Interview: Your Rival
On July 30th, The Banana Stand will proudly host two relatively new bands in the Portland music scene - Your Rival and Forest Park. The show is expected to reach full capacity, so please RSVP on Facebook if you're planning on attending. Your Rival has started to build a bit of buzz in the city, The Portland Mercury called the band's latest release, "one of the most immediately likable local releases in recent memory," as the group played a show with Blue Skies for Black Hearts and The Blast Majesty.
Your Rival's Mo Troper asnwered some question via email about his band, which will be playing as a special two-piece for the recording at The Banana Stand.
How long has the band been together in its current form? How did it come together?
Your Rival technically began as a solo project in the end of 2008, but it wasn't something I took very seriously until about a year ago. I had been trying to form a band for a long time but I didn't feel like any of my musician friends took the music I was creating very seriously at all, and I was too self-conscious at that point to perform solo (either live or on recording). In the beginning of 2010 I competed in the MITS Battle of the Bands. I played solo and placed second, losing to the band Stimulus Package (who, coincidentally, Nate, the drummer in Your Rival, was playing drums in). I pretty soon afterwards recorded our first six-song EP with assistance from my friend Gavin (who played drums on that record) and my other friend Jarret, who recorded a guitar track on one song and later became a fixture of the live configuration. My friends Nate and Parker joined the live band on drums and bass respectively, and that was that. Now it's technically a solo project again, although I can't imagine playing without Nate. Our friend Sam is playing bass with us.
How would you describe your sound? What are your key influences?
We're definitely a power pop or "rock and roll" band, but our influences extend beyond that. I actually don't even listen to a lot of the artists that I consider my principal influences that much anymore, maybe with the exception of the Beatles (who I listen to all the time) and Big Star (I have a tradition where I listen to their album Radio City on the first sunny day of every year). Every time I sit down with the intention of writing a song that sounds like Sunny Day Real Estate or something, it ends up just being this real consonant pop tune instead. An example is WWF off our new EP, which is certainly more Supertramp or solo McCartney than Sunny Day Real Estate, but it's never deliberate. Those are just such deep-rooted influences that I will never be able to escape or replace with something else.
Tell us your thoughts about recording live. What makes you interested in recording live at the 'Stand?
In my experience, it can be difficult getting a quality live recording of a loud band. The Banana Stand recordings I had heard sounded excellent and I really liked the concept of it being this service disguised a house show. In the fall of 2010 we recorded on KBOO but I wasn't really satisfied with how it sounded. I'm confident that we'll get good a live recording out of this, and it'll also be great to play a free show for our friends.
What's your favorite memory of a live show? Least favorite?
We played a house show at the Pink Room in late December that, in retrospect, I think was our best performance. Everything just worked, the chemistry between the band members was so spot-on. It was packed, there was a lot of energy and it's one of the only times I remember people singing along. The worst was probably at Dunes in November, we debuted two new songs at that show and we fucked both of them up. My amp stopped working because I tripped over a cable or something, I lost my voice. KBOO was actually also pretty bad, a lot of our friends showed up but they didn't know they could make noise in between songs so didn't clap at all, and additionally there was all this horrible tension between some of the people there. I played what I thought was a great solo show last July at a venue called the Waypost.
What are your favorite live albums?
I got the Guided By Voices Live in Dayton set at the beginning of the summer, and sonically those songs sound worlds better live than they do on their records, so I like that album. I really love Elvis Costello: Live at the El Mocambo, because I really like early Costello and those performances are so energetic. MC5's "Kick Out The Jams" is probably the premiere live album though, it's so hilarious and fun to listen to. In my opinion a live band that's reckless is almost always better than one that performs immaculately. I like Rush a lot (more than I probably should), but I would never pay to see them because they're so spotless, that ain't ROCK. What's the point? Why pay a huge amount of money for what's essentially the exact same experience?
What other projects are you all involved with?
Nate and I are in a band called Ledgend, that's actually sort of like the MC5 (but not nearly as awesome, we don't have those huge Detroit nuts). Nate plays drums in a SWEET metal band called SLOTHS, and Sam played bass in a band called Butter.
What are you working on lately?
I'm working on material for a seven-inch and would eventually like to rerecord some of my favorite songs off our first two EPs for a full-length. At this point nobody in the band is employed and we don't have the resources to "big dog it" and go to a nice studio or anything like that, but lack of material definitely isn't an issue!
Thanks to Mo for participating in our interview series. If interested, you can read interviews with almost every band that has played The Banana Stand in the archive section. Be sure to check out You Rival's latest release "Seven Sparking Children" - it's available for a pay-what-you-want download, just like Banana Stand Media's live albums. And, don't miss the chance to download a powerful four demo song from Forest Park for free.