Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bands in the Neighborhood: The Riverbreaks

It's been a little while, but here's the latest in the Bands in the Neighborhood series, where I talk to local bands and musicians. Today's edition is The Riverbreaks, a Southern influenced six-piece band. Check out their website (with songs), Facebook and Twitter.

Here's our interview with songwriter and vocalist Ryan Bailey.

How did the band form?
Three of us had a college band at UNC-Chapel Hill. After graduation, Jesse and Andrew moved to DC while Ryan went to Costa Rica for the Peace Corps. Two years later Ryan moved to DC with a lot of new material and we started jamming again. After a few months we brought Neela on violin in to add a new dimension to our sound, and recently Drew on bass, who doubles as band hype man on stage. 

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Ryan, Jesse, and Andrew just moved to Petworth after 2 years living on Euclid Street. 

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We practiced for 2 years in our basement on Euclid St. Our cutoff time for practice got a lot earlier once our neighbor had a baby. We've played several house parties in the neighborhood and U Street venues DC9 and Velvet Lounge. 

What are your band's influences?
As the whole band has roots in North Carolina and the south, Americana and alt-country music heavily influence our sound, especially the guitar work and lyrics. However we listen to a lot of pop too, so that seeps into our music. Artists we like include Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse, and Van Morrison, as well as a long list of local artists, a couple of which are Paperhaus and The Silver Liners. Other sources of inspiration include heartbreak, road trips, and environmental issues. 

Do you have any records out? What's your next show?
We put out our first record, a 10 song LP called Get You Right, last April. We are about to record our second album in Chapel Hill, NC with an incredible producer. 

Our next show is March 23rd at Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia. We don't plan on scheduling our next DC show until we've made some serious progress on the album, so I'd guess late spring. 

Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories?
We've played 8 states, most of which we picked off on our Southern tour last August. Tour was amazing, and we're hoping to tour some more once our record is out. Our last tour was 10 days, and we were like zombies when it was over. Too many crazy tour stories to tell here, but one involved Andrew, a huge Marine, and a slice of pizza. 

What’s your take on the local music scene in Columbia Heights and DC?
The music scene in Columbia Heights is more a music community. People seem very happy and content to play music with each other. Unfortunately, most of the music venues are on H St. or other parts of NW DC, so the neighborhood is mainly where the creativity happens.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
Euclid Street Party

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