D.C. rockers, The Relapse Symphony, are much more than just their appearance. With Bret Von Dehl (vocals), JC Charles (guitar), Ray Miller (guitar), Brandon Kile (bass), and Alex Foxx (drums), they do not shy away from the hard issues facing young people today, in and out of the music business. First and foremost, the band collectively believe that there can never be too much music, and that good music is not repetitive. Von Dehl explains, “If you are doing something that’s genuine, that you really feel, it is going to resonate with people and they will relate to it for the rest of their lives.” Music that reminds you of a certain point or event in your life provides an emotional connection and becomes the music that you never grow tired of hearing.
Technology is a solution and a problem in the music industry – The ease with which new bands can develop and distribute their music is a key advance in the market today. Charles stated that, “Bands have the ability to do things for themselves. It used to be that you could not book a tour without an agent, you couldn’t find new fans without touring. Now you can do all that, and more, from your own bedroom. You don’t need anyone.” The days of punk rockers trading tapes are over, because files transferred or posted on the internet can reach a global audience in minutes. The down side is the same, in that, it is so easy and anyone can do it. This often leads to musicians who may feel entitled to fame or success without the hard work it takes to master their craft. The Relapse Symphony has seen both sides of this problem as well as the end results, concluding that it is vital to find balance. Their steady rise up the charts can be directly attributed to new technology paired with a strong work ethic and dedication to making good music.
Fans are people too – The Relapse Symphony consistently demonstrates mutual admiration for their fans because they are fans too. Without the encouragement from artists they look up to, they may not have made it this far. In the song “Forgotten” from their Time’s Running Out EP, the lyrics express a close connection with their fans by declaring, “This is a song for the forgotten / We’re here to make our voices know / To take away the pain of darker days / We’re standing right by your side / You’ll never be alone.” The words are a shout out to every fan who has found comfort, inspiration, or strength in their music.
Bullying is never acceptable and it does not end after high school – The Relapse Symphony are not role models, but they have all suffered from the effects of bullying. Where most bands treat bullying with a self-help or self-empowerment approach, The Relapse Symphony admit that they do not have the answers. In fact, they still see degrees of bullying today. Unfortunately, it is common to hear people shout expletives at them when they walk down the street, because of the way they look. At some shows, there is heckling from the fringes of the audience during their performance. Bullying leads to frustration, evident in strong words from Von Dehl and Foxx, “Fight back! I’m not saying to be violent, I’m not saying to lash out, but don’t take it. When someone says things you don’t want to hear, get away from that. Reading hurtful comments on the internet gives it power, so don’t read it.” Potent words and critical advice from those who have felt the pain of bullying, stuck it out, and emerged better people in spite of it.
Appearances are deceiving – The Relapse Symphony may look like carefree rockers who live in the fast lane and party all the time, but in reality they are intelligent, articulate young men who care about the world we live in. They say what they mean and back it up with their actions and music. True ‘star power’ lies in the ability to bond with others through music, which sums up The Relapse Symphony’s new release, Shadows, available on iTunes. They are currently signed to Standby Records and will tour with Eyes Set To Kill this Fall.