DBMK talk new single “Tough,” their Florida roots, and new era


Driven by a passion for alt-pop music and a curiosity to explore all forms of human emotion, DBMK are here to make music for the next generation.  The duo, consisting of Colton Ward and Kyle Knudsen, constantly refine their sound and raise the bar for themselves, always finding new fans to speak to and old fans to appease.  Even though the guys were not able to connect with their ever-growing KULT fanbase through live shows last year, they were able to deliver through new music in the form of their Jump in the Dark EP.  The EP saw impressive streaming numbers, showing that DBMK’s hard work and love for what they do is not lost on anyone who listens.  We recently spoke with Colton and Kyle about their infectious new single “Tough,” their Florida roots, and what we can expect from their new era.  

Photo by Luke Rogers

DBMK is (from left to right):
Colton Ward – drums
Kyle Knudsen – vocals


Melodic Mag:  You guys just released your new single “Tough” – very exciting!  Could you tell us more about how the track came together?
Colton:  “Tough” is a song Kyle and I wrote about feeling stuck in a particular stage of life that we were both sharing.  We felt like this was essentially a universal struggle, being unhappy about where you’re at in life, but not sure if you have the strength to go out and change your situation.  After the song fell out of us, we made a demo, then sent it to our friend and producer Jeff Hazin to take it over the finish line.  Within three days, we had something special on our hands that we were ready to share with the world.  Kyle and I were coming out of a creative rut at this time and this song really felt like a turning point for us.  Now we had momentum.

MM:  We hear about that feeling of hopelessness on the single, where everything just kind of gets you down and makes you feel at a dead-end – what are some things that you guys do whenever you feel stuck that help bring you out of that funk?
Kyle:  Those days are frequent for some of us for sure; it’s definitely a strange time.  In terms of the hopelessness that “Tough” is specifically speaking on, there is but one rule: DO NOT TAKE THE AFTER-WORK DEPRESSION NAP!!!  Instead, we like to eat some food that’s real and go move our bodies to wake up.  It’s kinda crazy honestly, that our body has free untapped serotonin waiting for us at all times.  It just sucks that it’s waiting for us on the other side of a bike ride or a run.  Otherwise, when we’re together hanging out, we like to cook a meal or walk down to the deli by the house where they know us by name.

Photo by Luke Rogers

MM:  When was the last time you actually did feel “tough”?
Kyle:  Second cup of coffee in the morning usually does it.  No, but for real, last night I walked to the grocery store and was approached by a houseless person outside the entrance.  We talked for a second, and he told me he was waiting for money from his new job, but he was hungry and trying to find something to eat.  I was able to buy him some food to last him a few days, and I didn’t really have to think about how much money I was spending on a complete stranger.  This is not for me to make myself look good or flex in any way, trust me – we’re talking Kroger sale prices here – but rather, I felt empowered because after long seasons of anxiety and uncertainty, I’m lucky enough to be able to spread positivity to others and not give it a second thought.  I felt “Tough” as nails.

MM:  This is your first release since your Jump in The Dark EP last year – is this single the start of a new era or a new chapter for you guys?
Colton:  Without saying too much….yes.  We spent the early part of 2021 working with some amazing collaborators and writing some of the best songs I feel like DBMK has ever made.  Creating worlds for these songs to live in is our absolute favorite thing to do.  Much more is on the way!

MM:  The cover art for “Tough” is a bit different from the cover art of your other releases, which are a bit darker and more obscure.  Is there a reason for this brighter change?
Kyle:  We had this “gory ice cream” look in mind for some time, but we felt like “Tough” was the perfect match to make it the cover art.  We were able to collaborate with our good friend Luke Rogers on the cover art and design, and he absolutely murdered it.  I think the brighter change signifies a new era for DBMK.

Photo by Luke Rogers

MM:  You independently released your Jump in the Dark EP – was there anything new you learned in the process of doing so? 
Colton:  Oh, absolutely.  We always say the only way to get better at releasing music is to just do it. Personally, I have learned to get better at letting go of the music once it’s released.  These songs live on our hard drives for months, even years.  It’s easy to get overly attached to them in an unhealthy way once they’re out.  Letting the music take on a new life once it’s out in the world is important.

MM:  What kind of vibe can fans expect from other upcoming releases?
Kyle:  Songs about hopefulness.  Finding ways to get yourself out of bed and change the situation you’re currently in.  Maybe even a pep talk or two to yourself to keep going.

Photo by Luke Rogers

MM:  I remember hearing all about you guys at local concerts and shows a few years back, as I am also based in Tampa!  What were some highlights of getting your start here? 
Colton:  Wow!  A fellow Floridian, I’m so sorry!  Jokes, jokes.  Growing up in the Tampa Bay area and starting to play shows there was a really unique experience.  In the most respectful way possible, there is not much for kids to do in Tampa.  Playing shows was such a fun way to get a bunch of kids together and just rage.  Our early local shows felt like such a community – the bands, the venues, and most importantly, the people.  The shows were where people were able to see their friends; it was a safe space where we could all just be ourselves.  I tend to miss those early days often.

MM:  Do you have any favorite Florida venues?
Kyle:  Where to start?  First off, I wanna give a proper “RIP” to The Local 662 on Central in Saint Petersburg.  They were some of the kindest people and let us play some shows we really had no business playing.  The Crowbar in Ybor was another favorite.  A dream venue to play for us is Jannus Live in Saint Petersburg – we’ve seen some of our favorite shows there, and it would make our lives to play there.

You guys definitely have what it takes to not only play at Jannus, but also sell it out!!  We can’t wait for that day, and we look forward to the music from your new era.  Thanks so much! 

You can listen to DBMK, as well as their new single “Tough,” on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with DBMK:  Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // TikTok // YouTube // Website


Christine Sloman
Christine Slomanhttps://linktr.ee/christine.sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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