The Glorious Rebellion has been blasting out loud, infectious noise rock from Orlando, Florida for the past two years. After dropping their debut 7″ last year, the band is gearing up to kill it in 2016 with a spring tour lined up to coincide with the release of their new album Euphoric on April 8th. Guitarist/singer Billy Myers III took some time to speak with us about the new album, the band’s new members and what influences help drive the band’s unique visual identity.
The title of the new album is Euphoric. Google tells us that euphoric is ‘a newfound feeling of intense excitement and happiness’. Would it be correct to assume there’s a hint of sarcasm or dark humor in that title?
It started as a bit of a joke and then we just went with it. The songs on the album are all filled with a pretty non-stop barrage of cynicism, self-deprecation, and anger. We thought that it would be a pretty hilarious juxtaposition to use a title so positive and happy. That’s kind of a running motif of the band, is contrasts.
Do you have plans for the new album to come out on vinyl? If so, will there be any unique variations of it like with the band’s 7″?
The deal we have with our label, Magnetic Eye Records, is exclusively for vinyl and digital. We might, at some point, also do a run of CDs that have this album and our 7″ available on it. For now, though, it’ll be on 12″ record and digital formats. As for variants, we leave that all to the label. It can rack up in costs to do them, so for this album, we’ll probably do only one variant if any.
Along with a new album, you also have a new rhythm section. Can you tell us a little about who they are and how they came to be in the band?
Well, on the album, to clarify, the songs were performed by our original drummer, Wade Scianimanico, and myself (doing bass, guitars, and vocals with some help from our co-producer and engineer Dan Manata). The new lineup, Cody Sorrells on drums and Cj Orazi on bass, is just a string of happy accidents. We knew Wade was exiting the band, and we met Cody at Wade’s last show with us. Cj is a long time friend and associate. He has been involved in some projects where we’ve shared members over the years. We happened to need a bassist and I knew he could pull it off, so we asked him to do it.
Even with the lineup changes, the sound of the band has always been pretty consistent. How do you manage to keep that intact while bringing new people into the fold?
I suppose it’s about setting expectations and maintaining a certain work ethic. Whenever someone joins this band, I try and let them know exactly what we’re about. This band requires a lot of intensity and commitment. I almost try to get people to say NO to joining the band before we’ve even played together, because if they still say YES I know they’re going to bring it. When those things are known upfront, it puts everyone on the same page from the start.
You guys have a real knack for writing songs and riffs that are not only heavy, but catchy and have hooks that get embedded into your brain. Which opens things up to reach a larger audience outside of the noise rock crowd. Is that a result of the band’s less obvious influences creeping in or just simply wanting to write killer riffs that will knock people on their asses?
I’m pretty sure none of us give much of a damn about what others think. We listen to a lot of different stuff. Some of that is more melodic or pop oriented, and some of it is very challenging or hard to listen to. We just try to keep the suck knob turned as low as possible on our instruments, really. Sometimes that’s easy, other times we end up having to murder one of our kids.
You have done most, if not all of the design work for the band when it comes to covers, merch, etc. What’s your background when it comes to design? Is that something you went to school for, or are you self-taught when it comes to that?
Totally self-taught. I wanted to be a comic book artist or cartoonist when I was very young. I gave up on that, as I didn’t care to learn fundamental art skills, I really just wanted to draw monsters and weird stuff. It basically stems from poverty. We need posters, album covers, logos, shirt designs, etc and I couldn’t afford to pay anyone, so we did it ourselves. Learning Photoshop was a necessity. We also screen print our own shirts and manufacture a lot of our own merch out of that same necessity. So when you’re buying our stuff, it’s 100% our blood, sweat, and tears you’re purchasing.
What are some of your influences from a visual standpoint? Are there specific designers, artists, bands, labels, etc. that inspire what you do as a designer as well as how you want the band to be represented visually?
Print Mafia, The Silent Giants, old school xerox cut & paste posters, the old (and new) artwork from AmRep stuff (pretty sure Tom Hazelmyer did a lot of that stuff himself). I really dig Alex Ross and comic book art, in general. Film noir and American Gothic type artwork. Movie posters in general fascinate me. I’m a fan of Jack White’s ability to maintain seperate, specific aesthetics from project to project. Salvador Dali. Saul Bass. Old shitty horror and sci fi movies, and more specifically the movie posters. There’s tons and it changes all the time, but those are some of the things filling my eye sockets at the moment.
Based on past promo shots, photos from live shows, painting of guitars/amps/equipment, it’s clear that the visual aspect of the band is something that goes beyond album covers and t-shirt designs. Where did that come from? Is it just a side effect of being a designer and a person who appreciates things from an aesthetic and visual standpoint?
I’m a fan of “visual bands.” That is, bands that create and maintain a visual aesthetic for their band and see it through. Musicians can get very wrapped up in their own heads and the musicianship, and totally forget that people paid good money to be entertained. We want to entertain people. We’re in Orlando, and so things related to Disney are hard to escape. One of the things that Walt Disney got right, though, was his dedication to suspension of disbelief. Making someone forget about everything around them and fully immerse themselves into something is a decidedly difficult task, and it’s exactly what ALL bands and artists are asking an audience to do, whether they realize it or not. Disney got that, and made his biggest priority. We’re trying to do that. We’re trying to create our own little world. It’s not easy, but that’s what we feel we have to do. People are paying money to see us, so let’s make sure they get a good show.
You guys are about to hit the road in April with Bardus and have played with some killer bands in the past such as Jucifer and KEN mode. Who else is on your wish list for bands you’d like to share the stage with this year?
We’ve had the honor of playing with a LOT of really great bands. Some other nationals like Black Tusk, Lo-Pan, Black Cobra, Darsombra, and Child Bite, and some really great hometown bros like Moat Cobra, Bhavachakra, Hollow Leg, Junior Bruce, and Holly Hunt. All of them are superb and it means a lot that they are willing to share the stage with us. We’re opening for Prong later this year, and I’m sure there’ll be more, but we don’t keep a wishlist. We just feel privileged to play with some very extraordinarily talented people.
You mentioned a while ago wanting to play some shows in Canada this year, which would be great to see. I’m always curious to hear what non-Canadians think of the great white north. What are the first things that pop into your head when you think of Canada?
I’ve been to Canada a few times and it seems like a cool place, but it’s probably a rose tinted glasses type thing, as visiting anywhere you’re not from can be pretty magical. The first thing that pops into my head is Bryan Adams, oddly. The next is poutine, and the next after that would be the question “why do we call it Canadian bacon because that’s just ham?”
If you make it across the border, will poutine be on the agenda?
Seeing as you’re from Florida, is it a safe bet to assume these shows would not be happening during the winter?
I live in the wrong state. I hate the heat. I would rather freeze to death than sweat. But the other dudes in the bands are stereotypical Floridians who piss and moan about the cold, so yeah, that’s probably a safe bet.