Vocals recorded in a bathroom? Check. Drums recorded in s shed? Check. Excellent, folksyish rock n roll songs proving great storytelling ability and relatable messages? Check. Badass band 56 is The Rebel Light, a family based band with members hailing from both coasts.
The Rebel Light guys need to be commended for bringing themselves to my attention. Especially considering the cool concept video they did so with. The video is for their song, “Goodbye Serenade”. It is comprised of clips from some of the most important moments in the 20th century. It matches insanely well with the track they chose. The song itself tells the story of someone falling apart, what the silence between conversation really says, and reliving moments in one’s mind how, “Strange days going in circles, we mend time….suddenly all of your goodbyes…”. The track, despite having lyrics a little on the dark side, incorporates some drum beats that make it sound like you are not only listening to this song talk about time, but hearing the actual time tic away as you do. A bit of xylophone acts as the perfect element to keep the actual instrumentals a little on the lighter, more inspirational side. I think of it more as a grown up version of that damn Vitamin C graduation song that no one can ever forget because it works so well. This being much better.
The Rebel Light’s EP, which releases officially tomorrow, November 12, is comprised of 3 songs, ‘My Heroes Are Dead’, ‘Goodbye Serenade’, and ‘Wake Up Your Mind’. Since “Goodbye Serenade’ has already been mentioned, let me take a second to describe the other two. ‘My Heroes Are Dead’ is not what I expected when I pressed play, there was a quick electro intro that fed into crisp vocals, with a hint of echo which fit the lyrical content well, “I believe I’ve never been wrong, Now I feel like I’m being misled, Now I know my heroes are dead…” the instrumentals matching well with lighter guitar and drum beats, working into a heavier chorus to push the message of heroes being dead. ‘Wake Up Your Mind’ leans more to the rock n roll side than folk. It boast bigger, mildly distorted guitar riffs, pulsing drum beats and vocals that are a bit edgier than their other two songs, but it definitely will get your attention, and get you to think, ‘This is life, wake up your mind.’
The Rebel Light, as mentioned earlier, is a family band. Alan and Jarrett, native New Yorkers, moved out to LA after playing with another band overseas for some time. Once in LA they met up with cousin Brandon and formed what we know as The Rebel Light. The guys were kind enough to meet up with BBB and answer some questions. Read on to find out about Star Wars, why they are an orgasm to the eyes and ears, and how they ended up recording an album in wood sheds and bathrooms! Be sure to catch these guys TOMORROW NIGHT, NOV 12, at Bardot for their EP Release Show!
When and why did each of you start playing music?
Brandon: I remember the band Gorillaz had a song called ‘Clint Eastwood’ made me want to play drums. I don’t know why but it had some crazy drum parts and I decided to make a drum set out of some pots and pans, then took drum lessons.
Alan: When I was a kid I loved Bruce Springsteen, and I really wanted to play guitar but my mom wouldn’t let me. She said I had to take piano lessons first. I went from piano to trumpet and then I bought an electric guitar. So I guess it was all because of Bruce Springsteen.
Jarrett: Mine was something similar, we have the same parents you know? The first instrument I really wanted to play was guitar.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how does that maybe differ now?
Jarrett: Being a guitar player, in high school, I listened to a lot of Hendrix, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I listen to that stuff still, I listen to anything really.
Brandon: Yeah its weird, you start like in the 60’s with the Beatles and work your way through like every decade, you pick and chose who you like from every era. You get the best of those 10 year gaps.
Alan: Every decade you look back and pick the bands you really like. I don’t really like 90’s rock, but I loved the hip hop. It’s like this, every decade or so you look back, it takes a couple of decades to really appreciate those bands, maybe in 10 years we will look back at the 90’s and say, ‘Yeah they were really great.’ but not right now.
Which musicians do you admire and why?
Brandon: That’s a huge list. One of my favorites as a drummer was always Chad Smith and he learned via John Bonham. He kind of taught me to play drums via listening Chili Peppers records. Bruce Springsteen too, there are too many. As a drummer though, Chad Smith, John Bonham and Danny Carey.
Jarrett: With me, I would really be interested to meet David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. Its not like he influences my style or anything, because I don’t really have one, but I would be psyched about him.
Alan: Man, its different when you play piano or trumpet. Paul McCartney is one. I feel like all these great people did things I liked and then afterwards went off and did things that annoyed me afterwards.
Why the name The Rebel Light?
Alan: It’s actually a reference to Star Wars. There is actually a ship from the Rebel Alliance called The Rebel Light.
Describe your show visually and musically for someone who has never been.
Orgasm to the eyes and ears. Ha! No, its quirky, this band is new, we are doing things with different sounds and trying to make it interesting. We want people to come and think,‘Oh man that was kinda cool that he did that’, you know just little things. We aren’t trying to set the stage on fire or wear spandex, but just cool little details. We definitely get into it. Like even when we go to shows, and you see something that peaks your interest, even for five minutes, like a pedal board, or something, it makes it interesting.
How does your creative process typically work?
Alan: Its pretty anything. It can start with me playing guitar or piano or coming to the band with something.
Jarrett: I love when bands say they start with a drum loop, like they say, ‘Yeah, we start by getting the rum machine out and starting a drum loop. It gives me a real sense of where I want to go.’ I’m like seriously? A drum loop? Come on. It doesn’t make sense. Sometimes all of us are hanging out and someone just starts playing a note and think.
Brandon: Yeah, sometimes Jarrett has a riff and I’ll start playing something along with it.
Alan: Its better that way. When people box themselves into a creative process, then they become constantly reliant on that one way of doing things. It becomes evident with certain bands, the songs are all the same, nothing different to them. That’s what’s good about our EP, each song is so different.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Getting Brandon to finish High School….hahaha. Everything as a new band. We are trying to get out an play shows and get going, it’s hard especially when there is no one else to do it for you. It’s not like back in the day when you get signed to a label and they take care of everything for you, like 30 minutes later your song is on the radio. These days though, you don’t want to get signed, you want to have your way as much as possible and do it on your own.
How did you choose the concept for the video for ‘Goodbye Serenade’?
Jarrett: We were trying to come up with a good idea for a video, you can’t do serious videos. You look like a moron or like Creed. That is always a problem, so you’re always trying to find something different. We wanted something that really fit the lyrics of the song.
Alan: We were looking at putting old WWII video footage in there and then we started looking at more sports videos and basically just like big human moments. It took us a while, like over 6 weeks to figure out what we wanted in there.
Brandon: Yeah, and we didn’t want to put ourselves in a bunch, we would look like dicks.
Alan: Yeah the clips of us aren’t us like being serious with our shits off or shit. It fits and we are just doing funny stuff and goofing around.
Jarrett: It’s weird with videos now too, in the 90’s it was like 500,000 to 1 million dollar videos. Now you have like that backlash, where you have to do it yourself or make it seem like you did it yourself and film it very shittly and make it unique. I think videos now are a lot harder than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Before you could have these crappy concepts and they would get on MTV, now the pressure is to get on youtube and get people’s attention. It’s all these few second clips that have to catch attention.
Talk about the process of recording in wood sheds and bathrooms.
Alan: Basically we started out just trying to make demo’s to give out. Once we started with the three songs now on the EP, Brandon has recorded drums out in his parent’s wood shed. We did the rest of it in the bathroom where we lived. Then when we heard it we thought ‘Man this is coming out really cool, maybe we could use that.’ So we did. The only thing we didn’t do was master it. We take pride in the fact that it’s not perfect, but its real and its good.
What are you guys working on now?
We are working on songs for a follow up release, probably early in the year. We are working on playing more shows. We are playing Bardot on the 12th of November for the EP release show. We are trying to keep moving forward and releasing music.
Why should people listen to your band and if your band had a slogan what would it be?
We have a few of them actually! We won’t say one of them. Our next EP we want to do a play on The Rebel Light and do some posters like 40’s or 50’s advertisements, so its going to be something like someone cracking open a beer and it stating, ‘The Rebel Light, it goes down easy’. We are working on a good slogan we watch a lot of Madmen.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Jarrett: You know, its actually not so bad. Maybe health insurance? Its like going to med school with labels you know? They say ‘Oh sure, we will pay for your album.’ And then later they turn around and say, ‘Oh yeah now you owe us a million dollars.’
Alan: Labels are always two steps behind anyway. They aren’t adaptive. We focus our time and energy to doing things ourselves.
One song you never get tired of.
Alan: Night Moves- Bob Seger
Brandon: Clint Eastwood- Gorillaz
Best live show you have ever gone to?
Brandon: Tool, Muse was good too.
Jarrett: Jimmy Buffett.
Alan: I think its moments at shows that make it, like U2 at Giants stadium and having 80,000 people on the same page.
Favorite things to o not musically related.
Brandon: Hike, grow beards, scuba diving.
Alan: I like to surf.
Jarrett: I have too many, and they all cost a lot. I wish I had hobbies that didn’t cost money. I like photography, surfing, mountain biking, sky diving.
If you could be a fictional character who would you be?
Alan: James Bond
Jarrett: Buzz Lightyear, the one that got stuck speaking Spanish.
Brandon: The man with no name
What kind of jobs did you have before music or currently?
Alan and Jarrett: Tree Farm, Commercial Fish, Bartend, Waited tables, Moved people in NYC- we had our own Moving Company, Painted houses.
Brandon: I did mapping for the census bureau, it was awesome and they paid so well!
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