With their original take on reggae, rock, folk and jam music, Rebel Alliance has a knack for putting on a good time when they perform live. The band from North Adams also has a knack for thinking outside the box when it comes to songwriting, releasing new music and how they present themselves.
People can experience this approach and more when the band comes to perform at the Stomping Ground in Putnam on March 11. Starting at 8pm, they’re going to be playing all night long with multiple sets for a $5 cover.
I talked ahead of the show with Rebel Alliance frontman Mike “Woody” Wood about a single series the band currently has going on, managing a lot of members, doing the artwork for the music and playing a big festival later this summer.
RD: Since last year, Rebel Alliance have been releasing a new single every two months with the most recent one “Chores and Money” coming out on February 14. Who had the idea to do this single series and how beneficial has it been for the band?
MW: We’ve noticed with our band that it’s kind of difficult to put us into a genre. We don’t really go by one particular genre so with this single idea, every new song kind of has a different feel while allowing us to release it online and target that genre. Unfortunately we live in an age where CDs aren’t a thing anymore so we have to kind of do our best to put as much content as we can. It kind of goes along with the holidays, every time we have a holiday or season change that would be the theme. The next one is going to be “Sunshine and Rain” with the spring and everything.
“Chores and Money” was obviously for Valentine’s Day and we even have a Christmas song that we released called “Snowmen…Six-Packs” and Halloween was “Devil Don’t Ride (in the Backseat)” so you can sense the theme going on there.
RD: That makes sense. Were all the singles for this series recorded in a single session or has it been an ongoing process where you and the band write and record a song within a two month period?
MW: We tracked all the songs and if we needed to do anything, we would revisit each song every couple months when it’s being released. We recorded them at the 1357 Recording Studio in Greenfield, Massachusetts with our friend Monte Arnstam. That was all during one session and then we just went back, added things and did the mastering. We’re kind of taking it one track at a time.
RD: It sounds like a good approach. In its entirety, the Rebel Alliance is an eight piece band including yourself, so how difficult can it be with managing a band with so many members?
MW: It depends (laughs). We’re all good friends, so it’s just a matter of scheduling really. Google Calendar is our friend, we all put up with days we’re not available so everybody kind of knows what our schedules are. It works out and it all depends on what the venue needs, if we have a little stage we can do all the way down to a four piece if we have to when we’re playing live. As far as tracking goes, it’s just a matter of communication. We have a Discord that we all talk to each other on while sharing files, sharing ideas and whatnot.
RD: That seems pretty basic.
MW: Yeah, we like to keep it as simple as we can.
RD: Who does the art for the band with the album covers for the singles, albums and the logo? The artwork for “Chores and Money” is a drawing of you on it that looks impressively detailed and the same goes for the logo with a drawing of your head with your beard and everything.
MW: I’ve been personally putting together different collages for this and we’re always looking for more people to do art. For our visual art, we always want someone who is actually inspired by the band to make art rather than just paying someone to just come up with something. That was done by my friend Kyle a few years ago, he came up with it as a vectored image. He just took it out and illustrated it and added crazy glasses to kind of represent our sound a little bit and be a little abstract at times. I’ve been making all the single images that have been coming out, there’s a certain kitchiness to them because it’s all themed so I just have fun with it.
RD: I think it’s really cool and a good way to market the band. After the show at the Stomping Ground, what are the Rebel Alliance’s plans for the coming months? I know you’re going to put out some more singles, but do you have anything else going on?
MW: We just announced that we’re going to be playing the StrangeCreek Campout, which is our favorite festival that’s happening at Camp Kee-Wanee in Greenfield from May 26 – 29. It’s actually the first festival we ever played back in 2012 and we’ve been playing there for years so it’s sort of been a home for us. We’re definitely excited to be part of it again and we’re going to be headlining one of the stages, I can’t say which one yet but it’s the biggest show we’re looking forward to outside of some club gigs around the area. Our website at rebelalliancemusic.com has everything you need to know about where we’re going to be playing and everything else, we always try to post our events on there.