On November 10th, 2017, the Ries Brothers (pronounced “reese”) released their first full length album, and celebrated its release at the 2nd annual Rootfire at the Park festival at Cocoa, Florida. They took some time out of their busy schedule to chat with the Altwire team about their musical journey and their upcoming tour which includes the 2018 Cali Roots Festival.
AW: Hi, my name is Omayra, and on behalf of Altwire.net, I want to thank you both for taking the time to do this interview with me. For those who haven’t yet heard of you, can you please tell is a little about yourself, your musical style and any other fun facts?
Ries Brothers: We are Charlie and Kevin, we’re the Ries Brothers, rock’n roll duo from Tampa Bay, Florida, we just released our first full length album today.
Charlie: Our style is primarily alternative rock with a blues and reggae influence. It’s really cool that Kevin is a huge reggae fan, and I’m a major fan of blues rock and alternative rock. We combine those genres to make our sound. We perform as a duo only. I play drums, keyboard bass by left hand and sing while at the same time Kevin plays lead guitar and is a keyboardist and that enables our full sound as a duo.
AW: Did you come from a musical background prior to pursuing music?
Charlie: We definitely have a musical influence in our family. Our grandparents were in the Chicago Symphony and our grandfather was a well known bass player in Chicago for many years. Our parents never played professionally but they definitely loved music and introduced it to us while we were really young and we went on from there and fell in love with it.
AW: You’ve shared stages with Chicago, REO Speedwagon, and David Cook, among other pop artists. What has your experience been like sharing the stage with such big names? Did you ever imagine this so early in your career?
Charlie: Not really, all we knew was that we absolutely loved music. At the time we didn’t know anybody in the business, coming from Florida, where there isn’t a huge music scene. We just played and that’s how we built our base. Over time we got introduced to other people and other bands by people who liked us. Eventually we got connected with bigger bands like Chicago and they were our first big break. We got to go on the road with them twice. That experience early on in our career has been so helpful and incredible!
AW: What was your writing process like for “View from the Outside”?
Kevin: Being from a reggae background, I like to write about positivity and ways to improve your life over all.
Charlie: I’m a huge fan of The Doors and The Smiths, and it’s comical because Kevin writes about happy stuff and I write more about sad stuff in a way and we combine them to make a healthy middle. We usually write songs on our own and come together separately. At the end of it we have a song. For this album we picked 13 songs that we felt right now spoke what we really wanted to say to our audience and our new fans who we’re trying to go out and make. We started out in 2012 and we’ve finally released our first full record. It’s really special for us.
AW: How did you decide which songs would go in the album and which ones didn’t?
Kevin: We have a bunch of songs written already but we decided to cut the list down to the best 13 that we had, which we thought were perfect for the album and narrowed down to the best representation of where we are right now.
AW: So far, what have you missed the most from home while you’ve been on tour?
Kevin: For me, the beach, we live on the water so when I’m away from it, it’s hard.
Charlie: The cool thing about us is that we love the road so much that we don’t mind being away from home. We’re really comfortable being at different places every night. That’s where we kinda thrive. That’s always been our dream and we’re doing it. We still get homesick but we don’t miss it that much because we’re doing what we love and we’re meeting new, interesting people at every show and playing for new crowds at different, beautiful venues. We just like seeing the world. Sometimes we forget that the world is bigger than our county, back home. When you get out and see it, it’s really cool. We love traveling and we’re happy with it right now.
AW: What are some personal hobbies you enjoy when you’re not on tour or in the studio?
Charlie: We used to both play baseball up until high school and we still like to play it just for fun. Kevin surfboards, skates and skims and I can’t do any of that but-
Kevin: He tries!
Charlie: No, I never try! We play music for fun, when we’re not doing it professionally, we like to get people together and jam just for fun.
AW: What advice would you give future artists wanting to start out, especially the younger ones?
Kevin: Stay true to who you are and don’t let people change you. If they say that it’s not going to work out and you’re not going to make it, don’t listen to them. That should give you more inspiration to work harder.
Charlie: It’s tougher than ever now for younger bands cause you have to build your own audience. There’s not really that many major labels who are willing to invest in unknown artists so you have to build a fanbase yourself. For us, our price has been our live show, working hard to make it great and do whatever we can to connect with our audience. Don’t be afraid to go out and play for nobody. In the beginning you will be playing for small crowds. Don’t be afraid of that cause that’s how you learn and build. The first couple of years we played for small crowds. That’s what you have to do to build your fame, your skills and practice. Don’t be discouraged, because if you do it long enough you might get it.
AW: Is there anything you dislike about the industry in your experience?
Charlie: We’ve been at this for 5 years and it’s now starting to pick up and we’ve noticed in that short time that artists get taken advantage of a lot in this industry. A lot of focus is put on image and not music. It could be commercial and not true art. It’s hard to have a real voice and do what you love without outside influences telling you what you should be doing. You have to stay true to what you believe in cause the greatest artists of all time have done that.
AW: Before we close is there a message you’d like to send to your fans and our readers?
Kevin: Keep checking us out at riesbrothers.com, all social media is @riesbrothers. We’re playing a lot more festivals and we’re on tour.
Charlie: The album came out today and we’re gonna spend all of next year bringing our live show out to as many people as we can. This is what we love to do and this where we’re more comfortable in the world. Because of you guys we have a chance to do that so thank you!