Rival Sons have released two albums throughout 2023. Starting with Darkfighter in June, the Californian rockers followed up with the accompanying album Lightbringer in October.
The band kicked off their autumn UK tour in the capital with a sold-out show at the Roundhouse. A far cry from the band’s early days playing in and around Camden. “We have a special place in our hearts for the Roundhouse. We played some Classic Rock Award tunes there early on. And we even saw other artists there,” Scott said. “We played venues like The Barfly and a few others. “The other smaller gigs out there and I thought this would be good if this wasn’t an awards show and this was our show. But it felt good; I like the room, it is special. And then I could sell it out feels good. But as I mentioned before, we have so many great friends in the city. So London brings a lot with it, with a little reunion and an audience, which was lovely.”
The UK has become a second home for Rival Sons. In the early days of the band’s career, the group was welcomed with open arms. “There was more going on here than at home,” Scott remembers. “This was a place we kept returning to. We worked here, we did photo shoots here, we did press conferences and we came to the UK and spent a lot of time there. We have made many friends here who we consider family. And it just feels good to come to a place that understands what you do, appreciates it and embraces it.” He adds: “This is a place for us.”
In addition to releasing the band’s two new albums, they also toured the United States. “We just finished a tour with the Smashing Pumpkins. It was great fun. It was a really big band for me and some of the other guys. We were able to make great friends with them. And playing in beautiful outdoor venues all summer long,” Scott said. “We put out two records. This is something new, something we’ve never done before. So it was fun. It was busy.”
With two albums coming out almost a few months apart, had the band always envisioned a multi-album project? “We have finished all the songs. We were just trying to establish an order and decide what would stay or go,” explains Scott. “I felt like it was too much music for one record. And the idea of breaking it up, as soon as I brought the idea to Jay, he loved the idea.” Scott adds, “He [Jay] was really careful to maintain a refractory period between songs that are a little darker and happier in their lyrical form and in which there is a little more desperation. We would separate the songs that had more determination.”
The pandemic gave Rival Sons more time than usual to work on this larger album project. “Usually this band worked to make an album within 40 days. Because of the nature of everything we’ve had, the pandemic, the way we book studios and because people can even be working overload. As soon as we started working in this way, we were happy that it was drawn out. We didn’t rush into anything specific,” Scott said. “We can listen to the story and engage with it instead of just quickly knocking it down.”
For their latest album projects, the group worked with longtime producer Dave Cobb. “The band really got to know Dave before he was awarded. So we were friends and worked together before this all happened. And he always came up with something great,” Scott said. “I produce and write recordings and have been doing so for a long time, even before this band. And when I met Dave, he did something I had never done before.”
Scott adds: “He wanted to push the band straight away. Let’s not do these songs. Let’s do something completely new. Which to me was a really crazy idea, a really bad idea. I thought to myself, this is a terrible idea. Can you imagine bringing in all the songs you worked on for the record that you have in mind and then working from the ground up with completely new material – lyrics, music, everything? They think this is a suicide mission. But that’s how he works. And not every song is like that with him. But he brings that to the table – a spontaneity. And that means you have to trust yourself and the musicians you work with. And that means you have to dig really deep. You can’t go in there and do what you’ve been practicing or relying on for a month or two or three or six months, or for some people a year. You have what is in you, that will come out. And what should be on this tape? You will do it immediately.”
“I love the idea of it. Because the way modern music is made is used to creating a home, your foundation. And he kind of framed it. Even beforehand, you have your blueprints, which will be your demos. And then you slowly build this beautiful house building. And in the end it’s like being careful about everything. And it’s a long form. “I like the idea that the video brought and I described it as more comparative, it’s more like catching a wild animal than casting a net,” Scott explains. “So when you have these great musicians, you really want to hear what they’re doing, and I take advantage of that when I produce myself. Who they are and then cutting them loose and maybe cornering them a little bit. Get them really excited and then get them really excited and sounding good. And then you just let it go and capture it. And in the end, that’s much cooler than what they spent six months tiredly training on. So that’s what he brings with him.”
Rival Sons have festivals in their sights next year. “We stay busy. We skipped most of the festival season this summer to do other things. “So next year we will be holding all the festival clusters that we would normally hold in Europe and the US,” he said. “We are currently talking to Australia.” South America. Japan. We have a lot of plans moving around right now,” Scott concludes.
Darkfighter and Lightbringer, Rival Sons’ two new albums are out now.