AXS: Before you and your brothers started playing music in school, did any of you play toy or beginner instruments around the house? As a drummer now, did you drive your parents crazy beating on stuff as a kid?
Zachary Lopez-Smith: All of us were infatuated with music at a young age, but we never really had toy instruments. We all would sing in the shower and do air guitar like any other kid. As a drummer I would tap on everything and I had this little decoration snare drum that was from a Christmas display given to me by my grandma. It had these little skinny chop stick drumsticks and I would play on that thing all the time before I got an actual snare drum. Our parents have always been supportive of us and even if we did drive them crazy they would never let us know. They would always tell us to practice more; probably so that we would get better and sound better. I have been known to annoy pretty much everyone in my family by just tapping on everything. I guess all that tapping is starting to pay off.
What are the advantages of working with your brothers? Are there any disadvantages?
The chemistry that we have with each other is definitely an advantage. It translates to how we coordinate on stage and offstage. There is a bond that is very hard to break between brothers. The only disadvantage would be that we know what makes each other tick. We are always asked if we fight a lot because we are brothers, but to be honest we get along really well. Obviously we have our squabbles like any other band. The thing about that is we know how to escalate it very quickly because we know each other so well. I couldn’t imagine a better situation than the one we are in though. We have always been close to each other so it is just natural that we are brothers and best friends in our band. I believe that bond can help separate us from other bands.
Can you recall for us the moment when you and your brothers realized that Travis was the perfect singer for First Decree?
Travis and Dane were the ones that started the band so I had no say in the matter. He has a voice, so that makes it easier to keep him around. Those two have been playing music together since they were in high school and I used to always hear them play together. I knew he had a good voice then and he has refined it since to sound even better. When they asked me to be in the band I knew that he was a good fit and that we had something different from all the other bands that were around us at the time. Most of the bands around us were screaming and we came onto the scene with a vocalist who would just sing. It helped us early on to get some shows with bigger bands.
Is there much of a rock music scene in Cheyenne? What was it like a few years ago when First Decree started out versus what it’s like now?
There are a lot of rock fans in Cheyenne, but there aren’t many rock shows there. The music scene goes through different phases. When the band was first started the music scene in Cheyenne was really thriving. There were a couple different venues and a promoter that would bring some national acts through. We would open up on some of those shows and get a taste of the big stage. Now there isn’t much of a music scene in Cheyenne. There are some metal bands that are trying to bring it up and we try to help as much as possible. We hope that our continued success can help breed some success in our local music scene and inspire some local kids to form bands.