Interview w/ Riley Rose
When we heard that Savage Fest was returning, we knew it was time to catch up with local artist and producer Riley Rose to get the skinny on what fans of heavy music can expect from the re-emergence of this spectra of local talent. With a wealth of experience attacking the music scene from several vantage points, our thanks to Riley for taking the time to share once again with hurdcore.com on the eave of Savage Fest 2.
Who have you been working with in producing and recording at Siren Studios?
Riley Rose: As of right now, I am working on a 5 song EP for a band called Show Your Strength out of Camas, WA. They are a kind of metal/hardcore crossbreed band and their music is fun to work on because it’s not my typical genre. I am also working on recording a full length for my band …And The Sirens Sang which has a metalcore feel to the music but is very driven by symphonic elements such as orchestra and piano parts.
You have worked in recording as a musician and as a producer, what have you learned as some of the keys to capturing passion in a recording?
RR: Well to be honest, basically every project that I record nowadays doesn’t really call for passion or different feels instrumentally speaking. 99% of the music is just like metalcore or hardcore and bands want everything to sound perfectly tight and choppy, so there really isn’t much room to work with specific feels or moods. Vocals though are a different story. I like screaming to sound big and passionate and so that sometimes takes vocalists a little while to really tap into the emotional aspect to bring that out. I try to push them to really feel what they are screaming and not just kind of blandly record the vocals. Singing is the same story. I just try to make everyone lay everything out on the line and not hold back at all. At the end of the day, it makes for much more powerful sounding songs.
For bands looking to record, what will you get when you work with Siren Studios?
RR: At Siren Studios, you will get the best recordings that I can possibly give you at a cost lower than 99% of local studios, as well as an audio engineer who puts in easily twice the amount of work than most to ensure that you leave satisfied. You’ll get someone who isn’t going to work any less hard than they would work on their own music. I can name several audio engineers around this area who won’t try as hard for bands that they don’t like or whatever and that’s not my thing. I want every band that comes in to record with me to leave happy and I can’t achieve that by bullsh–ting my way through a project. I ensure that the proper amount of time is taken in every stage of the project. Pre-production, where we sit down and write out the songs and make sure that all of the transitions work well together is the most critical in my opinion, and most people who you record with don’t want to take the time to do it, but I make sure it happens. This way, at the end of the project you don’t hear something and wish you would have transitioned it better or dropped tempo on it or whatever and end up not completely satisfied.
So, you are bringing Savage Fest back after a hiatus last year. For those who missed this conglomeration of local heavy music artists, what can you tell us about this years line up?
RR: I definitely am! I had a ton of fun with it two years ago, and after seeing nothing but lame local shows (minus a few exceptions obviously), I decided that it was time to bring something like this back – a showcase of some of the best that this area can offer in the metal/hardcore genre. This year’s lineup features one of the very best metalcore bands in the area, “We Rise The Tides” as headliners. Beside them will be my band “Asleep At Last”, as well as 11 other amazing bands from the area. The bill includes metalcore bands, hardcore bands, pop punk bands, old school metal bands, and death metal bands so the lineup is much more diverse. I also wanted this year’s Savage Fest to give the bands an opportunity to determine their own time slots, so I gave each band tickets and the lineup will be determined by who sells the most tickets. It is also at a much bigger venue, so I believe that this show will be better in every aspect than the previous Savage Fest 2010. Oh, and of course, this show is all about the Macho Man Randy Savage being the best wrestler ever!
When is Savage Fest II – where and how do people get tickets?
RR: Savage Fest II is on March 31, 2012 in Camas, WA at the Fern Prairie Grange. Tickets can be purchased from any band that is playing the show for $8, and you can get a full list of the lineup on Savage Fest II Facebook by searching the event. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.
What is the status of And The Sirens Sang?
RR: Currently, …And The Sirens Sang is just my solo project instead of a full live band. I am just working on recording my first full length “II: In Death And Dreams” and I have begun writing an EP titled “I: Amore”, a second full length titled “III: Of Sin And Salvation”, a second EP, and a third full length (to be released in that order with “II: In Death And Dreams” being the first release). Every album will have a different sound than the last, and I am really excited about how everything is coming together!
There are so many bands that get through EP and even cutting their first LP, do some touring and then seem to fade away or break up, what have you learned in the last few years about the keys to staying power as a band?
RR: Well, it depends on how you’re going about the band. If you just want to play the music that you love without caring about following popular trends or anything to get big (as I feel with …And The Sirens Sang), then that part of it doesn’t really matter. If you are looking to be the next big band on Rise Records for a week, then go buy five releases from their label that are getting a lot of plays currently, spend two weeks writing a full length that rips off all of those bands’ music, autotune the s–t out of your vocals, and then make a t-shirt that says f–k on it and you should get there in no time. I think that the most important part though in creating a band that will last is doing something that isn’t the same as everything else in the genre and something with heart. You also have to build a band that is strong both as musicians, as well as individuals. You have to be able to be on the road with the people in your band without b–ching constantly or fighting every day. If that’s going on, you won’t make it because you won’t be able to play music together after a short time. You also need to have something visually appealing for an audience as far as your performance goes so that they remember you. Lastly, it is extremely important in my opinion to continually change up your sound and look. That’s how you stay big I think; by reinventing yourselves as artists.
2011 had its share of personal and professional challenges for you, what were some of the biggest lessons in life and/or music?
RR: I learned that I have to do what’s good for me. I have tried a lot to appease other people at the cost of my own feelings or whatever, and by the end of last year I just decided to not do that anymore. I’ve changed a lot in the past couple of years, and I’ve learned to just be happy with myself. I am also more determined than ever to get where I want to be in life as a musician, and I just decided that this was go time and I am going to go full speed ahead and run over anything that gets in my way. Also, I learned not to expect things of people. After doing a certain band a huge favor by filling in for them on an almost full United States tour and getting treated like s–t by them after killing myself every night and spending a lot of money out of pocket on food and s–t (which I was told I wouldn’t have to), I just said f–k that.
Top 5 songs in your personal iPod right now?
RR: AFI – “Synesthesia”, Anorexia Nervosa – “Sister September”, Mayday Parade – “Stay”, Pierce The Veil – “Besitos”, Those Who Lie Beneath – “Antichrist”, We Rise The Tides – “Rests At Sea”
Riley Rose is the owner and operator of Siren Studios and the creator of Savage Fest, currently working with several bands including his solo project …And The Sirens Sang.