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Discover The Undiscovered: Modern Rivals

By Staff on July 5, 2012


Discover The Undiscovered: Modern Rivals

Welcome to the July edition of Discover The Undiscovered. We’re proud to present to you, Modern Rivals

Modern Rivals weaves whirling keyboard lines, lush loops, and dreamy guitar tones around balladic vocals and a hard-hitting percussive backdrop. Their complex, yet gracefully composed arrangements radiate a sort of controlled chaos, as textures and tones swim along with a glowing beauty. All the while, the band keeps one foot firmly planted in the songwriting world, seamlessly integrating the good bits of pop music with exploratory intricacies. They recently released Sea Legs EP -- a promising introduction.

MP3 Download: “Defenestrate You

FILTER: Who are your main influences?
Modern Rivals: Between the five of us, we have a huge range of influences ranging from jazz to bluegrass to electronic artists, and everything in between. None of us have ever been the type to fixate on a particular type of music, and only that type of music, for an extended period of time. Our tastes are constantly changing, and we’re constantly turning each other on to new things. I recently had an edm phase, and Andrew has a wide knowledge of world musics, for example. I don’t think any of us really stop appreciating anything we get into either. To speak for myself, I still geek out about music I listened to ten years ago. All of it comes into play when we write. The more music I listen to, the more I understand that all genres have something amazing to offer.

FILTER: How did you meet?
Modern Rivals: Alex Raderman (drums), Alex Schiff (keys) and myself all actually grew up in the same town. So we’ve known each other since the early, early days. We all played in bands together in some combination in school. Then Schiff and I met Mickey in college. When we graduated we moved back to New York and formed the band. That’s when we met Andrew.

FILTER: What is your biggest achievement as a band to date?
Modern Rivals: Definitely our most recent EP, Sea Legs. It was really more than a writing and recording process -- it was also a quest for a sense of self. It was the process of figuring out what we do, and what we have to offer. We spent a lot of time working on tones, seeing what kind of sounds we were capable of making with our gear. And then once we brought the songs into the studio, it was like starting the process over a little bit. It sort of put everything under the microscope a bit, to hear it all laid out on the rough recordings. We were then able to really refine the timbres and textures, and tweak the arrangements a bit. We recorded the whole thing ourselves too, so that was a whole other set of decisions -- mic’ing techniques, choice of microphones, preamps, etc. By the end of it we emerged with something we could really call ours. What was really exciting for us at that point was that Chris Coady (Grizzly Bear, Beach House, TVOTR) agreed to do our mixes, who we’re huge fans of. We spent a week with him mixing, during which he made everything sound amazing. He did some things that none of us ever would have thought of, and he provided a much needed outside perspective. He’s also a super nice guy.

FILTER: Where did the band name originate?
Modern Rivals: A long, tireless e-mail thread where we probably spent more time trying to make each other laugh than trying to come up with a band name. Eventually the name Modern Rivals gloriously emerged out of a long list of terrible, terrible band names. Mickey, who writes most of our lyrics, has read Lewis Carroll, the rest of us have not.

FILTER: Favorite Bands?
Modern Rivals: Ah, it’s tough to speak for all of us, but I will try. Between the five of us, I think we hold very high respect for bands that are either simply great songwriters, explored new avenues, or display an undeniable musicality. Names that come up a lot with us are The Beatles (of course), Richard Bona, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Chris Thile, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Dirty Projectors.

FILTER: Plans to Tour?
Modern Rivals:
July 13 at The Living Room, New York, NY
July 25 at Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Aug 25 at The Studio at Webster Hall, New York, NY

We’re also planning a tour of the east coast and midwest for October. And we’ll be at CMJ.

FILTER: Plans for next release?
Modern Rivals: We’re finishing up the writing stage for our debut LP at the moment, so we’ll be in the studio soon. These new songs are our best yet. Look out for the album in early 2013!

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