Based out of L.A, The Rift is a three man band featuring Ovais Malik, and brothers John Anagnos and Aris Anagnos. With their heavy rock sound and lyrics with verses of inspiration, The Rift not only knows how to rock hard, but they also deliver a message to their listeners within each one of their songs. Check out what the three band-mates had to say on becoming a rock band, working besides family and the inspiration they find to continue pursuing their musical passions.
1. Being based out of Los Angeles which has a good amount of musicians, how did you come together and form The Rift?
Aris: My brother, John, and I had gone through like 6 different versions of a previous band we started as kids together where he actually played the drums. We had known Ovais (our current drummer) as one of our closest friends for a long time and he was always around the band before. It was kind of funny because three other guys left the band, who were all guitarists. I had decided to handle all the guitar parts my self to simplify things and asked Ovais to join us because we always meshed musically. John slid over to bass and it was incredible how quickly he learned another instrument. So we went from a 6 piece to 3 piece and things have never been better!
2. Being a band made up of three members, two of those members being brothers (John and Aris), what is it like creating and performing music with family by your side?
Aris: The three of us are all super close and I consider Ovais another bro since it’s been ten years of friendship there. For me to have my brother rocking out next to me is one of the best things in life, it’s a connection we’ve always had.
John: It’s a pretty remarkable feeling, having that close intimate connection. Making music is the pinnacle of it.
Ovais: The band has always been like family. Even though I’m not a blood relative of John and Aris, we’ve essentially grown up together and I’ve felt like the older brother to them. That never rang truer during parties get together. I always looked out for them, making sure they didn’t do anything TOO crazy. We have such a strong chemistry amongst us, writing music seemed like 2nd nature.
3. How would you compare The Rift’s sound from “Stand Up” to “Mysterious?”
O: We’ve certainly evolved a ton from the time Stand Up was written to Mysterious. I personally had a much bigger role in the music ever since we’ve written songs like “Mysterious” and “Rock Narcotic” The music itself had almost evolved to a point with more intricacies and nuances that “stand up” didn’t have. They both have qualities of their own that allow them to stand up (no pun intended) in their own right, I think Mysterious really shows our growth and maturity as musicians.
4. At REVOLT, our name encourages others to Revolt against what is holding you back and to keep pursuing your goals. How did you decide on the band’s name and what does it mean to you?
J: The band changed the name when our music evolved into something else and it no longer represented our old selves. We chose The Rift because we felt that it represented the music that we were making.
O: The bands name was Aris’ idea. To me, it’s kind of a double meaning, the 3 of us on one side and this “Rift” created either by pressures of society, unrealistic expectations of how people “should be” and all this hatred and unnecessary violence going on in this world. Our goal every show is to allow both sides to come together to set aside our differences and enjoy the music.
5. What encourages you to continue pursuing your dreams, even on those days where you feel like throwing in the towel?
A: There definitely are those days, but for me and I think for all of us, we really believe in the music we make and our ability to make a song. We’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing support along our way from people like Brandon Friesen, Barry Coffing, Geza X, and others. It means a lot to have support from them, it’s like inspiration to never quit even when you feel like it.
J: There are several factors that go into it. Reading stories about the bands that we idolized and all of the obstacles they went through to eventually get to where they are. Even on our darkest days, something always ended up happening where someone recognized us for all of the hard work that we were putting into our music which is always encouraging. Lastly, pursuing what I love. The music and the music business is a love of mine.
6. We love a funny story, do you have any stories involving wine that you wouldn’t mind sharing?
O: My brother doesn’t drink and we had a bottle of cider that we took the label off of and gave him and we told him it was wine. I’d never seen him act so “drunk” in my life. He was slurring his words, acting totally erratic, stumbling around as he walked. His face after we told him what it was to this day still cracks me up.
7. If you could choose a style of wine to describe your sound, what style would you choose and why?
A: Oh man I think I’d have to choose an epic red blend that is a bit on the heavier side, kind of like your guys cab. We aim to blend different genres of rock, hard rock, blues, and pop so that’s why I’d go with that kind of a blend. Now I think I’m definitely going to get some wine. Cheers!
8. Forming the band in 2009, what advice have you received that you could pass on to other inspiring musicians?
J: Make the music that you want to make. Be yourself and stay determined.
O: Work hard, surround yourself with people that are successful and don’t give up! Most importantly, be honest with your art. Don’t play music that you don’t like to play for the sake of selling records or being “famous”. If you do that, you’re no longer the musician and will have other people dissecting your songs and turning them into something you never wanted them to be.
A: Be yourself I think that’s the most important thing. Yes take influence from others before you but always stay true to what comes out in your writing. You can’t force yourself to be one style over another in my opinion. And play every note like you mean it!
9. We were stoked to see the band perform at Springboard West Music Festival, what other future goals is the band wanting to achieve?
O: We would love to have our music featured in film, tv shows, video games and other forms of entertainment. As a voice actor who works in all of those avenues, I’m constantly trying to push our music to people I work with. I really believe we have music that’s good enough to be the theme song for some big TV series and the more places you have your music, the more people will hear it.
A: That was so much fun for us we will definitely be coming back again. Our goal is to keep improving and growing musically, and growing our fanbase. This year we’d like get our next full length album done, play more festivals, and have a tour set up in the fall of 2018.
J: We would like to get our next album recorded and get on a tour.