Sometimes, the best thing to happen to a well-known local band is the break-up.
Just such a situation led to the formation of local alt-rock outfit RMRS. Born in late 2011 out of the ruins of three sonically divergent bands (Pygmaeus, Cure for the Radio and Collective Dreams), RMRS’ style is a unique blend of hard-rock thrash and danceable grooves. I caught up with three of the five band members for a sit-down at San Pedro Park. With clear skies above and the din of the thriving park as our backdrop, we discussed the group’s formation and evolution, their unique style and the record they’ll release this Friday.
Vocalist and keyboard player Michael Christopher was clear about the band’s intentions. “We wanted to make music that was unlike anything we had respectively done before,” he told the Current. Bassist and founding member Eddie Welsch added, “Yeah, like something more simple and something that people wouldn’t necessarily expect any of us to do.” For Welsch, previously in the avant-garde rock fusion band Pygmaeus, RMRS provided the opportunity to explore his fascination with soul, R&B and dance bass lines.
The band quickly coalesced and were recording demos by their second practice session. Then, after scrapping an Austin-based recording session, the band began working with Anthony Diaz DeLeon at Hollywood Studios in SA on what would become their debut album Don’t Say What it Means to You.
Though the guys will be celebrating the release of this record on Friday, Christopher reported that “it’s been done for a while, we’ve just been working on packaging and stuff like that.” One of the seemingly minor tweaks the group made is changing the spelling of its name from Rumors to RMRS. The new spelling not only makes the band far easier to Google, but the dropping of the vowels makes for a jagged effect that seems to gel more with the music—less round and more sharp.
All things considered, the final product that is Don’t Say What it Means to You is a tight exercise in progressive alt-rock power and pop execution. The nine-song affair begins in hazy contemplation, with two dreamy instrumental introductions (“Intru” and “Volcanoes”) and then drops into the fury of the album’s most forlorn song “Live Like This,” with its weary narrator lamenting the way in which our life decisions can end up costing us friends. With “Pillow,” the album’s lead single and most fully realized track, the band showcases its talent for nuance and delivers a surprisingly pretty rumination on the heartbreaking cycle of expectation and disappointment. “Pillow,” Welsch said, “was like a golden egg and [is] the only track on the album that was composed as a full band.” Drummer Joseph Briones, who instantly agreed with me that “Pillow” is a promising example of the places the band could still go, noted that “since the album has been done, we’ve already written a bunch of new songs as a group, songs that we’re excited to play and release soon.”
While it might sound pretty ambitious to be talking about future releases on the eve of their debut album release, these guys are dead serious. Christopher reiterated, “Yeah, there’s an EP’s worth of material already ready to go after [Don’t Say What it Means to You], and we plan on playing those songs at the [CD release] show too.” The new songs, and even the songs on Don’t Say What it Means to You, will feature more textures, samples, harmonies and keyboards at Friday’s show, as the band pushes itself into a fuller sound. Indeed, Briones seemed to reinforce the group’s mission statement when he noted that “you either keep pressing and keep trying to tour and record and hone your craft, or you get left behind.”
Catch RMRS in action Friday with a massive and local supporting cast, which Christopher hopes will “showcase just how much good and different shit is going on in San Antonio.”
RMRS feat. Deer Vibes, The Black Market Club, Lonely Horse, Donella Drive
7pm Fri, Feb 28