Interview with the Ries Brothers: Their Debut Album, Cali Roots & Morrissey

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This Clearwater, FL-bred duo is pretty impressive (and yes, they’re actually brothers). Their alternative, vampy, bluesy-yet-bubbly sound immediately reminded me of a way edgier John Mayer and aside from touring with the likes of CHICAGO, REO Speedwagon, Los Lonely Boys, Little River Band, and many more gigantic names in rock, they each play at least two instruments in addition to singing during live sets and, drum roll please, they both are less than 23 years old. Impressive, right? I told you. I first caught wind of these guys when I saw them on the bill for Cali Roots 2018, and once I listened I was hooked. Their debut thirteen-song album, The View from the Outside, dropped today (listen to the track “Something” below) and earlier this week we rapped out about their background, inspirations and what drives them to make music.

AA: You guys have accomplished a lot for how young you are, at what point did you two decide to pursue music full time?

CR: We both have been playing instruments since we were really young, and when we got more serious about forming a band we couldn’t find anyone in our area who was as passionate or wanted to do it full time like we did. We lived together and could play and practice whenever we wanted so we tried being a duo. That was about five years ago. At that time I started teaching myself the simultaneous drum and bass thing and our parents actually allowed us to homeschool so we could devote ourselves to being musicians full-time.

AA: Do you want to elaborate a little bit on what instruments you guys play? There’s a full band sound coming out of those speakers.

CR: I’m Charlie and I play drums, keyboard and sing at the same time. I play drums with my right hand, and with my left I have a mini keyboard on my kit that I play the bass line with. Plus I sing lead vocals, so I’m basically the rhythm section.

AA: You guys have a big week coming up. Talk to us about your debut album dropping this Friday.

CR: The album is called The View from the Outside and it deals with things we go through growing up and finding ourselves. I think a lot of kids feel like they’re on the outside and don’t fit in with the crowd and we can relate to that so much. I know when I was growing up it was a huge deal when I found artists I could relate to, that got me through the day. Our goal is to be that for kids, and whoever, at the end of the day.

KR: Our inspiration came from the last five years creating music together, playing shows and songwriting. We took our best material from that time and mixed it with some brand new stuff to make the best thirteen songs we possibly could. Ted Bowne from Passafire produced it and we recorded the whole thing in St. Pete in just a few weeks. Nick Kubley, also from Passafire, did our album artwork and it was just an awesome experience.

IMG_0040AA: Let’s play a game…. can you name three artists that influenced the Ries Brothers as a band?

CR: We need to do three each because we both have such different musical influences that we blend into this band. I’m an alternative rock, blues rock, grunge rock fan and Kevin loves reggae.

KR: I think it’s cool we each have our own taste in music. Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure and Rebelution have all been really big influences on me.

CR: For me, it’s The Black Keys, The White Stripes and The Smiths.

KR: He’s a huge Morrissey fan.

AA: Me too! Viva Hate was my jam in high school. I like you guys [laughs]… So where can we see you guys play next?

CR: Saturday we’re playing an afterparty for Rootfire at the Park, then Sunday we play a 6pm sunset set at Rootfire, right before Citizen Cope. In December we have three shows with Passafire in Orlando, St. Pete and Jacksonville. Then after the new year in February we open for Stick Figure at Garlic Fest then in May we have Cali Roots!

AA: I’m really excited to see you guys play Cali Roots, I think it’s going to open up a whole new audience for you.

KR: We’ve been watching the Cali Roots live stream for the past four years and it’s been a dream to play there, we are so stoked.

Find the Ries Brothers on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, YouTube and the web.

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