There is an infectious charm to local frontwoman Rebecca Butler, the vocalist and rhythm guitarist of her own band, Rebecca Butler and The Richards. The group, who will be opening up for pop songstress Katie Herzig tonight at Stubb’s Jr., is a suitable accompaniment for Monday’s concert. The group finds a medium between Motown-esque catchiness and indie rock bravado, resulting in dance rock euphoria.
Butler, raised on an eclectic palette of soul, garage rock and pop, fronts her band vigorously, her confident swagger and girlish charm a cross between The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Adele. Butler spoke with The Daily Texan about influences, her upcoming show with Katie Herzig and what’s coming up next for her band.
The Daily Texan: Let’s begin with how your band came together.
Rebecca Butler: I’ve been singing, writing and performing songs since I was five years old. Once I got to college I met [guitarist] Sam Ogden, and we began playing acoustic shows until last year, when [keyboardist] Pierce Saxon, [drummer] Jordan Cook and [ex-bassist] Jack Pearl joined the group. Recently, the group has gained a lot of momentum, and has this pop, dance vibe to it. It’s cool to see how the band has evolved.
DT: What influenced you to take music seriously?
RB: For as long as I can remember, it’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do. When I was younger I used to do Aretha Franklin and Cher impressions, and I would make choreographed dance routines to commercials on TV. Back then it was more about Motown and soul; those were my sources of inspiration. Those are the base of what I love.
DT: What would you say now influences you as a songwriter?
RB: I like a lot of British artists, especially in the pop field. I think British pop has more substance and depth than American pop. I love artists like Adele, Lily Allen and Kate Nash, and what I like about all of them is that, along with being able to sing beautifully, they’re not afraid, lyrically, to tell it as it is. They’ll call all your shit out, but sing it in a way that contrasts against the lyrical content. That is something I try to incorporate into my music.
DT: Your old band, The Boo Who’s, performed with Gym Class Heroes two years ago, but shortly after that the group broke up. What happened with The Boo Who’s?
RB: It felt forced. It was fun at the time, but it’s not what I felt inspired to write. I don’t think it was nearly my best effort because it was forced and it was not my style, you know? So it dissipated, and some of us moved into this new band [Rebecca Butler and The Richards].
DT: What led to you wanting to redefine your sound for Rebecca Butler and The Richards?
RB: Even though pop hasn’t always been a huge part of what I listen to, it’s always sort of been what I’ve written. My songs usually come out really pop-y. With the addition of Sam, Pierce, Jordan and [new bassist] Patrick Young, the music has become much more dancey. People love to dance, and we enjoy performing these songs live.
DT: How did your performance with Katie Herzig come about?
RB: My manager suggested the band to Katie’s manager when the original opener for the show backed out. We’re really excited because it’s a good opportunity to prove to Stubb’s and Katie Herzig that we’re a great band and we can draw people out.
DT: You’re currently recording a new EP that will be released on May 11. How was the recording process?
RB: Last year we won a Battle of the Bands competition at St. Edward’s, and that gave us 10 hours of free recording time at the Austin Recording Conservatory. We’re recording three new songs, which we plan to compile on a CD with some of our best songs from our last release, some time later. The studio is really nice — it’s kind of out in west Austin with all of these amazing views.
We’re used to recording in small studios, so it’s been a really cool experience. We’re going to get them mastered and radio-ready; we’re preparing ourselves to get big.
DT: What can we expect next from Rebecca Butler and The Richards?
RB: We have a lot of shows coming up: we have three SXSW unofficial shows, and on May 11 we will be releasing our EP at [restaurant and venue] Frank. Just a lot more shows, and an awesome EP coming out.
Printed on Monday, February 27, 2012 as: Band with motown influences debuts at Stubb's