The Rescues: Living life and creating music on their own terms

The Rescues. Photograph by Piper Ferguson, 2013

As the release of The Rescues new album, ‘Blah Blah Love and War’ nears, I had the chance to ask the band members, Adrianne Gonzalez, Gabriel Mann, Kyler England and Rob Giles, some questions this fall about how the album came together, what changes they’ve had to overcome as they put together the album and what drives them to make music together. The PledgeMusic release of the album is set for 30th September.

The Rescues launched their PledgeMusic campaign on 13th June, with the release of the following video, entitled, “The Rescues want YOU to be their label”. Within twenty four hours, they had reached 50% of their pledge goals, two days later they were at 75%, and by the 21st of June the project had been fully funded, and pledges have still been coming in. One of the things I like about PledgeMusic and The Rescues campaign has been their frequent updates including fun videos of the band, and releases of songs that were recorded live, alternative mixes of songs, blended mixes with other songs and blog posts of their progression in recording. That is in addition to the Pledge Exclusives such as a Rescues Collection on USB, Skype with the band, lyric sheets to the songs, lithographs, house concerts and so much more. So, without further adieu, here are The Rescues.

LS: With “Crazy Ever After” under Adrenaline Records in 2008, then “Let Loose the Horses” under Universal Republic in 2010, you made the conscious choice to produce this album independently, with the help from your fanbase via PledgeMusic, meeting your pledge goals in an impressive 8 days. With this change, it seems like there is a renewed sense of vigor, a sense of fun, and getting back what it means to be a collaborative band. What was the impetus to change? And how are you enjoying the change in freedom being able to do the album (and publicity) on your own terms?

Adrianne Gonzalez: It was really a choice made by necessity. To keep us alive, we had to go out and do things our own way, and by our own rules. They needed a huge radio hit for us to really be successful in their system, and we even tried working with some of the big “hit maker songwriters” to make what radio wanted. In the end, the songs just didn’t feel natural to us, and we felt we could do better on our own. We learned a lot going through the major label machine though, and doing it ourselves is definitely an exciting way to further challenge ourselves. It’s hard, but definitely rewarding work.

LS: The spirit of flying, wings stretched in freedom, a tenacity of belief in yourselves (individually and collaboratively) and not giving up seems to be an overlying theme to this album. What were some of the challenges you faced prior to laying the groundwork for this album & how has it made you stronger together?

Adrianne Gonzalez: The biggest challenge was for us to just getting along and learning how to communicate with each other again, and not letting the little stuff bring us down. We wrote in pairs mostly this time around, and many of the songs are very therapeutic and let us say a lot of the things we wanted to say but couldn’t before. It made us stronger, because it really showed us how much this band really matters to us all.

LS: From the beautiful haunting ballad blend of “My Heart With You” (a capella version on The Rescues EP) to the lovely cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” [of which I prefer The Rescues cover :)] (The Rescues – Single), the teenage social awkwardness in “New Kind of Cool” (Crazy Ever After), to the belt out fun of “Break Me Out” (‘Crazy Ever After’ & ‘Let Loose The Horses’), and the quirky “Can’t Stand the Rain” (Let Loose the Horses), The Rescues covers a gamut of song styles. As solo musicians you each have your own styles and methods of writing songs, so in a collaborative effort what do you each bring creativly to the table?

Gabriel Mann: We are each solo artists, so we are used to handling it all ourselves. that said, when we get together there is a bit of a division of labor that seems to happen naturally. adri and kyler come with a full arsenal of beautiful melodies, gabe has the world of music at his fingertips, and rob is a walking rhyming dictionary.

LS: What inspires you creatively?

Gabriel Mann: I am inspired by fear. mostly the fear of repetition. I dont like to do the same thing, musically, as I have done in the past, so I am usually looking for new ways to express myself in music. this often involves getting really into one artist or another (recently that means thomas Newman, the film composer, and the violent femmes first album), or exploring a group of chords over and over until I’ve exhausted it and can move on. lyrically I like to make up stories and tell them as though they’re about myself. usually about high school.

LS: The growing power of social media in the last few years has become a more tangible way for artists to interact with their fans. The Rescues have embraced the power of this format to promote and publicize the band’s new album via PledgeMusic, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, etc., by having fans also spread word & support of the band via ‘Word of mouth’ – or in this case also via computers, cell phones, and tablets. That can be a powerful tool for an independent group. Your initial video for this album, ‘The Rescues Want You To Be Our Label’ acknowledges the strength of the benefical social connections between musicians and fans. How has this affected you as individuals and as a group?

Kyler England: It’s funny, we were all independent singer-songwriters before the band formed and our careers lived and breathed thanks to being able to connect with fans directly. social media wasn’t as important then, it was more about websites and mailing lists. while the band was on a major label we had a lot of great people working for us in the label’s digital marketing department and in radio and in press but there was a disconnect. with such a big machine working for us, inevitably over time we became more hands off in the daily details.

Now that we’re back at the helm, we’re getting our hands in the engine, we have grease up to our elbows. there are a thousand little decisions to be made every day and we’re making them. in the last few years social media has grown exponentially in importance and we’re really grateful for the autonomy it affords us, as well as the closeness it allows us to have with the people that love our music around the world.

LS: As part of this interaction, through PledgeMusic, The Rescues is offering a limited re-release of your “Crazy Ever After” album, lyric sheets, autographed albums, shirts, skype with the band, among many other neat things for pledgers, in addition to the blogs, videos, and unreleased songs. What made you choose the things you did?

Kyler England: Ha! to be a fly on the wall during that decision making process! what you see on our pledge page is about 1/10th of what we actually came up with. the narrowing down process was painful but we’re used to it. there’s always a wealth of ideas in this band. but to better answer your question, we tried to come up with pledge exclusives connected to the music and that we would have wanted to have from our favorite bands when we were 18.

LS: These days, many independent musicians have their music appear in television shows, web shows, or film as a way to get into the collective consciousness. More often than not, that’s how I find out about new musicians & groups like Vienna Teng, Naimee Coleman, Jeremy Silver, The Rescues & more. Many of the artists I have in my iTunes playlists actually came from hearing songs on the daytime soap opera, ‘Guiding Light’, and the primetime drama, “Grey’s Anatomy”, among others. If you could have a song of yours be on any show – television or web-based – (that you haven’t yet done), what song & what show?

Rob Giles: Man, I think I would love to have a movie written around our music, like PTA did for Aimee Mann in Magnolia. That would be the dream. But as of songs and shows now, I think I would love to have all of our songs on Private PRactice, especially with that hot Dr. Amelia Shepherd.

LS: For a lot of folks, for different reasons, a song sticks in their memory because it holds an emotional resonance in them; the lyrics and/or melody – to use a cliched term – strike a chord of meaning for them. Of the new album, which song is your favourite and why does it have meaning for you?

Rob Giles: I love Be My Cure as a feeling, the whole drums and strings thing. And the fact that Kyler and I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote again and again until we got it right. Makes a song special. I also love Under the Weather. I love when the Rescues are creepy the best.

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About jlynnstapleton

I'm a Licensed Practical Nurse, photographer and writer. My focus in photography has been primarily landscapes, particularly water based images, both in colour and black and white. I love to travel when I can and sometimes find some unique treasures to photograph. I also enjoy writing these blogs and doing interviews when I can. I'm the oldest of three siblings. I grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland [Canada]. I came out as a lesbian when I was twenty-one, and fortunately I've had a supportive family, and friends.
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