By Kristyn Potter
A few months back, we released a cassette tape in partnership with New Jersey rock radio station, WRAT featuring the New Jersey indie, pop, rock group Reality Suite. ITC sat down with them for an exclusive interview—read it here folks!
How did you meet?
Antonio was introduced to me by his cousin in the 4th grade. I played drums – Antonio owned a guitar – could barely play. But we both had this uninhibited desire to create music. We sang and poorly played into a boom box….created our own cassette tape “albums” every few months and lent them to our classmates in elementary school. Antonio and I began playing with other people in High School – this is when I met Joe. Years and several bands later, we formed Reality Suite and met Kimmii through a Craigslist ad.
How did you get started?
(Brian King, Drums) My cousin played me KISS Alive 2 when I was just entering kindergarten. After seeing the bombastic live photo that spread across the album’s gatefold, I wanted to be a rock star. I am not sure why I chose the drums…..but I was banging on everything from the garbage cans outside, pots and pans and the guard rail on the road in front of my parent’s house. I also began writing lyrics and arranging songs in grammar school. Eventually, I became fascinated with the recording and production side of things.
(Kimmii Heart, Vocals) I started singing when I was 4 years old. I would walk around the house singing “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. I wouldn’t shut up. I was driving everyone in the house crazy. My parents saw that I had something special and signed me up for vocal lessons. I started writing lyrics and melodies and wrote my first song in 5th grade. When I was 14, I got my first taste of the studio when recording 2 songs that I had written and a cover song. It was then that I realized I wanted to look for a band. I began auditioning and joined my first band. After two bands I joined/started not working out, I discovered Reality Suite andddd the rest is history….
(Antonio Valenti, Bass) At age 10, my brother-in-law Bill gave me his old guitar with a bunch of beat-up Beatles vinyl. I was so intrigued. Soon after, he gave me his KISS “Alive” album and then I was obsessed with music. With a keyboard given to me by my other brother-n-law, I began making cassette tapes of songs, beats and melodies. I grew up listening to RUSH, Pink Floyd and Metallica - mostly rock, but eventually I began looking for something different. Because I was also a DJ, I began listening to more dance music. Being engulfed in dance music – I became more interested in playing bass. I began writing and singing with various bands before reuniting with Brian and forming Reality Suite with him and Joe.
(Joe Padula, Guitar) At age 5 my parents bought me my first Kiss album “Dynasty.” I listened to it over and over using coffee cans as drums (guess I started out as a drummer). I had a next-door neighbor who was a few years older than me who exposed me to Zeppelin, Ozzy and the Eurythmics and since was hooked to Rock n Roll!! When I was 9 I bought Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The song “Beat It” was the be-all end-all for me. I was so enticed by the solo in that song that I nagged my parents for a guitar and lessons which I started that same year. I later found out Eddie Van Halen performed on that song and became a huge fan by my early teens.
Who are your biggest influences musically for Reality Suite and do you think that you try to add these influences to your music or if it just happens naturally?
Great question. We each have mostly our own individual influences, then some influences we do share. For example – I am not sure if there is any one band that we ALL like. It may be two band members out of four, or three out of four. But our individual influences and shared influences overlap and create something unique. Kimmii and I love heavy rock and metal - but we also love pop music….so, from bands like In This Moment, Halestorm and Metallica to The Weeknd, The Struts, Meg Myers, etc….Joe mostly digs riff-rock, like Van Halen, Five Finger Death Punch and Guns ‘N’ Roses. Antonio - he brings out the more experimental avant garde side of us…. he’s into Radiohead, etc….he probably has the most eclectic taste of all of us - but he doesn’t really prefer pop music. So, it’s a fine line we all walk to compromise and satisfy everyone - and potentially create something unique.
Let's talk about that record deal, congrats first off! With the record deal, would you say that you've 'made it' or do you feel like now you're just getting started?
The record deal with Lion’s Pride Music is very exciting. We have had several European record labels approach us over the last two years since our debut “SKINN” was independently released. With this offer, we feel the record label is giving us the resources to grow while delivering our music to a much larger audience. We definitely do not feel that we’ve “made it.” We look at it as additional support. We have been working hard releasing Reality Suite music on our own label for almost a decade - we see this as “business as usual,” we will just have more industry support and resources. We are definitely just getting started!
Any new music coming?
Yes! I am excited because we have been demoing new songs and should be recording them formally from October - December. Our current 5 song EP, Awaken will reissued next year as a full length 10 song CD and digital download. I am hoping that everyone will hear a new single in early 2019. With each new batch of songs that we write, I'm proud to say that we are constantly challenging ourselves and attempting not to repeat ourselves. There will obviously be our key characteristics - you'll always know it's a Reality Suite song because of Kimmii's distinct voice - and Joe's guitar work, etc....but our songwriting chemistry is always evolving, so that keeps us fresh.
Any upcoming shows you want us to share?
Dingbatz, Clifton NJ 11/3/18
Debonair Music Hall 11/17/18