RIVAL SONS Vocalist Says Band’s Writing Process Is ‘Just Like Farming’: ‘You Need To Shift And Constantly Find New Soil’

Friday, 23 November 2018

RIVAL SONS vocalist Jay Buchanan and guitarist Scott Holiday recently spoke with Terrie Carr, host of “Box Of Rock” on the New Jersey radio station WDHA-FM. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band’s forthcoming major label debut, “Feral Roots”:

Jay: “We took our time. We gave ourselves a good eight months to really put it together.”

Scott: “We started by going to Howenwald, Tennessee, which is a swampy, snake-ridden…”

Jay: “The town is very beautiful, mind you. It was just the spot that we were at. I intentionally had taken Scott way out to this place through a friend of ours, [who] put us out in this old reservoir. It was snake-ridden; lily pads; overgrown. We started there…”

Scott: “We made fires by night by the lake and rode off-road vehicles for our breaks in between writing, and cooked and wrote and came up with ideas and brainstormed. Then we went home and started to round out the songs that we started there and come up with a whole bunch of other ones. It’s kind of cool because we’re in different places; we’re, like, different types of people; we’re writing very different ideas, and then kind of going, ‘Here’s my chocolate. I’m going to throw it in your peanut butter,’ and doing that over and over again until we felt like we had the best thing.”

Jay: “That’s what’s really unique about this collection altogether — we were trading ideas back and forth for the entire time and trying to make the best songs that we could.”

On wanting each of the band’s records to sound different:

Scott: “It’s an absolute conscious decision. We look at what we’ve done previously. I don’t think it’s forced or anything — we don’t have to overly force it – [but] I think just artistically as people, when I’m working with Jay, we think like, ‘We went right. We have to go left,’ or, ‘We’ve gone right and left. We have to go up or down this time.’ It has to do something different; otherwise, it’s gets predictable. It gets… I don’t want to say boring, but it’s just not the way you do it. You have to try different things.”

Jay: “There isn’t too much calculation. Actually, there’s no calculation in it – it’s a lot more along the lines of what feels natural, because when you’ve already tread a certain territory, and you’ve dug up things artistically as a band, and what our ethos and our identity has been, you have a natural tendency to not step over those same places. It’s just like farming — you plant corn one year on a couple of acres, [but] you don’t want to plant corn the next year. You need to shift and constantly find new soil. I think we’ve tried to do that same thing, and so the growth, I think, has been natural and instinctive. That’s what we’re trying to do – figure out how to stay true to ourselves, keep some modicum of authenticity.”

On the current state of the rock genre:

Scott: “I think when we started the group, it’s the same way we feel now. It did feel like there was less rock n’ roll happening, and we wanted to contribute something that was in our hearts that was going to be different and needed, and the beast we were — like, this is what we have for people. It’s not really here that much right now, [but] it’s never going to die. We always say that rock n’ roll doesn’t really need saving. People just need to listen to it. People need to buy it again. There’s a lot of rock n’ roll listeners… and we see it not only all over America, but all over Europe. The rock n’ roll audience is out there, so I don’t think it needs saving — it just needs bands to make good rock n’ roll, and people to buy it and listen to it and go watch it.”

Jay: “We’re waiting for other bands to keep stepping up, and we’re in a really unique spot right now where other bands are stepping up, and I think rock n’ roll is climbing out of the outer city limits [and the] gutters, and I think it’s a natural progression of the crazy-ass times that we’re in right now. People are conflicted, and there’s a lot of extremes, and I think that’s typically when rock n’ roll really steps in… I think that you’re watching the groundswell, you’re watching the whole wave come in right now. I still think we’re about a year to a year-and-a-half of the apex of it really taking hold.”

Scott: “It’s coming. For sure, it’s coming.”

After releasing four albums through Earache Records, RIVAL SONS signed with Low Country Sound, a Warner Music Group imprint run by Nashville-based country and Americana producer Dave Cobb, earlier this year.

“Feral Bones”, the group’s debut release for Low Country Sound, will be released on January 25, 2019. A video for the album’s first single, “Do Your Worst”, can be seen below.

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