Los Angeles-based rock band She Wants Revenge just released their new album Valleyheart on Tuesday, May 24 and is coming to Chicago to play at Double Door tonight, Sunday, May 29, in support.
The new self-produced album Valleyheart features the first single “Must Be the One” as well as the track “Take The World” plus eight others. She Wants Revenge has taken their varied musical influences and created a body of work that reflects their musical evolution for their third album. The album’s songs root from North Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley suburban enclave, finding mastery at their chosen pursuit, and moving beyond their limitations, be it geographical or metaphorical. The music is still dark and brooding, yet with yearning appeal.
The quartet has also released six different DJ remixes of “Take the World”: Jokers of the Scene, Creep, Nadastrom, HavocNdeeD, Graveleaf, and Beat Ventriloquists. The tracks and video for the single, which was directed by co-founding band member Adam Bravin, are available to hear on the SWR website or their Facebook page.
Valleyheart comes as the follow up to the band’s successful self-titled debut, a subsequent follow up album This Is Forever, as well as two self-released EPs. The concept for the album does not end with just the songs, as Adam shot the photos of the Valley landmarks near to their hearts, and they are also each directing 10 short films and ‘webisodes,’ one for every song, to visually represent the stories contained with the album.
She Wants Revenge–Justin Warfield (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Adam Bravin (bass, guitar, keyboards, guitar, drum machine, percussion, programming, vocals) along with Thomas Foggart (guitars) and Scott Ellis (drums)—performed various times at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX and also helped close out this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on Sunday, April 17.
Adam took time to talk about the band, his bandmate, and the new album:
Examiner: Tell us about the origin of She Wants Revenge and the path that led you to where you are now.
Adam Bravin: I met Justin for the first time in San Fernando Valley, where we’re both from, at a party we were both at. We kind of bonded over a song. We didn’t really hang out that much after that; we were both working on our own stuff, but we had this mutual friend: this girl—she was having a barbeque. When I showed up, she was like, “I know you came to enjoy the barbecue but you guys both have some free time now, so you guys should leave and go make music.” So we left the barbecue to go make music. And Justin and I both come from hip hop backgrounds, so we did that for months. This was back in 2004 I believe. But we grew up during the prime of hip hop, during the 80s and 90s, so to be competitive as two artists from that era interested in the art of making beats, it was hard. We weren’t really getting what we wanted; we found it was not a great way to express ourselves. So then I had a friend named Kenna, who wanted me to make a track for him. Then, when Justin heard the track, he was like “don’t send this yet! Give me two days with it.” So he added to the track and when we heard it, we knew that there was something there. Also, around that time, I had just become totally obsessed with this gothy, dark girl, and when we played her the song, she was obsessed. She was like, “You have to make more!” So we made so more songs and before we knew it, we had half of the first album already done.
E: What’s the reason behind your notorious “dark” sound, besides your past obsession with a goth girl?
AB: It’s a product of what we grew up listening to. We have KROK in San Fernando Valley, and they played the Cure, Depeche Mode, Smith, Morrissey . . . your day depends on how you’re feeling that day, so you turn to that kind of music. That era had a lot of jams: there were guys speaking to guys; a lot of jump-around-and-party stuff; a lot of songs about wearing your heart out on your sleeve . . . a lot of great music. So we decided to make music as homage to the bands we grew up listening to as kids, that influenced us and reminded us of how that music made us feel. We didn’t ever decide, like, “let’s sound like . . .” You know, 99 percent of people’s guesses for who are our influences are always wrong. Justin’s voice sounded great with what we were doing, and I’ve always been really attracted to the sound of dark chords, minor chords.
E: There’s been some debate regarding what genre SWR belongs in—people have dubbed it anything from post-punk to rock to dance music. How would you describe it?
AB: I don’t think we belong to any genre. People just have to label everything—you know, we’ve gotten “goth”—what is “goth”? I’m not really sure “goth” is even a musical genre. I think it might just be a certain style. Anyway, I think our sound has changed a lot over time, but if I had to describe it, I like to call it “dark and dancy”—derived from a lot of late seventies dance stuff.
E: What are some of your musical influences?
AB: Well, I can’t speak for Justin, although I probably could. But my influences range from Prince to Depeche Mode. I’m a huge fan of Georgio Moroder, who did a lot of the electronic dance music in the late seventies and eighties. He did the soundtrack to Scarface, a lot of Donna Summer music . . . I really like that instrumental, dance music, but I also really like classical music: Bach, Beethoven, Bosner.
E: Can you talk about your new album, “Valleyheart”? What does it represent? What is the overall theme or message?
AB: We had written three or four songs, and we decided – let’s not repeat ourselves. Let’s stop if it starts sounding like anything we’ve done. On the fourth song, there’s a line [talks about the canyon/fire] –that’s a San Fernando Valley reference; that’s where we’re from. There’s really no bands coming out of the Valley, so this was kind of like our love letter to the Valley. I think the record feels like where we’re from. It reflects who we are as musicians, not looking back, but looking forward.
E: For this album, you’re putting out photos you took of valley landmarks and a series of short films and “webisodes” you directed to tell stories for each song on the LP.
AB: Well, we started to . . . and then we decided to have our label throw us some loot for footage to visually represent each song as it pertains to this band, and the best part about it is that it was all done together, but we got to show another side of ourselves individually: Justin did “Must Be the One,” while I did “Take the World.”
E: How is this third album different from the first two?
AB: This album is way less dark than anything we’ve ever done. The sound is just different. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves. The approach was also different with this album, as in we did it like more of a hip hop album. We built the tracks first—first we laid down the drums, and then the bass line—that’s how they build hip hop tracks. We’ve learned a lot as musicians: our likes and dislikes. We’re different people now and our music has evolved with us. Our first single from this album is so unlike the first two. Our second album was a lot like our first album, but this one – a lot of our fans are like, “it’s so happy.” In a perfect world, I would have loved to make the darkest record because that’s what I’m attracted to. But we listen to all kinds of music so we brought that to this album. Something we say a lot, and it’s so true, is, “if you’re honest in what you do no matter what, that’s the best thing you can do.”
E: It’s obvious you and Justin have a special connection. I’m sure you could talk about it forever, so if you could describe your connection with Justin with one word, what would that word be?
AB: Oh wow, that’s really hard. I think it would have to be “family.” I was an only child that’s the closest thing I have to that bond. I would imagine that’s what it feels like.
E: You and Justin both stay very involved with your fan base through blogs and social media, on Facebook and Twitter. What have you gained or what do you hope to gain that way? Why is it so important to you?
AB: The music industry is changing every day. There are a lot of reasons we do it. One reason is obvious: publicity. Being active on social media gets our name out there, which gets us more fans. We use it as a promotional tool. But first and foremost, the internet makes bands more accessible to music fans. I wish we were young at this time so that we can connect to the artists we follow. We just feel like it’s the least we can do for our fans that support us. We try to reply to every single fan. It is very rare that we don’t answer a fan.
Catch She Wants Revenge at Double Door at 1572 N Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago tonight at 10 p.m.