EXCLUSIVE: Romance & Rebellion go track-by-track for ‘Amps & Anthems’

1061
romance & rebellion

Romance & Rebellion are a relatively new band — having just formed in 2015. Don’t let the fact that they’ve only been around for nearly three years fool you, though, because they’ve accomplished a lot already. They were able to use social media to lure people in, and then blow people away with their live shows. They then released their debut EP in 2016 and had the chance to perform at SXSW, Warped Tour, and even headlined Emo Nite LA.

With their sophomore EP, Amps & Anthems, Romance & Rebellion have pushed their musical boundaries and shown their growth. It takes away some of the innocence that the band focused on with their debut EP, and instead looks towards the emotions of a relationship coming to an end. On the EP, lead vocalist David LaViola shares, “This EP is a defiant response to heartbreak, and the soundtrack equivalent to saying ‘Go f*** yourself’ to whomever broke it.”

Below you will find a stream of Amps & Anthems, as well as our track-by-track with Romance & Rebellion.

“For A Moment”

  • “For A Moment” was the one and only song we recorded with Warren Huart.  I had chosen Warren to be the producer on the track because of the work he’d done with Hey Violet.  We did most of the tracking for the song in a day because the first day in the studio we lost power for 7 hours due to a rainstorm.  That meant that we had to track everything for the record in pretty much a single day.   – David LaViola (Guitar, Lead Vocals)
  • Aaron – I wrote the guitar parts in the verse to emphasize the G minor (minor iv) chord. The melody of that guitar part is harmonized in the other guitar part, a 6th (or inverted 3rd) underneath. The first down chorus evolved a lot from the beginning, into what eventually became a layering effect of the drone D, with inversions on the voicing of the D, A, and G chord progression. I also went through about three Verse 2 harmonies before settling on the final version on the EP. – Aaron Medina (Guitar, Harmony Vocals)
  • This is my Boston Market Mac n Cheese. I could play it a million times and still love it the same as the first. “For A Moment” has so many moments of pent up energy followed by massive release, especially the last chorus. It’s also one of my favorite songs to hear/see Kyle play. I don’t know what the hell he ate for breakfast the day we recorded the drums, but he was on fire. The frantic, brazen high hat on the chant sections gets me giddy every time. And hey, the song is full of delayed guitar and that ALWAYS makes me happy inside. – Aleksander James (Guitar, Harmony Vocals)

  • One of my favorite songs on the record.  I had a little help writing the bass part but it’s always a song that gets me and everyone else in the crowd pumped. – Brandon Davis (Bass, Vocals)
  • The big drum fill towards the end of the song was a fill I created years ago in a studio in St. Louis. It was originally for a Strange Vacation record, and it was recorded for a Great Bambino record (which was never released), and now it’s on a Romance and Rebellion record. It was a spur of the moment fill I made up on the spot while tracking. I had to have the engineer play back the fill at half speed just so I could figure out what the hell I played. Needless to say, I liked it so much I wanted it to live on through R&R. To top it all off, Stefan Litrownik had the brilliant idea of showcasing that fill by dropping out the guitars during that part – and the rest is history.  – Kyle Jordan Mueller (Drums)

“Put Me Out Of My Misery”

  • I got the inspiration for the song after watching a video of a 5 Seconds of Summer live performance.   I also got a little bit of the inspiration for the song from a tattoo I have.  The tattoo says “Everything Burns”…it just made me think about the natural course of things.  Like…no matter how good something can be, it eventually comes to an end.  That’s what the song is about. – David
  • This song, for me, is the anthem of Amps & Anthems. It’s the song I can imagine a huge crowd chanting along to the most. The high lead guitar part on the chorus was inspired by the distorted 5ths and 3rds in the bridge of Linkin Park’s “Iridescent” in Brad Delson‘s guitar part. I wrote the guitar solo as homage to Matt Bellamy’s ripping “Revolt” solo and the lower registers of their “Dig Down” solo.  – Aaron
  • Damn this is a powerful tune. Not only is the idea and message of the song one which I think most of us can relate to strongly, but also it’s empowering to feel under your fingers on the guitar. I love the delayed lead under the “woahs!” Huge tension and build up to wall-of-sound chant and release. Melodic guitar leads have always been attractive to me and our newer sound on this EP really gives me a chance to embrace that; especially misery. I’ve spent hours and hours dissecting that style of arrangement from Johnny Buckland (Coldplay), Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) and others who craft delayed, chimey support to vocal melodies and this was the perfect place to employ those techniques. This is also one of those songs that feel so big and reassuring to be playing with your brothers at your side. It’s a massive sound with a lot of energy and emotion being poured out from 5 musicians at the same time. I get goosebumps every time we start it off. – Aleksander
  • This is one of our newer songs; a heavier tone and a hard hitting chorus you can’t help but to sing along with. – Brandon
  • This is another song where we showcase the drums. The intro actually started with a different beat until David wanted an “Arena Rock” feel. There’s an Old Dominion song called “Shut Me Up” that I play with a country band I’m in. I was playing the opening to that song quite often, and thought to myself, “That’s the sound we’re going for.” So I borrowed that beat, changed the offbeat snare drum to 4, and there ya have it. Thanks Whit! – Kyle

“I Don’t Believe In Love”

  • This is one of my oldest compositions.  The song isn’t actually about me but about a dear old friend.  It’s actually a direct result of my obsession with Katy Perry and her song “Lost”.  I’m a huge KP fan.  – David
  • This song has endured an array of changes. Not so much in the overall meat and potatoes of the song and its structure, but more in its packaging and the subtle details. It’s become one of my favorite songs, especially lately as I endure my first true heartbreak. The bridge is such a big payoff, poignant yet hopeful, and its powerful message will help mend many freshly broken hearts. The intro guitar part was just something I came up with while messing around at band practice, trying to create an ethereal atmosphere. Now that this song is going to be a smash hit, I need to get used to playing artificial harmonics for the rest of my life. – Aaron
  • What a beautiful, beautiful song. “I Don’t Believe In Love” is one of the songs where I walk this fine line between having to stay focused and precise while constantly being tempted to eat completely lost in it. It’s also a little like guitar Olympics! The intro, first verse and chorus all employ delay, an octave generator/synthesizer and volume swells with some country-inspired bends (or as the band likes to refer to it, sad whale noises). Not only is it technique that requires a constant, gentle assessment; but it’s also some serious tap dancing on the pedals. I’m still working out some kinks! The second verse goes into this basic, but meaty single string muted under harmonies. The fun for me really hits on the second chorus into the bridge; we have delay, a whammy pedal set an octave up and tremolo picking. It falls somewhere between a frantic, desperate message and a soaring, loving release of sadness and expression. I wrap the tune up by switching to an Edge (U2) inspired dotted eighth note delay on top of some funk-rhythm inspired double stops. It’s a fun part to play that you end up feeling sonically more than hearing specifically. The tune closes out back with the longer delay time, volume swell and sad whale noises. This all underneath what is such an emotive and passionate lyrical roller coaster – I feel like I need a cig afterwards, and I don’t even smoke! – Aleksander
  • This is the singular song that made me want to email David back when he was forming the band. I was like, “hey, this sounds like Katy Perry’s “Lost,” and I love that record. We finally had the chance to record it for Amps & Anthems, and man, it could not have turned out better. This song has so many ups and downs that it was extremely difficult to arrange. We went back and forth with different feels – from straight ahead, to a 3+3+2 feel and everywhere in between. Finally, (days before tracking) we landed on the perfect combination, saving the straight-ahead groove until the very last moment easing so much tension and adding the cherry on top to seal the deal! – Kyle

“Boys Don’t Cry”

  • I love this song.  I had the name for it for so long. All I needed was a reason to write it. It’s the perfect way to end the record.  It’s fun and catchy, and it sort of makes you forget about the heaviness of the topics covered in the aforementioned tracks.  Fun fact…we pay homage to The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” by using their chorus melody as an under-harmony during the bridge. – David
  • I take back what I said earlier. The bridge of this song might be the most anthemic chant for a huge audience to sing along to. The guitar parts were super fun on this song. Probably more intricate than a straightforward pop rock tune needs, but Aleks and I are having a blast playing them. Definitely the most polished pop tune on the new EP, it’s already leaving its catchy hooks in people’s ears as they leave the show.  – Aaron
  • “Boys Don’t Cry” is straight up fun. Overall, it’s a simple tune with and upbeat, cruisin’-along style of play. It’s also a great opportunity to just boogie a little while you play. I spend most of my time playing palm-muted harmonies and octave melody lines. The pre-chorus is just fun as all hell; I had originally written a lead line when I added the ascending octaves, but it took away from the melody so we dropped it for more open space and rhythmic support. The second verse has a super fun octave rhythm harmony shared between Aaron and I. That part came together in almost no time- we had almost the same ideas for where to go and when and it’s a really catchy support to the melody.  The bridge, of course, is a total blast. It definitely took some time and serious focus to play the syncopated rhythm against the vocal chants. We can blame David for that part (which is such a killer riff). The last chorus is more modified octave melodies with the intention of adding a little bubble-gum 80’s TV show corniness to the final chants. We wrap it all up with an all out noise-fest; sometimes you have to give in! – Aleksander
  • “Boys Don’t Cry” is a step towards the pop side of things but with a heavier tone. I play the song in drop D but still has a very up beat sound about it. – Brandon
  • This song brings me back to my early days as a drummer. I’ve always been one for creating interesting grooves and off-the-wall beats that stray away from the norm. The first verse is just that. I channeled my inner Travis Barker and attempted to hit every last piece of my kit. The bridge of this tune is probably my favorite moment on the entire EP. I still get chills every time I play or listen to it. The beginning is pulling from Blink’s “First Date” while the big tom part was inspired by the intro of the Sum 41 song “Nothing on My Back.” – Kyle