I was able to talk to Micket, guitarist for the band Rivals before they took the stage at Alchemy in Providence. They are at the tail end of the longest tour the band has ever been a part of. Most of the tour was alongside The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus who gained notoriety in 2004 with their single “Face Down.” Tonight’s show was a chance for Rivals to be the headliner, as they make their way back to their hometown of Los Angeles California. They are touring on their first major release “Damned Souls” which was released on Smartpunk records this past February.
Before Rivals took the stage, we had a second to talk about the way music gets to their fans through platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Record sales used to be the mark of a successful band, but now it’s plays, playlists, and streaming that are the way to measure success and to reach new listeners. Kalie even commented on stage that they just hit a million plays that day. However, the band thinks that when it comes to the business side of streaming, bands are making a lot less money from their 10-15 cents a play, but they can reach more people and faster. “We have been able to gain a lot of success because of Spotify. We are on so many Spotify playlists, and people who have never heard of us are finding us through streaming platforms.”
Micket is the main writer, and Kalie writes the vocal melodies and lyrics. Then they bring the songs to the band and polish it for the road and to record. They don’t find much time to write on the road but are already looking forward to their next record. They have some tours already lined up and plan to stay on the road for most of this year and next.
I was able to listen to the new record “Damned Souls” from Rivals on the way to the show and was excited to see this “dark power pop” music live. The band did not disappoint! From the opening full-band drum break to the LED light show that is synced to every song, Rivals put on a high energy yet intimate show that is engaging, polished and just plain fun to watch. Their lead singer Kalie Wolfs animated singing style and powerful vocals keep the focus on her while the rest of the band is putting on their own visual show all around her. They used some backing tracks to enhance their sound, and though sometimes pre-recorded tracks can take away from the actual musicians on stage, Rivals use these tracks sparingly and tastefully, in a way that makes the sound of the band full and exciting. At one point in the show, the entire band left the stage and Kalie sang a song she wrote for her niece to an ambient backing track. She sang the first half of the song in the crowd and then halfway through, the band joined her back on stage to take the song to the next level. From drum breaks, high energy stage presence, and even the guitar player climbing on top of the bass player to play a solo, Rivals is a band everyone needs to see live. Their new record is out and worth a listen, they will be on tour for the rest of the year and into 2019. The band recommends “Keep Going” and “Damned Soul” as tracks you should check out.
RIVALS is a dark pop-rock band from Los Angeles, CA formed in 2014 by vocalist Kalie Wolfe, bassist Sebastian Chamberlain, guitarist Micket Woodle, and drummer Josh Alves. Driven by Wolfe’s powerhouse vocals and the band’s infectious yet raw sound, RIVALS is fueled by powerful and energetic songwriting, bringing forth a type of fearlessness in their music that stands out among the rest. Since the release of their debut EP in 2015, titled Haunted/Hunted, the band has been making waves and for good reason. Revered by many on their live performance, RIVALS has previously toured the country with bands like Story Untold, Uh Huh Baby Yeah!, and Best Kept Secret, in addition to sharing a lineup with acts like Assuming We Survive, The Word Alive, and Oceans Ate Alaska on the 2014 Vans Warped Tour. The band’s impressive live performances also led to partnerships with MEE Audio, D’Addario, SJC Drums and TRX Cymbals. In 2016, RIVALS gained mass attention with their unique take on twenty one pilotsʼ track, “Heathens,” which has garnered over 375,000 plays on Youtube and over 300,000 streams on Spotify. The band released their highly anticipated debut full-length LP, Damned Soul, in February of 2018 via SmartPunk Records. RIVALS is currently on a cross-country tour with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus through August.
Catch RIVALS on tour with the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus now. The Turn The Stage Tour with Assuming We Survive will kick off this September, with tickets available for purchase on July 20th at noon CST. All tour dates can be found below. To stay up to date, be sure to follow the band on Facebook.