(Photo Credit - Mike Colletta)
Reptile Room are a fantastic electro-pop trio consisting of Bill Zimmerman and siblings, Sean and Sami Michelsen, from Atlanta, GA. Their new album, 'Jade', is about to drop on August 9. Check out our Advance Review of Jade as well as an Artist Spotlight interview with the band!
Advance Review - Reptile Room - Jade
Reptile Room storm the gate with their new album, Jade! The beats are hot and Sami Michelsen's vocals are dynamic throughout the trio's album. Right out of the chute, "Games," a song that features the trademark line "you always fuck with my head" says all you need to know thematically about the track. It's a song from a narrative perspective of someone who is tired of being put through "games."
This album is great at building what I'll term as "sonic atmospheres" for the listener. Utilizing synth, beats, and sound, Reptile Room creates an environment on every track for the listener. So much so, that you almost feel encompassed by the sound. This is especially present on "Design."
Autotune is used on Sami Michelsen's vocals in various parts of the album; however, it never goes overboard (which is extremely easy to do for this reviewer). What remains clear is that Sami Michelsen has a powerful voice and wide register, and she utilizes those skills throughout the album. Another high point of the album came on "Ghost" where the heavy basslines paired perfectly with Michelsen's vocals, making her vocals seem like a gentle smoke rising above a flame.
Closing Thoughts - Reptile Room are certainly an act on the rise. Their tight use of melody and vocalization keeps them leaps and bounds among many in their genre. The electro-pop genre is tough one to pin down as far as who breaks out, but I would definitely recommend keeping your eyes on Reptile Room. They're just that good.
Rating - 4.5/5
Artist Spotlight - Reptile Room
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"We as a trio have grown up together. Sean and I have been full-time musicians for five years. I have been a singer my whole life. It's been about a decade of steady performing and pushing."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"We feed off of each other. We'll decide we are going to make a song. Start with something we like (melody, beat, or riff) we will build it up and ping pong ideas back and forth until it grows into a creature of it's own. But it really does depend on each individual song."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Imogen Heap, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, James Blake, Bob Dylan, The Killers. Vocally, I'm about feeling myself and vibing on people's energy to push myself."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"My favorite gear is vocal synth by isotope (plug-in), I love the shine it creates splitting the levels of the vocals. We're also big fans of the Native Maschine."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"We want everyone to have fun and dance and party. Our music carries a certain undertone of weight to it, a bit of drama. It evokes emotion as well as having fun. We joke and laugh on stage and then have moments of extreme intensity. The lighting is also extremely surrounding as well."
"Venue-wise it's all about the stage and the sound. I like for venues to have a certain type of monitor system and stage. But at the same time, whatever if the vibe is there we'll have a great time."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"Just the public knowing about the music would be epic itself. A big thing is breaking through all of the sound of everyone else. Just being able to break out above that noise so people can know to come see you is a big deal for us."
"I just want them to enjoy. There's a big picture purpose of the music where we write to heal the world or inspire people and on the other hand there's a micro piece of it where we write to heal ourselves. Anything we can do to make life easier and happier, we are all for it."
7. Can you tell us about the writing and recording process of Jade?
"With Jade in particular we wrote 12 songs that were pretty strong and widdled down to the 7. We didn't set out to write a record. We just started to create and the songs started to link together. There's a theme with respect to soundscapes and lyrical themes. We took it song by song. When we composed it we definitely felt it was more of a record than it isn't."
"When we wrote our first EP, we just put it out. This time, we felt like we wanted to put something out we knew was going out. We are hungrier for it, we are going for it. It was a very intentional journey."