Liverpool power duo, Rival Bones have been causing quite a stir this year. Cementing themselves as harbingers of colossal riffs and pounding drums, they recently bought us their explosive single ‘Hives’, along with the news that they will be releasing their debut self-titled EP in May.
So if you’ve yet to experience one of the UK’s most exciting new bands, now’s your chance. Check out our Q&A with Chris Thomason (drums) and James Whitehouse (guitar/vocals)…
What three words would best describe Rival Bones?
Chris: Loud, Aggressive, Emotional
James: Full. Frontal. Nudity.
How did you both meet, and how did you come about deciding to be a two-piece band?
Chris: I was in the same Uni class as James’ sister and she mentioned he was auditioning for drummers for his previous band. I went along, had a jam with the guys and a few days later James messaged me saying he’d canned the other band and said he had always wanted to do a 2 piece band and if I was up for it to let him know!
James: We got together for a jam to see what it would be like and to try out the whole idea behind making a two piece work with the amps and stuff. After 5 minutes we said “ok then, what are we doing?!” and we wrote some songs!
Where did the name ‘Rival Bones’ come from?
Chris: Personally, choosing band names has always been a pain in the arse for me. I always think that anything I think of is cringey. We went by the name Ghost Of Bear for a while before we started playing gigs.
James: I liked Ghost of Bear! We were very practical about the name. We felt like we needed something that would firstly, describe our sound, and secondly not be in use anywhere else so we could get all the social media stuff – without having to add ‘band’ or ‘UK’ or ‘music’ or whatever. We are @RivalBones on everything! The trick with band names these days is finding two words that have no business being next to each other and using them in a way which works.
What are you looking to achieve with your upcoming debut EP?
Chris: We’ve been around for just over 2 years but we’ve only released a handful of singles as and when funds would permit it. I think with this EP it’s our PROPER announcement to the world. Some of the songs on there have been written, performed and perfected for over a year and I think it’s a short, sharp powerful introduction to ‘Rival Bones’ – which we can hopefully build on before a bigger release in the future.
James: I’d really like it to enable us to get onto that next level. Play bigger shows and get to travel around the country/Europe more. We just want to play as many shows as possible!
How much more complex is the writing process as a duo, compared with writing as the “conventional” sized band?
Chris: Personally I find it much easier and way more enjoyable. I think as there is less people there’s more clarity on what you want to achieve. Also, rhythms/riffs are more at the forefront which means that there are more opportunities for unique drum parts. In previous bands I’ve been in usually one guy would write the songs and we’d just sort of work something out whereas in this one me and James both contribute to every aspect.
James: In a sense, it a lot more tapped into the root of what we both love from music – Riffs.
You’ve headlined an event at Liverpool’s iconic Cavern Club – How big a moment was this for you, and what’s it like being part of the Liverpool music scene?
Chris: Playing the Cavern was awesome for us. You can’t deny how iconic it is as a venue even if you hate The Beatles and the touristy vibe around that part of town. The Liverpool music scene is in a weird transition I think. For years the scene has been dominated by Pop/Indie bands like The Wombats and Circa Waves and that filters down to the tiny shows. However more recently we’ve seen some great ‘heavier’ shows and there’s some awesome promoters doing loads for the scene so I think it will only get stronger.
James: That night was amazing! It’s a great venue and the crowd that came down for it was immense, definitely one of our best gigs to date!
Is there an ultimate aim for Rival Bones in the long run?
Chris: I think we’re both ‘live’ players who feed off audiences. The whole essence of the band stems from our live show so for me the ultimate aim is to get out there and be able to carry on playing to as MANY people in as MANY places as possible and make a living out of it. Obviously getting huge and earning a shit load of money would be nice too…
What’s the last album you bought?
Chris: Rival Sons – Hollow Bones
James: Kill It Kid – You Owe Nothing
Chris: John Bonham
James: Eric Clapton
Last film you saw?
Chris: La La Land
Finally, and most importantly, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Chris: The magical Liopleurodon
James: I was always a Triceratops fan!
Rival Bones‘ self-titled debut EP will be released on May 5th. Pre-order, here.