While Nashville is commonly associated with country music, Spirits Republic is making a name with their alternative rock sound. All the way from Nashville, Russell Somer (vocals/guitar), Ricky DeMeo (bass) and Perry Dornbush are blowing some rock punches. We had a chance to sit down with Spirits Republic to discuss their new single ‘City Lights’ and much more!
Why did you choose to enter the music industry?
Russell: Ironically, I have a Bachelors degree in Music Industry. It’s pretty difficult to make a living off of being in a rock band so working other jobs in the music industry is slightly less shitty than not working in music.
Ricky: A series of poor life choices.
Perry: It chose to enter me.
What can you tell us about your release ‘City Lights’?
Group: ‘City Lights’ is the second of three singles to be released in 2020. On the Taco Bell scale, ‘City Lights’ is a mild sauce. Our first release ‘Decor’ is hot sauce and our next single ‘On and Bound’ is fire sauce. We will give an honourable mention to our cover of ‘Kids’ by MGMT as verde sauce.
What was the recording and writing process like?
Russell: ‘City Lights’ was a song that really came together very quickly based on the emotive state I was in while writing it. Both the guitar chords and lyrics were written all at once. I had played ‘City Lights’ quite a few times on acoustic gigs before showing it to the band. While we decided to keep it true to its original form, the song was elevated to another level when adding bass and drums.
Recording ‘City Lights’ was a lot of fun. We added lots of interesting layers per the recommendation of Colt and Scott at Sonic Affair Studios in Nashville. One of the most apparent and interesting additions was an acoustic guitar layer which only had the high octave strings of a 12-string guitar. I had a lot of fun recording vocal harmonies too; Scott took some creative liberties to make them larger than life in the bridge during the mixing process.
What do you hope people take from your music?
Group: Truthfully, we hope our music will help listeners think outside the box and that people find excitement in the unexpected. With Spirits Republic, we aim to make music that is both pleasing and challenging. We channel musical influences from all over the map and we aim to make people uncomfortable with our choices on how we fuse those together. It’s a reminder to never feel too comfortable as life will always give you some unexpected nonsense that in many cases will make you stronger if you tackle it head-on!
Which is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
Russell: I would have to say melody is more of a challenge than lyrics. Writing lyrics is something that comes out very easily for me whether I am using pre-written lyrics to an instrumental or improvising new ones with guitar accompaniment. I generally always have an idea of the overall message I want to convey with lyrics, but I’ll spend way more time on the melody and phrasing the lyrics until I think it is perfect. In some cases, I will continue to make changes up until we hit the studio to record.
Describe your music in three words.
Russell: Groovy, voluptuous, beefy.
Ricky: Small dick energy.
Perry: Dynamic, unapologetic, progressive.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Group: Ask your musician friends what they’re listening to.
What does the future hold for Spirits Republic?
Group: We will be releasing a music video for our upcoming single ‘On and Bound’ this summer. It will be unforgiving and COVID-related. We hope to get back on the road and start touring as soon as the world isn’t on fire anymore. Also, Ricky wants a plethora of promiscuous women and a quick and painless death. He aims to meet that goal on our next tour.
What advice do you have for any person planning to become a musician?
Russell: Start by learning songs you really love.
Perry: Practise, practise, practise.
Ricky: If you are cool with instability in every imaginable way, then this is for you.
Do you have any message for our readers?
Group: We aren’t just a freaky, funky, alternative rock band, we also make cartoons and other ridiculous things which we post on social media. We call it Horrible TV. It’s horrible and barely television, but it’s better than both Rocketman moves – the Elton John one and the 1997 one with Harland Williams.