Interview: Rival Sons
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:52:51
Long Beach rock revivalists keep the genre alive with Great Western Valkyrie...
Rival Sons keep waving the flag for real old school rock 'n' roll. Last year's Great Western Valkyrie [Earache] (their fourth album), is an explosive combination of blues, alternative, and an intoxicating dose of rock. The group—Jay Buchanan [lead vocals, harmonica], Scott Holiday [lead guitar], Mike Miley [drums], and Dave Beste [bass]—has garnered heaps of critical acclaim overseas, and the band's got the spark to really ignite the genre over here. In this exclusive interview, Mike Miley talks Great Western Valkyrie and gives us a state of the union on rock 'n' roll.
Great Western Valkyrie feels like Rival Sons has really achieved what it's been working towards since day one.
Thank you! I think the band has finally delivered the sound we wanted. We did a song a day, which was our goal. We did 19 songs, and there are 10 on the album. We really used our instincts and thought, "These songs work really well together." Then we were putting the songs together, and each person gave his opinion on the album order without knowing each other's choices. It happened to work out perfectly. It goes to show all of our mindsets were in the same place.
Did you feel especially locked into a groove? There's a mystique.
I cannot explain the process as there wasn't a concept going in. The album artwork weirdly ties it together. Great Western Valkyrie is a lyric from the song "Belle Starr." It's something that's hard to explain, but I think the end result was a strong cohesive effort. Jay does all the lyrics, and lyrically there is continuity.
It isn't a concept record. The mystique that you are talking about is something that we recognize as we do not do any pre-production or planning for the album. It keeps us on our toes and keeps the listener on his or her toes. Even myself, as a listener, I am hearing things that I did not hear on the recording a month ago. There are parts that are divulging themselves to me after all this time. Recording as we have, it is really organic. With all the current production techniques, there isn't a lot of mystery involved. Rock and roll, blues, and jazz—there is always an element of mystery involved.
Do you feel like you're speaking musically?
Yeah, we play live so much and have this natural intuitive thing going on now. I call Jay the "Drummer Singer" as he is really involved and conscious of what is going on musically. Scott is a kind of wild musician that you have to tame his abilities. Then, the bass is kind of helping glue it all together. Live, we don't even need to look at each other.
Watch the music video for "Electric Man" from Rival Sons:
Watch the music video for "Open My Eyes" from Rival Sons: