The sun is shining, birds are chirping, kids are playing in the background, and the tattooed dude in black looks like the inverse of all the laughter and radiance that engulfs him on this fall afternoon.
But then Shawn Zyvoloski speaks, and suddenly, he’s practically indivisible from his surroundings.
He sounds enthused, happy-go-lucky and relieved all at once.
“All these things are happening now,” he says with a smile, sitting in the Town Center courtyard on a recent Tuesday. “But it was very slow going.”
Zyvoloski’s band, the equally metallic and pop-informed Survive This! recently announced that it signed with Epitaph Records.
But it’s been a long four years leading up to the release of the band’s first record, “The Life That You’ve Chosen,” which comes out Oct. 29.
“We were just ready to throw in the towel,” Zyvoloski says of the group’s struggles before landing the deal. “Even doing the record, I had to leave work for three months, so I had no money, nothing. I finally came back, and I’m working at a deli at a grocery store, trying to make ends meet and pay back all this debt I just made. To finally be able to see things happen, it’s a really good feeling.”
And it all began, really, with a fortuitous car ride.
Two years back, Zyvoloksi’s childhood friend, Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke, was in town as the band embarked on its first headlining tour. Radke asked Zyvoloski if he could give him a lift to run some errands. Zyvoloksi was playing his iPod on shuffle as they were driving around when a Survive This! tune came up.
“He goes, ‘Who is?’ ” Zyvoloksi recalls, noting that his cousin and band drummer Bill Sanderson was also along for the ride. “We were like, ‘Oh it’s just something we did over the weekend.’ He was like, ‘Do you have any more?’ ”
Radke dug what he heard so much that he immediately sent the songs over to Epitaph founder/president Brett Gurewitz, who also liked the tunes.
Three months later, Radke returned home from touring and told the band he was interested in producing its work. Survive This! hit the studio for a trial session and wrote and recorded the title track to “The Life That You’ve Chosen” in one day.
Shortly thereafter, Gurewitz signed the band, which is rounded out by bassist Doug Horn, guitarist-singer Damile Ingram and guitarist AJ Veloz.
Their debut is a pick-me-up disguised as a punch in the face, heavy with steel-belted riffs and growling, Orc-angry vocals on verses that lead to supersized, radio-friendly choruses.
These scene vets, who are finally getting their moment, aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel so much as themselves.
“We’re not changing anything. We’re doing things that are out there,” Zyvoloski says, “but we’re doing it our way.”