Tuesday, February 28, 2023

INTERVIEW | 'We're Always Trying to Push the Boundaries' - The Rupert Selection Talk New Music, Beginnings and Being Original

(Photo Credit: Peter McManus)

Not a guy named Rupert in sight when it comes to The Rupert Selection but, instead, three guys with a lot of talent and some stories to tell. 

They are Reilly Somach (vocals/guitar), Sam Bouvé (bass/vocals) and Peter W. Bartash (drums), an alt-rock and psychedelic grunge trio hailing out of Massachusetts. They recently released tracks 'Astronauts' and 'Then Again', two tracks that mark the start of a new direction for them, and set up an exciting 2023. 

They took the time to sit down with Tour Bus Tunes to talk about their beginnings; their new music; working with producer Brian Charles; and the determination that got them through to where they are today.


Hi guys! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! I want to start things off by going back to the beginning...how did The Rupert Selection that I am talking to today come to be?

Reilly: We've been around for a little bit. It started a while ago with some friends. The Rupert Selection, in this form, came into what it is now four or so years ago.

Peter: Reilly started the band with two friends from high school - I'm dating you at this point, Reilly, [because] it was a while ago. 

Reilly: Ten years?

Peter: I joined the band about five years ago. Reilly and his friends were working with their producer that I knew. They needed someone on drums and they put us in touch. Sam was in another band and quietly recruited me to play drums for that band so we quietly recruited Sam to play bass for The Rupert Selection...that was maybe what, three, four years ago?

Sam: Probably about four years, yeah.

Peter: In this current configuration, we've been together about four years. So the new music that we've been releasing - [like] 'Astronauts' - are songs that [us] three have wrote together as members. Everything else is older material that Reilly had in the archives for the better part of the last fifteen years. It's been fun working on those songs as a new chapter of the band.

Boston has such a great music scene with so many brilliant artists across a multitude of genres. You guys are part of that, another great band that I've recently discovered. What's it like to be a part of it?

Reilly: It's funny, we've always felt like we're on the outside of the scene. It's great to be a part of it but we've always felt like we're a little too metal for the rock bands or a little too rock for the metal bands. 

Peter: The term I've recently seen used, is that we're 'genre adjacent'. We cosy up to the roots but don't really fit in a stereotypical mould. We have a wide range of segments of the scenes we're connected to, or close to. It's like being in high school and being friends with everybody - so you're friends with the jocks, friends with the music kids, friends with the nerds...you don't know who you want to spend time or hang out with but you have a lot of different options of who to hang out with. 

The cool thing about the scene here is the talent. There's so much talent because of Berklee [College of Music]. It's a magnet for really talented musicians to come to the city and it's fun to play alongside a lot of other really great bands.

Sam: To get more location specific, the North Shore in general too. I grew up around this area, Riley has spent a ton of time here now and Peter knows it pretty well. We found, and I love it, a nice little nook of friends that we've built over the years. We're playing with our friends, [and] it's nice to be able to share the stage with people we know and who are talented. It's this little bubbling cauldron of different groups, grunge to pop to post rock...which I love.

A lot of people, perhaps more so than ever, will relate to the message of your new track, 'Astronauts', a song about feeling hopeless and trying to find light even when it feels like there isn't any. Is this tackling of an important and relatable topic something that you intentionally set out to do when writing a song? Or does the song just find you?

Reilly: When it comes to lyrics, I never really know or set out to write a song like 'it's going to be like this'. I write it and realise 'I think I meant that'. That song came about during the pandemic, during a dark time for everyone. [It] wrote itself, we got in the jam space. Sam had a riff that we jammed on and we played it for a couple of minutes, it turned into that song. The lyrics came naturally, it wasn't forced at all. It comes with the territory of the time that the song was written in, the pandemic era.

Does writing those darker songs and themes come easy? It is cathartic to write them and release them out in the world for everyone to hear and to relate?

Reilly: It does come easy. I feel like I write a lot of sad songs *laughs*.

Peter: Being sad in general is an undertone to everything we do. *laughs* It comes easy but it's also both, it is cathartic.

When we play that song, it builds up in the beginning...we seem to be starting a lot of shows with [it] lately. It builds and takes off when it hits that riff. I've always felt when we play that song that space and time starts to change. It makes you present and in that moment and you can feel it. I can feel I'm in the music and its a cool feeling.

'Then Again' was born out of a stream of conscious writing. Is that, Reilly, your typical or preferred method of writing songs?

Reilly: I know if a song is going to be good if lyrics come to me right away. I think thats why we felt good about putting these songs out first, they came so easy and naturally. I never really have an answer to a method to writing lyrics. If we're feeling it and it feels good then it comes to me.

For these two singles, and the music to come later, you worked with producer Brian Charles. How did that collaboration come about?

Reilly: There's this competition in Boston called the Rock 'n' Roll Rumble, like a battle of the bands thing. We got to the finals of that and one of the prizes we won was studio time with Brian. That was 2017, and we never used it. Sam joined the band and had a good relationship with him so we decided to record with him. I'm so glad we did, and I wished we'd done it earlier.

Sam: I love that man.

Reilly: We love Brian.

Sam: In the past I played in a pop country band, which is not really my kind of music but it was fun to do and was paying the bills. I met Brian through doing that and I ended up building a relationship with him through doing studio work and whatnot. I was more than pumped. When I worked with him in the past, I was like 'I want to do a band with this guy, I don't know what's it's gonna be or with who or whatever'. I didn't even know the guys had studio time with him until Reilly mentioned it and I was like 'lets go use that!'. 

Brian is amazing. The recordings now, I love. He understands our sounds and what we're going for now. Mentally, he's a really talented man. A great dude and a really, really great guy to work with.

Reilly: It feels like it was meant to be.

Was working with Brian what you needed to push on and choose this new direction, in terms of sound?

Reilly: We're always trying to push the boundaries, do something different. Brian gets what we're going for. We wanna have something that sounds familiar but has something different to it, something that makes it original. 

Peter: The fun part of being in this band, for me, is that I don't have all the history of all its existence before I was in it. I get to be in it but also look at it from the outside sometimes. There's been so many times, Reilly, when we're practising and you're saying 'hey, it's time for us to write another nine minute song that has a million different parts'. There's always this emphasis on exploration and creativity. What working with Brian has done, and you get this with 'Astronauts' and 'Then Again', is really helped us to focus on what we're trying to say with the songs and in the songwriting so we're not losing elements of what makes the band interesting - especially the instruments and the musicality. We're also making a more clear statement that has the potential to reach more listeners.

One of the things that Reilly always said was that it's time we deliver the message to the people and get out and play shows and let them hear what's going on. It's been cool to see the response to 'Astronauts' and 'Then Again' so far, because these songs are more concise and direct [and] they seem to be resonating a lot more.

Reilly: We never wanted to just be a rock band or whatever. We want to be a band that can do a little bit of everything and stand our own. There's always been an emphasis on being trying to be original and different. We're just trying to make our own sound and leave our own fingerprint.

Peter: We're all in different stages of our lives, too. For a lot of groups that could be a source of tension and conflict. We also all come from different musical backgrounds. Since we started working with Brian, I've personally got more in touch with my musical interests and how to take those and put them into the songs we're working on. And looking at the work that Reilly and Sam have done too, it's amazing to see [the] skill and maturity they're saying through their instrument and how their influences are coming into these new songs too. It doesn't feel forced. Nothing about playing 'Astronauts' or 'Then Again' or any of these songs feels forced. It's music that people seem to be reacting to but, also, music that we love to play. We're not trying to write a hit or craft something to fit into a certain genre. This is what we want to sing and its authentic for us in that way.

It's been a number of years since The Rupert Selection's last album (2019's Priors). Obviously a lot has happened in the world since then, that goes without saying, but has that amount of time, ultimately, been what was needed for the band in terms of you guys exploring and evolving into a new and even better sound?

Reilly: I think it naturally needed that much time to get to where we are now. We couldn't force it. Everything that happened had to happen for us to get to that point. We all had to embrace this new era and evolve us together. It feels so good to get to this point.

Sam: As horrible as Covid was, it helped us out a lot. For a lot of musicians, it gave us time [and] made us take a step back. It gave us this opportunity to sit back and figure out the new sound, try new things and just jam. There wasn't a ton of pressure involved as [the] foreseeable future was relatively bleak for any artist trying to perform. When we were going about recording new songs, we started with a list of twelve songs or riffs and whittled them down. It was nice as, in the past, a lot of the time it was rushing into the studio as you're trying to fit in gigs, relationships and work. It was nice to have that time to take our time, do a song at a time and see what came from it.

Peter: Getting through Covid, everything you did was fully by choice and intentional. 'Who do I need in my Covid bubble? Who am I going to spend time with? And if I'm going to take a risk and go out with other people, who are those people going to be?' You start to make choices that felt very big but, previous to Covid, felt very natural. It was a reckoning for us. I felt like there was a moment in time where we had to make a choice as to whether or not we wanted to do this, or if we wanted to treat this as a natural end to that chapter and do something different. Everything we've done since then has been filled with that energy of that choice of wanting to do it and being together. That has created its own kind of gravity and energy that's started to come through the music.


'Astronauts' and 'Then Again' are out now.

For all things The Rupert Selection, visit their website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

NEWS | Tenille Arts Releases Brand New Song 'Last Time Last' featuring Maddie & Tae

On Friday (17th February), Tenille Arts released her brand new song 'Last Time Last', featuring country duo Maddie & Tae

The track, written by Arts with Alex Kline, Alison Veltz Cruz and Trannie Anderson is available to stream/download worldwide here.

'Collaborating with Maddie and Tae is a milestone moment for me,' said Arts. 'The girls are so genuine and kind, and we had so much fun pouring our hearts into this song. We hope y’all love it as much as we do.'

This release follows the incredible success of her latest single 'Jealous of Myself', lauded by Billboard as a 'masterpiece'. 'Jealous of Myself', written by Emily Weisband, John Byron and Trevor Rosen and produced by Nathan Chapman, is an introspective, unfiltered ballad that captures the thought processes after a breakup, also marking Arts' first single to be released via Dreamcatcher Artists, a recent expansion of Dreamcatcher Entertainment Group. Watch the visualiser here.

For more on Tenille, visit her website.

Friday, February 17, 2023

NEWS | Chris Shiflett Releases New Single and Video Ahead of Sold Out UK Tour

Chris Shiflett returns to the solo spotlight with new single and video, 'Black Top White Lines', out now via Snakefarm in the UK.

Produced by Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three, and co-penned with Johnston (a writer with multiple No. 1 country hits to his name) and Brothers Osborne guitarist, John Osborne, 'Black Top…' is a dark tale of justice that moves quickly into the fast lane with no intention of slowing down; it’s a heady taste of what can be found on Shiflett’s brand new studio album, set to appear later in 2023 – the first solo release from the long-time Foo Fighters member since 2019.

In support of the single, the guitarist announced a run of UK headline dates for March 2023, with all shows already sold out.

An opening act will be announced shortly.


For more info on Chris, visit his website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

INTERVIEW | 'The Physical Properties of a Vinyl Record Are Important to Me' - Kate Ellis Chats Vinyl Release of Album 'Spirals', Vinyl Launch, Music Videos and More!

A new year, a new vinyl record for the collection as the wonderful Kate Ellis is releasing her critically acclaimed sophomore 2022 album Spirals on the format in a few weeks.

Accompanied by a launch show at The Green Note on February 27th, the fantastic album comes with an extra track, which was also recorded during the same sessions with producer John Reynolds. Kate has also released a radio edit of 'Other Side of the Street' too, and has other dates this month lined up too.

Kate took some time ahead of the release to talk about the vinyl and more!


You’re releasing Spirals on vinyl, with a show set for the end of February to celebrate the release. We love vinyl here at Tour Bus Tunes…is it safe to say you’re a collector too?

We have a LOT of vinyl in the house, particularly thanks to my partner Andy. I’ve also got some prized records from my dad that really influenced me. (I actually made some short videos about 'My Dad’s Records' which you can find on my YouTube). I love that they are old and were loved by him. The physical properties of a vinyl record as an object are very special and important to me.

It’s not your first show at the wonderful Green Note, nor is it your first launch gig there either. What is it, for you, that makes you keep coming back? What makes it such a special venue?

The Green Note is one of my favourite venues in London. Immy and Risa who run it are so supportive of the Americana/folk/roots community. I love playing in warm, intimate spaces like this and the Green Note has also got a lovely old-world vibe. The food is wonderful and – an all-important detail – the sound guy is always great!

The vinyl comes with an unreleased bonus track. Was it always the intention, one way or the other, to put this song eventually out there? Was it saved, always destined for the vinyl version of the album?

We adored the way the track came out and were planning to put it on the album originally but John the producer felt strongly that because it was so well-known as a song it might pull focus from my original material which he felt was wrong. So we decided to release it as a single down the line. Then because the vinyl production process took so long (vinyl plants were very affected by Covid and Brexit, etc) we decided it would make a great bonus track on a vinyl record on the anniversary of the original release. With Spirals already established as the original ten-track album, it makes the vinyl release even more special by adding 'Hurt' as a bonus track.

You worked with John Reynolds on the album. What did he bring to the album? What did you come out of the sessions with after working with him?

The collaboration with producer John Reynolds (who’s worked with the likes of Sinéad O’Connor and Indigo Girls) on my album Spirals was an amazing experience. He is a super-talented artist in his own right and has such an emotional feel for the music and skill in the craft of production. I was in awe watching him work his magic in the studio. He also creates a really supportive environment for experimentation, which I appreciated greatly. I was able to contribute musical ideas for instruments that I don't typically play, simply by following my instincts. This collaboration taught me the power of trusting my instincts in music and how impactful it can be.

Our recording process was interrupted by the 2020 lockdown, but in hindsight, this pause allowed us to reflect and refine the music. When we resumed, we completed the remaining tracks with a clearer vision and the end result was even better. John’s artistic vision was integral to the success of the album and I'm so proud of what we accomplished together.

I love that for the video for ‘Other Side of the Street’ you focussed on a different side of London, away from the busy, bustling scenes that we’re typically presented with. When it came to locations for the shoot, how involved were you with choosing? And with the video premise overall?

We all wanted to capture the light-hearted, pop appeal of this song and felt that a journey through a mix of colourful, urban and leafy streets of London would fit perfectly. I was the main location scout which I thoroughly enjoyed! The idea for the video came from a conversation about the simple but fun idea of the camera filming from the “other side of the street.” Even though the lyrics are sad, the song has an upbeat, happy feel – I love how the locations in the video celebrate the beauty of our city while the camera keeps its distance expressing the loneliness in the lyrics.

I personally love a good music video and find that a good video sticks with you. What are some of your favorite videos?

Yes, me too – that’s why I put a lot of work into mine to try and make them really bring out the best in the song. I think sometimes a great music video can help us remember the artist and song more than just hearing the track on radio or in a playlist.

Three of my all-time favs:

'Nothing Compares To You' by Sinead O’Connor – the simplicity of the camera moving slowly closer and that teardrop!

'Hurt' by Johnny Cash – an incredible moving, poignant video for a truly incredible version of the song. And it turned out to be his obituary as Johnny died seven months after it was filmed.

'Subterranean Homesick Blues' by Bob Dylan – with the iconic and much-imitated cascading cue cards. The simplest and the best!

Musically, what does 2023 hold for you?

Well we released the 'Other Side Of The Street (Radio Edit)' single at the start of the year along with the new video that you mentioned, and I’m currently working on the launch of the Spirals vinyl and 'Hurt' single and video.

Apart from that, I’m looking forward to continuing the ARC tour (Americana, Roots, Country) with my musical buddies My Girl The River and Anna Howie (our next gig is Feb 18th at Forest Arts in Hampshire.) We all love each other’s songs and enjoy harmonising on them, singing a few covers together and generally having a blast.

I’m also looking forward to more of my own shows (including the vinyl launch at the Green Note on Feb 27th), continuing to share songs from Spirals and my first album Carve Me Out, as well as maybe trying out some new ones! Also starting some home demos of new songs for a future release – although I tend to take these things quite slowly!


Spirals is released on vinyl March 3rd, and available to stream now.

For all things Kate Ellis, including tour dates, visit her website.

NEWS | Sarah Louise Announces New Single 'Half of You' - Out February 28th

British singer/songwriter Sarah Louise has officially announced the details of her forthcoming single titled 'Half Of You' which will be available to stream and download from February 28 and fans will be able to pre-save/pre-add now. 

In 2022, the singer-songwriter released a collection of singles including the poignant 'My Grandparents and Me' which built on the solid foundation of success she has built in recent years including multiple British Country Music Awards, including 2021/2022 Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. Her single ‘My Beating Heart’ peaked at #1 on the UK iTunes Country Chart and #45 All Genre Chart and 2022 ended with the release of Sarah Louise’ #1 charting EP The Now, included the #1 charting single release, 'Rosa Parks Blvd', showcasing the momentum and excitement surrounding Sarah’s music. 

With 'Half Of You' she delivers a heartfelt country-pop ballad that focuses on the love that two people share and the old-school romantic values that half of your heart now belongs to your partner. You’re bound together and all the previous hurt has been worth it to find this one special love. 

Speaking about the track, Sarah Louise says: ''[Half of You' is about] knowing that there is someone out there who completes you and makes you feel like you are home just by looking into their eyes.'

 Sarah Louise will be performing live at a special 'Dreamers Country Album Preview' on March 26th, Stock Street Barn, Essex. She will also be heading back to Nashville to complete an originals’ album. 


Presave 'Half of You' now.

For all things Sarah Louise visit her website.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

HOT TRACK | 'Anywhere But Here' - katie drives


Speeding onto our radar this week is the terrific katie drives with her new track 'Anywhere But Here'.

This, the third track from upcoming EP Safe and Sad, packs an energetic punch, dripping with 00s nostalgia but feeling fresh...a modern, exciting emerging voice in pop punk that has power.

Anthemic is what this song feels, brilliant builds throughout and the potential to be LOUD live - just as loud as you'll want to crank this one up. Guitars are masterfully playing off each other and it's fun and catchy, the drumline inviting you to the nearest mosh pit. katie's vocals here show that her voice has a real unmistakable power to it, something especially evident on choruses. 

Clocking in at 2:40, this song is on the short side but if this is your first taste of katie drives then it's definitely more than (sweet) enough to leave you wanting more - we certainly dipped into her discography after listening to this one, and we recommend that you do too!

Safe and Sad will be a release to look out for this March!

(Photo credit: Leandra Bonnet)


'Anywhere But Here' is out now

For all things katie drives visit her website

INTERVIEW | 'Songwriting Is The Ultimate Test of Vulnerability' - Samantha LaPorta

Songwriting is the ultimate test of vulnerability. That's what Samantha LaPorta believes, and it is something that shines though her mu...