Andrew Schwab - voice, words
Randy Torres - guitars, keyboards, background vocals
Steven Dail - bass, background vocals
What separates the memorable, pioneering artists from those that are quickly forgotten? If you ask Project 86, they will give you a very good answer: It is the belief in a substance beyond just making a couple of catchy tunes. Maybe that's why so many continue to gravitate towards this seminal Orange County, CA rock outfit after ten years. Maybe that's why Rival Factions--the bands 6th full length--truly projects the fire, fervency, and individuality that so few artists today can capture.
"Evolution has always brought life to what we do," states vocalist Andrew Schwab. "It has always been a huge priority for us to have our own sound, and to never make the same record twice. We love the challenge of trying to do things outside of our own box. What fun is it to do what everyone expects? Music has become so predictable because everyone is so desperate to sell records. We definitely want to be about something other than that. We want people to feel our hearts, not just download a few tracks and move on to the next thing in their playlists."
Rival Factions--the concept of two poles in direct opposition--is an allusion to the conflict that lies inside (and outside) each one of us: dark vs. light. The tension of conflict between these adversaries is where you will find these ten, razor-sharp tracks. Simple in structure, yet intentionally diverse in layers and emotions, the band has patented stimulating songwriting. Consider the comparison of tracks such as the ferocious "The Forces of Radio..." and the moody "Molotov." One is bombastic and pounding, while the other is atmospheric and ambient. Though seemingly opposed, their tension as the poles of the record is where the beauty of the album itself resides. Kind of like...Rival Factions.
"Confrontation reveals true motivation," Andrew explains. When you are face to face with conflict, the deep recesses of the heart come to the surface, and we are forced to face who we really are. Man vs. man. Man vs. himself. Light vs. darkness. We must all face our conflicts and choose sides, and through this our mettle (metal?) is defined."
The first thing you will notice when you pop in the disc is that the opening track "Evil (A Chorus of Resistance)" is both undeniable and undeniably unique. Deep synth and keys lay across claw-like riffage as the track begins to imbed itself in your subconscious. Then Schwab's vocal bellows across the surface a la something out of a goth-punk dreamscape. Finally, the chorus lashes you with a mass of voices as you croon along...I Want Something you have...Hints of Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division collide with post-hardcore tenacity to meld into something that sounds like, well, nothing like any of the aforementioned.
P86 has, unequivocally, a sound of their very own on Rival Factions.
Bassist Steven Dail and guitarist Randy Torres, along with Schwab, took a completely different approach in writing this record than any other, pushing the boundaries of technology to hone their sound. Throughout the process the members were spread across the world, writing individually rather than collectively. Thanks to the power of the MP3, the band was able to reinvent the process itself:
"It forces each one of to take the album on our own shoulders," comments Dail. "At one point I was in the Netherlands, Randy was in Seattle, and Andrew was in Southern California. Guitarist Randy Torres adds, "We chose to write this way, and the idea was a stretch at first, but we soon found it forced us each to become better writers on our own."
Schwab's enigmatic vocal approach has evolved as well on this, as he doesn't simply rely on brute force to make his point. Melodic wails and bellowing haunts complement his classic sound with a mixture of the harsh and the moody. Lyrically speaking the record is direct and clever, with hints of poetic justice along the way. On "The Forces of Radio...," he growls I'm analog, two-inch tape...vintage, warm, with a potent hiss. On "Slaves to Liberty" he paints a picture of friendship and hope through brokenness as he wails I have a lifetime of this evidence in me, but you don't need a story--you need broken legs. Call on me...cause I'm not that far away. Finally on "Caveman Jam," (a track that is as classic rock influenced an ) he has a moment of humor, pointing out that there are more important things that just playing music for the scene: ...a man stops to tell he he'd be six feet under that's if it wasn't for our caveman jams.
"There are three songs on the record that tell stories, which is something I have never done before in individual songs," Schwab continues. 'Caveman Jam' is a conversation with three different types of music fans--two of which don't get our band and one who does. On 'The Sanctuary Hum,' a man in power feigns holiness but is hiding a violent secret. Each story has a provocative moral to it that captures imagery in away I have never done before."
To capture the sound they were striving for, the band co-produced the record Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Bleeding Through, Buck Cherry), and employed three different mixers to add diversity (Wild, Mike Watts, and JR McNeely). Jason Gerkin (Shiner, She Wants Revenge, Open Hand) played drums and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) added keys on several songs. The result is not sonic perfection, but a lively, honest sound that celebrates the songs and the instruments, not the Pro tools-era of overcompression and drum-machine-like editing.
"Our fans have stuck by us through thick and thin, and this record is dedicated specifically to them. Many have grown right along with, and will continue to stick with us through thick and thin. It's quite a testimony to faith, hope, and divine provision that we are here, and we hope that, no matter what, all who hear this record get something they can take with them and help them through their days."