This week, we sat down with Leo Bautista and Sam Ridgell of Rival Summers in their studio in Madison Heights, Michigan to talk about their influences, live shows and more.
Read part one of our Q&A below:
BTS: What got you into making music and what made you realize you wanted this as a career?
Leo: I started playing piano when I was five. My cousins had been enrolled in music lessons and my mom asked me if I wanted to. So it’s just something I kinda grew up with. Everyone had their thing. A lot of my friends played sports and art and I did music. I didn’t really think about it becoming a career until kind of a year or two into doing Rival Summers. Rival Summers started as kind of just a thing I did for fun. After putting out some music, and having it be really well-received by people I didn’t even know, it kind of became a thought it could be a career and after that I just went with it.
Sam: I guess it just started with my grandma. She got me my first drum when I was little.
BTS: Who are your musical influences?
Leo: As a band we kind of really love bands like The Fray and OneRepublic and Coldplay. We like Walk the Moon…
Sam: Neon Trees
Leo: Betty Who…Lights…With our newest stuff, we really are really kind of embracing our favorite bands and that kind of direction. And those are some of my favorite bands.
BTS: What is your favorite thing about being in a band together?
Sam: Being in a band together. We’re best friends, we hang out all the time…get in trouble all the time…just to travel with my best friend and doing something we both love.
Leo: Yeah, I’d say the exact same.
BTS: What would your dream tour lineup be?
Sam: Oh my gosh, it would be awesome to play with OneRepublic, Walk the Moon, Neon Trees, Lights.
BTS: What’s your current favorite song?
Leo: I’m really really super into this band called Oh Wonder. They’re really awesome I’ve been listening to their song “Livewire” a lot. It’s just so beautiful, and just everything about that band is amazing.
Sam: I guess it would have to be by Tori Kelly, her song Talk.
Leo: That’s another dream tour, Tori Kelly!
BTS: What’s your favorite part of the Detroit/Michigan music scene?
Leo: Everyone is just super awesome. We’ve grown up in this scene. We really owe a lot to the people in the community in this area. I think the most beautiful thing about Michigan, or the Detroit music scene in particular, it really feels like we’re paving our own way, in that we kind of have an opportunity to do something unique and awesome and there’s a lot of this sort of collaborative spirit. All the bands wanna figure out how to work together to make cool things happen. I think that’s one of the more focal points or one of the bigger focal points in the scene is that we’re all trying to do something bigger than, I don’t know, goof around. We’re trying to do something substantial.
Sam: I think everyone knows each other, too. So we’re like all friends.
BTS: What’s a song you wish you wrote?
Leo: There are so many of these.
Sam: I think “Hymn for the Weekend” by Coldplay.
Leo: That whole album is insane. There’s “Army of One” on that album.
BTS: What’s your favorite part about playing live shows?
Leo: Seeing all the work we do pay off. That’s the biggest thing for me, like we spend so much time in this room and spend so much time like ‘What’s next? What can we do that’s different? What can we do that’s huge and exciting?’ And we spend a lot of time like, crafting everything we do and putting a lot of thought and hard work. So live, we’re finally able to share everything, where we’re finally able to see everybody’s reactions or being able to connect with people and we have a new album coming out, so all these new songs, they’re all jams, so we’re really super proud of this album and being able to share these songs and seeing people connect with them is the most exciting thing.
Sam: Yeah, I think for me, at the end of our set, being able to talk to everyone and just hearing how a song affected or how we’re able to be a part of their lives through music, and through like, merch and stuff, and like we see pictures of people getting engaged with our shirts on, it’s pretty crazy.
BTS: Aside from your new album, what are you most excited about for 2016?
Sam: That’s kinda hard because I feel like we’ve only been excited about this new album. I think I’m excited about being able to do some touring. Just to travel and see what happens.
Leo: We haven’t toured in a while. We took the last couple years to just chill and figure everything out. The last stretch of touring was 2013, a little bit of 2014, like that’s the most exciting thing is just to play more shows.