Take 3 friends, add creativity, talent and a spark of freshness. Put everything together and you’ll have a great band. This is the recipe for Atlanta’s pop trio REPTILE ROOM.
The first time I’ve heard their track ‘SUNLITE’ I was actually scrolling down my ‘For You’ TikTok’s page and this banging tune was the background music for a video that know reached 4.1 MILLION views. The song should have at least twice the streamings!
It’s damn catchy, amazingly produced and performed, a track that sounds like a stripped back version but at the same time makes you wanna drive your car at sunset with the windows down in the most energetic mood you could ask for. A mix of Post Malone, THE XX and cinematic vibes. A never predictable atmosphere that I promise you, It’ll make you fall in love with Sami, Bill and Sean.
We wanted to know more about their story before it’ll be too hard to reach them! So sit down, turn up the volume and remember that searching for the bright side in life is the secret to make great things happen. They’re the perfect example.
YMX: Can you tell us about yourself as an artist? Where are you now, how you started, and what are your goals.
REPTILE ROOM: Reptile Room is an experience. We think of ourselves as something wild that’s been trapped in a box, and the music is a healthy mix of different vibes and inspirations with the intention of staying consistent in our evolution. We operate as a band, so we write everything together and create as a unit. The three of us all have strengths we like to play to at the same time…I naturally write the majority of lyrics and the guys are always working on instrumentals, but we also take cues from one another and use our collective opinions as guidelines while exploring our sound. We all got started the same way…actually Sean, Bill and I were all members of the first band I was ever in! So we have all been working together for a long time and are very close friends. Bill worked as a mix engineer and Sean and I moved through multiple creative projects, making our way to what would eventually become Reptile Room. RR has come a long way from the basement of our parents’ house to being signed by OM Records in August of 2019. Our number one goal is, naturally, to have a positive impact on people’s lives…and to hopefully provide an outlet for them to feel through. We make music because we love it and it brings us more joy than anything else in this world, and to see others respond to it and relate to us is always our highest priority and the driving force behind RR. I miss touring, but until the world allows something like that again, we just want to stay focused on creating music and engaging with our fans and other artists…it’s all about finding a connection.
YMX: Some of our readers might not be familiar with you yet, how would you describe your sound?
REPTILE ROOM: Our sound has slowly evolved since our EP release back in 2017, but generally and categorically speaking we call ourselves Electro-Pop. RR follows a lot of the structures and sensibilities of Pop music, but we lean heavily on electronic soundscapes and tools. We work with Native Instruments a lot and find that we identify with some of our label mates on Om Records, like Bassnectar and Kaskade. At the same time, a lot of our influences vary drastically, from Diplo to The Killers, we like a lot of different styles of music and we try to bring out those inspirations in our work. We want to make music that gets stuck in your head, but for all the right reasons.
YMX: Who have been your biggest influences so far?
REPTILE ROOM: The three of us are very eclectic in our musical tastes, but we share most of them, which is what makes our sound so unique as well as familiar. I love Imogen Heap, Jeff Buckley, legendary vocalists like Janis Joplin and Peggy Lee, bands like the Killers and The War on Drugs, but I’m also on a huge Banks tear right now…Bill has always been a fan of Diplo, The Weekend/Post Malone, but also loves artists like Washed Out…while Sean is a big fan of James Blake’s…we are all fans of good work and I think that every work of art resonates with each of us differently. We follow what we love.
YMX: You just released a new track called ‘SHADOWS’ too. Could you tell us how the project came about?
REPTILE ROOM: “Shadows” is our newest single release and it came fairly quickly once we started in on it…Initially, Sean had developed a musical hook and eventually the lyrics and melody followed. I was having trouble with the verses at first, just generally feeling uninspired by my own work. I had to leave for Germany soon after starting the piece and when I came back, I had written several poems in the early mornings on nights I couldn’t sleep. At that point, something just clicked and all of a sudden the song was just, there…it was whole. We spent some time in production adding little things and eventually the main synth that does a call and return with the vocal lead landed and the tune was done. It took all of two sessions to knock it out. It’s funny now…the three of us discuss how interesting it is to watch the work evolve and to study ourselves in that process…to think that one day you have no ideas, but with time and space you suddenly find yourself with completed work, and in only one session. It’s wild! Just showing up and trying is always the necessary step to eventually finding that sweet spot in the writing process. If you don’t show up when you’re stumped, you don’t get the same rewards.
YMX: 2020 has been a hard year for everybody, especially for musicians such as yourselves with the absence of performing live. How have you been coping this year? musically speaking.
REPTILE ROOM: 2020 has been insane!! All of the plans we had for touring and travelling were cancelled/postponed and it definitely got us frustrated for a time…There were a couple of months where we would just get together and talk…we wouldn’t do anything musically, just vented and strategized; discussing what we wanted to do with all of these new changes in our lives and how we could harness the potential from them. Sometimes we didn’t know what to do and being in a band with your best friends really solidified our bonds and made it easier to navigate the uncertainty of the times. Eventually, we got right back to writing and creating. Although keeping our mental health on track required some adjustments, we have stayed consistent in our writing process as well as our releases. RR came out with “Sunlite” (the single we released before “Shadows” made its debut) just as we were all going into quarantine, so we ended up with an eerie but really fulfilling lyric video for that song. Music has always been cathartic and is a necessary part of processing life, so we’ve really dug into it. As Nina Simone said, “It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live,” and we have been diligent in our responsibility to that duty.
YMX: What does playing live represent for you? a way to make yourself known or a way to express yourself?
REPTILE ROOM: Performing live is one of my favourite things to do in this world. It uses to be a way of breaking out, and into a scene (locally or nationally) while gaining some fans along the way…You could even play shows without having any recorded material to sell and still make an impression that could put you in better rooms, on bigger tours and on the road to a successful musical career, but a lot has changed in the past few years. Now you don’t even need to perform, really. You can do so much virtually that live performances are more for personal pleasure. Before the pandemic, we were touring and all of it made sense, but now we have shifted our focus to growing outside of any physical scene and expanding to places like Italy and Portugal via playlists and the internet. In all honesty, I can’t wait till live performances can happen again; it feels like I’ve had to give up one of my greatest joys. I want to live on the stage and being in lockdown for so long has been hard on all of us. I’ve always thought of the show nights as our rewards for the hard work we put in off the stage, in the studio and at home. Forcing a break from the stage has had its benefits though, and ultimately we will come back stronger than ever because of it, but performing live is an integral part of making music for me; one that not only allows me to express myself in ways that the studio process doesn’t but also in connecting with people in a very raw and visceral way. There is nothing like it and we miss it terribly.
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future? in terms of releases, live streams, gigs?
REPTILE ROOM: The future is bright, as we are running straight into it without doubts or hesitation! RR has been creating a lot of content that will be released on our Patreon page, as well as our IG (@reptileroomofficial) and all of the things we’ve done so far can be found on our website – www.reptileroommusic.com. With respect to new releases, we will continue pushing “Shadows” and will ultimately release a music video for that, followed by several newer singles that are sitting on ready. Our goal is to stay consistent in our output in spite of the world’s condition…when things get back to a more normal place, we will be ready to rock. Live streams are few and far between, but we have been composing pre-recorded performances of some secret tunes and have big plans for some new music, including another album when the time is right. Gigs are our friends and we miss them, but we probably won’t be hitting the road anytime soon. Although we will have several local shows and private parties (all of which adhere to the safety requirements we all now live by, like mask-wearing and social distancing), we won’t be touring again until sometime in late 2021. Check out our website for more information on our upcoming events and when they will be going down! Thanks so much for talking with us!! \m/