| Band: Revolver Modèle|
Interviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Minneapolis 4-piece Revolver Modèle recently released their self-titled second EP on Estate Sale Records (read my review here), bringing their alternative/post-punk/wave blend to the masses once again. I recently got a chance to ask the band a few questions about their history, current work, and what's in store for the future.
Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. How are things going over there in Minneapolis?
Cold and gray in May.
Well, first things first. For our readers that are unfamiliar with Revolver Modèle, could you give us a brief history? How did you originally get together? How did your name originate?
Mikal and Jesse were foundlings suckled by a she-wolf, not in the luxuriant seaside of lazio, but in the desert sterility of no! where Minnesota. From the beginning they were feral beasts. I met both Mikal and Natasha in the slightly more civilized atmosphere of our collegiate years at the University of Minnesota. Natasha was an urban paranoiac and I was a suburban snob [there's precious little if anything to be pretentious about in the suburbs, but I found a way.]. Though mikal taught me how to strum the guitar at that time, we didn't form revolver [the original name] until 5 years later when we were too indolent and over educated to be respectfully employed. The whole band thing was and is and will ever be a lugubrious attempt at peterpanhood.
The name: We always liked the name revolver, not for The Beatles whom half of us held in contempt, nor for for the marshal implication [we are all violent pacifists]...we liked the name because of the sound, the rhythmic repetition of consonants and what not. But the name as it was had already been used by several bands. We added the modele after an archaic french side arm that alfred jarry used to carry around and shoot off in the cabarets.
Obvious similarities can be drawn between your sound and that of Joy Division. Do you feel that's helped you define and establish yourselves, or has it sort of negatively pigeonholed or overshadowed you?
Ah yes, Joy Division! The great razor-edged shadow that shrouds us. Funny enough I never thought we sounded so remarkably like them. We are all -I think- pretty big Joy Division fans [I am more of a New Order fan myself, not their overly synthed out electro stuff though]. I was listening to a lot of New Order when we started, and I think if it had not been for Get Ready, we would not be the band that we are. So yes, there is an element of our own definition gained through that. As for Joy Division, I have always admired their intense simplicity...it's more suggestive than complicated music. I think we have an affinity to that simplicity, but the reference is exaggerated primarily because the vocals are all baritone. And frankly, the music you have heard is not exactly new and doesn't accurately portray our sound now.
How would you characterize your music? What other bands and artists have had a major influence on your work and in what way?
Ever exploring. I think at this point, which is only a glimpse on a continuum, we have embraced a more erratic, frenetic type of music with an element of dark sarcasm to further schizophrenize our style. As for influential musicians, they span quite a large area. Mikal is an avid partisan of Nick Cave these days, especially The Birthday Party. Natasha...there's too much there to concisely illustrate, she goes where angels fear to tread. The only bands I recall Jesse specifically mentioning are Bruce Springsteen and Radiohead. As for me, I am a die-hard Suede fan...however I am more influenced by writers than anything else. I've read a lot of stuff that I have found inspirational lyrically and with respect to performance. The first and most potent is Antonin Artaud's The Theater and Its Double.
Your sound is built on an organic guitar/bass/drum/vocal foundation that steers clear of keyboards and other synthesized elements. Is this something conscious...say a rock purist credo, a result of your influences, or just the way things naturally came together?
I need to feel real drums when we play. It is, however, not a credo. We are anti-doctrinal by nature. I don't think we have exhausted our potential as a four piece with minimal instrumentation. However, we are not averse to tasteful synth stuff in our recordings.
How do you approach songwriting? Do you start material separately and then flesh it out as a group, or is it a collaborative effort from start to finish?
Songwriting is initially a very unconscious thing, and it defies method.
How would you compare your live show to your recorded material? Which do you, as a band, prefer, the creative process of songwriting and recording or the immediacy and energy or performing before an audience?
Being listless children of the 80's and 90's we are a profoundly live band...our performances tend to be ecstatic to the point of rapture. But to set that against recording is not a precise way to put it. They both have their exhilarations, and we enjoy them equally.
Your music seems likely to draw a fairly diverse crowd, from goths to retro new wavers to modern alt rock fans. What is a typical audience like at your shows? Do you generally find a radical shift in audience makeup between home shows and shows on the road?
The primary make up of our shows is friends and pretty girls...well that's, perhaps, a dubious statement, but it is ideal. I don't believe we've made any demographic assessments. There is usually a solid cross section of people. We are a little surprised by the appeal we have for the goth crowd. We don't think of ourselves as a goth band. I suppose when I think of goth music I think of very angry industrial music...but I suppose we have similarities to a more classic goth sound. As for the out of town shows, we're still exploring various regions. But playing shows outside of Mpls is great because we get to play in front of people for the first time and they have no idea who we are.
You've had a fair amount of success and received quite a bit acclaim in Minneapolis, particularly focusing on you as a live band. How has response to the EPs been elsewhere, particularly internationally? Have any areas/countries been considerably more or less responsive to your sound?
Our last ep charted on CMJ, and stations all over the country have us in rotation...sometimes in heavy rotation. But, as I said for the last question...we have ventured around, but we have not yet solidified a fan base elsewhere. We have attracted some attention in the Philippines [it's strange I know]. And there is a European adventure in the works for next year.
What does the future hold? Can you tell us what to expect on the upcoming tour? Any plans for a full-length album in the near future?
The future is inherently unforseeable...well that said and all, we'll be on tour out east this August sometime. At that time, we will be promoting a new full-length album, which I suspect will disspell the belief that we are a one-track Joy Division band.
Anything else you'd like to add?
New video being shot in June. June Sumosonic CD sampler for Heavy.com will include "an instant".
New debut full length CD release late summer/fall.
Well, I think that about wraps it up. Thanks again for doing the interview! Best of luck!
Revolver Modèle website: www.revolvermodele.com
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