Earlier this week, I had the chance to ask David LaViola from Romance & Rebellion a few questions about the band’s latest single More Than Friends. Featuring on their self-titled debut EP, the track is sure to be a pop-rock hit with producer Stefan Litrownik at the helm. Since David was so accommodating I’ve split the interview in two, with the link for the second part at the end of this post.
1. For any of my readers who may not have heard of your band yet, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your music?
Gladly. Any chance to speak about the band is great for our collective egos! *laughs* just kidding, not really though. In December of 2014 I (David) moved from NYC to Los Angeles. I wasn’t chasing “the dream” as much as I was just looking for the next step in my journey. Before I moved I recorded a 3 song EP in the wake of a band break-up; that EP and it’s release in June (2015) served as my declaration of personal growth. After releasing the “Keep The Fire” EP as a solo act, I began to play small venue gigs as a singer-songwriter (as soooo many LA transplants do). It wasn’t really for me and it got old pretty quick; however, I learned a great deal in the process about personal branding, social media, and public identity.
Aaron is 26 years old, originally from Denver, Colorado and has a Masters in Classical Guitar Performance. He’s a bit of a perfectionist who is always striving to be better. He also speaks fluent Italian, and passible Spanish. Kyle is 29; he’s got a degree in music performance and is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. He’s probably the most competent of all of us in terms of his technical ability. He’s very fun and easy going, he always speaks his mind… sometimes with unfavorable results.
As I mentioned briefly, before I moved to LA I was in a band. Brandon Davis, was the bass player in that band for a short period of time. Brandon flew to Los Angeles in December, we had two rehearsals before playing our first show with the current line-up. Everyone was in agreement that Brandon should be a permanent fixture in the group. One month later Brandon drove 3 days straight across the country and relocated to Los Angeles as the new bass player for Romance & Rebellion.
2. How did the band come together?
To understand how the band came to be I’ll take you back… I haven’t met a whole lot of Los Angeles natives that are in the entertainment business. I guess they grew up around it so they’re probably pretty sick of it. Most people COME to LA in pursuit of “the dream”. Something was missing. I craved the band dynamic on stage, and the lushness in the live arrangements and harmonies that I had tirelessly put to record the year before. With that in mind, I set out on a personal quest to build a team of musicians around music that shared the creative vision I had. Often Craigslist can be a dead-end, but for me it was the exact opposite. I began to respond to ads for players, believe it or not the emphasis wasn’t necessarily on their professionalism or talent, it was mostly based on their personal appearance (people might think me shallow for saying so… but, whatever). If I couldn’t picture myself standing next to the applicant I passed on their ad. Oddly enough the first two people I auditioned for the role became the founding two members of the band; Aaron Medina and Kyle Jordan Mueller.
I met both Kyle and Aaron for coffee before we even sat and played together. It was important to see how our respective personal chemistries mixed before investing any time in creating “magic”. My thought process was: “If I can’t stand being around them for an hour over coffee, how could I ever expect to spend hours in a cramped tour van traveling across the country with them?” I knew that I had found the right people to work with because it wasn’t about me, my talent, or my musical connections…it was about the songs. They wanted to work with me based solely on the quality of the song writing.
We spent the next two months rehearsing the 6 or 7 songs that would become the foundations for our debut EP. We needed a bass player though. Finding a dedicated bass player here in Los Angeles was the most challenging part of assembling the band. We knew that we had to find someone that would be as madly in love with the songs as we were. We had a few auditions, but nothing stuck. The short version is, I called Brandon (who was living in Brooklyn, NY) one day in late October and convinced him that it would be a good idea to take some time off of work to come and audition for the band, and since we’d already had an established relationship, it was a no-brainer. Brandon has always been a strong fan of my songwriting and we knew how our dynamic worked based on the previous band. More than anything, he’s always been a true friend (like I said, it was a no-brainer).
3. Who came up with the band name? Is there a story behind it?
The band name Romance & Rebellion came about because I wanted something that sounded like it could be a really rad clothing brand. I’ve always been into fashion and style, which I feel is pretty evident in the bands look in photos. I also wanted something that sounded cool if it was headlining a festival. “I’ll be at the main stage seeing Romance & Rebellion”; “Who’s headlining?… Romance & Rebellion”.
Read part 2 of my interview with R&R here
For more info on the band visit their website