In case you didn't know it yet... The Movielife is back! Well, they have already been playing shows for a while now, but now there is also a nifty new album called "Cities In Search of a Heart" (out now via Rise Records). You know what's even better than a new album from a band you thought you'd never hear new material from? A good new album from a band you thought you'd never hear new material from. And that's exactly what The Movielife have delivered. We caught up with guitarist Brandon Reilly to talk about all things "Cities In Search Of A Heart".
PRT: You’ve already been back to playing shows for a while now, but this is your first new album since 2003. That means there are teenagers out there who have likely never heard of The Movielife. What are three things about the band that you think they should know?
Brandon: 1.) At one point in time, we were also teenagers. 2.) Our happiness has grown in direct proportion to our ages. 3.) We are a better band now than we've ever been.
PRT: “Forty Hour Train Back To Penn” is a seminal album… did you feel any pressure going into this one? Because obviously longtime fans would go into whatever you put out with expectations. Especially seeing as it’s been 14 years.
Brandon: We had a few butterflies in our baskets, but that quickly subsided as soon as we saw how well the writing and recording turned out.
PRT: Opening track “Ski Mask” doesn’t come with an intro… it just starts out full blast. Does that pretty much sum up the band’s eagerness?
Brandon: I suppose it does. It picks up where we left off, and I'd say it's a love letter to the fans who've stuck by us.
PRT: What was it like writing together again? Did you immediately go back to a place that felt comfortable or did it take some time? And does it feel the same way or are there new dynamics?
Brandon: At first it was a little rusty. Vin and I spent a lot of time junking a lot of the earliest material, while simultaneously trying to figure out what exactly The Movielife was in 2017. We eventually hit a steady groove. The writing between Vinnie and I this time around was a lot more collaborative. We essentially co-wrote the songs together in a room.
PRT: The first song you released was “Mercy Asleep At The Wheel”… I read somewhere that you influenced by Seaweed on that one (one of the most underrated bands of the 90s in my opinion). It made me wonder though… what were some of your other influences on this album? Both musical and non-musical.
Brandon: Yes - Seaweed has always been a big influence, and they continue to be. Other honorable mentions are The Pixies, The Breeders, Jawbreaker and The Magnetic Fields. As far as non-musical influences go, it'd be pretty hard not to capture the bizarre, circus-like modern American culture that we are currently trapped in - so that played a role as well.
PRT: I really like how the dynamics keep shifting throughout “Cities In Search Of A Heart”. Is that something you paid a lot of attention to or just the way the album turned out?
Brandon: I think it was destined to turn out that way, whether we planned to or not. Vin and I both have grown so much as songwriters. We have such a wide variety of musical influences, and it was important to our creative process to show that there are many sides to The Movielife.
PRT: You and Vinnie both released solo releases. What is the main challenge/difficulty when you’re going at it alone compared to being in a band?
Brandon: Going it alone is easy - you don't have another person to answer to. But - on the flip side - I personally feel that Vinnie and I, when writing together, make each other better at what we do ... we are always challenging one another, creatively.
PRT: What’s up next for The Movielife now that the album is out?
Brandon: Lots and lots of touring. The plan is to tour as much of the world as possible. Hope to make it back to your beautiful country as soon as possible.