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I've been to a handful of Reverend shows over the years, and they're always enveloped by more than a bit of invigorating turbulence. Shirts come off, bodies lunge, guitars heave like spears, snares become punching bags, and the harmonious fireball kinetics of the three players starts to supernaturally influence the space, venue, room, basement, or wherever they are, to where the walls, floors, ceilings, and corporeal audience members, start to collectively rattle and jolt.
Reverend's Jeremy Waun, Joe Guzdial, and Tyler Bowen have been commencing cacophonous rock summits for more than six years. From their homebase in Detroit, they've released three EP's, some singles, and a full-length album. This spring, the trio unveil their next full-length album, Million Star, recorded with Chris Koltay at High Bias.
Guitarist Waun, bassist Guzdial and drummer Bowen gave me an early glimpse of their new music video "Rooms," which premiers here, today, right now..., on this website. "Rooms" was directed by Andrew Stefanik of Iron Coast, and stars Jessica Newberry, (along with the band...inside of a "room..")
Frenetic vocals, surfy/soaring guitars, fitful drums and a storming bass, the trio are in and out in 150 seconds and the tempo sustains this beguiling blend of sprinting panic to a sludgier, reared-back slice. Known as a psych rock band with heavy-metal inclinations, this song's more of an avant-indie punk rumbler, full of intonations from each instrument--as though each player is almost racing the other--and the overall effect is one of a tidal wave consistently cresting upon itself, every third or fourth measure.
Next show:Fridayat El Clubwith Touchand City of Catepillar9pmMore info
I had a chat with Bowen about the new album.
|Left to right, Joe Guzdial, Jeremy Waun, Tyler Bowen|
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I vividly recall seeing you guys... I think it was inside Whiskey in the Jar once...? Or, just, somewhere cramped!! It was one of the most intense concert experiences I can recall... Talk about where that impetus to go intense, that impetus to go heavy, comes from... Talk about the shirtless, sweaty, swift, shearing experience of a Reverend set and what it is you find most fulfilling from live performances...
Tyler Bowen: For us, it has always been about a quick and powerful impact. We write vigorous and fast material without even really trying to do that. It just seems to naturally happen for us. The way we write together has remained pretty constant since day one. We thrive off of material that is the most fun for us to play. Each player has the autonomy to impart what they wish, so long as it works for the song. There is typically very little dialogue between the three of us. The songs just sort of…build themselves. We still laugh at how little we discuss parts. We like to think we’re guided by something else.
In terms of a live context, we spent the first three years or so of our time as a band playing an insane amount of shows. A lot of house shows, DIY venues, tiny local hideouts…and we found that we played with an energy that was infectious to people. They often got really rowdy. Really sweaty. Lots of beer poured on our stuff. Hah... We used to really beat ourselves up in the beginning. Playing with that type of energy, even for twenty minutes, left us sore for days. But again, our approach has always been without much analysis. The performance gets all of our attention and energy. You’re tunnel-visioned, and in a blink, it’s over.
Seven years down the road, how's the band evolved since its early days?
Bowen: Lately, we’ve done a lot of refining to our performance. The material on Million Star is definitely darker and more of a mix of our traditional rock direction and trying to harness something big or apocalyptic sounding. In the future, we still aim to write with vigor, but are trying to make the performances a little less physically demanding. Trying to embrace a sharp focus while still remaining chaotic and intense. We’re certainly excited for future material and the trajectory of the band.
You mentioned Million Star... Let's get into it. What can you tell us about the album, and how's it distinguishing itself, vibe-wise, experience-wise, from previous Reverend records?
Bowen: Without trying to get too involved in terms of describing all of the influences that helped form this production, the album is largely a reflection of our fears regarding our home and the changes the both the landscape and the culture are experiencing. We’re weary of exterior or foreign interests that are redesigning the city for profit. Essentially, we are worried of the potential of cultural replacement versus cultural coexistence.
So, we began writing the songs (for Million Star) in the winter of 2014. The building we lived in was bought by a foreign investor and we were told to be out by the end of the month. During our transition, we realized how often this was happening in the city. Now..., we realized that investment in a city with all the unused space and infrastructure that Detroit has to offer was obviously inevitable, but we were angry that active artists, and even worse, native inhabitants young and old, were being priced out and forced to live or work elsewhere. (Million Star) is definitely some our most aggressive material yet, fueled by our anxieties of what is to come.
Working with (Chris Koltay, High Bias) was incredibly easy and smooth. Definitely kept it fun for us. We spent about a weekend in the studio doing mostly live takes. Jim Diamond, who recorded our E.P. “Future Weed,” mastered the record.
Up next, you've got a show at El Club, Friday, Jan 20th... But what happens after that?
Bowen: We'll be releasing the record on CD and cassette initially, then we plan to personally fund a vinyl release after that. We’re aiming for a Spring or early Summer date to drop the record. Once the record is done, we’re going to spend some time doing short jaunts on the road. We’ve already begun working on new material and are very excited about future releases. It took us much longer than we had hoped to get this material out there. Reverend will be staying busier than ever in the future and have no plans to slow down.