By Stephanie Stevens
I love when bands have personalities, when I met the Maryland band RISE AMONG RIVALS, they made me love them without even listening to a lick of their music. The welcoming of new people in their circle, the funny antics and the sarcasm was in full swing, and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Then the music came into play and it just seduced my soul. The rock music these guys play, is already professionally sounding, it’s thick with the melodic tones, vocals soar, bringing you on the eventful adventure, like in their song “SPITEFUL EYES.” In my opinion, I find them playing along the lines of Muse, Breaking Benjamin and Otherwise, Nothing More type of vibe.
The guys just finished up a small tour with Flaw, and are back in their hometown working on the finishing touches of the band’s first EP.
So, before life got too busy for this new band, I was able to catch up with them and find out a little more about them.
TELL ME HOW RISE AMONG RIVALS CAME TO BE, WHO IS IN THE BAND WHAT DO YOU PLAY?
We were the combination of two Maryland bands, Guns Out at Sundown (GOAS) and Violence In Vanity (VIV). After both of the projects had broken up and decided to move on, we joined together to create RISE AMONG RIVALS. Our Drummer, Christopher Tepper, from GOAS, was the glue for bringing these two projects into one. Singer/Guitarist, Dave Gascon, and Bassist Jamey McElroy had both been starting a new project after VIV’s last show and then Chris stumbled onto our lives.
WHAT THREE BANDS FROM THE PAST, BEST SHOWCASES THE BAND INFLUENCES, AND THEN WHAT THREE NEWER BANDS (NEW BANDS AS IN BEEN OUT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS OR SO) DO THE SAME FOR YOU?
For the major hard rock scene, acts like 30 Seconds to Mars, Shinedown, and Breaking Benjamin are certainly big band influences of ours – but a lot of our other influences are taken from various genres and bands for sure. Newer bands that have completely wowed us would be Hidden Hospitals, Speech Patterns, and Nothing More.
PICK ONE OF THE THREE NEWER BANDS YOU NAMED, IF YOU COULD TOUR WITH JUST ONE OF THEM, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU LOVE TO TOUR WITH? WHAT ONE CONVERSATION WOULD YOU LOVE TO HAVE WITH THEM, WHILE OUT ON THE ROAD, THAT WOULD HELP YOU GUYS GROW AS MUSICIANS?
Being able to tour with Nothing More would be absolutely incredible, honestly any conversation with those guys would help us grow as musicians, they are definitely one of the few that have grown from a small act into a huge act through their music and business strategies.
IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ONE OF THE OLDER BANDS YOU NAMED AS INFLUENCES, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK AND WHAT TYPE OF SONG WOULD YOU WANT TO TRY TO WRITE WITH THEM?
30 Seconds to Mars would probably be the best option since our sound is probably furthest away from theirs. It’d be really interesting to combine our styles to produce something over the top and that’s a complete headbanger mixed with the 30 Seconds to Mars ambient/digital sound.
I RECENTLY SAW YOU GUYS WITH FLAW IN RHODE ISLAND. HOW DID YOU NAIL THOSE DATES, AND HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE PLAYING TO AREAS YOU MIGHT HAVE NOT PLAYED BEFORE?
We were contacted by our booking agent to see if we wanted to accept a one-week tour as the direct support for FLAW, which we accepted and RI happened to be one of those dates. We had an amazing time touring with them from TN all the way to RI and then down to Chesapeake VA. For some of us, the cities we played in were completely new to us and it was an awesome experience just walking the towns for the short time we were able to. Definitely wild, definitely a new adventure – that is 100% what this band is about.
IN YOUR OPINION, FOR A LIVE SHOW, WHAT ARE THE THREE ESSENTIAL THINGS A BAND NEEDS TO BRING TO A STAGE SHOW? DO YOU FEEL YOU BRING THOSE THREE THINGS, AND WAS IT ANY HARDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAN OTHERS?
Confidence, Energy, and a variety of drugs. We need more drugs.
I HAVE JUST HEARD ONE TRACK FROM YOU GUYS, CALLED “SPITEFUL EYES.” WHERE DID THE LYRICAL CONTENT COME FROM, AND HOW WAS THE SONGWRITING FOR THIS TRACK?
“I wrote the riffs on the John. Tracked them to a cassette disk and had some friends beat box over it while Dave sat in the corner and sang” That’s actually how we write all our music.
IS THERE A FULL LENGTH OR EP YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING TO RELEASE SOON? DOES THE REST OF THE RECORD RESEMBLE THE SOUND OF “SPITEFUL EYES” OR ARE YOU BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN MELODY AND HARDER EDGE STUFF?
We are currently back and forth between the studio finishing up our EP but we don’t have a set date to drop those songs on the public yet, definitely have some bolts that still need to be tightened before we move forward with that. As far as the sound goes, we plan on bridging the gap between melodic vocals and heavy riffs by adding a newer digital sound and ambience to our songs
DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY RECORD LABEL BUZZ GOING ON, AND IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THAT ASPECT OF YOUR CAREER? ANY LABEL THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO BE ON AND WHY?
We currently don’t have any prospects, but we plan to shop out the EP we are working on before any public debut. Our agents have been working hard and super supportive of this EP. Looking forward we’d love to work with Roadrunner, needless to say the major acts on it are our influences so it makes sense to try and aim that direction.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING IN A BAND, AND THE HARDEST PART ABOUT IT?
A two-part question that can be answered in two words: The Brotherhood. Both the best part and the hardest part. We have gotten extremely close as a band and we are excited to be on the road together moving forward, but at the same time seeing the same people every single day is extremely difficult as well. In the words of Chris – “We gotta brodown”
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THE BAND THING, WHAT OTHER PASSIONS DO YOU HAVE OUTSIDE OF THE BAND? HAVE THOSE PASSIONS ENHANCED OR INFLUENCED YOU GUYS AS MUSICIANS?
We each have other passions outside of the band for sure; Jamey started his own printing company that helps band get merch for cheaper than mainstream alternatives, Dave has a passion for forging metals and making knives and swords (fucking metal!), and Last year Chris started a backwoods inspired urban accessory line called Mounatin Blood – Handmade. So, if he had to step away from music he’d spend his time making purses, bookbags, keychains, etc, out of roadkill. Thats right… Roadkill
HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
Right now, the best way is just going to our pages
Facebook : @riseamongrivals
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO LET FANS KNOW ABOUT YOURSELVES OR YOUR MUSIC WE DIDN’T GET TO?
PLAY A GAME ….THIS OR THAT
BEER OR HARD LIQUOR? Malt Liquor
FOOTBALL OR HOCKEY? Curling
HAMBURGERS OR WEINERS? Weiners for sure
BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Black and nappy
DISCO MUSIC OR POP MUSIC? Jewish Deathcore
SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall
GAMES OF THRONES OR WALKING DEAD? Last Man on Earth featuring Will Forte