Talking with Rival Choir’s Josiah Lyle

Nathaniel recently spoke with Rival Choir. Don’t forget to check out their new record that drops this Friday!

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Nathaniel: Why the name change?

Josiah: We’ve been Mouth of the South, going on 9 years and gone through about I think somewhere around 18 members. Typically when we tell people Mouth of the South we’re either equated to a southern rock band, a rapper, the wrestler Jimmy Hart or honestly a sexual innuendo. We wanted to re-brand the way that our music sounds and the way that we run everything. We figured why not just do a name change as well. We are all getting older, dealing with bills and real life stuff and Mouth of the South has been kind of stagnant for a little bit. We want it to be able to work, but nothing we have done so far has really taken off for us, financially speaking. That kind of makes it tough. We want to see if making one big push like re-branding everything would get us to the places we want to be at. Felt like it was time for a change and wanted a name that really represents what our sound is and what we stand for.. Mouth of the South we got from an energy can when we were like 17 years old and now most of us are in our mid-twenties. It’s one of those things where in 2007 that was really cool because the Devil Wears Prada, all their song titles were funny names and so Mouth of the South was the coolest thing that we could think of at the time. As we have matured as a band we felt like we wanted to do something different.

Nathaniel: Why the band name now? Are you changing your style up?

Josiah: It will still be heavy, but it’s going to be a much different sub-genre of the field. We added a new member recently this past year, who has helped us challenge ourselves in the way we write, he comes from a much different background of metal with his guitar playing. It’s a style we have always wanted to be playing, but none of us could write that type of stuff. I’ve written a lot of the stuff we have done in the past and I’m not the greatest guitarist, which is why I stick to vocals for the main part. With adding our new guitarist Christian, it’s helped us push into a more melodic.. I guess you could say post-hardcore, without it being girly sounding. More like Underoath post-hardcore and stuff like that. Versus metalcore with a lot of chugga-chugga breakdowns. We want to do a little bit more ambient stuff, more melodic stuff to match the style of vocals we have been doing. Branch out into something a little bit different. We like the idea of constantly re-creating as an artist and we wanted to do that pretty extreme on this one. We felt like our last two albums were pretty similar. The second one was kind of a maturing of that same sound, but it didn’t branch out and do anything different. Now we want to completely reinvent ourselves with this new record.

Nathaniel: You said you have been through around 18 band members along with a new guitarist now, has any other band members changed in this transition?11329982_882684398439299_1089672613204273020_n

Josiah: From our last album, which was Struggle Well, we’ve lost one of our guitarist and got a new one. Our other guitarist, which has been in the band around four years now, this tour that we are on now will be his last tour. He won’t be an actual Rival Choir member, he’ll end with Mouth of the South. he feels like it’s time for him to step down. He’s married, I am as well, he wants to focus in on his family life and take care of that kind of stuff.

Nathaniel: If you could play anywhere in the world, where would you pick to play?

Josiah: That’s a good one. Europe would be really cool, but if I literally only had to pick one place.. playing in either New Zealand or Australia would be really cool. Probably New Zealand.. I’ve been there in the past, but I have always wanted to go back and to go back and play a show would probably be a dream come true.

Nathaniel: Who is your favorite superhero?

Josiah: Oh man… that’s a tough one. Recently, movie-wise, I would put Batman at the top. Just because I really like the Batman movies. It’s hard to pick one. I’m really into all Marvel stuff, I really like all the Avenger movies and the comic series.

Nathaniel: Speaking of Batman, have you watched the new Gotham series lately?

Josiah: I started and I watched one episode so far, and I like it a lot. I just haven’t continued with it yet because I am watching way too many shows all at the same time.

Nathaniel: Not hard for me to pick which superhero is my favorite, my favorite is the Hulk.

Josiah: The Hulk? I’ve definitely liked what Mark Ruffalo has done with his character. I’m hoping they do a Planet Hulk movie, that’d be really really cool.

Nathaniel: Favorite karaoke song?

Josiah: If it was anything Ke$ha, I’d probably be into that.

Nathaniel: Ke$ha. Do you have a favorite Ke$ha song?

Josiah: Probably… the Your Love song. I think that’s what it’s called. (laughs)

Nathaniel: Why Ke$ha? (laughs)

Josiah: I just really like to sing along to it. I don’t think she’s a great artist by any means, but she’s catchy as crap and it’s one of those things that’s a guilty pleasure for some random reason.

Nathaniel: Is that your shower music? Blast it and sing to it?

Josiah: (laughs) Yeah, pretty much! Or road trips when I’m trying to have a little fun. That’s always a fun one to sing along with. On this trip we’ve also been singing along with some Hilary Duff. (laughs)

Nathaniel: With the new direction of the band, are you guys writing music right now or are you going to take some time off to revamp everything?

Josiah: We have an album already written and done. That will be released early February. We wrote the album completely to revamp our sound and style and it was in that writing process that we decided to change the name. It’s worked out that we got to talk to our record label and say hey this is what we’re sounding like now and we want to do this name to bring in our new sound. We will have a new song out within the next week.

Nathaniel: Any tour plans?

Josiah: Yeah! The next time we will hit the road for touring will be February 26th. We’re waiting on a couple more dates to finalize on that before we are fully allowed to announce what that tour will be. That will be our CD release tour. Push the new name and the new CD.

Nathaniel: Are you going to do a solo tour or will you have bands accompanying you?

Josiah: There will be a band accompanying us. We will be opening for a little bit of a larger of a band. We are working on doing a headliner with two or three other bands joining us as well. We’re still trying to get that figured out for the spring time or somewhere around there.

Nathaniel: No hints at who is going to be with you?

Josiah: Can’t do it yet. (laughs).. I wish I could.

Nathaniel: Anything else you would like to add about the transition or the tour coming up?

Josiah: Keep up with our social medias and be on the lookout for new songs. We are just really excited to see what this transition does for us. Like I said, it’s a shift in a different direction for sure musically. It’s exactly what we want to do as a band. Going into the writing process we said if we are going to do this we want to be able to look back at this record and say whether or not it takes off like we would hope that it does we want to be able to say it’s a full representation of who we are and what we wanted to do as a band. At this point and time we have the utmost confidence in it. Even if nobody likes it and it flops, we’ll still look back at it with complete pride and knowing that we put all of ourselves into it.

Nathaniel: Awesome! Thanks for your time. Looking forward to the new album!

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Check out Rival Choir on Facebook for news about their new album: https://www.facebook.com/RivalChoir/

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