Rival Sons Interview

By on December 17, 2012

Hellhound Music Chats with bassist Robin Everhart of Rival Sons All photo credits: Earache Records.

HHM – Now to start off, I have to ask; how does it feel to be on the cover of Classic Rock Magazine?

Glossy. and paper-y. (laughs) No, Pretty damn good. Pretty surreal, really. It’s not like when I was 13, learning to play, I did it picturing I’d be on magazine covers. But, it’s very affirming, you know?

HHM – On a similar note: Being discussed in Rolling Stone Magazine and praised by the likes of Jimmy Page; did it take some time for you to cope [haha]? Was this a shock? How did you react to reading about your band in Rolling Stone?

 No, that one was totally normal! (Laughs) But, in a way it was, almost. Jimmy’s a musician: he’d just been to our show: I’d like to think our music speaks to musicians, who then go on to talk about it… The timing definitely couldn’t be better! All kidding aside, it’s very inspiring, humbling, fun, crazy, ego-boosting… I mean he was talking about us to Fricke, too! In a word: Rad.

HHM – Your album Head Down is already available worldwide via iTunes but will be physically released in the U.S. on January 22. Are you more of a CD guy or a digital guy yourself? Is there an incentive for fans to grab the physical disc as opposed to buying it digitally?

Besides getting to wait 4 months? Not that I can think of… I guess you could call me a digital guy. I’m of the school that immediacy is the key – and nothing is faster than digital. All this waiting for a release date is just old-school games put on by the old-school guardians to try and position themselves into a ‘favorable’ week to get the maximum opening week sales, which in turn leads to nothing other than a bullet point. So digital is the great transparent equalizer to live on in perpetuity. 

The incentive to buy the physical is bragging rights, and to be a member of the troop! Just like you’d buy a concert t-shirt. Of course, there’s also the sound quality being better, which is a real thing that I respect. Just not enough to try and go against the digital revolution. I’m definitely not gonna sit here and bloviate on about how vinyl is the best and that it’s all I listen to. I’ll put some on at a dinner party, but it’s really only because I haven’t made my ‘dinner-party’ playlist yet, and it’s usually old soul and jazz. The 12-15ish minute side is about the right amount of time to listen to one thing. When its going good, flip the record and sit back down. Otherwise, grab a new conversation starter. Everything in its’ right place.

HHM – You guys recently released your animated video for “Until The Sun Comes” can tell me a little bit about the direction behind the video and the meaning? Were you happy with how it turned out?

I’m exceptionally happy! I love how unexpected it is. You got a chorus that shouts, ‘We can dance,’ and there is NO dancing in the video! I think that’s the right move. I mean, is Jay really talking about dancing anyway? We worked with a really amazing French artist, Simon Gestel and he understood that perfectly. He came up with the idea and implemented it brilliantly.

HHM – What drove you towards a more “classic” rock sound? Are you, in a sense, “bringing rock back?” & in general do you foresee a future resurgence/rejuvenation of rock in the industry?

What industry? There is no industry. Only music. I’m only making music I like to make. To do something otherwise would make me a banker. Suffice it to say, I have no faith in the ‘industry.’ But I have faith in music, and in Rival Sons’ music. There will be a resurgence in all styles of music. If you like 70’s Dutch porno music you’ll be able to find it easily soon if not already. Chinese circus music is going to be huge in the circles it’s going to be huge in.

In other words, I would never attempt to force Rival Sons’ music on anyone. Which might be part of the reason the ‘industry’ is in such bad shape in the first place…

HHM – Seeing as you guys are from Southern California, I was wondering what are your thoughts on the “SoCo” music scene and the music coming out of it as of late? And I imagine Rival Sons stands out quite a bit amongst your southern California neighbor bands?

I love SoCo – with lime ;-]) 

There’s good music coming out of everywhere. Just like there is bad. We stand out, and we don’t. There are a lot of Hollywood singer/songwriters vying to get their songs on Grey’s Anatomy, or whatever… But there are also some really cool bands! We played with a lot in the Camerata scene; bands like Kiev, Yellow Alex, Jameson and Co., The GhostHounds, The Familiars… Mars Volta’s LA. Thom Yorke and Flea’s new Atoms for Peace I’d consider LA. Skrillex is LA. Earthlings? are LA. QOTSA and Eagles of Death Metal are all LA. Do we sound like any of these bands: No! Do any of those bands sound like other bands? Hopefully not.

HHM – Which song, off of Head Down are you personally the most proud of, and why?

Probably, ‘Jordan,’ in that it’s actually a first complete take, and my boy Jay got a lil acoustic guitar play time on the record. That vocal is what Jay thought was gonna be a scratch take, to be replaced later, but the take had so much vibe we couldn’t touch it!

As a bass player and groove-smith, probably most proud of, ‘Wild Animal.’ That one thumps.

Grab your copy of Head Down on iTunes Today.

HHM – Which song has been your favorite to play live?

Either of those two mentioned, or any of the others even… Because of the way we write and record at the same time, playing live is kind of the same feeling as recording… However, I will say that ‘Manifest Destiny Part I,’ is fun in its completely open solo section.

HHM – Who are your biggest inspirations [musically] and do you find inspiration from any particular events/aspects of life in general?

Miles Davis is the greatest. I’m also quite fond of Igor Stravinsky, tho Maurice Ravel is getting a lot of play for me right now. The songwriting team Holland/Dozier/Holland (or ‘Edythe Wayne’) are some of the smartest dudes alive. The Godfather of Soul…

In terms of inspiration from life: Yes. Life is inspiring. All of it. 

HHM – What are you jamming right now? What bands have you been listening to a lot/really digging this month?

Raphael Saadiq’s, ‘Stone Rollin,’ is a great record. I just read an article on the rerelease of D’Angelo’s, ‘Voodoo,’ so I’ve been dialing up some of those YouTubes – I can’t WAIT for him to drop his new record! The new song ‘Sugar Daddy,’ live @ Paradiso Amsterdam is pretty killer! 

I’ve also been transcribing my favorite Rival Sons’ basslines and I’m gonna get ’em online for download so I’ve been listening to myself quite a bit.

And of course, Harry Connick Jr’s first Christmas record.

HHM – What can fans expect from Rival Sons in 2013? What is coming next for the band? And can fans expect a tour soon?

Definitely. We’re starting in Canada in January(Brr!) and it’s off to the races from there. Europe. The U.S.. Festivals in the summer. Somewhere in there we’re gonna have to record some more… You know, band stuff. I’m trying to develop us a more mobile friendly new website, too.

HHM – Is there anything else you wish to say to your fans and the readers?

Just, ‘Thanks,’ and, ‘Stay Classy.’ Also, we’re all available on the Twitters. If you want to say ‘Hi,’ or ‘You suck,’ or ‘the chorus to ‘Only One,’ where you play the first two lines up the octave, and then drop it down on the third is brilliant,’ feel free. Actually, that last one is probably over 144… @robineverhart

Interview by Matt Crane – HHM

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