When Katie Cole attended the Lima branch of Ohio State a couple years ago, she planned on majoring in business and minoring in music. Now, at 22, music is her business as Cole travels the world drumming in her metalcore band Dangerkids.
But it wasn’t that easy. When she first started her collegiate career, Cole already felt the pressure of being a full-time student on top of being a musician.
Cole found herself in a cycle of playing shows, rushing back to campus to study and take exams, then leaving the next day to more shows. After only attending school for half a year, she took a break from academics
“When I stopped going, I was really disappointed in myself and my family was hard on me,” Cole said.
Cole then turned all of her time and attention onto the band she was in at the time, called This Love. Prior to This Love, Cole was in another band from the Canton area. She would spend six hours driving back and forth from Canton to Lima just for practice. During that time in her life, she said she found herself depressed from working at a fast food restaurant and living in a typical, run-down college apartment. She said the only thing that brought her happiness was performing with her band on the weekend.
Eventually, bassist Jake Bonham asked Cole to join Dangerkids in Toledo in 2012. Cole said the shorter commute was a definite plus to joining the band.
Afterward, rapper and singer Tyler Smyth and screamer and singer Andy Bane worked together to create Dangerkids, which recently added guitarist Alex Asch before they were set to go on tour for the summer. Coincidentally, Bonham shot a music video for Asch’s former band Cinema Sleep back in 2012 and the two are now in the same band playing next to each other every night.
“It’s definitely crazy that (Bonham and I) used to work on things in separate situations and now we are in the same band,” said Asch. “But everything works like it should and I feel (that) if you put good energy into the world, you receive it back.”
Looking back, Cole said she was glad that she left college when she did but doesn’t regret going. Right now in her life, she finds herself too busy to take up classes, but said that she would “definitely love to take classes again.”
Cole has been drumming for nearly half of her life. While a lot of her friends growing up were taking guitar lessons, she said she thought that being a drummer would help her chances in being in a band. After her mother asked if she wanted to take up any instrument, she decided on the drums and she’s been in love with it ever since.
For Cole, drumming is both her love and her job.
“Everyone’s been super supportive (of me). If anyone does say anything (negative), it’s usually before we play a show,” Cole said.
“I’m truly grateful to be in a band with such an awesome person and musician,” Asch said. “Katie is truly amazing at what she does and as a human being, definitely one of a kind.”
Although Cole might not have the best view of the crowd from her drum set, hearing the fans singing along to every song is very motivational and touching, she said. She also encourages crowdsurfing.
In mid-February, Dangerkids came back to the U.S. after touring Europe for about a month with headliner Crown the Empire, alongside Set It Off and Alive Like Me. Cole found the tour to be a success, with a majority of the shows selling out. While the band loved being able to sightsee throughout Europe and saw various iconic national treasures such as Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, Cole’s favorite touring destinations have been New Orleans and Japan.
The band took off soon after forming and was signed to Rise Records. When the band first started out, it toured through New Orleans as support for We Came As Romans in 2013 after only being together for a year.
“We played there once and I heard (that) a lot of bands don’t go through NOLA so the kids get really excited when we play there,” Cole said. “The next time we went there, (the fan base) has just grown so much and it’s really cool.”
In Japan, Dangerkids played two headliner shows, which they rarely do, especially in another country. They noticed that the fans barely spoke English, yet sang along to all the lyrics in their songs.
“It’s insane that they hear about you in another country; it’s very humbling and very sweet,” Cole said.
When the band is done performing at shows, they enjoy hanging out with their fans as much as possible. Sometimes during those meetings, they hear very personal and intense stories about how the band’s lyrics have helped many people through hard times.
Smyth and Bane are the lyricists of the band and take what the fans say to heart.
“(Conversations with our fans are) heavily influenced by our lyrical content, or how we’ve helped them through some times of hardship, which is great,” Smyth said in an interview with absolutepunk.net. “I’d say a lot of people are interested in the way our music has impacted them.”
As of now, the band is in the process of putting out a second album, which is expected to be released this summer. They want to put out the best work possible, so they’ve put off touring until their album has been released.
“I have never been more proud to be a part of something in my life,” Asch said. “The new record is definitely a pinnacle to date for all of us. I’m (mostly) excited for it to be released so everyone can hear it.”
Dangerkids is set to play at the Rock on the Range hard rock festival May 15-17 in the Mapfre Stadium, formerly Columbus Crew Stadium, alongside over 50 other bands including headliners Slipknot, Judas Priest and Linkin Park.