Young rivalry’s sound alive & kicking

The Ride Theory dies out to give way to Young Rival; same rock music, more thought

Hamilton’s Young Rival, formerly known as The Ride Theory, are trying to capture their rocking live sound in their recordings.
Hamilton’s Young Rival, formerly known as The Ride Theory, are trying to capture their rocking live sound in their recordings.

Free album giveaways are usually a sign of the desperate and obscure—not an up-and-coming Canadian rock quartet.

Young Rival, formerly known as The Ride Theory, have been tossing out free demos of their in-progress album throughout the summer. But before you write them off as some wannabes not worthy of your dollar, they want you to know there’s a method to their madness.

“You just need to treat CDs as one aspect to earning money as a musician,” said Noah Fralick, Queen’s alumnus and drummer for Young Rival.

“Nobody’s really buying CDs anymore—you have to approach the idea of a CD or recording in a new way. Now, bands are really only making money through live shows and publishing [rights like music on television].With the decline in CD sales, it’s making people more accepting of hearing bands on TV or commercials. This is one of the few ways musicians can not be starving artists and it’s a very interesting development in the evolution of the music consumer’s mind.

“You are only as big as your last viral internet success or your last YouTube video.”

With roughly 25 demo tracks recorded, the group plans on laying down their new album this winter in New York. Until then, they’ll continue to foster interest through their philanthropic CD distribution—an attempt to advance the new name, sound and image of the band.

“A lot of people thought that when we changed our name, we were distancing ourselves form our body of work [as The Ride Theory]. ... That’s not it at all. Everything was just pointing to ‘now is the time to do it.’

“When we did this Young Rival switch, things felt fresher—we still did what we accomplished. We’re still a rock ’n’ roll band. It’s our true essence, it’s who we are.”

Changing their name infused the band with some fresh ideas, but they still plan on clinging to their rocker roots.

“It’s tough, right? The formula for making rock-and-roll music is a pre-designed thing. You can’t branch out. We as a band were very interested in branching out—making things a little fresher,” he said.

“We’ve been very self-critical over the last year trying to make this presentation as Young Rival work.” If Young Rival is to look for a sign of success in their newfound image, it has already come in the form of national radio play on the popular U.K. radio station XFM—a sure indication of future achievement.

With hype in the U.K. almost a year before the recording of their debut album as Young Rival, the group has their sights set high, and their morale is even higher.

“Right now […] we’re at a pretty high point and we’re very excited about things that are going on. I know we’re on the right path, and we’re making the right decisions, and things are growing. That’s really all you can ask for at this point in our career.”

Despite their pre-emptive fame and timely name change, this rock ’n’ roll facelift hasn’t detracted from their classic throw-back rock, but has added to it, Fralick said. The band has been fiddling with their vibrant, rotund and rhythmically-rich tunes.

“We were in a position from maybe March until June, we weren’t playing many shows. That was a time when we were very focused on finding ourselves musically and where we wanted to be for this album,” he said.

“We don’t want this album to be a token of a bygone era; we want it to be relevant to today’s musical landscape.

Drawing on well-worn rock influences but adding new modern twists to them is what Young Rival is all about—trying to merge staple relevency and current trends.

“There’s no denying that we really love those ’60s sounds and the recording processes,” he said.

“It seems to me we’ve somehow naturally meshed all these fields. That’s created something that is more representative of our influences individually. There’s a real personal feel to the music we’re doing now.”

That’s something the band has struggled to find over their previous attempts as The Ride Theory. The vibrancy of live performance often gets lost in the recording process, and the band is striving to capture it in the studio.

“First and foremost, we’re a live band. That’s something we’ve always totally valued, putting on a good show and putting all our energy into performance. It’s been tough for us because we’ve never been able to translate that live feel onto the record—which I think we will with our upcoming album.

“We’re really trying to present a genuine, authentic, no pretension rock ’n’ roll show. I think there’s a lot of ego in bands that present themselves as rock ’n’ roll, and I’d like to think we don’t have said ego.”

As for the scope of the new album and show, the rise of the digital and the fall of recording popularity could not be more timely, Fralick said. Robust recordings are becoming incentives for concert attendance, not highly sought commodities.

“Now, to make a cohesive album is almost redundant because people are just hearing singles. You almost want an album of just singles, which is kind of a throwback to how EPs in the ’60s developed. The internet has facilitated this access to the international market.

“Singles are the new norm, again.”

Young Rival play Ale House with The Sadies Wednesday Nov. 14. Tickets are $10 in advance, available at the venue.

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