Repeater and

the Revealer

Brit-rockers Repeater collaborate with mega-producer Ross Robinson to bear their souls on their new album

   t was a day like any other when the members of the Long Beach band Repeater got an unexpected message on their Myspace page that would change their path forever. The message simply read: “I want to work with you guys.” While this might seem like an insignificant memo on a silly social networking site, the fact that the words came from legendary producer, Ross Robinson, should explain the significance of the situation.  

Robinson, who has made a habit of discovering the next wave of bands before the industry does, heard something on Repeater’s media player that resonated deeply within him. Maybe it was the Brit-rock vibe that is reminiscent of The Cure. Maybe it was the tormented vocals of singer Steve Krolikowski, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that limits linguistic and cognitive development. Maybe he heard the hunger of a band that is willing to do anything to succeed. 

Whatever it was that enlivened him led to a quick meeting of the parties, a few long conversations about purpose and meaning, and a couple of months locked away in Robinson’s Venice Beach home studio where the material for their new album was created. Robinson’s “bleed the song” mentality meshed well with Repeater’s intensity, and the result is a cutting-edge new album that will give the band every opportunity in the world to realize their dreams of notoriety.

The recording process may have concluded in late June, but the band is already planning to tour and promote the new material. The boys are confident that they don’t need record labels and industry politics to make it to the top, even if it requires them to take the hard road, and their attitude is already paying off—at least one important fan is willing to put his reputation and pocketbook on the line for their success.

I

Story by Jon D’Auria

How’s the new album coming along?

Steve: The drums have been done for a while and all of the basic tracks have been recorded. We’re almost done. We have 11 songs completed. It was easy for the most part, but we changed around some things in the studio. It feels amazing to be at this point right now.


Rob: When Ross contacted us, we only had four or five songs written, so we went crazy writing the rest before we entered his studio. We wanted to be as prepared as possible going in to work with him.


And what was the writing process like, other than frantic?

Rob: Someone will bring in a riff, a bass line, a guitar part or an idea for a melody and Steve will just run with it. He has a super musical brain, so it speeds the process up, big time. Steve and I have been in bands together for eight years, so we know how we both write–individually and together.


So how did your collaboration with Ross Robinson come about?

Victor: It happened by random chance, through Myspace actually. Rob added some friends from Idiot Pilot’s page and Ross was in that list of fiends. I got a call from Rob at work and he said that Ross Robinson had contacted him and that he wanted to work with us. It was surreal. We totally thought it was someone playing a joke on us. When we found out it wasn’t we were so thrilled, but nervous as hell. He’s done so many albums that we love so much.


What’s it like to work with Ross?

Steve: We’ve worked with other great producers in the past, but Ross is amazing. He blows everything else we’ve done out of the water. We’re in this amazing bubble of his at Venice Beach that isolates us with him and our music. It is amazing and intense at the same time. We’re looking at everything in and out and we’re expressing more than we ever could with these songs. He makes different emotions be very specific to different songs. He picks an image in a song that applies to us and that makes every song intense in a different way.

“We’re looking at everything in and out and we’re expressing more than we ever could with these songs.“

-Krolikowski

Ross, what initially attracted you to Repeater?

Robinson: I actually go through all of the bands that add me on Myspace and listen to their music. It’s an ocean of average, but when a band is worthwhile, it shifts my insides. With every band that I’ve worked with, there are certain things that I attach to, and that was definitely the case with Repeater. They play the style of music that I love and there’s no barrier between their heart and the music. I knew immediately that I wanted to work with them upon first listen.


And what’s it like working with them so far?

Robinson: It sucks! They’re dirty men and they sleep together with their shirts off. (laughing) It’s great to be with them through this process. I can feel the gratitude in everything they do. They are vigilant soldiers and I’m pushing them to get every bit out of themselves. You have to be grateful to make music and they have certainly honed that.


What do you find of yourself in the music of Repeater?

Robinson: They allow me to be as creative as I want to be. I don’t think I’ve held back in any way. If I suggest something, they’ll try it, and if it sucks, we kick it out. We’re creating the unknown together and it is exciting.


And have you had to throw any objects at their heads yet?

Robinson: Not yet, but the day is still young. I might have to hurl something by the end of this interview. You never know.

“I can feel the gratitude in everything they do. They are vigilant soldiers and I’m pushing them to get every bit out of themselves. You have to be grateful to make music and they have certainly honed that.” -Robinson

That’s why I often conduct interviews over the phone–safety first! So getting back to the band, describe the sound of this new album.

Rob: Our last record was a culmination of our first three years as a band. We had an initial idea when we started that didn’t work out as we planned. Music does what it wants to and you can’t force anything. We tried to make our first effort sound like a David Bowie record that just didn’t come out cohesively. This record has everything–faster, deeper songs and a cohesive sound.


What recurring themes appear throughout this album?

Rob: After going through writing and recording this, it’s almost a cathartic event in our lives. Each song starts in a bad place and works itself of it by the end. There’s always a climax and a resolution. Our songs lacked that before. This time they’re always moving forward in a positive way. It’s the theme of watching ourselves in a movie.


Steve: The last album was centered on darkness and inner struggles with no resolve. This one was a lot of hope in it. It feels good to create music that has a ray of light through it. Hopefully, it will uplift the listener.


Victor, what’s been the biggest challenge in capturing this album?

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it was capturing the feelings and emotions of each song that we recorded. Ross has taught us how to play for the true purpose of the song. We’ve really begun to bleed these songs.


Steve, how do you go about writing your lyrics?

Rob and I have always made a point to write the music first to lay down the foundation and the core feel of the song. The music sets the tone and I write around it. The lyrics almost always have to do with something going on around me, but I think that everyone goes through the same things, so they can apply to anyone. The lyrics on this album are way more personal and romantic than any lyrics I’ve written before.


How did Repeater form as a band in the first place?

Rob: Steve and I were in a band before called the Mainframe, and when it began to fall apart, we wanted to start something new and different.


Victor: I was a big fan of their band and they put a post on their page saying that they broke up and were looking for a new project. I wrote to them asking if they needed a guitarist and they said they needed a bass player. I had never played bass, but I lied to them and said that I was also a bass player. It seems to have worked out.


Wow, so you guys owe a lot of your success to Myspace.

Rob: Oh yes! Myspace united us and brought Ross to us. “Myspace–a place for friends.”

Rob, what have you guys learned from this studio process that you didn’t know before?

For me, the greatest gift that Ross has given us is the guidance and confidence to be ourselves. Out here in L.A., everyone tries to play perfectly and everyone tells you how to be and how to look. Ross has taught us how to let out what is inside of us and to embrace the fact that it’s not perfect-sounding, it’s passionate. The simple act of Ross backing us is gratification itself.


And Ross, what have you learned from working with Repeater on this album?

I’ve noticed that there’s a running theme for me in discovering these artists: I love frustrated nerds, from Jonathan (Davis) from Korn, who was the first one I worked with, to Daryl (Palumbo) from Glassjaw. They have a feeling of wanting to explode and be nice at the same time, so it makes for insane emotion. Steve’s song lyrics, like the other nerds I’ve worked with, exude such torture in such a beautiful way. Society puts people in a place with how to act and how to look–it’s so unfair to our souls. The most pent-up people are the sweetest and they all want to explode, so I help them explode.


And have you made them explode thus far?

Oh, definitely. They’ve met all of my expectations. The result is so spontaneous and so inspired. It’s going to make people who listen to it ace tests and paint paintings. My friend who is a movie director said that this record sounds like the most beautiful representation of California. He said it’s like the Beach Boys from the ’60s but modernized and different.


So what do you guys expect the listeners to get from this album upon first listen?

Rob: That it’s either the best record they’ve ever heard—or the worst. I want them to feel something they’ve never felt before. I want it to make people want to do something.


Steve: People might sit in silence because it’s all one orchestrated piece. Ross is making it the best album possible, so at very least, it will sound amazing. I want bigger things thing from it though–I want it to rejuvenate people’s faith in music.


Rob, what is to come after the completion of this album?

We’re going to finish this up in July and then rehearse for a tour that will follow. We’re going to go out to CMJ and then the big work happens after that. We want to spend many years on the road.


Are you at all worried about the comedown that ensues leaving your bubble of creativity in Ross’ world?

Steve: We’ve put the world aside in being here, but we have to jump right back into it. I’m excited for whatever is next to come.


Victor: Honestly, I am ready to get out there and play live again. I need some normalcy back in my life, and being onstage is a big part of that.


Rob: I got sad because I recorded my last song today and it made me realize how amazing this has been and how much I’m going to miss it. We don’t want to stop here, but there are bigger things for us to conquer outside of this studio.


                                                                                                                          -GX-

“After going through writing and recording this, it’s almost a cathartic event in our lives. Each song starts in a bad place and works itself of it by the end. There’s always a climax and a resolution.” -Wallace

“(The biggest challenge) was capturing the feelings and emotions of each song that we recorded. Ross has taught us how to play for the true purpose of the song. We’ve really begun to bleed these songs.” -Victor C

Krolikowski channels his demons in the studio with Robinson

Victor C tracking bass in the studio

Repeater and Robinson (center) enter the white light

Repeater: Rob Wallace (keys), Steve Krolikowski (vox/guitar), Matt Hanief (drums),

Victor C (bass) and Alex Forsythe (guitar)

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