An Interview with Rob Garcia of Bleeding Rainbow

Bleeding Rainbow
Bleeding Rainbow will be playing The Mill on Friday, August 30.

Over the past couple of years, the married couple of Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton have undergone some changes. The fundamental things are still the same. They are still married. They also still call Philadelphia, PA their home. The music is where many of the major changes can be seen. Following the release of their band Reading Rainbow’s 2010 album Prism Eyes, Garcia and Everton’s mix of noise and indie pop got them wedged into the label of being a cutesy married duo that sing songs about either other like Tennis (full disclosure: I really like Tennis).

This label is one that they did not much care for, as they felt their music was not meant to be cute. The year following the release of Prism Eyes led to some drastic changes for the band. The first was dropping the name. While there are many reasons for why they changed their name–these range from possible copyright lawsuits to Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia fame) not liking the name–the fact is that Reading Rainbow did not exist by December 2011. What rose in its place was Bleeding Rainbow.

As such a name would suggest, the cutesy elements of their sound were eliminated and replaced with darker, more psychedelic sounds. Even more than changing the sonic template to use Sonic Youth and The Wipers as touchstones, Bleeding Rainbow became twice as large as Reading Rainbow with the addition of a drummer and bassist to the band. The positive influence of all of these moves can be seen on their most recent release Yeah Right, which is the display of a band that is getting a quick grip on what their trademark sound is.

Before they got on the road, I got a chance to catch up with Garcia to ask about recording Yeah Right, being labelled as a shoegaze band, and eating one meal forever. Bleeding Rainbow will be playing The Mill on Friday, August 30.

A.C. Hawley: In reading other interviews about your band, it is interesting to hear how often the band was miscategorized because the essence of Bleeding Rainbow is plain on Prism Eyes. Was Yeah Right something of an attempt to make it plain that Bleeding Rainbow isn’t a cute husband-wife band?

Rob Garcia: That’s totally correct. While writing Yeah Right, we were really frustrated by how we were perceived as a cutesy pop band that could barely play their instruments and didn’t write songs about anything. We were really trying to branch out and push ourselves beyond any labels people were trying to place on us.

ACH: It’s clear that the extra guitars helped in fleshing out that noisy undercurrent that was present in the previous songs.. I imagine it was also helped by Sarah teaching herself guitar. How did both of those things change the band’s sound and mentality?

RG: By having Sarah switch from drums to bass and guitar, it opened up an entirely new dynamic to the band. As a two piece there is only so much you can do. Especially live, the songs became incredibly stripped down. We felt like there was no way for us to evolve unless we changed things up. Suddenly we found new inspiration and writing became very natural.

ACH: I noticed that this album has considerably more guitar heroics than earlier work for obvious reasons. Why are guitar heroics always so fun?

RG: There’s just nothing that compares to it. I love how physical and emotional it can be. We all grew up idolizing bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. We just can’t relate to synths

ACH: How was the recording process with four people against two?

RG: Well the recording of Yeah Right was very interesting. We were still in transition and hadn’t added a drummer until the very tail end of the recording process. In addition to that, we basically recorded the album twice. It was a very long and frustrating experience, but in the end we were happy with the results. We actually just finished recording a new album and this time around we recorded it all live as a 4 piece band. It made everything so much more enjoyable and smooth.

ACH: Is it fair to consider the band a part of the neo-shoegaze movement with bands like A Place to Bury Strangers, Weekend, and No Joy? Is that too confining for what Bleeding Rainbow is doing?

RG: I don’t consider ourselves a shoegaze band. I think the main thing in common that we have with these other bands is our love of noise and drone. The new songs we’ve been working on are much more stripped down and to the point.

ACH: How has social media helped you as a band? Has it helped you at all?

RG: It’s much easier to connect with people and send out updates of upcoming shows. More than anything its a great tool for keeping in touch.

ACH: What’s the newest album that the band has listened to in the past year?

RG: Dookie by Green Day and File Under Easy Listening by Sugar! I can’t think of anything more recent except maybe songs released by Fat Creeps (but they don’t have an album yet)

ACH: Have you played in Iowa before?

RG: This will be our first time playing in the Hawkeye State.

ACH: What can we expect when you hit the stage here in Iowa City?

RG: We’ll be playing a bunch of songs from Yeah Right as well as a lot of new songs from our next album. We’ll also have our new drummer Ashley who slaaaaaaaaaays.

ACH: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your lives, what would it be?

RG: Kale Salad with Avocado!