For LA-based rock band RIVAL TIDES, time has been of the essence since day one. The band formed in November of 2012, and not even a year into its existence, they’re off and running with their first release – a seven song self-titled EP produced by Erik Ron (Panic! at the Disco, I the Mighty, VersaEmerge) at Grey Area Studios in North Hollywood, CA. Formed in 2012, they’ve hit the ground running with their debut release, a seven song, self-titled EP. Produced by Erik Ron (Panic! at the Disco, I the Mighty, Hands Like Houses), vocalist Robyn August, bassist Jason Friday, drummer Greg Fulleman, and guitarists Caleb Healey and Alex von Hollen draw listeners in with their captivating high-energy. The five friends actually birthed Rival Tides from the now defunct Harris Grade in an attempt to wholly transition—and succeed—into a new, more refined writing style. With their first release being a polished product indicative of experience and maturity, Rival Tides is setting their sights on reaching the real fans of rock music. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with vocalist Robyn August to discuss his musical roots, the creation of Rival Tides breakout EP, the challenges involved with bringing it to life and much more!
Thank you so much for taking time out to answer our questions. We are really looking forward to spreading the word on the Rival Tides!
Thanks for asking the questions! I’m happy to have the opportunity to talk about it.
I wanted to go back to the beginning and have you tell us a little about your first memories of music and how it came into your life?
My first memory was a song my mother used to sing to me as a child. That, and Sesame Street’s Rubber Duckie on vinyl….I played and sang to it every morning.
Who do you cite as your biggest influences — musicians you look to for inspiration or even a mentor of some sort?
Well I’m only speaking for myself as a writer/singer but most of my influences in rock growing up are some of my favorite writers of music, lyrically. Johnny Cash, Elton John, the Beatles, Tom Petty, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and many others did a great job of making a catchy tune with a deeper message. I think if you can create a song that sticks in peoples head and has something to say, it doesn’t get better than that.
What made you pursue music as a career instead of going a different route?
Good question! I quit! Just kidding! Music is just something we love and have to do. It’s just in our DNA. There is no real way to stop… so why not try our hardest to have that pay our bills? Luckily everyone in the band has other passions in life that can help as far as money. But music provides us with something beyond the material world. It makes our souls happy. I’ll be making music my whole life. I just love it too much.
For those who may not be familiar with the band. How did Rival Tides originally form?
It’s a long story but here is the short version: Caleb and I started a band, the band broke up. Caleb started new band with Alex and recruited me. That band lost a bassist and drummer… Jason and Greg saved the day. The five of us changed the name and started over as Rival Tides.
How did you arrive at the band name you chose?
It was between “Rival Tides” and “Iron Falcons of Terror”… Rival Tides didn’t make my little nephew cry… as much.
Give us the lowdown on your current lineup and what these talented musicians bring to the table!
Caleb-good looks, order and guitar
Alex- good looks, hidden food and guitar
Jason- good looks, beautiful hair and bass
Greg – good looks, corrections and drums
Robyn – better looks, bad jokes and mouth noises
For the fans that haven’t had a chance to hear the band, what can they expect from the band sonically?
Ambient, aggressive and energetic rock with melodic angst.
You are about to release your self-titled EP. When heading into the studio for this album, what were your goals or expectations?
To grow from any previous recordings we’ve made. Each time we step into the studio, we want to outdo ourselves.
Can you tell us a little about your songwriting process for this record and how you typically bring a song to life?
We create a bunch of song skeletons in our practice space and demo them out. Once I get them recorded I begin to write based on the song’s vibe.
What was it like working with famed producer Erik Ron (Panic at the Disco, VersaEmerge)?
Awesome. He’s a great producer and a great friend. The dynamic in the studio bounces back and forth between serious and ridiculous really easily.
As an artist, what was the biggest challenge in putting the EP together?
Just releasing it, really. There were a few points where we had parties interested in working closely with us, so we stood by and prolonged the record release, but eventually we decided to release this on our own.
Any plans on a return to the studio in the near future?
We are already writing songs for the next release, whenever we decide that to be.
You released a video for “My Insomnia.” Can you tell us a little about how its concept came about and the experience of making it?
The story was an idea I had that was based upon my childhood and growing up. It raises the question (if you’ve had a lot of friends who died early, like I unfortunately do) why not me?
I wrote, directed and edited the video and my experience was awesome. Everybody in the crew was amazing and we had such a fun day shooting it.
Any plans for other videos in the works?
Yes! And a lot!
You guys have opened for some terrific bands. What has the experience of opening for some of these awesome acts done for the band as a unit?
Great shows with incredible bands make us want to work harder to play with even more!
What do you hope that people come away with after seeing your live show?
The ‘want’ to tell everyone they know about our band. And maybe buy a record :)
What are your current tour plans?
At this point, we’re aiming for small “weekend warrior” type tours, but hopefully a full American tour in the near future. If we’re lucky maybe even a Europe tour and who knows… maybe even the moon.
It seems like almost everybody has one. Have you ever had a “Spinal Tap Moment” on stage where something totally unexpected has happened?
We played a show in Modesto at a venue that had a wall and window blocking the performance room from the bar. No one was in the music room the entire set and we thought everybody hated us. After our set a crowd ran out from the bar and told us that they couldn’t bring beer into the room but they were listening to us the whole time through the glass. They loved us. Then proceeded to buy merch, take pictures and have us sign everything… it was amazing.
What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?
Honestly our friends, family and our amazing fans… We have some of the best and loyal fans ever. They keep this band alive.
How do you feel you have evolved as a musician along the way?
I’ve learned to let myself go in my music and on stage. It took a while for me to stop worrying about what other people thought of me, being scared to show a certain side of myself, or wondering if I looked “cool.” The fear becomes a leash… I just started immersing myself into the music and the experience completely. It’s not easy to block those thoughts out sometimes, but when I do, I feel truly free… and that’s one of the best highs in the world.
What do you consider your biggest personal milestone at this point in your career?
Doing an interview for Icon vs Icon. Seriously. Every new moment of exposure to our music and connections with new fans are milestones in our career. We are alive, we get to make music and some people actually listen. Every day is a new milestone. Thank you!
What is the best piece of advice that you can pass along to someone who wants to pursue a career in music in the industry’s current climate?
Be ready to find out that everything that you think about the music industry is wrong. And once you get an idea of it, it’s already changed. If you truly love making music it won’t even matter. Set your mind free, enjoy your journey, keep hustling and above all KEEP CREATING. You do this and amazing things will happen, trust me.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for Rival Tides? Both long term and short?
Short-term: Rival Tides band practice is in about 4 hours. Long term: We hope to have many more opportunities to share our music and the chance to meet more amazing new friends along the way.
What are the best places to catch up with the band online?
Anything you want to tell your fans before I let you go?
That we love you guys from the bottom of our hearts. And you’re not just our fans, but our friends too. See you at the next show!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.