Spirits Republic are rockers by nature, but with a musical prowess that makes them one of a kind. Their music is a high energy dance party one second, and a headbanging mosh pit the next with their fans losing their S*** on cue. They have it all; insightful, catchy songwriting, ripping guitar solos, unforgiving slap bass, and explosive percussion.
Spirits Republic formed in 2016. What brought you together?
Russell (myself) and founding drummer, Taylor Willingham (who performed on their first LP, “Hourglass”) had played in a band together while attending college at SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York. They both ended up in Nashville and immediately began playing music together again. A mutual friend of theirs also living in Nashville met Ricky at a party, and recommended they reach out to Ricky after hearing him post a Primus cover on his Facebook page. Taylor departed the band shortly after “Hourglass” was released, and after auditioning several drummers, Russell and Ricky were introduced to Perry Dornbush who fit the role perfectly.
How did you choose your band’s name?
We became desperate after coming up with about a dozen awful band names so we decided to take a random book off of a nearby bookshelf in search of inspiration. That book was “The House of Mirth” and we turned to a chapter titled “Republic of the Spirit.” Spirits Republic was thrown into the suggestion box and we all agreed we hated that one the least.
Your bio starts with “Music that fulfills the palate of even the hungriest and pickiest of music listeners”. Which artists have most influenced your sound, from the “Hourglass” EP to your current single “Decor”?
Each member of the band has a diverse cast of influences from other artists. To name a few, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Primus, Incubus, along with classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Rush. What all of these artists have in common is distinct and drastic musical progression from album to album.
How does this new single help you tell a little bit more of your artist story?
“Decor” in many ways is a fusion of the musical influences that each member brings to the table. It has a sleek, unassuming, and slightly psychedelic verse, a hard hitting blues rock chorus, and a slap bass breakdown. It showcases our genre-bending style, which is a key part of our identity as a band.
Saw you have additional singles, along with exclusive footage and content, coming out this spring. What has been the most challenging aspect of releasing music during the pandemic?
Believe it or not, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a more convenient time being that we had just received the masters from our last recording session, pro-shot live videos, and a large batch of professional photos the same week as the Stay at Home order was put into place. At the same time all of us now had a very open schedule to plan out our releases.
The only challenges we have faced are shared with all musicians right now, which is not being able to both perform live, or rehearse and write music in person. Between you and me, we also have to wait to shoot the last scene of our upcoming music video, which involves very close contact between bassist, Ricky and a few choice local sex workers.
If you were asked to choose an artist from a genre other than your own to tour with, who would that be and why?
Elton John, because every song is a classic, and he’ll be on his farewell tour forever! I mean he’s got “Honky Cat”, “Bennie and the Jets”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Rocket Man”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from the “Lion King”; The list goes on! Also his band badass!
What do you enjoy most about being musicians?
Russell: Being able to create something truly unique and individual to share with others, along with the opportunity to see the world from a musical perspective while touring.
Perry: Being able to share a lasting bond with people you wouldn’t have come into contact with otherwise. The live original music community, especially the one here in Nashville, has so much to offer so being a part of that is truly both humbling and inspiring.
Ricky: Nothing. It’s a never ending struggle full of pain and misery that takes every dime out of your pocket.
To date, what are the best alternative rock albums you’d suggest a new fan?
How have you been keeping in touch with fans during the quarantine?
We’ve been providing our fans with a constant stream of content in addition to our new music, ranging from memes to silly contests for a grand prize of a single roll of toilet paper. We have also made a point to personally answer each comment and DM on our social media pages.
Music heals. What message do you have for fans looking for positives amidst a time more filled with negatives?
This is an excellent time to discover new music and connect personally to artists who otherwise wouldn’t be as accessible. Whether or not you’re a listener or an aspiring musician, there are certainly plenty of opportunities to expand your horizons and get lost in music as both a release and distraction from the realities of the world.