Rifle Recoil is many things… fun and witty, entertaining, engaging… Above all Rifle Recoil is a damn good time. I met Jeff and Bryan Keller at Monster Island Basement, sheeze… kind of a long time ago… where is time going? Anyway, they played a Showpaper Benefit Show/some girls birthday extravaganza. I was working the door so I couldn’t see them playing but I could hear the music and there were lots of people bippin’ and boppin’ frolicking about the dark and dusty dance floor. I was intrigued. I tried to focus on capturing the biggest centipede I’d ever seen as it weaved between my boots but I had to let him go, I handed my ink pad over… I had to join the party.
Sea of Bees
Since then Jeff and Bryan have picked up a bad ass bassits, Andy, and have continued to pick up the pace as far as getting their shit out there. I’ve seen them play a lot of great shows in Brooklyn this past year. Seeing them live gives me the same feeling I get when I’m about to go to a much anticipated wedding reception. Does that make sense? Assuming everyone attends weddings in hopes of a fun reception… dance, get wasted and be merry? Yeah, I thought so… well their live shows give me the same “it’s gonna be a good night” vibe. A big party packed with friends and some of the most lively and imaginative re-vamped covers I’ve ever heard/listened/danced to. I’m smiling just thinking about how nice, fun and groove these guys are. Have a listen, book them for your birthday party. It’s like… snorting a bunch of Pixie Stix and listening to the song you lost your first kiss to.
MWL: So Rifle Recoil… Let me try to get this right… you, Jeff, started the band. And moved to Brooklyn to play more shows, right? When did you decide to start playing with Bryan?
JK: Yeah exactly, Bryan and I started playing in January of 2010. We actually are very recently now a three piece with Andy Chugg on Bass, who also plays drums in the band Crinkles.
MWL: Where are you from originally?
JK: I am from Arlington, VA and Bryan is from Wilmington, NC and Andy is from Vergennes, VT.
MWL: Do you remember the first time you picked up an instrument? I guess what I want to know is when did you recognize your passion for creating music?
JK: The other guys aren’t here but I first picked up guitar by taking lessons in middle school. At that time I mostly just wanted to be able to play covers of songs I liked, but when I was in high school I started writing my own material.
MWL: Who does the primary songwriting? How do you go about this process?
JK: Right now the way that we’ve been writing is I’ll come to practice with a germ of a song and then we develop it into a full-band song.
MWL: You have some fun and funky covers, and some other tracks that are your own. Do you have a favorite song to play?
JK: I think out of all of the originals and covers we most consistently enjoy playing our cover of Prototype by Outkast.
>>> see Rifle Recoil performing Protype here <<<
MWL: What is your Prototype?
JK: Ha ha, probably a robot with bangs.
MWL: What is the most bizarre/fucked up thing that has ever happened at a show?
JK: This was before Bryan and Andy were in the band but a few years ago I played a house show in New Jersey at this place called the Whiskey Barn and there was a shirtless guy there who everyone told me was blackout drunk, plus had taken some acid that night and he was right in my face chanting “hail Satan” for the bulk of my set. Afterwards I found out he was a pretty nice guy.
MWL: That is bizarre. So, your shows are upbeat and everyone has a great time dancing, I love that. Like the Homecoming Dance at 285- so much fun, you guys were decked out in some pretty snazzy suits, the perfect band to play that event. I must say I was impressed. How would you describe your shows, visually and musically?
JK: When everything goes right, like that Y2K party in the jungle from the video for Waiting for Tonight by J-Lo. Visually and musically.
MWL: Do you remember your first show together? Total disaster or did all go as planned? Wait; does anything ever go as planned?
JK: Our first show together went really well, it’s on Vimeo! >>> HERE <<<
MWL: Any favorite bands or musicians you like to play with? Who are your buddy bands??
JK: Bryan’s band SoftSpot is one of my favorite bands right now and it’s always fun when we play shows together even though it means he has twice as much work. Andy’s band Crinkles is really great as well I love all those guys and I love the vocal harmonies in their songs. Bryan and I are big fans of Beacon who also have a penchant for reworked cover songs.
MWL: What is your favorite venue to play?
MWL: I like to ask what is your least favorite but I won’t make you…..
JK: Madison Square Garden is just, I just never feel like we sound good in there. The acoustics are terrible.
MWL: What else do you do in life? When you’re not playing music…. OR doing sound! You do sound at Cake shop still, right? What else do you do? Juggle, puzzles, yoga?
JK: Yeah actually I can juggle and do yoga sometimes at YTTP on St. Marks. I’m not much for puzzles. I play a lot of B-Type Tetris.
MWL: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JK: Prince, The Microphones, and Gary Wilson. Non-musical would probably be empanadas.
MWL: What are you listening to these days?? Any recommendations? Old and new suggestions are welcome. You can’t say “everything”… that’s a cop out.
JK: I’m a very big fan of Cass McCombs and Dent May. I don’t think Dent May has half the following he deserves. I’m excited for the new Holiday Shores record they are going in a really interesting new direction. There is an amazing band called Distractions that are based out of Chicago that have really great group vocal harmonies. I like this band from LA called Knight Rider that makes great tunes. Ryan Power from Burlington, VT has a record coming out called I Don’t Want To Die that is absolutely incredible. Hume from DC are putting out a new record soon that I’m dying to hear. Little Women is a band that I saw live recently and it actually brought me to tears it was so amazing, if you get a chance to see them live it’ll change your life. I am a huge fan of Twin Sister but so is everyone right? Oh and TwinSisterMoon from France that actually existed before Twin Sister has an amazing 7″ called Bride of the Spirits that is really great that came out a few years ago. I listen to the new Com Truise record a bunch. I love John Maus. The new single from SoftSpot that will be coming out soon is incredible it’s called The Cleansing Hour.
MWL: What’s new with you? Anything in the making? Recording anything new, videos, planning any tours?
JK: We are in the process of recording a new EP of some of our more recent songs. We will probably tour late spring once the EP is finished.
MWL: How do you feel about the music industry as it stands today? What do you think the future of the industry holds?
I feel very overwhelmed by the state of music as an industry right now. I think there is a lot of opportunity to be heard via the internet but you also have to promote yourself constantly in order to get noticed, which isn’t a natural thing for a lot of musicians. I think the future of the music industry is that there will be only one recorded piece of music in existence and different bands will just remix the one song in different ways. This is like a thousand years from now I’m thinking.
MWL: Thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview. If you’re half as busy as I have been this New Year then it surely wasn’t easy to find the time. But it’s worth it, I promise. Anything else you might want to add before we conclude?
JK: The song is going to be Baby by Justin Bieber.
I feel obligated to share the outdated video above, I found it incredibly entertaining. Add Rifle Recoil on facebook for the latest news and info on shows!
>> DOWNLOAD VERIZON SHINE FREE HERE, ya heard? <<
By: Katie McVeay| Beat-Play Ambassador New York| @crookedsunshine|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC