When coming up as a rock band, it’s one thing to come from a different scene. It’s another to come from a different country. Fortunately, The Revies have made great strides over the years to integrate themselves at a few musical hot spots along the southern U.S. border. Their next stop: opening at this Saturday’s no-cover showcase at the Rush Bar in Lake Forest. So ahead of the event, we talked with lead singer/guitarist Etienne Rosas about the history of the band, how their cultural identity affects their music, and the new material this prolific trio is prepping for 2018.
How do you like to describe The Revies’ sound/themes/ideas for the uninitiated?
Rosas: The Revies formed in Monterrey, Mexico in around 2007, so you can be sure that the band’s sound has undergone several phases and taken from varied influences. Generally, we have a classic garage rock feel with some “alternative blues” mixed into it, along the vein of Jack White and Audioslave, but borrowing heavily from old greats like The Beatles and [Led] Zeppelin. The band’s underlying Mexican-American-ness shines through a lot in our musical ideas, not just through Spanish lyrics, but through the themes of dual identity the band itself has grappled with over the years. Ultimately though, these themes have given us a compelling reason to develop a unique sound that captures who we are.
What’s a recent case where you especially felt that identity shine through as an inspiration?
Rosas: Our most recent EP was titled Heartwoken, and despite that being the name of 1 of the songs on the EP, we thought it was a really apt and all-encompassing name for our first EP in Los Angeles. The idea of Heartwoken is about hope in the face of defeat: the notion that apparent failure or disappointment lights a bright fire for reinvention, and in many ways, sets you free. This EP came out right after the 2016 election, and during an emotional time of our music career with our first steps in LA. Despite how bleak the environment could seem, I suppose this was our way of pushing forward and keeping faith in ourselves.
What was your experience like finding your way in the rock world in SoCal?
Rosas: We had actually played quite a bit in the US before (especially Austin) and always got a great response from American audiences, but SoCal and LA in particular were pretty different than what we expected. Initially, it was hard to land gigs that were not pay-to-play, and the gigs we did land were often not the kind that had built-in crowds. It was tough going from a comfortable and compact scene in Monterrey, where we had built a decent following, to a pretty spread-out and competitive city like LA where we essentially started from scratch.
That being said, we found some encouraging solidarity with other great bands and little by little played our way up to better stages, and that ball seems to be rolling a lot smoother now. It’s definitely a tough cookie to crack, but as big and daunting as it is, it also provides a ton of opportunities if you know where to look.
Coming off that recent EP, what do we have to look forward to from The Revies in 2018?
Rosas: We’re actually working on a new set of tracks that we plan to put out around March, and we’re really excited to play new material live. So short answer would be a lot more kickass shows. Our plan is to have a West Coast tour in the summer to present that EP, and in the meantime expand our stomping grounds to areas outside of LA. We don’t really know where any of that might lead in the bigger picture, but we really enjoy the ride. So we’ll keep it going as long as we can.
Catch The Revies this Saturday, January 13th at the Rush Bar!
Heartwoken is available at “Name Your Price” on Bandcamp.