“Live from the End of the World”: RBTS WIN at Moogfest 2014
When Javier Bolea and Brien Worsham of RBTS WIN first met, it was a moment of instant synthesis, akin to love at first sight. “[Worsham] came up to me and touched my eyelids,” says Bolea, adding that it was totally not creepy. “When you’re in a band, you form a closeness,” he adds. “We had that immediate connection.” Bolea moved to Asheville in 2006 and joined forces with Worsham in 2008. Since then, the band has loomed large on the local scene and has performed three times at Moogfest. This year, they were joined onstage by long-time creative partners Josh Chassner, on guitar, and Kent Hernández, the band’s graphic designer, on keyboard. Their Saturday night performance at Moogfest was an energy-filled showcase of old favorites and new material that drew a diverse crowd of devoted locals as well as plenty of new ears. Charlotte, N.C.-based rapper Schyler Chaise accompanied them in their final song of the night, “Live from the End of the World,” which will be on the re-release of their album, Palm Sunday Deluxe Edition (May 20th).
The band is proud to be (mostly) local. “There’s definitely an energy in Asheville,” says Hernández, the only member of RBTS WIN who hasn’t yet made the move here from Miami (Worsham is a native Ashevillian, Bolea and Chassner are Florida transplants). “Bob Moog moved here to get away from the world, because he saw a future for electronic music here. He’s truly the godfather of what’s happening here now.” Bolea adds that ease of access to nature “allows you to be alone and makes escape available—in 35 minutes you can be out in the country and enamored by this world.”
The band’s interest in the natural world, both temperate and tropical, comes through their music. As Bolea himself points out on the band’s website, “I feel like the juxtaposition of our worlds has everything to do with our sound and the energy we put out. The tropical beaches and these mystical mountains have truly met halfway within these creations.”
The music often has a darker edge as well. The band is also influenced by the classic horror flicks of John Carpenter (notable, among other reasons, for composing and playing many of his own soundtracks), Italian horror film, and the musical “stabs” of soundtracks for movies like Psycho. “The world is a wild place,” says Worsham, “so you get that element in our music, but it’s a hopeful terror.” Chassner seconds this. “We’re letting you know it’s going to be ok.”
He’s right. RBTS WIN’s songs, like the infectious “Death Magic,” are lush arrangements of melodic, beachy beats mixed with sweeping, brooding waves of synth noise, alternately categorized as “dark wave,” “chill hop,” and “psych-pop.” The band brings in “chaotic sounds and textures,” says Hernández, but always with an element of hope. “It’s a reminder of friendship and love in the midst of chaos.”
Other diverse interests have made the band what it is. “We all come from full band backgrounds,” says Bolea, “and we’ve all been in rock and metal bands.” Their songs bring in melodic influences from pop and metal, soul and R&B, and they play electronic instruments, including Moog synthesizers, samplers, and keyboards “like a band. We engage our audience as musicians. We don’t just stand behind a laptop. We want the world to watch us play with a human aspect.”
The re-release of Palm Sunday is scheduled for May 20th. The music video for “Death Magic,” the lead single from that album, will hit the Web in early May.