We caught up with Brandon Reilly from The Movielife to talk about the new album, Cities In Search of a Heart, an upcoming U.K. tour and their legacy as melodic hardcore legends.
You’re about to drop Cities In Search of a Heart, your first album in fourteen years, how are you feeling on the cusp of its release?
Mind numbingly ecstatic! On top of the world, Ma!
Although you’ve been back playing shows for a couple of years, does signing to Rise Records and recording new material feel like a fresh start for The Movielife?
It absolutely is a fresh start. Can’t wait for everyone to hear the new album, and we hope to see many of you on our UK headline tour in November.
How do you think the intervening years have evolved the band’s sound?
Vinnie and I have grown exponentially as songwriters. He did incredible things with I Am The Avalanche, and his debut solo album is my favourite thing he’s ever done, save for the new Movielife album. I did a bunch of releases with Nightmare of You, which I fronted, during those years, and just released a solo EP as well. There was a lot of time for reflection and growth between 2003 and now, and I believe that shows on Cities In Search of a Heart.
Mercy Is Asleep At The Wheel was the first track you revealed from the new record. What can you tell us about that track and why was it chosen as the first taste?
I felt very influenced by Seaweed on that one. Lyrically, it’s a comment on American culture at this present moment. I think it was the best first song to premiere because it’s very well rounded, and captures the signature of past Movielife, but also gives a new taste of where we are at now. It feels like an appropriate continuation from where we left off on Forty Hour Train Back To Penn.
More recently you released Ghosts In The Photographs, what’s the story of that track?
It’s one of my favourite songs on the record. It gives a glimpse into what the music has evolved into, after being away fourteen years. Melodically, Vin and I have taken a different approach with this song than what we would have done a long time ago. It’s more thoughtful and crafted, despite the simplicity of the chord changes.
It’s fair to say your last full length Forty Hour Train Back To Penn is considered a seminal record, does that affect the task of writing new material?
Yes. Everyone will compare our new record with Forty Hour. That’s natural. And sure, we felt some pressure there – but that subsided once we got into our writing groove and mutually agreed that this record surpasses Forty Hour in virtually every aspect. With that said, I understand how nostalgia works, and perhaps it’ll be hard for some people to accept that there’s a new record. I’ve been there with my favourite bands – and it’s ok!
There are a lot of bands around now that would cite The Movielife as a big influence, does that go both ways? Do you ever find influence in any of the younger bands you tour with?
It doesn’t happen much for me – but I’m also a little out of the loop. But for example, the new Prawn record is remarkable. Hearing some of those tunes gave me some inspiration. Not to mention, they are lovely guys and are working hard. It inspires me to keep my youth and playfulness in check, and to not be one of those older, cynical band guys. I vow to never be that. So, I would say that most of my inspiration from younger bands doesn’t come so much from their music as their attitudes and work ethic.
What do you think fans would be most surprised to learn influenced the new record?
The world has become a very different place since 2003, did that influence Cities In Search of a Heart?
Completely. So much has changed, and too much hasn’t.
You’re coming back to the United Kingdom in November for some shows, what can fans expect from them?
You will hear a ton of classic, fan favourite, old songs and approximately five or six new songs. Long sets, since they are headliners. Small clubs – very intimate. Get your tickets.
Are you excited to play those smaller clubs again?
Yes – it’s way easier to connect with the audience that way. The Movielife has never felt like a big venue band, although those are fun too.
Fans of The Movielife have got a lot to keep them happy in the here and now, but what does the future hold for the band?
Vinnie and I are going to make another album next year, but in the meantime, we will be touring a ton until then.