Long Beach rockers Rival Sons have announced that seventh album Darkfighter, the follow-up to 2019’s Ferel Roots, will be released on March 10 next year.
The news is accompanied by the release of new single Nobody Wants To Die, the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino-style video in which the band play a series of shady characters – The Preacher, Fuzzlord, Smiles and MOFO, while bassist Dave Beste appears to play himself – who engage in a series of nefarious acts. There’s knife-throwing, and lots of blood, and exploding bibles, and a car chase, and it’s all terribly exciting.
“You live your life knowing that the sword of Damocles is hanging over your head by a thread,” explains frontman Jay Buchanan. “You’re fully aware of the impermanence of your existence, but you can’t think about it all the time – or it’ll fuck your life up. I used to work in a mortuary as a service advisor for a few years, driving and opening the hearses.
“I’d attend three funerals per day. Sometimes, they would be filled over capacity. Other times, it would just be me, a priest, and a hole in the ground. It doesn’t matter who you are; the great equaliser is coming. I was thinking of this because the music sounded like pursuit.”
Darkfighter was recorded in Nashville with longtime producer Dace Cobb, but its gestation goes back to lockdown, when Buchanan and guitarist Scott Holiday would trade ideas remotely. Once it was safe to meet in person, the pair worked together at home in Southern California, before making trips to Cobb’s studio.
“We spent more time on Darkfighter than any other record we’ve made,” says Holiday. “There was more emotion, passion, thought, and heart infused into the songs.”
As for the album title, it’s named after a series of unconnected people the group have met over the last decade.
“I call them ‘Darkfighters’, because they fight the darkness and work to lift the ones around them,” says Buchanan. “Looking around, there seems to be and endless supply of people propagating fear, trauma and unhappiness, but those Darkfighters are working in the opposite direction.”
We asked Holiday a few questions about Darkfighters.
How does it feel to be putting something out after all this time?
“It feels like the end of what I’d imagine a two-year pregnancy would feel like – painful… and a relief to finally be getting things out and sharing the new album! It wasn’t all pain but when you’re really digging in and trying to create something special, you get in a real vulnerable zone. I’ve always been my hardest critic, self-editing and really taking the ‘killing your darlings’ mentality. But what we’re giving you, I’m very proud of.”
What developments in Rival Sons does Nobody Wants To Die reflect?
“This is a sharply written track in my opinion. You hear something a little different and also familiar all at the same time. With this track, and the others on the new album, we’ve really moved away from referencing any obvious influences, and relied heavily on being the Rival Sons. Honing in on our sound and how we do things.”
How do you feel about the new video?
“The video for Nobody Wants To Die is the closest to my heart of any we’ve made. Me and Jay wrote it and worked tirelessly on completing it. We got a dynamite team together; people who really put their hearts into it, and produced a real fun, cool piece. It’s a high paced bang ‘em up – blow up, comedic movie telling a story of betrayal and revenge, all wrapped up in a high speed car chase through the deserts of California. You’re gonna love it.”
Darkfighter is available to pre-order/pre-save now (opens in new tab).
Rival Sons: Darkfighter tracklist
2. Nobody Wants to Die
3. Bird in the Hand
4. Bright Light
7. Horses Breath