Las Vegas’ Avalon Landon have been working hard to make a name for themselves since their first record in 2011. Recently the group won the Hard Rock Rising competition in Las Vegas. Writer Jenny Caulfield had the chance to chat with the group about winning the competition, their most recent single “The Cure” and the future of the band! Check what the vocalist and keyboardist Josh Rabenold had to say!
Congratulations on winning the Hard Rock Rising competition in Las Vegas! What has this achievement done for the band?
Winning this competition has helped in couple predictable ways, like getting our music out to people who otherwise would not have listened to us and helping to further establish ourselves as a reputable band on the local level. But more importantly, we’re grateful for the people that we met during the course of this contest. We were blown away by the tremendous support we received from the managers, promoters and employees at the local Hard Rock Cafe’s where the performances took place. Additionally, we we are happy to have met and become friends with a few of the fellow musicians in the competition including a local rapper named EKOH — who we have since collaborated with — and a great indie/rock band called Almost Normal.
You guys just released a music video for your single “The Cure”, what was the inspiration for the location of the video?
The two music videos the we put out previously had a traditional narrative that we wanted to step away from with The Cure. So, we thought it would be interesting to find people in a festive environment and ask them to play along to the song, goof around and just have some fun. The video was shot during a festival called First Friday that takes place every month in the downtown LV area. We thought it would be the perfect place to capture the feel of the music as opposed to the content of the lyrics.
What has been the overall reaction from the release of the video?
People seem to be digging the route that we took for this video. Particularly on the local level, we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback.
What was different about recording Reside than Demos, Dead Ends & Do Overs?
I can’t overstate how big a difference there is between these two albums. DD&D is a collection of old material from our previous bands that were never released. When Avalon Landing formed, we thought it would be a good foundation to build on. We consider Reside to be the first true Avalon Landing album. We consider Reside to be the first true Avalon Landing album. We consider Reside to be the first true Avalon Landing album. We consider…you get the point.
What ideas did you have for the band just staring out and how have they evolved since then?
The only real idea that we had for this band was that we thought it would be incredible to create music with our best friends. Beyond that, we really didn’t have a clue as to what kind of songs would come out of us or how the writing process would work. When this band formed, everyone had to take on a slightly different role than they had in previous musical projects. Clayton, for example, used to be a rhythm guitarist in our old band but for AL he had to take on lead guitar. There was really no way of knowing what kind of music we would produce when looking at songwriting from a different angle.
What inspired the piano pop-rock sound given off on your albums?
I get the sense that people are hoping for a more abstract answer to this question rather than the bland, boring one that I tend to provide. Many of the songs from these records were written or at least began on piano and therefore are predominantly piano heavy. We didn’t form the band, sit down and say “Hey, what genre of music do we want to play?”. We’re songwriters, so we write songs and see what happens. Yes, we have our favorite bands and musicians, but honestly, most of them don’t sound like us.
What was the best part about recording Reside?
Reside was written and recorded under the same roof, the house that we’ve lived in and practiced in since the band’s inception. We knew we wanted our Brooklyn based friend Bryan Russell to produce the record so we flew him into Vegas along with all of his recording equipment to get the job done. This album will always be special to us because we did it on our terms on our turf.
What is everyone’s favorite track off of Reside?
Even on a personal level, this changes all the time. At the moment, I’d say I’m most proud of Trembling Hands.
What has the release of Reside taught you about each other?
This is a great question! We’ve known each other for nearly a decade so it wasn’t a situation where you find out how certain guys crack under pressure or bail when things get tough like you might see in a Metallica documentary (I’ve never seen a Metallica documentary). We’re also not 17 anymore so that certainly helps. For me, this record is confirmation that we can set goals and reach them. That we’re capable of realizing any lofty idea we can muster up in our minds. Reside didn’t crack the top 40 and never will, but its existence means we can accomplish the things we strive for.
It’s been almost a year since the 2013 release of Reside, are fans to expect a new album in the works for the near future?
It’s about 1 year old now. We decided we wanted to release one more music video (The Cure) before we put out new material. Songwriting has been our main focus over the last couple months and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. We couldn’t be happier with what we’ve come up with so far and can’t wait to share it with all of you. As for a timetable, I honestly have no idea, haha!
What do you feel are the biggest differences between the sound on Demos, Dead Ends & Do Overs and Reside?
We don’t even consider DD&D to be a real album. It’s like looking at an old picture of yourself in 3rd grade.
What does the future hold for Avalon Landing?
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Questions answered by Josh Rabenold [vocals, keyboard]
Interview by Jenny Caulfield