I N T E R V I E W
Rebel Sound Radio
By Terianne Grady
Rebel Sound Radio play Nivara Lounge this weekend, Saturday September 3rd along with Wolf Wizard, Red Light Runners and Skinny Hobos. Terrianne Grady caught up with singer and guitarist Jessie James to find out what’s been happening with the hard-hitting heavy rock ensemble.
How long have you guys been making music as Rebel Sound Radio and what inspired you to create the band? Rebel Sound has been in existence since mid/late 2014. We spent a lot of time practicing and writing during our first year so we only played a small handful of gigs, and worked on our first single Liberation. I guess the band was mostly created out of boredom. A couple of us had been sitting around not doing anything musical for a while. We decided to start something fresh and just play whatever felt right to us. We felt we had something different to offer as we take inspiration from a lot of the older bands who threw caution to the wind doing their own thing.
What does Rebel Sound Radio represent? Does your music have any particular message? We are all about being the hungry underdog that is fed up with the daily shuffle to work and all the mundane things that we occupy our lives with. It is about wanting more than what is on offer and offering an honest perspective. It sounds negative but we focus more on the idea of coming together, tackling our problems as one and creating something new that works for everyone. There are so many groups of people in society that feel this way, so I guess we are just trying to reinforce that feeling of unrest. Many of our songs reflect the previously mentioned but some are also about achieving personal victories or feelings about a particular event. I write what I feel and if it’s not honest then it does not make it into the mix.
Could you tell us about the video for the single Liberation? We worked with Joe Murdie of Murderman man productions in early 2015. He has previously done some awesome work with bands such as Devilskin, Sinate and Killing Yourself For Profit. It was a one day shoot at the Meteor in Hamilton. Being 100% self funded we didn’t have a huge budget and wanted to keep it pretty simple. We went with a straight performance video; It was literally just Joe with a couple of cameras and the band. We played the song for four hours and worked up a healthy sweat as it was the middle of summer, it was heaps of fun.
You are currently recording an E.P - how is that going? Does it have a name yet, and can you tell us any favourite tracks to look out for? So far we have done one weekend at The Depot in Devonport. We have done all the drums and most of the bass and guitars. It’s sounding huge and aggressive and we are taking our time to add those little tweaks to it as we go. We are still working on a name. So far “Regret Nothing” is leading, but until it’s stamped on the cover it could be anything. We are pretty non-committal with naming things, sometimes songs will be on the set list as “new song” and “fast song” for months! I do not know what the standout tracks are right now, it all sounds epic to me, but If I had to pick one track - there is a song called “Welcome to the Badlands” that is going to be killer.
Under what circumstances/ conditions do you find you are at your most creative?
I find myself most creative while hidden away from the world. Self-isolation is a wonderful thing for creativity and sometimes I will be stuck inside my own head for days on end. It’s not something that I do on purpose, it’s just how I am. It sounds totally selfish but I get a bit obsessive about ideas and if I am working on something I subconsciously block everything else out. It can have a detrimental effect on other areas of my life such as personal relationships / work but I am a bit more aware of it than I used to be.
How important do you think visual aesthetics are to the success of a band?
They are super important. The music is only one side of the triangle, so if you don’t put work into the visual aesthetics of the band it has a detrimental effect. I am not saying that you have to be super models but you need to create an image and a “look” for the band. It needs to be consistent and support the musical content. Album artwork and imagery are powerful tools for conveying a band's ideology without listening to a single song. People also remember music better if it has strong supporting visuals. A perfect example is when a song is used in a TV show, movie or commercial; the two will be forever associated if the link between them is strong enough.
It is common for new emerging bands to try and break genre barriers by incorporating many different styles of music when describing their ‘sound’. Why did you choose to keep it simple and describe the bands genre as ‘Rock and Roll’?
It wasn’t really a decision that we consciously made, we just ended up playing what we enjoy playing. We all bring our own varied influences but there is enough variation underneath the Rock umbrella already to have options for days. I could say we are a mix of Hard rock, Punk, Grunge, Classic Rock and Metal with some Blues and Pop influence; but it’s just easier to say “Rock” and wait for someone to come up with a better genre description. As previously mentioned we are not very good at naming things haha.
If you could share the stage with any NZ band, who would it be?
That is a tough one because there are so many great options. I can’t pick one so I’ll narrow it down to: The Datsuns, Shihad, I am Giant, Villany, Devilskin or Supergroove. That said, there are also loads of NZ bands that are not massive that I want to play with.
How would you describe the music scene in Hamilton? Probably about the same as the rest of N.Z . The number of good live venues is still dwindling. The four and five piece covers bands have become acoustic duo’s and it’s hard to get people out to watch live music. There are still times when it all comes together and epic nights happen with lots of local support and audience interaction; but it’s unpredictable at best. The people that do come out to watch us play are awesome, and we always make sure that we give them 100% no matter how many people are in the venue.
What does Rebel Sound Radio hope to achieve? Every band wants to be the next big thing and feel validated for their efforts, and we are no different. Ideally we want to be able to do music full time and give it our full attention, getting to that platform alone would be a huge achievement. Our E.P will be out in a few months and we will be hitting the road. For now we just want to make some great music, play some epic shows, get out amongst it and we will go from there.