Step Aside Caviar, There's New Rich People Food
Since 2011, Rich People Food has been tearing up Boston with it’s indie-rock melodies. Like any band, they’ve faced their share of changes, but find themselves with their current lineup: Steve Weston, who rocks lead guitar; Brian Bernhard, taking on vocals, rhythm guitar, and bass, as well as the role of lyricist; John Cooke on organ, bass, and synth; and Brendan Reza on drums. Every member contributes to music-writing for this band.
Influence comes in many different forms for this band, who have been compared to acts like Kings of Leon, The Strokes, and Two Door Cinema Club.
“Our influences are everywhere: what’s on the radio, what’s not on the radio, as well as everyone’s personal tastes and nostalgic keepsakes,” Brian Bernhard explains of the band. “[I have] a bluesy grit with a folk-pop mentality, Steve brings some early ‘00s low-fi and ‘80s analog groove, Brendan keeps an eye on the best of the radio and filters it through his hardcore/metal background, and John finds a way to balance jam band chops with a solid funk core.”
With varying backgrounds but a shared love of music, the original band members didn’t exactly find each other through sending vibes out into the universe and creating a rock band. As Bernhard explains, it took a little more luck and a lot more talent.
“[The] original members, of whom only Steve remains, rose from the wonders of Craigslist. Through friends of friends, frolicking through parties, and happy accidents we found our current and strongest lineup. Our history has been very touch and go. With the addition of each new member has come a new sonic volume of the band...represented by our catalog of music so far, [and] we’ve been consistently grinding away at the Boston gig circuit since we started.”
Despite the changes, Rich People Food’s sound has done nothing but mature over the release of their two EPs. The first EP, which was self-titled, hit the scene in 2012. With sounds reminiscent of Grouplove and driving down a winding road with the top down on Saturday morning, it’s almost unbelievable that it was recorded wholly at a house in Allston. The lyrics from each song on this EP are down-to-Earth, and the music makes feet instantly tap and heads nod.
“Our first EP was recorded in a matter of weeks in a house in Allston. Though it was rushed, we’re still proud of those songs as a creative starting point for the band,” Bernhard says.
The second EP, Native Tongue, was released in May of 2014. According to Bernhard, a lot more time went into this record.
“Native Tongue was recorded and mixed over the course of about a year. Recorded in Boston partially at a studio called The Record Company and partially at a house in Back Bay, this was the first EP to feature current drummer Brendan Reza. Scheduling difficulties made this a problematic record to finish in a timely manner, but it more than paid off and serves as a more polished continuation of our original sound; it is an EP that we especially love to play live.”
The time and effort definitely paid off. The songs from Native Tongue sound neat and professional, while maintaining the homegrown vibe that is so important and vital to indie-rock bands. Native Tongue seems to be perfect for any situation—dancing alone in your room on a Tuesday night or out with your friends on a Saturday. “Namesake” could bring together a crowd of estranged family members with lyrics like “I don’t wanna be forgotten / I’ll be dead before long / I don’t want to be forgiven for my only sins / Tattoos, saviors, and cigarettes show the way.” The title track has guitar riffs that carry over staccato-esque words, creating a perfect combination for this edgy melody. The other tracks, “Run Riot Run,” “Carnivorous Creatures,” and “In Color,” have qualities that make this Boston band stand out amongst other new indie-rock bands. The passion and drive of Rich People Food shines through in every note played in Native Tongue.
If their past music doesn’t convince you to stay in tune to this great local band, the possibility of a new EP should definitely keep Rich People Food in your sights for 2015.
“2014 was a year of growth and evolution. Most of [it] was spent finishing and releasing Native Tongue,” explains Bernhard. “After the packed EP release show at the Middle East Upstairs in August, we parted ways with synth player/bassist Lisa Hickox and welcomed organist/bassist John Cooke. John brought with him a tangible and gritty texture that we immediately vibed with and the wheels haven’t stopped turning since. 2014 wrapped with the recording of “Young Blood” and 2015 will see its release, video, and a hell of a lot more live performances. Probably another EP as well.”
The band’s favorite song to play, according to Bernhard, hasn’t been released on record yet. From the sounds of it, we have a lot to expect from their newest single “Young Blood.”
“It’s the first recording to feature our newest member, John, and it has the rich, raw, and organic sound that we’ve been trying to capture. It’s a blast to play live…it sounds huge live; like an explosion of youthful hope.”
This fresh year has brought a fresh new set of gigs.
“Our gig schedule is starting to heat up for the year. We play all over Boston, here and there in New York City, and venture out into the other New England states every once and a while,” says Bernhard.
Most often, you can catch Rich People Food at TT the Bears and The Middle East in Cambridge. Recently, the band has been partnering with local marketing gurus at The Brain Trust and performing at Wonder Bar in Allston.
Ultimately, Bernhard says Boston has been kind to this band.
“Being a band in Boston is exciting. It feels like the music scene here is really starting to take off. Though securing gigs can be sporadic, with Boston Calling starting to take off, I think 2015 will bring some well-deserved attention to the burgeoning Boston music scene, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”