The Rivals Damned Soul Tour tore through Seattle on October 3rd with Assuming We Survive and Riot Child. I could not resist the chance to check them out live. The band released their album ‘Damned Soul’ in February on Smartpunk Records. I’ve been completely into them ever since my first listen through the album. Such a great, dark album that people can connect to (See the album review here).
While they were in town, I also grabbed the opportunity to chat with them about the music and all things Rivals. This was a fun and fluidly changing interview and I learned quite a bit about the band as a whole and individually. We previously covered Rivals back in May on tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in Austin. I was thrilled to hear they were finally making their way to Seattle. Was it everything I’d hoped for in a live show? Oh yes and so much more.
Not only did Rivals put on an intense, high energy show, they made all their fans feel welcome and part of something bigger. Fan after fan approached members of Rivals all evening to talk to them and take photos. They were met with smiling faces and lots of hugs. Rivals are the genuine deal! They make great music that connects with their fans both from the album and live at their shows. Then take it to the next level by taking part with their fans and interacting with genuine interest. I doubt words can do justice to how amazing this evening was.
If you’ve not yet discovered Rivals, definitely make a point to do it soon. They’ve got a couple more shows this year and then a big performance on Shiprocked 2019 in January. Seek them out! They will be taking a short hiatus in 2019 to complete their next album and then you can expect to see them back out on tour. Get on board now and get to know Rivals! See the interview below and full photo gallery from Seattle after the interview.
Rivals Damned Soul Tour Interview:
Diane Webb for YesterdazeNews Magazine. I’m here with Rivals in Seattle and we are talking to the entire band. We’ve got Kalie Wolfe, Micket Woodle, Josh Alves and Sebastian Clarke. They are here with Assuming We Survive, Riot Child and Pinebox Drive at the Funhouse. I wanted to catch up with the Rivals because you guys put out ‘Damned Soul’ earlier this year. It’s a fantastic album, I just loved it! You guys have gotten far enough away from the release date. How do you feel about the album now?
Kalie Wolfe: I still love it. It’s our baby. We spent a long time writing it, years writing it. I still love performing it, I love existing in it and I love playing it. But no, it’s good. It’s our baby. We are working on new music, so now we have new babies.
Micket Woodle: Mini babies!
So how do you feel for yourself? I mean, there’s a lot of writing and you guys had a 2015 EP. You’ve gotten the distance in between what you guys did before, and then the sound that… and I even said when we did the review, that you guys sound like you have a complete sound now. It’s like, this is Rivals.
Kalie Wolfe: Yeah. We found us.
Yeah. You totally did. How does it feel for you, between those two and this album? Do you feel like you learned a lot more on this one, or was the first album the hardest for you? The first EP?
Kalie Wolfe: No. I think this one.
Micket Woodle: This album was way harder.
Kalie Wolfe: I will say that, I think the one we’re currently writing is more difficult than the first two because this one, now we have expectations, and people are expecting to hear certain sound, vibe, et cetera. I feel this one, there’s more pressure in a sense. I’ve actually already written two songs about that. ‘Cause it just feels like there is so much more. It has to be good, it has to be good because if it’s not then I feel like it’s not good.
Micket Woodle: The first one, there was no pressure at all because no one knew we existed. No one knew that we existed at that time, so it was just kinda whatever. Then with the first album, there was almost… we knew we had to evolve to gain some traction, and then this one, now that there’s traction, we gotta keep traction and push farther forward. Then there’s that pressure sitting on you. Don’t screw it up!
How ’bout you Josh and Sebastian, you guys are the rhythm section, the drums the bass. Do you feel like you guys put as much into the album as the rest of the team? Or…how did that work for you guys?
Sebastian Clarke: We didn’t really have much writing on this album, it was mostly Micket, the producers and Kalie. But the album that we’re doing now there’s definitely… I’m writing my own songs, Josh is writing his own songs, and Micket is writing his own songs, and Kalie obviously. So yeah now there’s… I feel like it’s gonna bring more diversity on the next album. I still love this album, love playing it. It’s great, it’s emotional, but I’m more excited for the next album that’s coming up.
Josh Alves: So, I don’t know, I had a kind of a cool experience because I came from like a spectator. Someone who is, has seen the band evolve from what, 2nd show, onto now playing with them. I’ve been able to kind of see the transformation of Rivals, which is really, really awesome because I’ve always believed in the band. I was always around in some sort of way, whether it was meeting Seb randomly, not even knowing he was part of Rivals, but already knowing Kalie from before. Then meeting Micket through Kalie, and stuff like that. So it’s just kind of cool to see all that. I dunno. I’m always really excited about listening to Damned Soul, even though I was never a part of it. I love it, I listen to it all the time. It’s great.
I was zero part of it and I love it.
Kalie Wolfe: You’re part of it, you’re here right now. You reviewed it, that’s part of it.
Josh Alves: Exactly. But as far as the new stuff, yeah I have to agree with Kalie, Seb, and Micket that it’s just…it’s nice to be a part of something that I already know is so special and so grand, but at the same time, there is 100 percent expectation. Because I know how far they’ve come, and I know how far we can now go, and even then that doesn’t even have a ceiling yet. It’s just gonna keep it going from the next record on. That’s how I see it.
Kalie Wolfe: Keep coming and coming.
So Kalie, you write the lyrics on this, and you write them very personally, and what I love… and I connected with it… the mental health that you talk about in it. It really connects a lot of people, and I think people today desperately are looking for something to connect with. Is it hard for you to open yourself up like that, and how do you feel when fans tell you they’ve connected because they recognize that in themselves?
Kalie Wolfe: It’s hard because, at first… when we wrote the first record it was hard for me. The first few songs we wrote was Over It, Low, and all of those are pretty… I wouldn’t say generic, but lyrically they’re very love pop song kind of cool.
Then later towards the end… ’cause when I started writing Damned Soul, and Moonlight, and Reflection. That’s kind of when I started really discovering who I was as a writer, and what I wanted to write about. Now as a writer, and now that I’m older too, I’ll be 25 next year.
Micket Woodle: That’s so old.
Kalie Wolfe: C’mon. I wrote Damned Soul when I was 20, 21. I’m different.
But you grow so much in between 20 and 25, you really do.
Kalie Wolfe: It’s just different. When somebody walks up to me, or message me, or whatever. I respond to everybody, it’s very rare I don’t respond to people.
Micket Woodle: Or try to.
Kalie Wolfe: I try to, yeah. Sometimes I get lost in myself, and I forget to reply to people, because tour is chaos, and my life is chaos, and I’m on business and that’s chaos, so everything is chaos. I really try to sit down every night and every morning and reply to as many people as I possibly can on my end, then the band’s pages also. Every time somebody messages me and just tells me that they connect with it, it’s… becomes… to me in a way made me feel less alone about how I was feeling with myself, ’cause I tend to cut myself off from the world and how I’m feeling and what I do.
So it’s kind of nice when people explain their stories and what happened to them and et cetera. It kind of just makes me feel like I’m not the only person who feels like this. I’m not the only person who’s not all there, and it’s kind of nice. That just sounds so bad saying it that way [laughter].
But it’s awesome though, because you do touch on a point that… we have social media today and everybody’s so connected but we’re so disconnected, and people do not talk about things. We’ve had suicide after suicide, after suicide. I think that when people open up about that on a broad spectrum, you guys have this great platform to do that. It opens it up to where more people are, the stigma is removed.
Kalie Wolfe: Yeah. The big thing too is I’ve always been really big about replying and having conversations with our fans. I can talk about it all I want, and you can connect with my music, but at the end of the day, you should be connecting with me too. You should understand that I’m feeling the way that you’re feeling. I’m doing and following my dreams, and I still feel like shit sometimes. It doesn’t just go away. Sometimes
Now I’m gonna ask you guys what you guys all did before music. And Kalie, I know you were a concert photographer… I think that’s really cool because you know I do this thing too. It’s really cool to see that transition. Did you ever see yourself going out of the concert photography when you got there to maybe being a musician, or was it just kind of… you morphed?
Kalie Wolfe: I always sang since I was really young I always sang. I wouldn’t say I was very musical at first. At first I was really awful. There’s actually video somewhere that my friend’s mom found of me and it’s really, really bad. I don’t know what happened, I just got older and all of a sudden my voice was like “Hey” and I was like “Okay, here we are.” I wouldn’t say that I ever expected it. I’ve always loved music, I’ve always been a part of it. I love it, I just didn’t really think that it would… I would end up here I guess.
And are you loving it?
Kalie Wolfe: Oh! I love it.
What about you Micket? What were you doing before music?
Micket Woodle: I still do it actually. I do background for TV and movies. I’m on a bunch of random TV shows all the time like Shameless, Parks and Rec.
Kalie Wolfe: He was in The Bratz Movie, look for him.
Micket Woodle: The Bratz Movie. I was in one of the Spiderman’s.
And you are the bearded one of the group, and I have to ask, any special beard care you do? We’ve got a lot of guys with beards in the music industry, and they’re doing their beard oils and all kids of stuff. Any kind of special thing you do with your beard?
Micket Woodle: I do straighten it, but it’s not until recently that I started really using beard oils and stuff like that.
Do you have a favorite?
Sebastian Clarke: We’re sponsored by Beard Mountain. Shout out to them.
Micket Woodle: The one I am using is called Gibs actually. Guys Into Beard Stuff, that’s what it’s called.
Josh, what about you? What did you do before music?
Josh Alves: Before that, there was just a lot of drawing and stuff like that. I always wanted to be a comic book artist. That’s just what I wanted to do for so long. Then once music kind of came into my life during high school, I think it literally just transferred all that creativity into that. I always wanted to find a way to marry the two together. Sometimes now I’m able to do that with Rivals and doing drumhead art. I still do story boarding and try to do concept design whenever I can. It’s always gonna be a part of there, but, I don’t know I’m glad to do both.
I have to ask. Do you design any of you guys merch, or any of your covers?
Josh Alves: No. That’s all Kalie. Maybe one day, I may get to design one of our covers.
Kalie Wolfe: Josh works for me now. He works for my company. I’m almost ten years younger than him, and he works under me. Bitch [laughter]. My company is called Ridgeline Media. It’s graphic design, album art, merch, logos….
Sebastian Clarke: Yo, what’s up Nike and Adidas. You should hit us up. [Nike and Adidas if you are looking to do a sponsorship, Rivals welcomes your call]
Kalie Wolfe: Yeah yo, for real, Adidas hey.
Sebastian, what about you. What did you do before music?
Sebastian Clarke: I knew I wanted to really pursue music, 17 to 18, but prior to that I actually wanted to be a police officer. I went through ROP Administrative Justice, that whole shebang. That was diehard, I want to be in the LA Swat. That was it. Then, music kind of changed it, now here I am.
Was there an it moment that shifted you, or did it just kind of..
Sebastian Clarke: No. It’s just after my grandma passed away, and I really found music. “Oh, this helps me”. Then, I was just kind of like “I wanna do it”. I always said if this didn’t work out, I’d probably just get my tattoos removed, shave my head, and go into the academy.
They need to catch up with the tattoo acceptance.
Sebastian Clarke: Definitely. Actually there’s a police officer in North Hollywood.
What kind of legacy does Rivals want to leave to the music industry?
Josh Alves: I think I got this one. The general consensus here in everything that we do. I think the message is, it’s gonna be okay.
Kalie Wolfe: Yeah. It’s on my hand. I tattooed it on my hand. It’s been a really big one in my life forever. It’s a mental reminder to myself and to everyone around me, and my world is that it’s just gonna be fine. In a sense, I want our legacy for people to do just remember us as not shady people. [laughter]
I don’t want us to be jaded. I want people to still be able to connect with us at the end of the day. Even if… ten people are in the room or ten million… that’s a lot of people. I want to be able to have that connection with fans somehow.
Sebastian Clarke: This is Sebastian Clarke. I’m gonna trademark this one day, I always say, “Everything in life is a lesson, it’s just up to you to perceive it as one.”
What do you guys have going on for the rest of the year? You just started this new tour. What is after this is over? Is there anything you haven’t announced yet?
Kalie Wolfe: We’ve got plans on something else, and we were very excited about it, and I want it to be January! [Since the interview it has been announced that Rivals will perform on Shiprocked 2019]
We have another show that we can’t announce yet, because we’re working on a few things. We do have a show on December 3rd with Hawthorne Heights in Fresno. Just kind of one off, ’cause we love Fresno. I love Fresno.
We’re actually taking most of the year off, writing the next record. We’re trying to get another one out for everybody, or at least some singles. I’m personally aiming for a single in January, that’s our goal, if possible. Nothing until then, we’re just writing, writing, writing, writing, writing. Then some really cool stuff in January.
Last question, and each of you guys can throw in something if you want. Has there been anything really weird or interesting or crazy happen.
Sebastian Clarke: Josh woke up, and I was like “Great day”. I’m feeling good, we’re in Portland. I was like “Hey, you wanna get some coffee across the street?” Went to coffee, it was terrible by the way.
Josh Alves: It was delicious.
Sebastian Clarke: I was like “Let’s go to the gas station, I wanna get some things.” I don’t know if you’ve ever seen… have you seen those memes’s? The moth and light Meme’s? There was a… across the street, a store that said New Lamps. I was like “Oh my god yes”. I was gonna film that, zoom into that, then go to his face, and then put a moth sticker over his head. A little funny ha-ha Meme. As I’m doing that, I hear this guy screaming from across the street. “Don’t fucking film me, you mother effers!” Just screaming at me, I was like “Bro, shut up. I’m not even filming you.”
We started arguing back and forth across the street, I’m like “whatever dude, let’s get out of here.” So we ended up walking two or three blocks back to our van, and he grabbed his backpack…
Josh Alves: And his puppy..
Sebastian Clarke: …and his puppy, and walked three blocks, threw his backpack on the floor and tensed up trying to start a fight and everything.
Josh Alves: He had a blade.
Sebastian Clarke: He had a blade and everything. Pulled a knife out, cops came, it was great.
Kalie Wolfe: I was sleeping, and I wake up to some dude fucking screaming at Seb. I’m like, “What the hell.” And I get up, and it’s dude. Me and Taylor, which, she’s our tech? Her and I both pop up. We pop outside. Sometimes when people see a woman, they tend to calm down. That did not happen. He was still very aggressive, so we ended up calling the police. I just felt bad for the dude, because he obviously… he’s not all there. I just felt bad, and we just didn’t want to get stabbed so we called the police. That was our crazy tour story.
Do you guys want to say anything to the fans?
Kalie Wolfe: It’s gonna be okay.
Sebastian Clarke: Everything in life is a lesson, it’s just up to you to perceive it as one.
Josh Alves: In and Out is better than What a Burger.
Kalie Wolfe: No. What A Burger is better than In and Out. You’re wrong. Why are you even in this band dude? [laughter]
Hey What A Burger, you should sponsor Rivals.
Micket Woodle: Dutch Bros for life. She’s [Diane] is gonna be writing and typing, and this part’s gonna come. She will be like, “what the fuck were they talking about?”
Thank you guys so much. Catch Rivals out on tour guys. This is a band to follow.
Rivals Damned Soul Tour Photos: