We recently reviewed Rival Bones’ latest EP, so it’s only right they also get the Band of the Day treatment.
We’re both currently living in Liverpool, that’s where we met and formed the band but I’m originally from Wigan and James is from South Africa! An exotic cocktail I tell you.
How did you meet?
James was looking for a drummer for his old band, and his sister who was in the same class as me at University mentioned me. I headed down and auditioned and James was keen to have me for that band. Turns out though that it was actually winding down, so we decided just to do something as a duo and we started writing the following week.
How long have you been playing as a band?
We’ve been going now nearly 4 years!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
I think we both agree that coming up with band names is one of the worst parts of being in a band! We had a few things we wanted. We wanted it to be symmetrical, sound like how we sound, have a free URL/Facebook page (always thinking!). We just then started auditioning words, phrases and we settled on Rival Bones.
What are your influences?
We’re both huge Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine, QOTSA and DFA1979 fans so a lot of that influence seeps into our music naturally. We both have our own tastes as well though. I’m into everything, from Michael Jackson to Lamb Of God and everything between. James came from a more singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso world and was really into John Mayer etc while still being into heavy music. We kind of met in the middle.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We actually try to stay away from the whole ‘two-piece’ thing because in essence its 3 instruments. We’re heavy, groove laden, loud and aggressive. There’s some more stoner influence as well but we’re all about rhythm and writing great songs no matter where the inspiration takes us.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
James: I tend to write lyrics about made up situations mostly. My life is kinda great right now and unfortunately that doesn’t always make for great material! So, the game is to create a situation with which people can easily identify. I think what people want from lyrics a lot of the time is to feel ‘that could be written about me’ so I’ll come up with something like “I want this person even though I know they’re not good for me, and this is going to make a mess but I’m going to do it anyway.”
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Loud. In your face. Sweaty. We’re a visceral band I think and our favourite thing to do is play live so we make the most out of it! We’ve probably played way over 150+ shows together now. We kind of lose track these days!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
We once played in a bar/antique shop called Percy’s in Whitchurch. We got invited upstairs to see the living area of the couple who owned it. They were massive taxidermists, there was polar bears, tigers, leopards all draped over the couch. They had a crow as a pet, a box with a human skeleton inside and their coffee table was an old mortuary table from the 1920s. They were great people though! We’d play there again and again.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I currently use a Gretsch Rock Kit. Matte Black. 24×14 Bass Drum, 13×13 Tom and 16×14 Floor Tom. Dream cymbals (the bigger the better). Currently I have a 22” Crash, 22” Crash Ride, 19” Crash and 15” Hi Hats. Cowbell, tambourines and a small sample pad!
James: I play a Gibson ES335, it’s the best guitar I’ve ever played, and I play it like a chainsaw half the time! In order to make the whole thing happen I have a pedal board that is way bigger than I’d like. (I’m not a fan of watching guitar players press buttons all night). There’s lots of TC Electronic stuff on there, I’m a huge fan of their stuff! Other than that my friend Ben at vein-tap.com made me a big switcher to my specs that I could go without. I’ve got an Egnater Rebel 30 guitar amp and cab which is the main guitar sound and I’ll use whatever bass amp is at the venue. If it’s available, I’ll use a second guitar amp as well.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Our 2nd EP – StrangeFruit. We’ve been promoting that for the last 4-6 weeks. We’ve had 2 singles come out, played a bunch of shows and we’re putting on our own launch party.
What are your plans for 2019?
We’re going to hopefully do a bunch more tours in the UK and EU as well as some festivals. We also want to give ourselves 2019 to write as much as possible, and then see if it’s going to be another EP or our first album!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
For me the headliners would be Led Zeppelin. Then us, then QOTSA.