New Orleans-based melodic rock band, Variants, is one you don’t wanna miss. Building a sound with elements of melodic hardcore, pop-punk, and rock, the group makes it look easy. About a month ago they release Commonwealth, a follow up EP to their debut album, The Concept of Color. Commonwealth is filled with catchy guitar riffs, groovy bass lines and soulful vocals that can make a grown man cry. This four song EP is just banger after banger and takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. The lead single, and my personal favorite, “Bitter” is the highlight of this EP. Kicking it with a feel good guitar intro straight into a similar up beat verse. Then it transitions into a slower soulful and simplistic chorus. This isn’t just a song, it’s an experience. You can download the album on all major digital stores, or stream it here.
I had a chance to catch up with drummer, Michael Rivera and learn more about the band behind this awesome music and their roots and influences.
AMN: You guys are really talented, and it’s evident in your music. How did you get involve in playing music?
MR: I have been playing percussion since high school. I was active in high school band, as was Eric, our bassist. I’m not sure exactly how Lance and Edward got their start, but I know they’ve been playing for at least as long as Eric and I.
AMN: How did you guys end up meeting and what lead to the forming of Variants?
MR: We were all in different projects around the New Orleans scene at one point. After a few jam sessions,Variants came to be when we realized that we all had the same mindset in that we wanted to set ourselves apart from the rest of the bands in our area. Not that we aren’t proud of our roots, we just had a desire to be different and stand out.
AMN: Where did the name “Variants” come from?
MR: It stems from what most people guess, in that our many different influences combine to create one “varied” sound.
AMN: Very nice, I like that. You can definitely fell that blended sound in the music. So what’s been the highlight of your bands career, so far?
MR: There’s been many great moments, but one that sticks out to us in particular is playing main stage at House of Blues New Orleans. There were literally hundreds of people there. It was surreal. It’s always extremely humbling to have our hometown support us so strongly.
AMN: Playing a big venue in front of a good crowd in your hometown is always a great feeling, for sure! Is there a crazy or memorable moment that happened on tour or during a show?
MR: So many. Of course most of the ones that come to mind are not family friendly…haha. But a clean one that comes to mind took place in Chapel Hill, NC. It was February 2015, and it snowed harder than it has in NC in nearly a decade on the night that we were there (of course). Long story short, we were headed to a friend’s to crash, and we had to push his car up a rather steep hill and out of the snow…Keep in mind, we are from New Orleans, and some of us had never even seen snow before this night. It was definitely an experience!
AMN: For some reason I laughed really hard at that. I just pictured a bunch of band dudes in skinny jeans freezing their butts off trying push the car but sliding all around. I’d definitely love to see Variants live again. Are there any tour plans in the near future?
MR: Yes! We are headed to the west coast with our friends in Keeper, who are based out of Oklahoma City. We’re very excited to finally be making it out west for the first time! Dates can be found on our Facebook or website.
AMN: Awesome! Thank you so much Michael.