DAMON TATE (OF VIRTUE): “What Hasn’t Changed Is Why We Started This Band And Why We Continue To Do This”

Of Virtue band photo
Photo: Alex Bemis

Michigan Metalcore outfit Of Virtue are set to release their new EP August 12th entitled Sinner. The band’s guitarist Damon Tate took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s upcoming EP, plans for the rest of the year, memories of the band’s first European tour, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The band recently released two singles entitled “Sinner” and “Hypocrite,” how has the feedback been so far?

Tate: We really couldn’t be more excited about the feedback from both songs, but especially “Sinner.” It was a “calculated shot in the dark” if you will. High risk, high reward. To put something so foreign to our previous music out and to be met with such an awesome reception off the jump … it definitely makes the last two years off the grid that much more worth it.

MER: How would you compare those two songs to the band’s previous material?

Tate: While both songs are a step in a different direction we took on any previous release and comparing them would be very hard, “Hypocrite” is probably the closest to something you might find on our 2019 album, What Defines You. However “Sinner” is a complete departure from that and it’s definitely the most experimental song we have done to date as musicians. Some of that might have to do with us working with a new producer, going to the studio with a completely blank slate, no pre-pro ideas, and just being open to whatever comes next.

MER: Do you feel like those two songs give fans an idea of what to expect from the band’s next full length album?

Tate: I believe there are definitely some twists and turns left. Don’t set your expectations just yet, we’re only two songs in!

MER: What do you see as plans for the band for the rest of the year?

Tate: Our next single “Cold Blooded” and our new EP, titled after the lead single of course, are both out via Arising Empire on August 12th. That’s first and foremost. After those drop, we’re working on touring later in the year – hopefully around the time this gets published we will have some more news on that!

MER: Is there anyone that you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Tate: Oh, of course! Some artists we’d really like to join out on the road would include Bad Omens, Wage War, I Prevail, Sevendust, and Hollow Front. Obviously the list goes on, but for your sake and the readers – we’ll slim it down to these. For the first four, we’re genuinely fans of the bands, everything they do, their incredible live performances – we’d love to be a part of it. As for Hollow Front – not only is it that, but they’re another Michigan band that’s making waves and we’re so happy to see that as a fellow Michigan band. So to be out there with the homies day after day, that’s what makes touring fun. Hollow Front, if you’re reading this, let’s do it.

MER: Since the band’s formation in 2008, what are some of the changes you’ve noticed within the band?

Tate: Aside from the obvious such as lineup, sound, and so on … less obvious would be perspective and what we want to be doing. We wanted to do more than play at our local hometown venues. We wanted to see the world and meet new friends thanks to the music. It took a lot of self reflection and here we are. However, what hasn’t changed is why we started this band and why we continue to do this day after day.

MER: For anyone that’s unfamiliar with Of Virtue, how would you describe your sound?

Tate: Heavy enough to hurt your neck, gentle enough to help you massage it.

MER: What are some of your favorite memories from touring?

Tate: Directly one day after the bombing of Ariana Grande’s Manchester show, we were set to play at Satan’s Hollow in the same city however the show ended up being cancelled due to obvious circumstances. That being said, it being on such short notice, fans were still allowed in and we were allowed to perform. The thing that made it truly special was meeting a long time friend who I met on an internet forum (Sputnik Music) only for him to show me his full arm sleeve of our album artwork. This was our first time touring Europe, and our first time meeting as friends. These types of things are always humbling.

MER: We’re halfway through 2022, what have been some of your favorite releases so far this year?

Tate: I’ll bet you’ll never expect this one … Bad Omens’ new record The Death Of Peace Of Mind. But really, a few other standouts include Joji’s new single “Glimpse Of Us” as well as Malevolence’s new album, Malicious Intent. While Joji makes me feel warm inside, Malevolence is on the absolute diametrically opposite side of the spectrum with songs so hard they make me want to fight someone. That all being said, a band that really surprised me this year was Bleed From Within. I should say that while I’ve been aware of them here or there, the new album Flesh & Stone is a fucking monster. Riffs for days.

MER: Which album from the band would you recommend to a new fan and why?

Tate: Probably our last album, What Defines You. I’d even add to start with songs like “Thanks For Nothing” and “Alone” which serve as a good introduction to where we’re headed.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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