Interview with The Relapse Symphony

The Relapse Symphony, from Washington, D.C, recently began the Rock N Roll Warriors Tour, with Phantoms. They came to the Canal Club in Richmond, Virginia and to the Sidebar in Baltimore, Maryland, on their first headlining tour. In Richmond, on March 15th, Anna Rhodes sat down with lead singer Bret Von Dehl and guitarists Ray Miller and JC Charles to discuss touring, influences, and fan experiences.

TRS2“We’re … the best we’ve ever been. I think the next record’s going to be the best ever.”


How would you say each of your albums are different from each other?

Bret: I would say they’re all super different from each other.

JC: People tell me we have a thing, but I’m like “I don’t know, man,” because we literally try to change every album, and people are like “no, you have a sound,” but I don’t know, I think they’re all different. The next one’s gonna be even more f***ing different. The next one’s gonna be way more rock.

Bret: They’re all pretty different.

JC: I would say, the EP, we didn’t know what the f*** we were doing. Shadows, we didn’t have any time, and so it was like, go write it in the studio, so there’s a lot of like, production stuff because we did it in the studio. Born To Burn, we also didn’t have any time, and then we had like line-up stuff happening while we were making it, which was awkward, because you have someone in the band that’s probably quitting the band, and you’re like trying to do a record. That was weird. And then you have like Warped Tour, it’s chaotic, craziness, and now we’re like the best we’ve ever been. I think the next record’s going to be the best ever.


What are the best and worst things about touring?

Ray: Long drives.

Bret: The worst is long drives for me.

JC: The worst is the food probably for me. I get sick of shitty food. The best is getting to see fans that we’ve been seeing for like three plus years now and meeting new people and I don’t know, I like seeing the people that we’ve been, you know, keep coming back, that’s always really good.


What’s your dream tour line-up?

Ray: Anything with Guns N Roses.

JC: I don’t know what the line-up would be, but we’re on it, obviously, Against Me, Rancid, Halestorm, cause they’re like a rock band that sells records, which there aren’t many of those, so I think that’d be cool, cause people would like show up, and then Danzig, cause I liked watching Danzig when we played with them.

Bret: I actually played this game with my friend the other day. We were trying to think of a festival of bands who like the members are still alive but they just won’t play together because they’re rock star idiots, Guns N Roses being one. Misfits was another one, and the original Hanoi Rocks. That’s who I would want to all to play together, because it’s like a little bit of punk, a little bit of rock and roll, a little bit of glam.

Ray: Mine would be all over the place. All Time Low, us, Guns N Roses, Architects. It would be a weird festival. One OK Rock, they’re pretty cool.


What are bands that you wished that you had the chance to see live?

JC: The Ramones.

Bret: I feel like this is what I think about, just all day, always, so I have so many answers. Guns N Roses.

Ray: Oh yeah, that’s a good one.

Bret: But I don’t want to hear no shit about like “well, at least they’re giving us something.” No. Izzy and Steven are not playing so it’s not Guns N Roses.

JC: Yeah, I’d say The Ramones.

Bret: The Misfits.

JC: Minor Threat.

Ray: Minor Threat.

JC: Bad Brains. I just watched this DC hardcore documentary called Salad Days, so I’ve been on like a Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Fugazi kick, so, something like that.

Bret: The original Black Flag would be great, too.


Who’s one person, dead or alive, that you wish you could meet?

Ray: Slash would be mine, he’s my influence for guitar playing.

JC: I wanna say Dave Grohl, Laura Jane Grace, they’re alive, and dead, Joe Strummer.

Bret: I have a lot of dead. I’ll try to think of an alive one cause there are so many dead ones. Tim Armstrong, I’d love to meet him, just cause he’s cool and I’d think he’d be hilarious.


What are your current favorite bands?

JC: They have a terrible name and you guys are going to be like “don’t say that,” but there’s this band called Monster Truck, from Canada, that I really like right now, and I’ve also been listening to a lot of Rites of Spring and I’ve been listening to a lot of this band called Dorothy.

Bret: It’s been a lot of Circle Jerks for me lately. I don’t have any like new bands that I’ve been listening to. Iggy Pop’s new record is awesome.

Ray: I’ve been jamming to a lot of …And Out Come the Wolves by Rancid.


What’s your favorite album of 2016 so far?

Bret: I like the new Blaqk Audio. It’s just a single.

JC: I like that Dorothy EP that I keep listening to. I don’t know when that came out.

Bret: I’m gonna say Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop. I haven’t even heard the new record yet, I’ve heard like five songs, but they’re amazing.


TRS1“Weird stuff is my life. Just everything.”


What’s your favorite album right now?

JC: I’ve been listening to a lot of Motorhead since Lemmy passed away.

Bret: I really like the last Motorhead record. My favorite record right now is probably (GI) by the Germs.

Ray: Mine’s definitely …And Out Come the Wolves by Rancid right now.


What’s something odd you’ve seen about yourself or your band on the internet?

JC: I saw a picture of me and [Bret] naked, cuddling, the other day. Like it was drawn, it wasn’t a photo.

Ray: There’s a video of a bunch of fans giving me this like, grade-school pencil box filled with like condoms and like a g-string.

JC: That was when you had just joined the band, too. That was like your first show with us or something.

Bret: Weird stuff is my life. Just everything. Everything from the fanfictions to “Bret Von Dehl is my favorite emo singer.”

JC: Hey, man, I like some emo. Jawbreaker, Rites of Spring.


What’s been your weirdest fan experience?

JC: Don’t take this the wrong way, we love our fans.

Ray: Some of them pretend to be our girlfriends.

JC: I don’t really think of them as fans though, as much as bored people on the internet. They’ll like pretend they’re dating you or start a rumor that’s not true. Or what I love is like somebody will post something negative about us, and then the same person will make a hate account, and then a fan account, and then they’ll fight with each other. And then they get a bunch of people to join in, and I know who it is, and I’m like “well, you look insane right now.” That’s the equivalent of like the Super Bowl is happening and I like buy everything from both teams and then I watch it and yell at myself, just keep changing my shirt.

Bret: That’s something we deal with.

Interview and photos by Anna Rhodes