Artist Spotlight with RIVALS

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BareBones Ent got the opportunity to catch up with our old friends in RIVALS. The band has been keeping busy working on their highly anticipated sophomore album, Sad Looks Pretty On Me! This offered the perfect opportunity for an Artist Spotlight to review the new album, and chat with the band. Buckle up and get ready as we dive right in.

Let me start with we did a feature a few years ago including Damned Soul on a list about Truly Unforgettable Albums and sometimes those can be tough to follow up. Sad Looks Pretty On Me does that perfectly and so much more. The singles released are just scratching the surface of what all this album has to offer.

You can tell the band wanted to try some new things with this album and it works. Lyrically the album is deep and powerful with plenty of symbolism and relatability to keep you hooked, while still being catchy to keep it on your mind. Almost every song on the album could have been a single. Each song is so unique from the vocals to each and every instrument. One thing I really love about the album is you can listen to it consistently and hear something new each time. You can tell every member of the band really put their heart into it and it shows.

I stand by what I said in our first interview, this band will be huge! I highly recommend picking up Sad Looks Pretty On Me when it drops March 19! You can grab it here! Check out our favorite songs below.

  • To: Dom
  • Fake Rich
  • Little Mistakes
  • Sad Looks Pretty On Me
  • Are You Listening?
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Photo by Matthew Bender

BBE: It’s been a good while since we’ve had a chance to talk. Last we spoke was around Damned Soul, so we are going to start this off challenging. What has been your favorite moment as a band since then?

RIVALS: I think we can all agree that its Shiprocked

BBE: What made that special to you?

RIVALS: Something about that experience was one of our most memorable as a band. The fact we got to play on a ship and got paid to go to another country was just amazing, its crazy that our music has taken us to different countries and sent us to see some of the Mayan temples. Not only that, we met people on that cruise that we still talk to today on a consistent basis, like not only fans but other bands as well.

BBE: You have been hard at work on a new album. What had that process been like for you?

RIVALS: Stressful, we thought the first one was hard but the second was harder. The first one no one has any expectations of you of quality or sound etc, but the second one you have standards to withhold and an image to manage. It’s a very different experience but a good one nonetheless. 

BBE: I really enjoy the album, and it sounds like you guys have had fun with the songs and tried some new things. Was your approach any different to this album or did you approach it the same as you usually do? Why was that?

RIVALS: It was completely different, we KNEW we wanted to make an album that was all over the place sounds wise. So one day we’d hit the studio and be like ’today we wanna go heavy’ and the next would be ‘lets make a pop song’ and the next would be ‘lets make a alt rap song’. Making this album was the best experience cause we really came together as a unit to make something outside our norm and we thought that was extremely cool.


BBE: How did covid impact the creation of this album?

RIVALS: Well the album was done when covid hit, we finished the last song, which was either “Fake Rich” or “Strawberries” (we wrote them in the same week which is kinda funny how different they are from one another), in December of 2019. We were supposed to drop March of 2020 but obviously we put it off hoping for things to die off but they didn’t so we just said FUCK IT and decided to drop the record. Also filming music videos was an interesting task, we had Micket’s mom come and be in “Sad Looks Pretty On Me”, we had to make sure masks were on the whole time because she’s older ya know? Just wanted to make sure she was safe and protected. She’s a wonderful women, gonna buy that women a house one day if we make it big, big. 

BBE: Aside from putting a stop to touring did the pandemic result in new obstacles for the band?

RIVALS: Tons, its different now, the industry is practically completely shut down. Everyone’s attention spans are even shorter than normal and it’s a different feeling, or I’m possible over thinking everything as I always do lol.

Artwork by Kalie Wolfe/Ridgeline Media

BBE: Back to the album though. Is there a song that you are especially excited about fans hearing? Why is that?

RIVALS: It was “Strawberries” and also “Fake Rich”, they were complete different spectrums of our sound, the poppier side and the heavier side, instead of mixing them, we went one way than the complete other.

BBE: On Damned Soul you had a song titled “To Leila” and on the upcoming album there is “To Dom” (which could very well be my favorite song on the album, it’s so good). Is this something you could see continuing on future albums or did it just line up on these?

RIVALS: My goal is to write a song to someone I know for every record, my life has some very interesting stories that should be out in the world that I know others relate to. To Dom was written about my nephew who’s mother committed suicide when he was four, I was given permission from my brother in law to actually read her suicide note which you hear in the bridge and at the end, I wanted to let him know that we love him always no matter what and it wasn’t his fault.

[Loved the song before, but after hearing this it was so much more powerful even. Literal goosebumps.]

BBE: Without being able to go on a tour to promote the album how has that changed your approach to getting it out there in front of fans?

RIVALS: We actually hired two separate PR agents, one for PR and the other to do marketing/etc stuff, both of which are killing it. We had to step outside our normal so yes that means we made a TikTok lmao.

BBE: For people that are somehow still on the fence about checking out the album what would you tell them to get them to check it out?

RIVALS: There is a song for everyone on this record, like everyone lol, we went poppy, happy, heavy, sad, and everywhere in between, so if you don’t like one, go to the next :p

BBE: Hopefully the pandemic will be cleared up soon. What are your plans once things have gotten safe?

RIVALS: Japan. I want to go to Japan, being home this long has made me realize that I’m not taking advantage of working for myself enough and need to go see the world more.

BBE: What is the best way for fans to get in contact with you?

RIVALS: INSTAGAMMMMM or really anywhere! Patreon too! We reply to like everyone haha

BBE: Anything else you would like to add?

RIVALS: Stream Sad Looks Pretty On Me out 3/19 and tell Micket he has a nice beard. Thanks ya’ll!

[It is indeed a nice beard.]

Brian Swann

Brian Swann

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About Me

My name is Bryan Swann and I run this entertainment site, BareBones Entertainment. Based out of Dallas, TX we focus solely on the music, art, and other area of entertainment, and none of the gossip or fluff. That is why our motto is “All Entertainment, No Fluff.” Any bands or artists that may be interested in doing an interview please follow us on Twitter @barebonesent, or like our Facebook page and message us.

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