Rival Waves is a rock band from Austin, Texas, blending propulsive guitar-fueled sonics with a relentlessly fierce post-punk aesthetic. With arena-ready anthems reminiscent of Pearl Jam and U2, the band is driven to create a more meaningful connection between art and audience. With a DIY ethos focused on the convergence of music and tech, an inclination towards consistent musical experimentation, and an earnest commitment to topics ranging from the intimately personal to the sociopolitical, Rival Waves take their cues from Fugazi as much as they do Foo Fighters.
Rival Waves began as an abstract concept that singer/songwriter Joel De La Garza developed during his time in graduate school. The idea was to leverage the evolving technology landscape, and its ongoing disruption of the traditional music industry, to develop a more engaged and immersed audience.
The ambitious project started as a whisper in the form of a few demos and solo acoustic showcases for small groups. The feedback generated made it clear that the project was something worth refining, so De La Garza retreated back into his South Austin studio to woodshed and demo more material. It was during that time that he developed his production chops – writing and recording the material that would become the blueprint for Rival Waves.
Enlisting co-producer JR Taylor (Styx, Terry Bozzio) to help put his vision into clearer relief, the duo began culling through the more than 50 songs De La Garza amassed for the project. They were joined by a few trusted collaborators to track several more songs live in studio. The time and opportunity to create and refine allowed for experimentation in the studio and captured the immediacy and vitality that can only come from live performance.
True kismet came in the form of a consulting opportunity with a digital startup that gave De La Garza the chance to collaborate on songs with a handful of world-class session musicians and musical role models including: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam), Satnam Ramgotra (Hans Zimmer, Nikka Costa), Martyn Lenoble (Porno for Pyros, Jane’s Addiction), Scott Koziol (Linkin Park), Nick Lashley (Alanis Morissette), and Teddy Kumpel (Nine Inch Nails). These collaborative experiences spurred efforts to develop the project into a live band. To take the music out of the comforting isolation of a studio and get it out to the people.
In 2016, De La Garza joined forces with Marc Schulz, Erik Salinas, Kelly Grizzle and Frank Ramirez, and Rival Waves was born. In that short time, they’ve quickly become identified with an intense and compelling live show. These experiences have been instrumental in generating a growing buzz among a burgeoning fan base.
In Sept. 2016, Rival Waves released their debut single, “Amputee” and followed that up with the release of their politically-tinged rocker, “Transducer”. Released on Inauguration Day 2017, the song has quickly garnered over 50,000 digital streams – pushing total digital streams for the band well over the 100,000 mark. Both songs have since been included on playlists that have seen listeners flock to the band from Austin to as far away as Argentina.
Rival Waves plans to use 2017 to continue leveraging technology to disrupt a fragmented musical landscape and establish a more engaged audience. The band has already begun partnering with companies in Austin’s thriving tech sector to help turn these ideas into realities. In the meantime, new music, more shows, and the development of a super-served digital fan community known as theCollective. are all on the horizon.
Rival Waves is:
Joel De La Garza • vocals, guitar
Marc Schulz • guitar
Erik Salinas • guitar
Kelly Grizzle • bass
Frank Ramirez • drums
“I like that you’re bringing back a band with guitars, bass, and drums…in a world where not even music is dominating the thing, you’re reaching into yourself, you’re getting guys in a room to build that excitement, to translate that, to bring it to the people.”
– Johnny Goudie (on the How Did I Get Here Podcast, Jan 3, 2017)