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10 Quick Ones with SARA CODA of SILENT RIVAL – August 2017

According to a recent press release: “The title of Silent Rival’s debut album, The Kindness of Strangers, can be interpreted quite literally. Several years ago, vocalist Sara Coda responded to a compliment about her coat by immediately taking it off and giving it to the admirer. Then she turned the experience into music—a torch-song-cinematic-show-stopper “Take It From Me,” which deals with the idea of leaving the past behind. Examining that past, and using it as a starting point for new beginnings, is a common theme throughout The Kindness of Strangers. However, the Los Angeles based band—Coda, guitarist Joz Ramirez, bass player Yutaka Sao, and drummer Brock Bowers—thrives on rising from the ashes. “I’ve got to die a little, to live at all!,” Coda exclaims on the first single, “Die A Little”.” We get vocalist Sara Coda to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, her influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This is our first album together as a band. Joz and I were in a different band together before but a lot of things changed when we started writing and recording. A couple members quit, I don’t know why, maybe because the road ahead was so daunting. It ended up being just Joz and I. Since there were fewer people we had to compromise with, it just became something really special and personal to us. It is our bare beating hearts. And Matt Wallace has a sixth sense for anything that you don’t wholeheartedly mean, so he pushed us even more to make sure everything was real and honest. He also made the process very fun. He was hands on and in the trenches with us, coming up with bass lines or throwing out ideas to think about lyrically. He was super fun to hang out with as a person. Many times I forgot we were making an album. I thought we were just hanging out and jamming. As far as a secret little tidbit, when Joz was recording the bass for the album, he was asking himself “What would Yutaka do?” Joz and Yutaka were in a band together previously and recording the bass was probably when the seed got planted in his head to recruit Yutaka for Silent Rival. Then later when we were looking for bass players, Yutaka saw the ad, heard the music, and could tell it was Joz and I, and instead of replying to the ad, he texted Joz and said “Hey I heard you’re looking for a bass player.” Needless to say, we took the ad down and Yutaka rolled his rig in and that was that.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

This is always a hard question for me to answer because I don’t have a memory of discovering music or falling in love with it, although I remember every second of being in love. My mom was a singer and I think she knew I was a singer before I did. She wrote in my baby book that I loved to sing. I was always obsessed. I remember watching The Little Mermaid and asking my mom why Ariel gave up her singing career to get married.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, Queen, U2, and Gladys Knight

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Pharrell

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Catchy and singable alternative rock with bravado.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Hands down no question, the best part about being a musician is having the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people around the country. And since music brings people together, I meet a lot of people who are really open with me and tell me their stories, stories that are way more interesting than mine! Like when we were shooting Die a Little, there was a woman who was working in the liquor store that we used for the location. She told me the song reminded her of her son who overdosed. I was so heartbroken when she told me the story and SHE ended up trying to get ME to be optimistic about her situation. She was telling me how grateful she was when she found her job at the liquor store. I was amazed by her strength. I’m usually floored by the incredible people in this world that I get to cross paths with because I’m a musician.

7. When the band is all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When we’re all hanging out together, Yutaka cooks. Although I definitely use the term “cooks” loosely because he just pours boiling water on dehydrated noodles. But, hey, it sustains us. He usually shows up to rehearsal with a box of donuts or pastries. He’s also the one who got us all Micheladas from the gas station because he had dreamed of trying Micheladas his whole life. We tried to convince him that we should get them at a legit Mexican restaurant instead of drinking them out of styrofoam cups but he couldn’t be dissuaded. Joz is usually laying on the floor fiddling with the guitar at all times, so it’s kind of up to me if I wanna turn it into a jam session. I usually bust out my “silly” Motown backup singer voice. But occasionally I have to be a party pooper and bust out the iPhone, make them pay attention, and schedule stuff.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I’ve thought about this a lot and I would be a mattress tester. I’m not sure if that’s a real thing, but I would be down to offer my services and sleep on various mattresses for hours and hours and give a thorough analysis.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Yeah. When you’re flyering and the door guy tells you to move two inches to the left, just move.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

One record in history? That’s way too hard to choose. But one of the MANY that come to mind that’s relatively recent is Awolnation Megalithic Symphony. I love the energy and eclectic blend of influences and genres and the absurdity of the lyrics. It’s great from beginning to end and sounds so good turned up loud as hell. I remember when I first heard it, it totally reinvigorated me. It was refreshing, but relevant, and not one bit of compromise on the integrity. It was proof that the real thing is still out there and alive.

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10 Quick Ones with SARA CODA of SILENT RIVAL - August 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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