Rob Ingraham, sax player for acclaimed New Orleans-based band The Revivalists, has touched base with DittyTV to chat about the group’s latest offering, Made In Muscle Shoals Vol. 2, a live studio EP released on June 17th via Concord Records as the follow up to the initial 2020 Made In Muscle Shoals release that included the band’s breakout platinum crossover smash “Wish I Knew You,” #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative hit “All My Friends,” a cover of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” and a mini-documentary directed by Jay Sansone/Human Being Media.
We dig into the magic of FAME Recording Studio, some dos and don’ts for the band members, what it was like to work with Sansone on this new batch of now award-winning videos, and much more.
5 Questions with The Revivalists’ Rob Ingraham
1) With all the legendary studios around the world, what is it about FAME that pulls you in and keeps you coming back?
There’s a sound that belongs to Muscle Shoals. It’s a bit of a cliché, but there’s just something in the walls at FAME. It may be psychological- when you step into a place like FAME, you know you’re walking in the footsteps of giants, and you’re using the same machines that made some of the greatest recordings in the history of music, and that primes you to approach the process in a certain way – but I like to think that certain studios and venues just have a bit of extra magic in the timbers.
2) In your opinion, what’s at the heart of this new collection of songs?
Authenticity. Most of the material from the Made in Muscle Shoals EPs comes from our previous albums. But this was about a desire to capture a bit more of the raw energy of a live performance. So much of modern recording is about piecing things together bit-by-bit and striving for perfection, and there’s nothing wrong with that- it’s certainly our M.O. in the studio- but we wanted to create something that showcases a really important side of what we do: friends, in a room together, playing some of our favorite songs.
Bonus: What was it like to work with Director/Producer Jay Sansone on your new live-performance videos?
There’s always some back and forth whenever we’re thinking about having cameras in the studio- will it be a distraction? Will it make it harder for us to harness the proper mindset? Are we revealing too much? These are valid concerns, but not when Jay is involved. They caught an incredible amount of footage, and, frankly, overdelivered by leagues. The idea was they would capture maybe one or two songs, some interviews, a little bit of B-roll… Just a bit of content. What we ended up with was an award-winning documentary and performance videos of seven songs (and counting!) So, to answer your question succinctly: Good.
3) What are some definite dos and don’ts for the members of The Revivalists when it comes time to enter the studio to record?
I recently read something that I thought was absolutely brilliant: “People who describe themselves as ‘brutally honest’ are usually more interested in brutality than honesty.” Communication can be one of the greatest challenges in the studio. You have to be honest, particularly when you don’t think something is working, but at the same time, everyone needs to feel like they have space to express themselves and explore ideas they’re excited about. Creative disagreements are tricky because there’s no objective truth or “best way” to make art, and we’re all emotionally invested in the work that we do. So, the rules are check your ego at the door, don’t forget you’re talking to a human being, and remember that we’re all working toward the same goal: to make the best music we can make.
4) How was it performing to a sold-out crowd at Red Rocks in Colorado, and what shows/festivals are you excited about for the remainder of the year?
…Speaking of special places. This year’s Red Rocks was a little emotional for us because that was actually the last of our long-postponed dates from 2020. Looking to the future, we’ve got some shows in Canada next month, and, as much as I’m excited to cross off a new city (Montreal!), I’m really looking forward to getting out of New Orleans for a bit of this brutal summer we’re having. I can’t leave the house for more than a few minutes without needing a shower. It’s crazy- it’s almost like the climate is changing or something. Anyway, Canada. Lovely place.
5) Could you name one or two music videos from other artists that impressed you recently and explain why?
I’m stretching the definition of “recently” here, but I think the last thing that really blew me away was Beyoncé’s Black Is King. It’s such a captivating symphony of color and symbolism that merges so well with the music and says a lot without spelling anything out.