of Revis aren't afraid of taking chances.
The quintet-formerly known as Orco-regularly
played packed clubs in the band's hometown of Carbondale, Illinois.
Instead of feeling satisfied with local acclaim, Revis decided
to trade regional success and the familiar comforts of home to
share a single bedroom in Los Angeles while they pursued their
"The move was a jarring experience,"
recalls Justin Holman, Revis front man. "We knew moving to
L.A. meant that we would be starting over, but it didn't really
sink in until we went from playing for screaming fans to playing
for the bartender. That experience bruised our egos for a little
while, but in the end it made us stronger by forcing us to take
a long hard look at our music."
The young band-ages 19 to 22-weathered growing
pains as Revis revisited several of its older songs and expanded
their sound to include subtle atmospheric touches. "Back
home we were on top and there was nothing to challenge us,"
says guitarist Robert Davis. "Being broke and crammed into
a small room became the motivating factor for us to start writing
news songs like our lives depended on it."
For Revis, the adversity inspired some of the
band's best songs like the album's title-track Places for Breathing
and the first single "Caught In the Rain." The songs
appeared on Revis' demo, which generated interest from most record
labels before the band signed with Epic Records in 2002. "Our
manager only let a few people hear our demo because he wanted
to get some feedback before sending it all over town," recalls
one of the band's principal songwriters and rhythm guitarist Nathaniel
Cox. "When we went home to Carbondale for Christmas, everyone
was feeling a little down because we hadn't heard anything back
about the demo. We thought we were sunk. Then the phone started
ringing off the hook from labels asking us to play showcases.
That whole time was such an emotional roller coaster for everyone."
"We took a lot of chances along the way-moving
out west and developing our sound-but they all paid off,"
In the summer of 2002, Revis began their album
at NRG Recording in North Hollywood with producer Don Gilmore
(Linkin Park, Trust Company). In the wake of Linkin Park's success,
the rock world was clamoring for Gilmore's touch. Instead of choosing
a superstar project, Gilmore followed his instinct and offered
to work with Revis even before the band had signed a record contract.
"One day in the studio I asked Don why he decided to work
with us," recounts Holman. "Don told me he was hooked
after seeing us play an 11 a.m. showcase. He said our first song
sounded like we were in the kind of groove bands get into after
playing for a couple of hours. That's how he knew he wanted to
work with us."
Andy Wallace (Nirvana, System of a Down) and
Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) shared mixing
duties on the album. Before going into the studio, Davis says
the band discussed what kind of album it wanted to create. "Crunchy
guitars, killer melodies and crashing drums are all cool, but
how a song makes you feel is the most important thing. In my life,
the most important music has always taken me on an emotional and
musical journey. With this album, we wanted to celebrate how a
good song can take you away from everything."
Revis builds upon their rock roots-driving
rhythms, powerful vocals and memorable choruses-by adding spaced-out
atmospherics and moody textures into the mix. Pensive lyrics and
mournful chord structures give Places for Breathing an introspective
feel, says bassist Bob Thiemann. "Some songs sound like they
were written by someone who was sitting on their roof drinking
a bottle of wine and thinking about what they've been through
in their life. Its almost like someone standing at a crossroads
trying to figure out which way to go."
Another song which mixes muscle and mood is
"Your Wall"-a late addition to the album. Nathaniel
finished the song after the album was almost completely mixed.
The band liked the track enough to quickly record and mix it so
it could be added. "The song came to me in a rush,"
recalls Cox. "I played it for the band and everyone loved
it. We headed back into the studio with Don Gilmore and cut it
in a couple of takes. It turned out to be one of my favorite songs
on the record."
Places for Breathing features a diverse
collection of songs, including "Seven" - one of the
oldest songs in the Revis catalog. The track takes its inspiration
from the chapter of Revelations, but Cox's fascination with space
gives the album a cohesive feeling. "I like writing about
our place in the universe and questioning why we're here. In a
way, what I write about ties into what we've gone through as a
band. When we were young, we thought our hometown was the center
of the universe. As we got older, we felt bigger and the town
felt smaller. When we first moved to L.A., the city felt gigantic
and we felt small again. Now that we've grown up some, L.A. feels
small. We're just finding our place in the universe."