matthew Nevitt, a singer who once toiled with Echovalve and DoryDrive. The match seems to be a solid fit, as they've chosen the moniker Message From Sylvia for their new band and have enjoyed some success of late with the single "Heart of War." We recently had a chance to speak with Nevitt about the band and got some insight on how he joined the group, their self-titled debut disc (which arrives today) as well as their current tour plans. Check out the chat below.

Thanks for the time Matthew. Many fans may recognize the Lopez-Smith brothers from their previous band, First Decree. Can you tell me what you were looking for in a new project and what about the work the brothers had done interested you?

Awesome question! At the time I had been deeply involved in writing for a different release. I received a phone call asking what I was doing and for my availability. The band’s manager at the time started explaining the unique situation. Once I felt I had a grasp on the project I asked to hear anything that had been done up until that point. Initially I was turned on by the song "Alive." I was able to visualize right away what I could bring to the project. It was well written, crafted and totally in my wheelhouse! I began a conversation with our producer Sahaj [Ticotin] while he sent other songs they had been working out. I immediately started spitballing ideas from my home studio and once we all knew no one was wasting anyone's time, we met in L.A. to knock this beast out.

"Heart of War" has been doing well here on Loudwire's Battle Royale Video Countdown. The song is about the breakdown of a relationship. Can you talk about where that song came from? Was it a therapeutic process getting that out? Do you know if the person who inspired it has heard it?

I am sure we all have our own take on the song! Lyrically it's written to be a bit open to interpretation. The relationship could be the internal battle we all encounter to choose the right things for ourselves in life, or it can be the proverbial "relationship" song that will hopefully give our listeners the strength they need to move on. Either way it is an empowering song and we are definitely proud of it! Also we're happy it’s doing so well on the Battle Royale video countdown. Thank you for that opportunity!

You worked on your self-titled album with Sahaj Ticotin, the singer from Ra. Can you talk about what made Sahaj the right guy for this album and what does it mean to have a producer who has that history fronting a band overseeing your disc?

Sahaj is what you could call a diamond in the rough. I believe his name will be all over the Billboard charts in multiple genres someday - that's the talent he possesses! Sahaj knows how to control a writing session. He understands and chooses the right words to justify any situation. He becomes a musical mentor. I really can't imagine working without Sahaj when it comes to Message From Sylvia! He is a part of the record just as much as we are.

Is there a song you feel is most representative of the disc and was perhaps the song that started the ball rolling for this album?

I feel we hit the nail on the head releasing "Heart of War". That song was the perfect representation of this record and this band! H.O.W. impacted radio strongly even before we had finished the album (laughs). The song did its job and definitely helped surface Message From Sylvia.

I see you guys have covered "Empire" as a bonus track. What made that the choice for a cover song?

The choice was simple for me -- they had already chosen it. I came in excited about the song. I decided to change the key, which changed everything for Sahaj, but I knew I couldn't give the character performance I envisioned without it being done. Without hesitation Sahaj gave me a rough mapping in the new key and I recorded the vocal to that. Very unorthodox, but no different than this entire process. I feel the bros picked a great song to cover and I'm happy to have been a part of it!

You're in the middle of playing some shows with RED. Do you have a past history with the band or is this the first time playing with them?

RED has always been on our “wish” list to tour with, and the bros would agree. Once we got the opportunity we jumped on it! We actually had to cut the tour with Eve to Adam short to make this tour possible. What an awesome decision we made. The shows have been incredible. All the bands kill and this tour package is as dynamic as they come. It's unfortunate that our tour is nearing the end, but hopefully we made a great impression and RED will ask to have us support again after their tour with Breaking Benjamin ends.

I know you played dates earlier this year as well. I know this may change daily, but off the new album, what are your favorite songs to play live?

"Right Here and Now" is THE crowd pleaser of the night. Definitely my favorite to perform. I feel like a headliner when we perform it, for real! I get chills every night… It has every element to make that huge impact on the audience. Other than "R.H.A.N." I would have to say "Never Wanna See You Again" and "Army of One" follow closely. They all energize the crowd to the point you forget you're just the support act.

Beyond "Heart of War" and the current dates with RED, can you tell me what we should be on the lookout for during the rest of 2017? Is there a plan for the next single/video?

Currently "Right Here and Now" is impacting radio. The single is just gaining steam, but has been shown an overwhelming response from PD's all across the nation! The band has plans with to tour with Never Say Die starting May 10 and running into July. We are really looking forward to revisiting all the markets we have broken into across the entire USA on this two month stretch. So to your readers out there, make sure you catch a date in your city! Come hang with us at the merch booth, and come buy us a drink or 50. We're just a bunch of good dudes who appreciate our fans and good conversation. Let us know how our album impacted you. Story time is the best! Thanks again for giving myself and the band such great exposure and we look forward to working with Loudwire again soon!

Many thanks to Message From Sylvia vocalist Matthew Nevitt for the interview. The band's self-titled debut disc arrives in stores today (April 7) and you can order the album via Amazon and iTunes. As stated, the band is wrapping up a tour with Red. See all of their scheduled tour dates here. You can also keep up with the band's activities via their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and official website

Message From Sylvia, "Heart of War"


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