no rehearsal are a three-piece indie-rock (and blues and pop) band from Houston, Texas. After listening to their EP’s and loving them, I couldn’t wait to talk to them. Singer Matthew Cobb and bass player Christian Mireles took the time to chat before a show. We spoke about their inspiration, fondest music memories and their hopes for the future.
How did the band name come together?
Matt: When I was in 6th Grade we were doing this talent show and at that point you’re not really super committed to anything. You’re just kinda like ‘oh I want to do this, I want to play in a band’ and all of that. We had to rehearse for this talent show but like it never really came together, so my parents just kind of made a joke, they were like ‘wow y’all should just call yourselves no rehearsal’ and it just stuck. We never actually rehearsed for the thing cause we were just busy with other stuff. It was kind of like a joke name that stuck.
How did all of you meet then? Have you known each other a long time?
M: At that time it was totally different people, but like now, our senior year of high school was when we all came together and had the three of us.
Have you always wanted to be musicians? Or was there something before that?
Christian: It’s kind of weird, I feel like everyone sort of wants to be a musician or play in a band. I obviously wasn’t chasing a musical future before the band as much, but I had a guitar. It wasn’t as serious as it was before the band. But I feel like for Matt, that’s always been a thing.
M: Yeah, like once I had started no rehearsal and got the taste of being in a band and performing and all that, then I really just wanted to keep on taking it further and further. So yeah, that really just kind of started with things as small as that talent show and slowly building up and starting performing round our area. Once this line-up came together, the three of us, then we started recording real music and writing real songs and then at that point we were like, yeah this is what we want to do.
When you are writing music how does it come together? Do specific people do certain parts?
M: There’s not really like a set process for everything, it’s sort of a case-by-case basis. With the first EP 3 of the 5 songs I had already had with previous band members, so I already had all these ideas and I just kind of transferred it to Christian and David. Then, the other two songs we written from scratch. Essentially if we’re writing from scratch it could be that I had a guitar lick that I really liked and we just wanted to build on top of it. Generally, I’ll bring something in, whether it’s a chord progression or an intro, and then the bass and drums will build on top of it. Once we have the musical foundation, I will usually go in and write lyrics. Even with the second EP that’s pretty much how it went, we had had this chord progression or whatever that we had built and then we just took it and we were like okay, this is what we’re going to do with it.
When you’re writing a song what do you think is most important part, the easiest part and the hardest part?
C: I feel like the easiest part of a song is just what it’s gunna sound like, ‘cause we always have the effects set before it comes in. Like the newest one that we’re working on, we have effects pedals on, so we already say that’s the sound of it – that’s the vibe we’re going for. So I think the mood of the song is always set from the start, I think that’s the easiest part.
M: I mean, I don’t know, a lot of times I want a certain vibe but I’m like is this the vibe we should be going for? is this what no rehearsal stands for and sounds like? So I don’t generally think that the vibe comes as easy. I would say the easiest way to answer that is just our own individual parts, coming up with a guitar line is super easy for me because like it just is. I would say the hardest part for me personally, is definitely coming up with melody and probably the lyrics to go along with it. I can see what he is saying about the vibe, that’s what we did with the second EP, we went in there saying like, we want to have this vibe so all the writing for the second EP went along with that vibe. And so we wrote towards making songs that are under 4 minutes and songs that have a pop or an indie-rock kind of feel.
C: And most important?
M: I think that the most important part is definitely the melody, because if you’re a musician or not you’re always listening for melody. For me, I’ll be listening to John Mayer and I’m focusing on his guitar solo or something but that doesn’t matter to the general audience. I think everyone notices your vocals and that’s pretty universal. And that’s really important to everyone, so like really focusing on having the strongest vocal take and having a really good melody that people can really cling to.
Which song would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
M: I would recommend ‘Back To Fall’ because it’s the most upbeat. It represents who we are musically and I love the melody.
What artists influence you as a band? Your band is like a mix of so many different sounds that probably shouldn’t work together, but do.
M: I think we’re kind of in an identity crisis, because we started this wanting to be a blues-rock band but like we’ve really gotten into a of these newer indie-rock bands like Honey, Bad Suns and The Neighbourhood. David our drummer is heavily influenced by the 80s, and 80s classic rock so like Rush and Journey and that whole era. He started off being influenced by like Black Sabbath, that’s what got him into music, then he ventured off into liking Arctic Monkeys and he’s really into Tame Impala. He’s indie-rock, but not so much the indie-rock I’m into. Some of it clashes and then there are certain parts where we’re apart. Then for me I started off really loving the Beetles, which got me into liking blues, which got me into John Mayer which got me into liking Stevie Ray Vonn and Jimmi Hendrix. And then after I got, not necessarily tired, but then I heard this whole sound of indie-rock and the reverb-soaked guitars and just everything that these newer indie bands are doing, then that’s also an influence. I think everything you’re hearing is a mixture of the 80s and the classic and the blues and the indie-rock and all that kind of coming together.
If you had to describe the ‘Change Of Heart’ EP in three words, what would they be?
M: Loose and colourful.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with? Who would be your dream top 3 collaborations?
M: What would you say?
C: Oh man, you don’t want me to answer this question, you’d be like why would you say that?
M: Well, of course I’d answer with John Mayer.
C: John Mayer would be one. Honestly, Harry Styles. I’d love to get him on the record. His voice. It’s just, it’s Harry Styles, you can’t go wrong. As a band it’s kind of hard to collaborate because how would you incorporate them. I guess the easiest person to incorporate would be a guitarist.
M: Or like a guest vocalist, like of course I would want to work with Jesse Rutherford from The Neighbourhood.
C: Probably like a female vocalist to add vocal harmonies, that would be cool. Like how Beyonce adds harmonies to Frank Ocean. Both of those people would have to be on there.
That’s a pretty good list though! You’ve got a nice range of people.
C: You gotta think about lyrics too, like Ed Sheeran would be awesome to collaborate on lyrics.
My mum gets me to ask during every interview, what is your favourite app on your phone?
C: Probably for me, it’d definitely be Twitter. I use Twitter 24/7. But if I couldn’t pick a social media then it would probably be the Genius app which is the lyrics app. I use that all the time. So Twitter and Genius.
M: If I was going to say social media, it’s gunna sound old, but I’d probably choose Facebook. Because for the band a lot of the people I get in contact with through Facebook. Like finding people to book us for things or because we played with Vesperteen, I saw that he was doing a giveaway through your site and so then I contacted you. So really just from a band aspect I’ve really come to like Facebook. And then outside of that, it would have to either be Soundcloud or Words With Friends.
So my friend Grace wanted me to ask what your favourite dessert is? Apparently this question is the most important question anyone can ask and is important in deciding how good you are as a band and if she can be a fan.
C: I’ve been craving, and I love, Apple Pie. Like, I love apple pie so much. Cinnamon and apple and baked and then ice-cream and whipped cream; you cannot go wrong with that.
M: Would you consider candy to be a dessert?
I consider everything to be a dessert.
M: Because you are really into candy.
C: I always have sour candy on me, like I have to have a bag of sour candy a week.
My top drawer of my bedside table is full of sweets and biscuits and chocolates. It’s going to last me for like the whole year.
M: You would be Christian’s best friend.
C: It would be cool to have a drawer full of those, but I wouldn’t be able to make it last long. It’d be gone.
I’m trying hard to make it last.
M: I think for me if we’re talking like a specific, specific candy I’ve been hugely into KitKat lights. If you’re talking about dessert, you can’t really go wrong with ice-cream.
C: You honestly can’t go wrong with ice-cream.
When you’re buying music do you prefer to buy it as a CD, vinyl or digitally?
C: Vinyl, definitely vinyl. Like, I use streaming services so that’s my go to for music. Apple music is what I use, but I think if you want to support an artist these days and actually buy their records, I always go out and look for vinyl. CD’s are kind of a thing of the past. I know vinyls are really retro and it’s ironic that I say that, but CD’s don’t even have a novelty quality with it. With vinyl they’ll usually throw in a poster or something cool that gives you some incentive to go out and buy it – I think that’s cool. So the way I choose to support an artist is through their vinyls.
M: I think that vinyl is just a sham or a fad, I’m not really into vinyl. I own some, but I don’t really go out seeking vinyl, I wish that we had vinyl – like no rehearsal had vinyl, because people just eat that up, so they’d probably buy it and it’d be great. I usually just choose digital, I use Apple Music too. Vinyl is so big and you have to put it on the thing.
C: Yeah, but I don’t listen to vinyl. I just do it to buy it.
M: See that’s not good.
C: Why? I’m supporting the artist.
It’s so expensive.
C: It is expensive; I have 20 maybe at the most.
M: I think the really good thing about them is the extra stuff, the booklet or the poster and the extra stuff you get with it.
C: I have a 1975 vinyl and I got it signed, so all their signatures are on it like on their photo. Which is way cooler than having a CD that’s signed by The 1975.
What song do you think is the most challenging to play live?
M: For me, it would definitely be between ‘Can’t Stop’ or ‘He Loves you When She’s Not Around’ which is from our first EP. What would you say?
C: I don’t know. I’d probably say ‘Can’t Stop’, just because it has a reputation around me. There’s a part where all the other instruments go away and it’s just bass for a while, one time when I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing I messed up the timing and everyone was like wow why did you do that? That was so dumb. It’s not a technically hard part but it has this reputation that wow Christian’s going to mess up again. So I feel like every time I play that part all eyes are on me. It’s pretty easy but just mentally challenging.
M: ‘Can’t Stop’ is hard for everybody because it just has so many moving pieces that you have to focus on and it also is definitely a favourite live.
That’s one of my favourites. What was your earliest musical memory?
M: When you first asked that I was thinking, I got my first guitar Christmas of 6th grade. Maybe the fact that there’s such a variety of music that plays in my house, that’s always been a memory. My parents always play music loud through the speakers in my house when they’re doing stuff, you know it could be Barbra Streisand, it could be Metallica, it could be the Les Mis soundtrack. Right now it’s the Hamilton soundtrack non-stop, they’re seasonal too, they’ll have a Halloween playlist and a Christmas playlist.
C: Definitely one of the earliest was listening to N*Sync’s No Strings Attached record, I remember because we had that on CD and cassette, and I used to put it on this big stereo system in my house back when people actually had radios in their house. I would take it out and it would have 6 discs and I’d just put No Strings Attached in. I used to listen to that all the time, and I guess also getting your instrument. I got my first guitar in like 5th grade, I feel like every kid now who plays instruments somehow has it tied back to Guitar Hero and I think that has a big part in people our age who pick up instruments. It was such a good game.
What about your fondest musical memory? It could be something you’ve done yourselves or a concert that meant a lot to you.
M: I think one could definitely be the fact that I played SXSW in Austin, Texas – that’s a big one. I think also, knowing that I have two studio recorded EP’s that we wrote and arranged and produced by ourselves and we’re not even 20 years old yet. I think that’s something really big for us. There’s been something musical in my life since I can remember, it’s not necessarily playing because that started in 6th Grade but like hearing music in the house and then picking up a guitar and then learning how to sing and then joining choir in high school. There’s always fond musical memories throughout my life, so it’s just kind of like, those two things that mainly stand out.
C: I definitely think, a musical memory that hasn’t been us has definitely been the day I met the 1975 and then we saw them that night at a concert. I think that concert, for me, was life-changing. They’ve been my favourite band since junior year of high school and seeing them live in my home town is cool. That’s a great one. And playing shows at Darwin’s is always cool, people are always nice there and really into it. Like, we got asked for an encore the last time.
M: It’s a pretty cool experience for people to shout encore for you. We’re still at that point that we don’t have a defined fan base that are coming out to shows just to see us, they heard our set and they liked it enough that they wanted more.
Have you ever met an idol and freaked out?
M: I met John Mayer in my junior year of high school, me and my Mum met him because we got meet and greet tickets. I didn’t really say much, my Mum did the majority of the talking, but then after we had walked away I cried. That was weird because I don’t usually react like that, so I didn’t freak in front of him but I did freak out afterwards. That was kind of embarrassing.
C: I guess meeting The 1975 was really cool, but I’ve already talked about them. Also meeting The Neighbourhood was really awesome.
M: That was really cool actually. When we met The 1975 there were so many people that you just kind of got cycled through, you’d walk up and say hey and they’d sign it and then they moved along. It wasn’t very intimate. With John Mayer I got a couple of minutes. And when we met The Neighbourhood, I was in college and I was the last person in line to meet them, they had already met Christian and my girlfriend and my sister and they were like, when you go to Boston make sure you remember who my brother or friend or boyfriend is, and when I got there they were like ‘oh shit I remember you’.
C: They were so cool, it seemed genuine talking to them it didn’t seem scripted.
They seem like the coolest guys and I’d love to interview them. They’re all the nicest guys.
M: Have you tried to get twenty one pilots?
That would be the coolest thing. But they’ve just got so massive recently.
M: Yeah, they’ve blown up.
C: I remember last summer when Blurryface came out and I remember you saying like ‘have you heard the new twenty one pilots album, it’s kind of cool and different from their normal sound’. And this past summer it’s like they’re the biggest thing now.
It’s so strange, because it took a while for them to take off. Like Blurryface has been out for a while, but it’s only recently that they’ve really been everywhere.
M: I saw them when they opened for Paramore and they were like nothing, nobody was there to watch their performance and minimal clapping, this was when Vessel came out. But Blurryface has like shot them off. You can’t go anywhere without hearing ‘Ride’ or ‘Stressed Out’.
C: Or ‘Heathens’ now.
I love Heathens so much. It was so early when it came out here but I stayed up and was listening to it all morning. I go like 0-100 with any band, if I like a band then I have to be a crazy fan with merch and go to shows and know everything.
M: Did you see that Vesperteen took a photo with Josh Dun and Adam Hann?
Of course I saw that! Such awesome people. I love Vesperteen, such a cool dude.
C: They are cool people. Vesperteen was really nice.
M: I didn’t realise how big Jesse Cale was by himself.
C: He has like 14,000 followers, he just came up to us after the set and was like ‘your set was awesome’. That was so cool.
He is so lovely! His twitter is literally the best thing ever, if you are ever feeling down then that’s the place to be.
M: He was like sending pictures of puppies the other day!
He’s just amazing, he makes me laugh.
What would be your dream tour? In the past people have made entire festivals because choosing two bands is too difficult.
M: The first thing that came to mind was to recreate The Flood tour and have Honey, no rehearsal and The Neighbourhood. Or, us opening for John Mayer.
C: That wouldn’t be as fun, like it would be fun for you but like you’ve got to think about the crazy aspects. I want someone who is going to be crazy on tour.
M: And who would that be?
C: Man, I don’t even know. I would definitely think a tour with Honey would be cool.
M: Or we could do The 1975, The Neighbourhood and no rehearsal. That would never happen in a million years because that’s like two headliners but.
C: And the Arctic Monkeys.
M: Sure, if you wanna cut us out of the picture and have the Arctic Monkeys, The 1975 and The Neighbourhood do a tour, I’d love to see that.
C: The tickets for that would go so quickly! You’d have to be there as soon as tickets were released, and I’d have to sell a kidney. But I’d be there and front row if I could.
Ideally, where would you be in 5 years time?
M: I would hope national tours.
C: I’m not saying we have to be number one chart toppers, but like at least.
M: I’m looking at that within the next year or two.
C: Chart-toppers? That’s a long time. Think about twenty one pilots, they’re just making it and this is like their 3rd album, right?
M: I’d say national touring act, that would be ideal.
C: Probably, all the break-out artist before their breakout album. That’s where I see us in 5 years.
I think that’s achievable! You can definitely do that.
What would be our advice to other aspiring musicians?
M: I’m still aspiring, but everyone says this – just don’t give up. Keep on trying, we’re definitely living that right now. Being a musician isn’t necessarily the most respected profession, it’s not like becoming a doctor or lawyer.
C: It’s not respected until you make it.
M: Exactly, people won’t pay $10 for a ticket but will pay whatever amount for other stuff from respected professions. If this is what you want to do and you’re set on it then do whatever you can to be able to do. That’s what everyone tells us, so I’m just passing that down. This is what I’m set on doing, so I’m gunna keep on doing it. Even when we play for 5 people on a Sunday night, or less, you’ll come out of that feeling down, like we’re two EP’s in and there’s only 5 people here. But you have to keep on moving forward.
C: It’s also cool to look back at that and see our progress though. Less than two EP’s ago we didn’t have blogs posting about us, or the amount of plays we are gaining now or the amount of shows we do now, or the amount of people letting us play with them or telling us to talk to this guy, or we didn’t have City Promotions booking us last time. We didn’t have that in senior year.
M: The way that music is, if the right person hears your music then you’ll explode.
I have so much love for these guys, they’re wonderful people with fabulous music. If you’re in the US keep an eye out for live shows and make sure you show these guys some support.
Follow their social media pages to stay up to date:
Facebook: no rehearsal
This interview took place on 14/10/16.
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