Proverbs 22:6 says if you raise a kid on Metallica, they may grow up to be rockstars. Meet Romantic Rebel.
Alex Vincent (guitar/backing vocals) and KT Paige (lead vocals) of Romantic Rebel
Chicago-based brother-sister duo Romantic Rebel hit the Jägermeister stage at Louder Than Life in Louisville, Kentucky on October 3, 2015. Fresh off an energetic set, Alex Vincent and KT Paige grabbed a seat in the media tent to talk about their band, their influences, and to hint at some pretty cool stuff coming up in the (hopefully near) future.
Shockwave Magazine: It’s really nice to meet you guys.
KT Paige (KP): It’s nice to meet you too.
I watched a recent video you posted on Facebook while on the plane. I laughed out loud and I woke up my seat neighbor. He sent you a friend request. You have an obvious brother-sister bond that really comes through on stage as well. As siblings, I imagine you’ve always been making music together. But what is your first musical collaboration memory?
Alex Vincent (AV): I remember we did a cover of Green Day’s “Holiday,” way back when, and we thought it was the greatest thing ever.
KP: Oh my gosh, we started showing it to the kids at school. We did it through GarageBand. Oh my gosh, it was so sick.
AV: We’re like “Check out what we did,” right? “Isn’t this great?” And they were like, “Whoa!” And now I’m like, it’s not even good, but we thought it was great.
KP: Of course.
AV: So looking back on it now we’re like, what were we thinking?
Was that the point where you decided, “We’re going to do this!”
AV: That was when we were doing it for fun. That was it.
KP: No, we always dreamed of doing it, we just never thought we could actually get the opportunity to do it for real.
So once you put it in your head, “You know what? I can do this,” what was the process from that Green Day cover on GarageBand to this full-fledged band opening for Sevendust, Nonpoint, Like A Storm … to name just a few?
AV: I think just maybe recognizing that we had more potential than that Green Day cover. You know, knowing that we maybe could have done something a little more meaty and awesome. That’s when we were like, “Well, let’s try and write a song instead.” I think it just worked. I think we have that connection where we know what each other are thinking, we know what would make for a good song that we would both enjoy and hopefully everyone else would enjoy. I think it works, you know? I think it works really well. We just decided, “Let’s try and do it, and let’s try and take this as far as we can,” and we’re really happy with the results right now.
What is your writing process? Do you guys collaborate lyrically? Musically? What do you do when you decide “We’re writing this song?” Do you come to him and say, “Sit down, I’m writing a song?”
KP: It’s the opposite, really.
AV: Yep, it’s the opposite.
KP: He’s always: “Okay, I have a really good chorus here. Let’s throw some lyrics onto it and try to think up a verse” and stuff like that.
AV: We write all our music, so I usually do all the music, like demo it out, and then I’ll bring it to her and say, “Check this out. I think I have the song.”
KP: (Laughs) Yeah.
AV: And then we’ll either be like “Meh” or “Yeah!” She’ll add her lyrics to it, and I give it to her and let her sit with it and really feel it out and experience the song. Once she gets it, it just — we love it. It’s a good process.
Often new artists are compared to popular bands, but who influences you?
AV: Oh geez.
KP: Oh my gosh.
Okay, let me ask it this way: What did your parents listen to?
AV: That’s a good question!
KP: Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Led Zeppelin …
AV: Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard … a lot of classics … Alice in Chains too. Alice in Chains is another one that they use to play all the time. I remember it, like, as a little kid because I was — I don’t know, I love it. So yeah, they raised us on awesome music, so that helped a lot.
I think you guys definitely have your own sound though.
KP: Thank you!
AV: Thank you. I’m glad to hear that.
That being said, how does it feel to be compared to Halestorm?
AV: Yeah …
Because that’s a huge compliment.
KP: It’s a total huge compliment, and it’s — it makes me really happy every time I hear that because I think Lzzy (Hale, lead singer of Halestorm) has one of the most fantastic voices in rock right now, so that’s pretty darn cool.
AV: Yes, they’re great!
KP, You and Lzzy also share another honor?
AV: Oh, yes.
KP: (Laughs) Oh yeah?
Revolver Magazine named you one of their Hottest Chicks of Hard Rock and Metal.
KP: Yes, yes.
AV: That was pretty cool.
Actually that is a pretty cool deal. Revolver is a big publication.
AV: We read it, so that’s cool, you know? It was cool to see it there. We’re fans of it.
KP: That was cool.
Were you a little like, “Oh my gosh?” at first?
KP: I was at first because I wanted to send them this picture of me in my Guns N’ Roses shirt and my leather pants, just you know, doing whatever, my gritty rock poses or whatever. And they were like, “Come on, it’s the Hottest Chicks of Hard Rock and Metal. You have to, you know, give us a little more.” At first I was like “No!” (Laughs) And then I’m like, “Okay, fine.”
KP: Exactly! I was like, well either I do or …
AV: It’s Revolver!
KP: Yeah, it’s Revolver. I think I have to, you know, suck it up here.
You did a lot of self-promoting to get your name out early on. Now you have some serious backing.
AV: Yes, we do.
But that push and determination you had in the beginning doesn’t leave just because you’re signed with a label. It doesn’t leave just because you have people handling you.
KP: Oh yeah.
Do you think pushing so hard changed you as professional musicians? What lessons did you learn that you can carry forward now?
AV: I think that with us doing it ourselves for the first two and a half years I think we learned how to work hard by ourselves. Our parents taught us, obviously, how to work hard and how to follow your dreams, and you know, if you have a passion, follow it. All the self-promotion and work we did by ourselves made us more motivated to get a manager who really cared about us, to get with one of the top booking agencies in the country — things that we — dreams that we had. Things that we were like, “We need to accomplish these.” All the self-promotion that we did was just a big lesson for us, and it was a good really good learning experience. We knew exactly how to work hard, and now, being with a manager who works really hard to get us out there, our hard work and his hard work collaborating — it’s unstoppable. Hopefully we’re just going to keep moving and moving and moving. Social media is huge. It’s huge. And it helped us get our foot in the door with a lot of people, you know, bands, and venues. It’s crazy what it can do if you know how — there’s some secrets, you know? It’s pretty cool.
You guys are touring right now with your — it’s not an EP anymore. It’s extended.
AV: We have a full-length album out now.
So you’re touring with that.
Where are you going next?
AV: Actually this is our last show of the year because we are working on the next album.
Any hints or is that …
AV: I can say it’s about halfway done, halfway written.
KP: Yes, halfway written, and it is nothing like we ever thought we could sound like before. It’s really — it’s something else. I’m really excited.
AV: I listen to the demos every day because I’m just so excited about them. I think the songs are a big step from what we’ve done in the past.
AV: I mean, it’s weird for us to be putting out another album so soon from our last one, but we need to do it because we feel this music needs to get out there. We’re really passionate about it, and we think it could change something, you know? Hopefully it could change the world. You never know.
What’s going to be different about the next project?
AV: It’s — well, we can’t say who we’re working with, that’s a — he’s …
AV: (Laughs) He’s awesome. You’ll see. It’s pretty cool. He’s worked with some awesome names.
KP: Actually a lot of names playing here.
AV: Yes, a lot of names playing here today. So that’s pretty cool.
KP: It’s pretty cool.
AV: So that’s a big part of it. The guy we’re working with is really creative, and he’s got a really awesome sense for helping you find your identity and leading you in a direction and saying, “Well you guys are really good at this, so you should go with that, you know? You’ve got a certain sound and you should follow it.” He’s awesome. So I can’t wait to tell you who it is —
KP: But he can’t. Argh!
AV: — and get to announce it because I’m so stoked about it and the new songs are sounding good.
Well I wish you guys the best of luck. I hope that it gets done soon, it gets out there soon, you get back on the road soon.
AV: Thank you.
Before our time runs out, I have a list of questions some of your fans wanted me to ask you, like “What’s the craziest gift you’ve ever gotten from a fan?” And I have this feeling the person asking may have sent you a crazy gift.
KP: You know what’s funny? I was going to say, we have actually gotten from two separate fans in two separate states, Romantic Rebel clocks.
AV: Yes, clocks.
KP: They have made clocks.
AV: They’ve made them.
KP: Romantic Rebel themed clocks.
AV: And they’re awesome.
KP: And they’re so cool!
So to those fans and all your other fans any final words?
AV: We love you guys!
KP: And we wouldn’t be here without you.
I appreciate you guys! Thank you so much.
AV: No problem at all!
KP: Thank you!
I know you’re freezing. Go have some coffee.
KP: Yes, I would love coffee! Woo!
I cannot wait to hear this now. You’ve got me very excited.
AV: I’m glad. I’m excited!
Okay, I’ll hear it soon, yes?
AV: Awesome. Yes, of course!