An Interview With REVEL IN ROMANCE All About Their Brand New Collection, ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ and More!
Since forming in 2014, the 5-piece band Revel In Romance from Atlanta, GA have systematically approached each and every aspect of their presentation to the world with care and attention to detail. From the album art to the stage show to the camera angles on the video set, the directive is for everything to reflect what they are – young, fresh, energetic, light and utterly unforgettable.
Silblings Saxony Raine (vocals), Remington (bass) and Parker Rehklau (guitar) are joined by longtime collaborator, Devin Maier (guitar) and newest member, drummer Mark Robinson (who had previously played such acts as The Jonas Brothers, Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney) to form the band that was named by a moment of chance. As the Rehklaus sat at home and contemplated a name for their budding band, a home décor magazine fell off the shelf in their living room. It lay open to a page with the headline “REVEL IN ROMANCE,” and the band saw it as a sign, making the headline their band name.
Not much else is left to chance with REVEL IN ROMANCE. Beyond their layered, genre-spanning, anthemic music, their album art, photos and videos are of the quality you might find with a major label group. Noted vocal coach and producer, “Mama” Jan Smith took the band under her wing at their inception, to much fanfare. For years they have been touring, honing their craft on the road with dates across the country and at festivals and music industry conferences. They also played shows with The Band Perry, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Kings of Leon and KONGOS as well as at Warped Tour, SXSW, Summerfest, Sweetwater 420 and – most recently – SandJam Fest.
Revel in Romance’s Debut EP “Right and Wrong,” released in 2016, had 2 songs reach number one on radio stations in the U.S. and England and their debut music video for “ECHOES” aired on MUCH TV channels and MUSIC PLUS TV channels across Canada. By November, they sold out Hard Rock Atlanta’s Velvet Underground and wrapped the year up by performing as the rock group chosen for SESAC’s holiday party at Terminal West.
Roundly lauded, the band has been an Atlanta Braves Band of the Year, filmed for Mississippi’s PBS special series “Amped & Wired” and Massachusetts’ “LIVE FROM CENTER STAGE.” Winners of the Talent Tap at 420 Fest (iHeart Radio), Top 5 Breakthrough Artist to watch of 2019 on Elite Music News, Modern Luxury’s Best Band of Atlanta in 2018. Saxony Raine was also named the 2016 Georgia Music Awards Winner for Best Female Rock Artist.
Their latest work, the SMOKE & MIRRORS EP, will take the band to the next level. “‘Right and Wrong’ was just an introduction of who we are. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is deeper than that… It’s why we’re here. This EP takes what we loved about the last one, and uses that as a foundation for our music moving forward. There is no ‘weak’ song on S&M, no filler space. Even the intro “L O V E” has a very subtle importance. Every song is as strong as the last, whether that’s in energy, passion, lyricism, or meaning. I believe that any listener could find one song on this EP that speaks to them. We love our wall-of-sound, we love our raw energy, and we love the fact that at the heart of it all this rock and noise, it’s still pop music.”
Learn more about Revel in Romance in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Of course! We’ve just dropped our “Young” – Official Music Video so it’s all hands on deck getting the word out.
Now that we are into the 9th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band?
2019 has been great for us! Performing tons of shows, more festivals and dancing our booty’s off. Every year we get to keep performing is always a success to us. Fortunately, in addition to shows, we’ve been able to give fans new content this year too! One of our goals this year was to give fans more. We wanted to connect with fans more, let them know that we were there for them, just as much as they are there for us. We wanted to put out content – the songs chosen on this EP “Smoke and Mirrors” were carefully chosen to help empower and show the heart of all of us, build hype and really get people excited for shows and new songs to come. Any time or any year that results in us being able to share music or relate to audiences with the words we write or being able to draw an emotion from the feel of a moment — is a success.
What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them?
At the top of the year, we literally put together a planning board with 3×5 cards that we could shift around and adjust for production, marketing, and event timing, meetings and etc. It was pretty massive because we planned to release our Smoke and Mirrors EP one song at a time followed by a music video for at least 3 of the songs. We’ve had a few delays because we want to make sure that it was actually executed and marketed correctly, but we’re getting it done! Moving right along, and we have certainly made major steps up the ladder we created for ourselves.
What are you already excited about for 2020?
Radio Promotion and Touring, for sure! We’ve done a lot of research and talked to a ton of our fans to see what cities they are in so we can effectively try to meet every single one of them! We have some pretty serious dream touring plans being discussed at the moment too, and if those come through, it will be our most exciting year yet.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together?
I feel like the pieces really just fell into place. Parker, Devin and I really wanted to take our Acoustic sound and elevate it to atl/pop instead of singer/songwriter. We wanted to make music we liked, so when it came to filling the rhythm section and finding a solid Drummer and a Bassist, we tried out a ton of our friends at different shows until we landed on Mark first. We came across his ad on Craigslist about wanting to jam with a local band. He wasn’t really looking to join a full on band, but when we met him, his drumming style and his expertise were welcomed rather quickly. As soon as we met Mark, we knew we wanted to work with him – and as time went on, an added perk was his sense of humor matched ours. Remi, however, was a different story. Remi, being Parker and I’s older brother was trying everything to help us out, but didn’t actually want to be in the band. He had his own thing going on. We really weren’t looking for it to be a “family band” – but once Remi became committed, we welcomed him. Sometimes we even try not to tell people we’re all family. Because, honestly, Revel in Romance is more than a family. Sure two of them are my brothers, but they’re all my best friends.
Was it hard to think of a name that you could all agree on?
Not Really, Revel in Romance was one of those names that we sort of stumbled upon. One evening, we decided we needed a band name. Officially, it was time. So we pulled out books of all kinds. One of us would flip through the pages while the other would say stop. Then we’d skim our finger until someone else said stop. We’d read off three words from the sentence we’d stop on. Some of those were hilarious. we spent the majority of the night crying with laughter, but still no band name. Nothing was ringing right, but we were all in agreement on that. Finally — and I can’t remember who, but finally one of us was pulling down a stack of our next magazine journey and accidentally dropped one. I believe it was a Home and Garden magazine, or a furniture magazine, or something. Anyway, right on the cover there it was: “Revel in Romance”. We let it fall off our tongues a few times and every time, I think I smiled a little more. We all liked it and we became Revel in Romance.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We come from different home towns, so each of us definitely come from different influences. Mark is from Chicago. One of his best friends in high school was Kevin Jonas. So, Mark was actually the Jonas brother’s first drummer. Devin moved here from Florida but also had several family members in Ohio. Devin’s influences were hip hop, rap and EDM. Remi, Parker and myself are siblings but, Remi moved to Colorado for college. Remi is 100 percent Jam Band. He has nothing but jam band song symbols in his sleeve tattoo. Parker and I are the more alternative/pop influence based.
How has the music scene there changed over the years?
When we first started to play music in Atlanta all the bands were predominantly hip hop, rap, metal or country. As of lately though, as the music scene across the board has changed, our friends in the industry have started leaning into the alternative sound and we’ve been able to find artists to share the stage with that actually make sense with our mainstream sound. We still have tons of hip hop here in Atlanta, but I think creating a cross genre of Rap and Pop has opened tons of collaborative doors within the industry here and made friends of all music instead of separating them in any way.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Young.” What was the inspiration for this track?
Young is a conviction song. A belief in a knee buckling, heart skipping, beyond control connection to another human being. It’s understanding what love feels like for the very first time and being unapologetic about feeling that way… no matter how “young” I may have been and despite anyone else’s doubts in the validity of what those feelings may have been.
What was it like making the music video for it? How creatively involved with the process were you all?
This video was a great experience because we just had to show up and Dominar had the entire plan set up for us. We didn’t micro manage it because we wanted it to be fun and stress free for us, so instead, we gave them the reigns and let them interpret the song in any way that they wanted. When it all came together we were stunned by their brilliance. That I (Saxony) am in transit departing Athens, a place I truly cherish, reflecting on the love of my “youth” while not in control of the steering wheel, or where my next destination may actually be, is perfect.
I’m curious why this band decided to release a single every month for the next few months? How did you all come to that decision? How are you choosing which single to release and when?
We certainly debated whether to release the full EP, or to release the songs off the EP one at a time. With releasing the songs individually, not only do we give each song it’s moment to shine, but, we also give the band itself more publicity opportunities. Plus, with space between the release of each song we have an opportunity to complete music videos to accompany some of the songs.
How are you choosing which single to release and when?
Choosing the title track “Smoke and Mirrors” to lead with was easy. Choosing the rest was a bit of a struggle because we love them all. Young came next. Parker had said that if we show Smoke and Mirrors first, we probably want to show fans that the rest of the EP wouldn’t all be on the slower side. It made perfect sense to me. We wanted to show the dynamic of the entire EP in the first two songs. Choosing the next ones to follow had proved to be a little more difficult though. We really just want to throw all of them at you at once, but in the realm of giving every song it’s moment, we had to choose. Although every song on this EP has a special meaning behind it. And every passion filled music moment or song lyric deserves its spotlight.
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
We write together. Every song usually starts with someone in the band just playing a riff. We’ve been writing together for so long that we all inherently know what direction we’re writing towards and when to jump in. From those initial jams we build. Each song then evolves over time as we explore everyone’s idea for it. Lyrics are strictly directed by Saxony. Sometimes she writes them and sometimes she takes them from Devin or Parker’s suggestions. But, we all agree it’s important for her to feel everything she sings about.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
Absolutely. These are my best friends in the world.
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
As a band, our growth is clear in our sound. We’ve all honed our craft a little more, grown a little more, and songwriting has become second nature with each other because now we aren’t afraid that we’re stepping on each others toes at any moment. we’re not shy about sharing opinions and we communicate better than ever. The dynamic of Revel in Romance was always welcoming, but now the welcome-feeling has turned into a lifelong friendship.
What do all of your various musical experiences bring to this group?
As musicians and as people who enjoy constantly learning, our experiences (whether it be us performing or going to shows) have allowed us to appreciate and be humbled by the grand moments on big stages, be confident in the creativity we individually suggest when songwriting.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Personally, My favorite thing in the whole world is having human connection. So shows are where I thrive. I love the adrenaline rush of hearing people sing the words back. I like the unity of that moment when the crowed jumps to the same beat as me. Or when we all nail our dance move. Studio work is so rewarding though too, because when the finished product comes out, it’s like I get to be a part of the show and also give the fans something tangible to have and keep and it allows the show to go home with them – except now, it puts them in the drivers seat of the choreography.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues over the years?
The ideal show is any show with a big stage (we jump around and dance a lot), with an incredible sound guy, and a crowd that’s just as energetic as we are. Our favorite stages have been Summerfest in Milwaukee, Sand Jam fest in Panama City, Warped Tour Atlanta, and a crazy show that required people to climb a mountain on four wheelers in the Rocky Mountains near Denver Colorado. Locally we love Georgia Theater in Athens and The Masquerade, Terminal West, and Hard Rock in Atlanta.
Do you have a Fall Tour scheduled yet? Where can fans see you perform next?
We are heads down planning a fall tour to accompany our official EP Release of the full Smoke and Mirrors EP. So our very first show to launch the tour will be close to home in Atlanta. We’re expecting it to be a night to remember and a tour to remember, not just for us, but for the fans too!
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Social media is how we communicate with our fans. At least one of us hopes on each platform every day. All of us have access to all the sights and get the notifications for everything that comes through. Some of us are on them more than others, and if something comes through for a specific band member, we’re pretty proactive about ensuring the fan gets talking to the right one of us. We absolutely love connecting with fans and seeing what their doing too and hearing how their lives are going and sending them special surprises and hosting contests too. One of my favorite moments was when we had a picture of our number one fan in our t-shirt and we randomly decided to honor him on #FanFriday by using his name as a promo code on our website for 20% off our Classic Logo Tee.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
For me, music is always an escape. While politics play a passionate role in most peoples lives, we haven’t let the passion for politics bleed into our music quite yet. I prefer, at the moment, to allow them to be separate and music to be a place to spill my emotions about boys who break hearts.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music?
All of us are inspired by different artists. I think that’s what makes our sound so unique: we all have different tastes.
Remi is very much inspired by jam bands and “bringing on the funk”.
Some of Marks influences are Jimmy Eat World & Coldplay.
Devin’s taste in music is all over the board. He’s super hard to pin with his love for Drake, Ben Folds, Blink 182 and Attilla – to name a few.
Parker and I’s taste in music is similar, but our influences differ. We both love the Pop/Alternative style and even pass artists to listen to back and fourth when we discover something we find amazing. Parker, however grew up with the major influence of Matchbox Twenty and Maroon 5, but now draws his inspiration from more alternative artists that fill out their sound with electronic vibes like The 1975 or The Naked and Famous. I grew up with Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette teaching me to make my tone my own, and now I’ve found an epic inspiration in Halsey and AJR.