2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow. Earlier this month, the quartet dropped their first single of the year, “So You Know,” announced the February 25th release date of their new album, Interrupt, and kicked off their East Coast tour in New York. mxdwn had the pleasure to talk to forming members, Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia, about the excitement of the fourth album, the importance of being genre-less Sonic Youth and the addition of West Coast show dates.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat
We at mxdwn are huge fans of Bleeding Rainbow and consider your fourth album, Interrupt, which is due out on February 25th on Kanine Records, as one of the most anticipated albums of 2014. How do you all feel about that?
Rob: We are more excited than anything because we are in a much better head space and more confident as a band.
Sarah: This album is less nerve-wracking than last time because the last album, Yeah Right, took longer to put out. We were way more patient and calm this time and recorded the album at once, unlike the first album which took a few years to write and its recording took forever.
“So You Know,” the first single off of the album, was just released this month and has a bit of a darker and heavier sound with vulnerable lyrics that I absolutely love. The raw truth of the lines “I can’t sleep / Days are weeks / Here I am now / I will wait for you” especially resonated with me. Can you provide us with some background on how you were able to capture such desperation in your words?
Sarah: I see the song as having simple lyrics. I wrote it in the point of view of a friend who came out of a bad relationship. Rob and I got a general sense of emotion from the situation and wrote it down as it was.
What made “So You Know” the right song to be released as the first glimpse into your new album Interrupt?
Sarah: We liked the song a lot and Kanine wanted it to be released as a single.
Rob: “So You Know” made sense as the first single for the album. It was definitely at the top of my list because it is a very emotional and an immediate song.
Your previous album, Yeah Right, was characterized by a mixture of mellow, harmony filled songs and several power ballads. Can fans expect a similar mixture to be present in Interrupt or do the songs have styles more comparable to “So You Know”?
Sarah: Yes. The songs on Interrupt are a lot shorter and the album is much more cohesive. We wrote the songs closer together and were done in three days, whereas the last album was recorded over several months.
Rob: Overall the album is more aggressive, distorted and heavier. A lot more of ourselves are in the songs. We wanted to capture the sound of the band as we are on tour, so we recorded the instrumental tracks live and the vocals after.
In previous interviews, you have described the writing of the ten songs on Interrupt as “more straight forward” than your other music. What inspired this change?
Rob: I think it was best said in an interview I read with Buzz from The Melvins. He band said that “they’d been together so long that they have an idea of what the other person is going to do next and then play to their strengths.” Touring has made us comfortable and helped us to know what are limitations are and also our strengths.
How would you say the band member additions and changes have influenced the direction and sound of the band?
Sarah: In Yeah Right, we entered as a three piece band and had the optimistic view that I would become a great drummer, but that didn’t happen so we had to get some drummers.
Rob: The drummers we’ve switched out have aided in the development and growth of the band; Robi had the drumming style that we loved and wanted for new album and our friend Ashley is one of the best drummers in Philadelphia and we’ve always wanted her in the band.
More specifically, how did the decision to feature the talented Robi Gonzalez of A Place to Bury Strangers on drums affect the outcome of the album?
Rob: Before bringing Robi in, I came up with ideas and general drum lines for the songs and then the day we started recording, Robi heard the ideas and developed them perfectly. He made the songs powerful, relaxed and allowed us to play strong. Ashley doesn’t play all the drum parts exactly as Robi did, but she shreds and playing the songs live with her has been amazing.
Would it be fair to say that with Interrupt being the second album released under Bleeding Rainbow, the band has begun to settle more comfortably into its distinct tone, style and genre? I noticed that on Twitter you describe the band as “Mutant Rock.” Out of curiosity, what does that mean?
Sarah: Yes. I got the lines “difficult fun” and “mutant pop” from a post-punk book I was reading, Rip It Up and Start Again. It had a chapter on a record label named Fast Product that used those lines and I really liked them.
Rob: Yes, but we don’t have a specific genre in mind when we record; it just evolves naturally. External stimulus help us evolve and play what we want.
Sarah: Bands that decide on genres generally suck and it’s never been the way we make music.
Rob: We’ve never tried to confine ourselves to a specific genre. Our album Mystic Participation is more psychedelic pop, Prism Eyes is all pop songs and Yeah Right is full of psychedelic drones.
Sarah: We try not to overthink it because micro genres form by people doing their own sound. Like, when bands decide to sound like My Bloody Valentine, they are just copying the textured pitch distortion style that Kevin Shields created years ago.
Several reviews have stated that the tone and style of “So You Know” suggest that you were listening to a lot of Sonic Youth while writing it; however, you seem to reject the likeness. So I was wondering, was there a particular band you listened to a lot while writing this album or that feel influenced it?
Sarah: I definitely love Sonic Youth, but it is not by any means my favorite band. I think comparing us to Sonic Youth is a lazy way to compare us to bands because the only similarities are that a girl plays guitar and sings and that sonic youth uses heavy guitar to write soft songs. I get annoyed when people try to compare our band.
Sarah and Rob: While writing, we listened to a lot of Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, early Green Day (especially Dookie), and Sugar (Bob Mould from Hüsker Dü’s band). We listened to Sugar’s albums on repeat when on tour and it had a huge effect on the album.
In a couple of days you will be playing your second show of the year in New York and then will be touring in February with the Hunters throughout the East Coast, the South and Ohio. Do you have any plans to extend your tour to us in West Coast later in the year?
Sarah: We actually started to look into touring the West Coast last night. We are excited for the new tour, but hope the weather isn’t too bad.
Rob: I’m really looking forward to the new tour and planning for the West Coast tour because we will be booking the shows ourselves.
Sarah: We’ve booked a couple of our East Coast tour shows, but it’ll be good to book all the West Coast shows so that we can have more all ages shows and less douche-y shows.