Since the band’s 2016 inception, Rival Waves has embarked on earning their place as one of the most exciting and innovative rock acts in the Austin music scene. Their distortion-soaked, hard driving rhythms, married with the sweeping personal and political themes of their songs, have earned them initial comparisons to Pearl Jam and U2. With a handful of pivotal performances in 2017, the band kicked off 2018 playing to packed rooms during Free Week at Empire Control Room and Stubb’s along with iconic Austin rock bands OTIS the Destroyer and Megafauna, further solidifying their growing reputation for muscular, incendiary live shows. Over the summer months, they checked a few more landmark venues off their list with impassioned performances at The Parish with Red Sun Rising and a dynamic show at 3TEN/ACL Live with Young Rising Sons, and were voted The Deli Austin’s Emerging Artist of the Month for July.
Following on the heels of the successful release of their first two singles, which have netted the band nearly 200,000 digital streams, Rival Waves released their debut album, TRANSDUCER, on August 10, 2018. This guitar-fueled, fiercely earnest collection of songs merge the best of the rock anthems of Foo Fighters with the self-awareness and intellectual proclivity of Fugazi. The band’s desire to bridge the connection between art and audience, as well as their love for musical experimentation, bleeds through on every track as they explore the ever-increasing politicization of our world and our desire to navigate our way through the chaos. As Rival Waves singer/songwriter Joel De La Garza explains, “The music is loud and intense, but lyrically, and it’s all up to the listener’s interpretation, we’re just seeking to resolve issues—whether they be personal or how we see the world around us. We’re looking to show audiences how we feel about this life of constant conflict. That we’re all seeking some kind of order from the chaos.”
Rival Waves began with an idea, a dream and a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. De La Garza, originally conceived the project while attending Graduate School at St. Edward’s University and exploring his desire to use technology and a DIY model to meaningfully engage music fans in an ever-changing music industry. He began creating demos and playing small acoustic shows around town under the moniker “the krypteia collective.” The positive feedback led him back into his South Austin recording studio to experiment with writing and recording the material that would become the blueprint for Rival Waves.
A marketing consultancy with an online music collaboration platform provided De La Garza the opportunity to work with a host of world-class session musicians. “It was a pretty revolutionary concept that put a roster of some of the best musicians on the planet at my fingertips. I was honored to have this group of musical heroes lend their talents to these songs.” This enabled him to work with such luminaries as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam), Satnam Ramgotra (Hans Zimmer), Martyn Lenoble (Porno for Pyros), Scott Koziol (Linkin Park), Nick Lashley (Alanis Morissette), and Teddy Kumpel (Nine Inch Nails). These sessions also served to bring a clearer focus to the project.
He enlisted acclaimed producer JR Taylor (Styx, Terry Bozzio) to help hone his vision and direction. Together, the duo began culling through the more than 50 songs amassed for the project. In 2016, De La Garza realized his desire to turn his studio project into a full-blown, live rock and roll band. He joined forces with Marc Schulz, Erik Salinas, and Kelly Grizzle — and Rival Waves was born.
In late 2016, the band released their debut single, “Amputee” which delves into the dissolution of a relationship. “I wanted to write about relationships from a more realistic perspective…how people find themselves much different coming out of one than they were going in. While the subject matter is a bit of a downer, musically it’s a really upbeat and driving song. I am always drawn to the juxtaposition of those two factors at work.” They followed that up with the 2017 Inauguration Day release of their politically-tinged track, “Transducer.” The personal and the political collide beautifully on the album’s title track, which De La Garza wrote after seeing a then-Senator Barack Obama speak at the Texas State Capitol in 2008. As he recalls, “While it was amazing to see the energy and hope in that audience, there was an unspoken level of sober resolve that many in attendance knew was required for that hope to be realized. An inspiring notion that there was plenty of work to do - and I wanted to capture that idea and pass that feeling on.” Eight years later, as President Barack Obama left the White House, De La Garza saw the song as an opportunity to remind ourselves that a people have the ability to affect change and make a difference. “The track is in essence, a self-validating call to arms that reminds me of who I am and what I can be…and it does so every time we play it.”
Infused with De La Garza’s love of classic, alternative and punk rock, his south Texas upbringing, and his desire to reach audiences in new and meaningful ways, TRANSDUCER is a singular and topical release that lays bare the best and most profound facets of the human experience and the current world we all struggle to understand and journey through.