Hey Guys!! So excited to be chatting with all of you. What led to you guys forming “Revolution, I Love You”?
J: I met Rob in high school when our mutual friend J.C. heard that Rob was looking for a guitar player for the fall play. This cat grabs me from the lunch table, walks me over to Rob and says “You’re looking for a guitar player, right? This is my boy J, he’s awesome”. J.C. had never even heard me play.
Rob: Like J said, we started playing music together in high school. After playing in a band together for a while, we decided to strike out on our own as a duo. We really wanted to get away from the standard four-person rock band, so for a while it was just the two of us on guitars and keyboard, plus some programmed drums running through an iPod. We didn’t have a laptop back then that was powerful enough to run Ableton Live without freezing during a show.
How did you guys all meet & become a band?
Rob: After a while, J and I started to consider that, in spite of all the synths and beats, we were still a rock band at our core and that maybe we needed a drummer to fully realize our sound. I met Jeff while we were teaching guitar and drums at a Philly-area music store. We hit it off right away and I could tell we had a deep connection over music. So in the next rehearsal with J, I brought it up. “Hey, remember how we were half-seriously talking about finding a drummer? I think I found the one.”
What’s the meaning of the name “Revolution, I Love You”?
Rob: When I was at Towson University, someone from a Baltimore anarcho-communist group gave me a pamphlet about the May 1968 student/worker uprising in Paris (I think it was for May Day). So I looked it up and came across the Bureau of Public Secrets (http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/
What’s the difference from your band and all bands that are currently doing well?
Jeff: Rob, J, and I are really close friends. We’ve been through a ton together the past few years, both personally and musically. We’re doing great! We enjoy what we do, and we’re confident about the music we create. That’s how a band does well.
Can you tell us a little something about each of you?
Jeff: I’m a middle school music teacher, and I live with my wife and my cat, Sam. I’m always balancing my teacher life with Revolution, I Love You and my other musical projects. When I’m not music-ing, I’m either exploring the outdoors or in a movie theater.
Rob: I work as a research analyst in economics, so I spend a lot of my time on programming and math. But I also have a degree in philosophy and have been reading about mythology and the history of religion lately. Like Jeff, I’m really into movies. He’s usually the first person I text after I see something really great. Or just weird!
J: I’m a big nerd and I find absolutely everything interesting: science, art, film, cooking, you name it. I especially love talking to people about whatever they are most passionate about.
What inspired you guys to pursue music?
Jeff: My mom raised me on classical music. When I was 6, I started taking flute lessons, which I took very seriously through high school. I knew I wanted to pursue music pretty early on, and my passion for classical music opened the door to drums and percussion.
Rob: I had a lot of trouble sleeping as a kid. I remember lying awake late at night listening to these melodramatic ‘80s soft rock songs on the radio, like “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins and “Careless Whisper” by George Michael, stuff like that. They were all about broken relationships or other really adult issues that I didn’t understand at all, but they resonated with me for some reason.
Also, my mom plays guitar and she used to lead me, my sister, and my dad on these sing-alongs of songs out of this Lennon & McCartney songbook she had from when she was a teenager. Between that and Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo on “Beat It”, I desperately wanted to learn to play the guitar.
J: I never really dreamed of seriously doing music until I met Rob. He was so set on it and was already working so hard at it that he just really inspired me.
How would you describe your musical style as a band?
Rob: We’re a rock band, heavily influenced by the grunge, indie, and emo we grew up around. But we’re not purists and we’re not nostalgic for the days when popular music was dominated by blues-influenced guitarists, so we draw a lot on the electronic music, R&B, and rap from the last 20 years.
What artists do you guys look up to right now?
Jeff: American Football.
Rob: Vince Staples, James Blake, Moor Mother, and Empath are all incredible. Ringo Deathstarr and Diiv both did a lot to get me thinking harder about what I do with the guitar. They made me want to put it front and center again. Mitski is an incredible lyricist and “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” is one of those songs that I wish I’d written myself. Death From Above 1979 got J and me writing for the bass a lot more.
J: I’m obsessed with FKA Twigs. She’s amazing.
Are there any new projects or music in the works you can tell us about?
Rob: Yes! We’re releasing a new album in 2020 called Black Feathers. We’ve been working on it since Jeff joined the band in 2014, so this is a huge deal for us. The first song from Black Feathers that we’re going to put out there is called “Wait” and it drops on November 15. It’s built around this beautiful, hypnotic loop that J made from synthesizers and guitar feedback and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it.
We also just released a remix of “Haunted by the Skeleton” by Wormtooth, who is a great friend and insanely talented. So please check that out. It was a cool opportunity to blend some of the things we love from Tobacco, Nine Inch Nails, and trap beats.
Why do you think social media is so important for singers today?
Rob: It lets us connect much more directly with the people who listen to us, or might listen to us in the future. And it’s not a one-way relationship: I can see what our followers are into and what they’re doing with their lives in a way I probably couldn’t have before. I could live without the creepy and invasive data-collection, though.
J: Well, I think social media has been very important for artists going back to MySpace. It’s just a great way for people to connect with one another. As much as these platforms help people keep in touch with friends at different schools and family members who move away, likewise they facilitate the creation and maintenance of a healthy relationship between fans and artists.
How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?
J: I always like to think of fans of our music like an extended friend group. In life I generally think everyone is so interesting. We all have our own crazy path in life and with that comes great stories and experiences. I love getting to know people and getting a peek into their stories and their lives. And likewise it’s great to be able to share our lives and our stories with people through our music.
Rob: I just want to give something to people that they will find valuable. I want to make people feel seen and understood.
How has this whole music career experience been?
Jeff: You know? It’s amazing. Living your dream still brings hard days. Work is work; no matter what you do, some days you just don’t want to do it. And that’s ok! If you feel like you’re where you belong, and you’re happy about it, then you’ve done it. There is music in my life everyday, and yep, sometimes I need to get away from it for a while. But, there is good in every day.
Rob: It’s tough, honestly. Making music is so personal that any failure, or anything that seems like a failure to us, cuts pretty deep. Likewise though, the wins lift you up like almost nothing else in the world can.
J: Interesting. We’ve had some crazy experiences over the years. I’d also say that you learn a lot about yourself along the way. it’s a real test of ones determination and passion.
Do you have any last things you want to tell your supporters?
Rob: Be good to the people around you. Everyone is just as complex and confused as you are and we’d all be a lot happier and healthier if we kept that in mind.