Local Creatives Highlight: Virtue

Austin is a city of creative souls, and we all create in different ways. Through creation, comes emotional release, and a place within all of us where we can truly connect with ourselves. For this months Local Creative Highlight, I wanted to cover the band Virtue, a little bit about their genre of music and the community surrounding it, and their incredibly talented photographer, Gabriel Andre, founder of Pillajer Productions. Virtue is an up and coming band in the Hardcore or Metalcore genre whose first EP, “No Absolutes” held a top 200 position for the entire first weekend it was released and reached #64 on the metal charts during that time. They played many shows around Texas prior to the release, but reached these chart numbers with zero promotion through ads. I reached out to the band to ask them a few questions.

By Judy Carroll

From left to right: Michael Fischer (Mikey)-Drums, Christian McGahan (Churst)- Vocals, Bryce Holloway (Bryson)-Guitar, Chase Casillas (Boomer)- Bass. Photo by Gabriel Andre, Pillajer Productions.

From left to right: Michael Fischer (Mikey)-Drums, Christian McGahan (Churst)- Vocals, Bryce Holloway (Bryson)-Guitar, Chase Casillas (Boomer)- Bass. Photo by Gabriel Andre, Pillajer Productions.

J: Do you consider your music genre to extend past being a genre and being more of a community as well? What exactly is your genre of music called?

Christian : “We are a Metalcore, Hardcore band and yeah it is also a community as well.”

After getting to know these guys and learning more about their shows, I definitely see a tight community within this genre of music. People from other cities like Dallas and Houston travel to see Virtue play, and if you’re not familiar with Hardcore shows, fans definitely share an interesting way of enjoying the music, but more on that later.

J: How and when was the band started?

Christian: “I wanted to write positive, heavy music for all my friends to jam. It was started in January 2018 and that’s when we decided this was something we wanted to do and around March we started getting really serious about writing.”

Photo by Pillajer Productions

Photo by Pillajer Productions

J: What are some things about the community/genre that really resonate with you and make it special to you?

Christian: “It’s the energy. I think that’s the biggest thing for me. The energy and the support from friends, it just feels like everybody just really loves the music and it’s exciting.”

Mikey: “Man it’s just powerful, and it’s a good time. Everyone's just having a good time and lettin’ loose. It’s just great and spiritual, without being spiritual...sometimes”

Chase: “I really love how high energy it is, it’s a very participatory concert compared to a lot of other genres. A lot of movement and a lot of high energy.”

Bryce: “I like the violence. I like the high energy and the violence, but everybody for the most part is still friends at the end of the day.”

Mosh pits and violence are definitely very prominent at these shows and I wanted to see what crazy things the band has seen while performing. For context, Crowd Killing is when someone in the audience dances alongside the mosh pit, hitting as many people in the crowd as they can.

J: What the craziest thing to ever happen at your shows? Explain the mosh pits and crowd killing and general acts that go on.

Christian: “The crowd killing usually ends in fights, so there's usually fighting that breaks out during the set, or somebody breaks their nose or their arm. That side of things can get scary when there's blood all on the ground and it can be hard to invite other people to the shows that aren’t familiar with that because you want to make sure they don’t walk into something that totally catches them off guard.”

Chase: “Someone broke an an arm AND a nose at our last set. I’ve seen the crowd killing and the mosh pits grow from more of just pushing to now wanting to throw limbs at each other and you can tell it’s definitely a release for the people who really get into it, but it's always a really good mix of people just watching or participating”

Mikey: “The crowd killing and fighting just kind of comes with the culture. It happens. There's people swinging so there's gonna be fighting and that’s just part of it baby! If you don’t like it, get out! But it’s all fun and games, it started a long time ago during the punk era, so it’s been around for a long time. Just how it is.”

Photo by Pillajer Productions

Photo by Pillajer Productions

J: Is your community very accepting of all people?

Chase: “As far as lifestyles and what you do in your personal life, the community is very accepting. Although like any other genre or music scene, there are different cliques and crews divided by personal interests.”

Now I can’t say that personally I find myself listening to heavy music like this, but after listening to Virtue, they play music that’s a lot catchier and follows more of a melody than other heavier bands I’ve heard. They also promote really positive messages in their music and I think that’s really important.

J: What sets your music apart from other bands?

Christian: “One of the biggest things we can say is that we do write with more of a positive aspect and that does set us apart. This typically is an angrier style of music that can be really negative. They’re writing about their problems but it usually seems to end with negative outcomes and I wanted to go with something different and just be as positive as possible. So I think that’s maybe where we’re different.”

Bryce: “When writing the songs, I like to keep it pretty simple, but also add different aspects of different styles of Metalcore and Hardcore.”

Photo by Pillajer Productions

Photo by Pillajer Productions

Getting to talk with these guys was so great and I loved getting to meet more of the people who make up this incredible city of creativity. You can listen to their EP, “No Absolutes” on Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. Click here for the Spotify link!

Fun fact for you guys, Post Malone actually used to be in a metalcore band called Ashley’s Arrival and remains a fan of the music to this day.

While meeting the band, I also had the pleasure of meeting their photographer, Gabriel Andre. He is the founder of Pillajer Productions, his photography and video business. (Instagram @pillajerproductions and @pillajer)

Here are some of my favorites from his collection.


Click here for more of his incredible work. Be sure to keep an eye out, I have a feeling Virtue is going to do big things! Stay hardcore, my friends.