State Of Music: Part 16: Pennsylvania: Revolution I Love You
What an exciting few days.
The artwork for the State Of Music album was completed, I got invited to the We Are Augustines single launch party in London and I got to appear on Steve Lamacq's show on BBC 6 Music. I will no doubt be posting links to the 'Listen Again' page later in the week.
But it is back to the State Of Music juggernaut and I am pleased to welcome you to Pennsylvania's Revolution I Love You.
By the time I started to look at this North Eastern state I decided I wanted to find something 'different'. I am not sure how different or what constituted as different in my mind, but Revolution I Love you seemed to fit the bill.
I will admit to being hooked as soon as I heard the opening song of their "We Chose To Go To The Moon" album with its rather catchy and explosive introduction and Elvis Costello-esq vocals.
You can pick up their album for free on their Bandcamp site or stream it below. While you are at it you can also check out my interview with the band below. Enjoy!
CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Revolution I Love You and where in the world would we find you?
RILY: Revolution, I Love You is just the two of us; me (Rob), and J. I sing, play guitar, play keyboards, and do some programming, and J…well, J sings, plays guitar, plays keyboards, and does some programming too. You would find us in northwest Philadelphia, in a small house right across the street from our friendly local beer distributor.
CMM: And how would you best describe the state of Pennsylvania?
RILY: We’re both relatively new to PA, having moved here from Delaware almost two years ago to be a part of the art and music scene in Philly, which is spectacular. Most of PA is rural, conservative…there are a lot of old coal mining towns in the mountains, Amish communities, that sort of thing. We played a show out in Quarryville a few weeks ago, and the last 45 minutes of the drive was all back roads. But Philadelphia, on the other hand, is this spectacular cosmopolitan city. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of my favorite things about where we live; when you drive from Center City to our place, you get this great view of the museum, with all of it’s colonnades, perched right above the river. It’s awesome.
CMM: How long have you been recording music and how did it all start?
J and I have been making music together since we were 16, so for 10 years now. It wasn’t long after we started playing in our first band before we tried going into the studio. I remember being so anxious, watching somebody else mix the record, thinking “If ONLY I knew what all this buttons and lights and knobs did, I could TOTALLY make this sound better.” So by the time we were 18, we had bought a Pro Tools LE setup and some microphones.
I think the DIY recording process had a huge influence on the music we make now. I know we use a lot of synths and drum machines, but that’s less because of an electronica influence, and more because we learned to think of making music from a producer’s standpoint, or like a movie director. For us, recording isn’t the act of recording a performance of an already-created song, it is the process of creating the song itself. The production of a recording isn’t simply incidental, it’s not just a handful of stylistic decisions that have no effect on what the song means, the production MATTERS.
CMM: How best would you describe your music?
I think a writer here in Philly hit it on the head when he described it as “deconstructed pop music.” We take a lot of elements from traditional pop out of their original context and then recombine them; indie rock guitars, hip hop beats, 90s style jungle beats, big dramatic choruses,loops and synthesizers. The songs on our new CD, We Choose to Go to the Moon, have fairly traditional structures, but they burst at the seams at times and get pretty chaotic. It’s big, loud, dense indie rock.
CMM: What is the music scene like in Pennsylvania right now? What is the genre of choice out there at the moment?
Pennsylvania is a big state with a lot of different cities and self-contained scenes, so I can really only speak intelligently about Philadelphia. Philly is in pretty unique position I think: while it is by no means a sprawling metropolis like New York, LA, or Chicago, it is still the 5th largest radio market in the country, has a very influential non-commercial radio station in WXPN, a nationally syndicated radio show broadcast from World Café Live, and a ton of colleges and universities that are always bringing new people into the city. So you have all of this creative energy condensed into a relatively small space. And there are some promoters in Philly that run very popular music series’ in alternative venue spaces; churches, printshops, galleries, etc.
There are two things that seem to be really popular around Pennsylvania right now; psychedelia and folk. And I guess both of those ideas are pretty popular in indie music around the country, but inPhilly the bands tend to have a more ragged edge; War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, and mewithoutyou are certainly not making chillwave, that’s for damn sure.
CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?
I guess it’s that ragged edge that we share the most with our fellow Pennsylvanian musicians. Philadelphia is not a New York, Chicago, or LA; its high point was probably when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and it’s never had a reputation for beauty or safety. When we moved here, folks would ask us “Why Philadelphia?” haha. The city, and state, has the same ragged edge our music does, and that’s what I love about it.
CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?
We both love bands like Ratatat, David Bowie, and The Smiths. Bright Eyes, Interpol…Wes Anderson movies…J loves Vonnegut’s books, I’m really into Nabokov. We both read a lot; J is in school for creative writing, and I’m working on going back to finish my degree in Philosophy or Cultural Studies.
CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?
We have two releases so far. Our first release was a 6-track EP in 2008 called Noise. Pop. Deathray., and we just released our first LP, We Choose to Go to the Moon.
CMM: Are you able to get out and play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?
Oh yeah, we’re already booking out to 2012! In town, I think the coolest place we’ve played was Pterodactyl Gallery; we were set up on the fifth floor or so, in front of these giant double doors that open up so you can see the city behind us. It was beautiful! And out of town, we’ve been playing a lot in New York at places like Fontana’s and Arlene’s Grocery, which are cool because there is a kickass vegan place down the street that we can hit up after the show.
CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?
Right now we’ve got a ton of shows coming up in our area, and we’re setting up a Spring tour down south. It’s going to run from Philadelphia, PA to Austin, TX, through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?
All KINDS of places…
And you can find our new album, We Choose to Go to the Moon, at all major digital music retailers. OR you can get it for free at revolutioniloveyou.bandcamp.com.