For those who do not know you, can you state your name and your role in the band.
Dakota Shelton – Vocals/Guitar
Brandon Downing – Guitar/Vocals
Rylie Downey – Bass/Vocals
Sage Weeber – Drums
How did the band start and how long have you known each other?
Dakota: Me and Rylie had a ton of mutual friends and somehow ended up following each other on Twitter, so I tweeted at him in November of 2012 and asked if he want to play bass in a band with me and my friend at the time. He said yes, even though he had never picked up a bass before and he’s been in the band ever since.
Rylie: And then, like, four months later we decided we wanted to be an actual band, in order to do that we kinda needed a drummer. So we went to good old Craigslist and went through and messaged our soon to be first drummer. He came over and jammed sometime in March of 2013, we loved him and he joined on the spot. Then a few short weeks later, we met Brand and he learned the songs and it was perfect. Our drummer had to part ways for personal reasons, so during the recording of False Hope we had a bit of a drought with shows. We were starting to lose hope when Sage got in contact with us and made it apparent he wanted to help out. After a few weeks of talking, we finally met and jammed and we’ve all been together ever since.
Why did you decide to call your band A Better Reality?
Brandon: A Decent Reality was already taken.
Rylie: The name comes from the All Time Low song: “Somewhere In Neverland.” The band that really brought us together was All Time Low. We all really looked up to them growing up, and it’ll always be nice reminding people where we started, no matter how much our style changes.
Has there been a moment in your career that has stood out the most?
Dakota: We played a sold out show with Breathe Carolina last year, which was super cool. The crowd was crazy and we gained a ton of new fans from it. It blows me away every time I see people getting really into us.
Rylie: For me, any DIY show where kids in our scene are digging us is crazy to me. When we first started out, the Des Moines scene was very hardcore heavy, after a while of us being around a lot of other alternative bands surfaced. It’s a super cool thing for me to think that we maybe had a part in making a difference in our scene. I don’t know, I really did the little stuff.
You have an EP out entitled: “False Hope Is What I Live For,” what do you want to say about it?
Dakota: We’re all super proud of it. I think it’s a great transition into the stuff we have in the works now. We’re starting to move away from a traditional pop punk sound towards a darker, more emo sound. As far as my favorite song goes, I’d have to say “Confidence” is definitely at the top. I wrote it about a personal struggle of mine, so every time I see that someone can relate to it in some way, it makes my day.
Rylie: “Set Your Sails” is the song I’m the proudest of. I wrote it entirely by myself, and that was a big step for me still being somewhat new to writing. I wasn’t big into writing until about three or four years ago, which is a shame because it’s been a great outlet for me. I have so many personal influences, its ridiculous, from My Chemical Romance to Knuckle Put to Being As An Ocean. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
This is an ongoing discussion right now on LivingTheVanLife: How would you try to survive a zombie apocalypse and who in the band would survive the longest?
Brandon: After much discussion, we decided as a band that we would loot as much dehydrated food and steal as many guns possible. Dakota would for sure live the longest because of his incredible talent of running and hiding. Also, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually eat.
Rylie: Sage would definitely be the last to go. He’s a wanderer, so we seem to lose him every time we hand out. But on the other hand, he’s so wise and zen that he would probably go into isolation and be perfectly fine.
Do you feel more people need to check out their local music scene?
Rylie: Anyone who is a fan of music in general needs to check out and support their local scene. The next big thing could be right under your nose and you would never know unless you look. I love my local scene more than life itself, and I feel bad for anyone who is missing out on it. I have the privilege to call so many incredible talented people my friends.
What can fans expect next from A Better Reality?
Brandon: This is going to be such a big year for us. We’re writing nonstop and shooting a music video for “Confidence” in a couple weeks. We’re also touring with our friends in Square States in June and we will definitely have new music out by the end of the year. This is only the beginning. We have no plans of slowing down.
Why should people check out your band?
Brandon: Well, we have good hair…
Rylie: AND we are 200% dedicated to what we do. We love every bit of what we do. Passion goes a long way and I think people really pick up on that. Our band is solid proof of that. In the short time that we’ve been a band we’ve put two records out, created buzz all over Iowa and surrounding areas, played with some of our favorite bands, and personally have obtained goals that I never thought I would accomplish. We’re on our way to being a hybrid of what everyone loves, musically. And our best stuff is yet to come. People should definitely keep their eye on us. I promise we won’t disappoint.
Before we go, is there anything else you want to add?
Rylie: Well, the essentials. Follow us on Twitter (@OfficalABR) and Instagram (abetterreality), like us on Facebook, become our friend on Snapchat (OfficialABR, we’re hilarious), follow us on Tumblr (@OfficialABR), subscribe to us on YouTube (OfficialABR), all that jazz.
Dakota: Also, you can download all of our music for free from our Bandcamp: abetterrealityband.bandcamp.com You won’t regret it.