Review Fix chats with Take the Reins’ drummer Matt Benson, who discusses the band’s origin, new album and goals for 2018.
Review Fix: How did the band get together? Or How did you get started in music?
Matt Benson: The band formed in 2011 and went through several lineup changes. In 2014- 2015 Dan Duffy (rhythm guitar) and David Burke (lead guitar player) joined the band. This is when we started to hit on all cylinders and the writing for our debut album Addiction by Subtraction really started to come together. We put out an EP in 2016 called Couldn’t Get It Right, and then we went back into the studio late spring of 2017 to record Addiction by Subtraction. Both were recorded at Bombshelter Recording Studio, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Dan Precision of Rise Against and 88 Fingers Louie. Right before we went into the studio, we parted ways with our bass player, and so Dan Precision played bass on 8 of the 12 tracks on the record.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Benson: Courtney starts the writing process and gets the general idea of the song going with her lyrics, chords, and melody, then brings it to the rest of the band for a collaborative process to finish the structure of the songs. For the album, we then took 10 of the 12 songs to Adam Krier of AM Taxi and Lucky Boys Confusion at Sound Summit Studios to do pre-production and fine tune the songs before we hit the recording studio.
Review Fix: Whats your standout song on your current album? How was it written?
Benson: We’ve been really grateful for all the positive feedback for the whole album, but we released South Side Rules as the single and it has been a crowd favorite. The song was written by Courtney about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, and her always trying to prove to herself that she was more than her surroundings and circumstances.
Review Fix: What did you learn from this last album? How did it affect your future?
Benson: This album was somewhat of a therapy session for us, examining the issues of addiction in our lives whether it be to substances, relationships, or just bad situations. The album allowed Courtney to write it all down so that she could move past it and become a better version of herself.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2018?
Benson: Do some touring and get on as many great shows and festivals as possible to get our music out there. Shoot another music video, and work on getting radio play
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you?
Benson: We have been described as the Pretenders meets Joan Jett. Our diverse musical interests come out in our music, giving us a sound all our own. Deeply rooted in punk rock, alternative, rock, and alt-country. Brian Shamie of the Chicago Daily Herald said, “Courtney knows how to deliver a tender beatdown with soaring melodies that really pack a punch.”
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Benson: We want people to feel the heart and soul that we put into the music, and we hope it helps them find their paths to more positive situations. But mostly, we want them to enjoy the music and interpret it how they will.
Review Fix: Why is this new album special?
Benson: We have had a lot of incredible people see the potential of this record, who wanted to be a part of it and have helped us along the way. The end-result was even better than we could have anticipated.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Benson: Writing songs for the next record, playing as many shows as possible, getting the music out there to be heard, and having fun along the way.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Benson: We just want to thank everyone who has been supportive along the way, especially our families and our extended TTR family. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are without all of their patience and support.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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