Q&A with Silent Rival

by Juliette Paige

Q&A with Silent Rival

WRBB chatted Silent Rival to discuss new releases and music goals. Be sure to catch them live in Boston at Brighton Music Hall on June 12!

First of all, congratulations on your debut album, The Kindness of Strangers, that was released last year as well as your single, “Just One Voice,” that was released last month! Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of working with producer Matt Wallace (who has worked with acts like Maroon 5 and Train), and how you grew as a band throughout your first album, The Kindness of Strangers?

Sara Coda: During the writing and recording process, it was just Joz Ramirez and me. Matt Wallace is a really well-rounded producer, and he likes to be in the nitty gritty with the band. He’s very detail-oriented and involved, so it was like having a third band member, which is exactly what we needed.

One of the highlights of the album is definitely “Die A Little,” which is complimented with a crazy fun music video that shows the energy of the band. What was the story behind the music video?

The song is about taking chances, and we’re all big risk takers. We wanted the video to be an illustration of one of the ideas of the song. When we’re talking about dying a little, it’s really about taking big risks and giving yourself the permission to be a little bad. It’s part about living a full life. The video was an exaggerated illustration of the thought.

You’ve toured with My Chemical Romance’s Frank Iero, now you’re on tour with Night Riots and courtship. What are some of the biggest takeaways of performing for such different audiences, especially those who may not initially know your music?

One of the most rewarding thing about being on tour is you get to meet a lot of different characters, especially when audiences aren’t specifically there to see us. Both Frank Iero and Night Riots attract two totally different audiences, and they’re both completely awesome. But, because they’re just such different groups of people, it took us a few shows until we got to know Night Riot’s audience. Last night we made a breakthrough, though, and we’re getting to know them just as much as they’re getting to know us! We’re starting a real dialogue, and that’s definitely the most fun part about touring: connecting with people.

Something I love about the personality of your band is that you all roll with the punches. I read that you ran out of merch at the end of your last tour and literally ran to Walmart and Michael’s to make band t-shirts on the fly. Can you talk a little bit about the craziness of the journey you’ve been going on to get where you are now?

There’s a lot of punches in the beginning when we weren’t Silent Rival yet and we lost two members. There have been a lot of things that make us overwhelmed, or just say “fuck this!,” but we kept on chugging along. It gets easier, and you get into the flow of rising over new challenges. The most important thing to us is that we don’t want to disappoint the people who come to see us play, whether if they’re here to see us or the headlining band. It’s really important to play the best shows we can. We’re not going to shows without merch, so if we need to go to Walmart, we’ll go to Walmart.

Everything is so unpredictable in this business and lifestyle; being versatile has been the biggest asset to us. We’re an independent band, so sometimes we don’t have the resources that labels have. You have to wear a lot of hats, and things aren’t always the way we want it to be.

During this journey, I always constantly remind myself that one, sometimes the only thing you can do is wait, which fucking sucks. We had to wait a year to get our album mixed, and two, you have to work with what you got. We could wait for the ideal opportunity, but that may never come. This entire band has been built on defective opportunities.

Do you have any goals in the next couple years for your music?

It’s interesting that you ask about goals for our music because people typically ask what our business-wise goals are, and that’s a question for management. Because we’re an independent band, we focus on the artistic side and have almost full control of our work. So even the things we had to sacrifice from not having a label were worth it. Artistically, we are working on a new album, and things are getting more extreme. Our new music is still very Silent Rival: it’s danceable and singable, and the song writing doesn’t let words go to waste. It’s going to be pushed more to the edge of who we are.

On the topic of Just One Voice, you mentioned that you reject the belief that we’re living in a messed-up world and that we have to take responsibility for this world we’ve created. Do you have any advice for people who struggle with getting out of the mindset of negativity for the world?

Oh god, don’t watch the news. I think it’s important to keep up with what’s going on politically because it does affect our lives, but knowing the government is separate from individuals really helps you see things clearer. Whatever may be going on politically and with all these mass shootings, you have to remember that things are completely different when you meet someone face to face and shake their hand. I remember just five years ago, people were more guarded. And now everyone has worked so hard bringing awareness to political issues. It’s made everyone a lot nicer, self-aware, and careful with the people they come face to face with. There are bad apples, and we need to do whatever we can to prevent them from ruining things for the rest of us. I think the kindness people have learned recently has changed our culture for the better. We see it everyday when we travel and we open for different bands. We get a really good sample of what’s out there. I can’t speak for politicians because I don’t generally hang out with them, but when it comes to regular civilians, we’re raising the bar. We’ve stepped it up and I’m really proud of us as the people.

Listen to Silent Rival: