Rival Sons
Rival Sons
Rival Sons is a rock band from California that has been increasingly gaining in popularity since the release of their 2nd album Head Down last fall.  Their sudden success has brought the opportunity to play the second stage at the 2012 Download Festival alongside other much bigger names and more experienced bands.  But nothing can deter the charismatic Rival Sons from rocking their way out to their fans.  And so, soon after they took onto touring America in order to repeat the excitement and spontaneity of playing live, a strengh that caracterises this band.  Blues/rock vibes  to the likes of Led  Zeppling and The Black Crowes can be heard in their music making for a particularly fun blend of familiar and current good old rock and roll.  For more info on this band and tour dates, visit: RivalSons.com

Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Please introduce yourself and your music.

Scott: Hi Valerie.  I play guitar in a rock n roll band called the Rival Sons.

Valerie: Describe what bands have influenced your musical genre the most yet.

Scott: Well it's difficult to pinpoint a small list as so much music -and art in general- influence my own art.  I can just keep it between the lines and go with some very obvious influence thought.  Bands like the Jeff Beck Group, the Stones, The Experience, Zep, the Beatles, Floyd, the Who... you know, "The royalty of rock"...  Those bands have left an indelible mark on me...  But goodness, there's literally hundreds of other bands from that era that I probably listen to a lot more these days: Spooky Tooth, the Animals, the Kinks, Chocolate Watchband, the Standells, the Action, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Flamin Groovies, Blues Magoos, the Creation, the Monks, Small Faces, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Bowie, Peter Greens, Fleetwood Mac, etc...  Then of course- so much blues: guys like: Howlin Wolf, Son House, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Charlie Patton, BB King, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Robert Johnson and on and on.  The soul side which can just conveniently lump into Stax and Motown; heavy.  The pioneers- like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddly, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Joe Maphis, Duane Eddy.  Well there's so many more that get in your head and then in your heart and surely, in some form or another, make it into your playing, writing, performing, and recordings.  Sorry- I tried to shorten this. There's tons of great new music too...  But I think I threw enough out there for this chat ;)

Valerie: You will be releasing your 2th full length album “Head Down” last fall.  What has the response been so far?

Scott: It's been quite positive. We have received  lots of excitement and love in the UK, throughout Europe and throughout Canada (where the record is out already). We actually just wrapped up a Canadian tour - where we had the #1 single for 6 weeks running!  Seems there is a strong yearning for rock n roll again... and we aim to give it.

Valerie: How did the title “Head Down” come about?

Scott: It's a lyric in our song Keep On Swinging. Jay wrote the words.  In listening to the finished project I had a handful of working titles...  I had thought about using that phrase early on- but dismissed it. Then, mentioned it to the guys again as we were finishing the mastering and everyone was into it.  There's a certain humility to the phrase-  that I can dig...
Perseverance. Drive. Seeing something through with all the strength you can conjure up.  A strong determination.

Valerie: Tell us about your single Until The Sun Comes. What is it about?

Scott: Well, Jay wrote the words. I think it's pretty obvious what its about. It's about dancing! LOL.  Look; every song doesn't have to be the heaviest on earth to get the job done!  On the contrary, I've realized so many of my favorite songs throughout history - the ones that make me feel something, that I have great memories to- they're really simple songs. A song about a car.  A girl.  Having a good time.  Sometimes you have the most profound realizations listening to these seemingly simple little ditties. Until The Sun Comes is that for us.

Valerie: What song on the album represents who the band is the best?

Scott: No one song...  That's why have 11 songs.  To show what represents us best in the moment we made it and even 11 is very limiting for us.  There's probably songs that represent each guy a little more.  Manifest Destiny Pt1 and Nava are pretty nice representations for me.  I think if I had to say what OTHER people would say is the best representation of the band- maybe the lead off single : Keep On Swinging.

Valerie: Describe a song that wrote itself up really fast and another that took very long to come together.

Scott: Most of them came together really fast.  Some in 1 take, ala  Manifest Pt1, Jordan, 3 fingers, and True. The rest would come in 2, 3, or 4 takes. Really quickly. One of the only song that took a little longer was All The Way. Took a minute for everyone to hear it the way it needed to be.

Valerie: What lyric topic do you like to write/sing about in Rival Sons?

Scott: This is really a question for Jay. I wrote all the words on Before The Fire because it was before Jay was in the group. But since we've all been together, Jay writes all the lyrics.  And I figure that's what we need to talk about which I shouldn't comment on.  I think he's talking about girls, dancing. sandwiches...  and whiskey mostly!

Valerie: How does “Head Down” show musical maturing as a departure from your previous release “Pressure & Time”

Scott: After P&T was released we toured nonstop until we made "Head Down".  In doing that we learned a lot about each other musically, about our audience and built up a strong craving to push into another direction.  Where to expand and where to contract.  "Head Down" is much more long form.  Arrangements are opened up and there is much more of a musical conversation happening between all of us. We also threw an amalgamation of new textures sonically into the mix.

Valerie: Describe your dream of succeeding in the music business.  What do you think you or any musicians have to do to achieve success in today's industry?

Scott: The reality of being in the music business for me is: Less the "dream" element  and much more of a necessity. It's how I make a living. That said- what a blessed amazing job!!  Every night is somebody's big night out, something they've building up for... And all these people who come out and see us play...  They're having the time of their lives. They tell us how affected they are after the show and how deeply moved they are...  How extremely happy they've become after watching and listening.  And this is my job... every night!  I never take it for granted.  Just an amazing blessing.  To achieve success in today's industry?  Well now, that's really a mystery isn't it?  The ol "planets aligning" thing I suppose. As an artist, you have to work hard, make honest music, play out and with other musicians as much as possible, record a lot...  y'know, Hone your craft.  If you're good the word will get out. 1 fan at a time. That's how we do it.

Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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