Early Morning Rebel, an L.A.-based, 8-month-old band composed of vocalist Nathan Blumenfeld-Jones, guitarist Dustin Bath, and drummer Josh Mervin, have grabbed the media spotlight in the time it takes most groups to settle on their name and haircuts.
While the band members have strong roots in L.A.—their soulful sound owes not a little to the old Laurel Canyon crowd—they've maintained a cosmopolitan profile, hitting the runways during London Fashion Week, embarking on a recent tour of Soho House outposts in Berlin, London, and New York City, and successfully courting the fashion world, earning high-profile fans like Kirsten Dunst and Hedi Slimane. Their heartfelt, stripped-down track "Life Boat" blew up after being featured on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and their follow-up song, the noisier, libidinous dirge "Burn Us Down" was featured on A&E's Breakout Kings earlier this year.
We've got the exclusive first look at the band's new music video for that track (directed and edited by Bath), which showcases some of Early Morning Rebel's favorite things: classic cars, the City of Angels, and fashionably dressed—and undressed—women. Watch it here, then scroll down to read our interview with the guys.
—Christopher Ross (@cgallagherross) is assistant editor at Details
• • •
DETAILS: Tell us a little bit about how you guys conceived the idea for this video.
Nathan: "Burn Us Down" was actually one of the first songs we wrote as a band. We really wanted to create a sonic footprint with it. It has a raw energy, kind of like an anthem. And when we were talking about the treatment, we really wanted to incorporate some of the fashion that we're inspired by. Fashion, that is, for lack of better phrasing, from a male perspective. It's risqué.
Josh: Casting was not tough. There's no shortage of models in Los Angeles.
Dustin: So we wanted to really bring that stuff together. It's things that we love: beautiful women, music, old American cars.
DETAILS: Yeah, what are those cars you guys have in the video?
Dustin: One is a '66 Chevrolet Convertible. The other one is a '57 Chevy Wagon. They were really cool. Fun to drive.
DETAILS: I get the impression that the city of L.A. is a big inspiration for the look and the sound of the band.
Nathan: I'm a ride-or-die L.A. guy.
Dustin: Born and raised.
Nathan: Car culture, strip culture, beach culture—we love all that. And we love the East Coast, London, Paris, too, but our home is Los Angeles, and that's what we wanted to represent. We wanted that amazing helicopter footage of the city just to kind of stamp it.
DETAILS: What would be the Early Morning Rebel guide to a weekend in L.A.?
Josh: I love Satellite—that's my favorite place to go for music. The best artists play there. If you want to see the actual culture of Los Angeles, go there.
Dustin: Yeah, a lot of people got their start there. Silver Sun Pickups, Elliot Smith. All those L.A., kind of B-side guys, that was their breaking ground.
Dustin: For chilling out and drinking, Soho House is really nice.
Nathan: We hit thrift stores now and again, too. We'll go on crate-digging missions.
Dustin: Wasteland is decent for thrifting.
DETAILS: You're in New York for a few days—how's it different here?
Nathan: The people are not much different. The energy is unbelievably different. In New York, you're just bombarded by human interaction and vibrancy. There's a romantic quality to it and an edgy quality. L.A. doesn't really have that. But it's more beautiful. I mean, aesthetically, it's like you're driving to your favorite restaurant and you see the sunset, the ocean…you're in this paradise.
Josh: But the nightlife here in New York is beyond better.
DETAILS: How did Early Morning Rebel get started?
Nathan: We officially started recording eight months ago, but Dustin and I have known each other since freshman year of high school. He's like my brother. And Josh has been the perfect piece to add to the band—he's really talented, makes great choices. We were down in Austin for SXSW, just as fans, and Dustin and I were walking down 6th Street and were just like, "We should start a band. We should just start from scratch." And then a lot of it was us doing what we are now, being on back porches, smoking cigarettes, talking and being inspired.
DETAILS: You've already been called "darlings of the fashion world" and can count a number of designers among your fans. How did that happen?
Nathan: We've always been inspired by and immersed in fashion. It's an amazing craft. And fashion is much closer to music in ways that people may not see—the way designers make their clothes and the way we put together our songs. All these pieces that are working together to create this one collection. It's like our album.
DETAILS: Who are the designers you're most excited about right now?
Nathan: We're really into this girl in London, Francesca Marotta. She's from Sicily, she's never been schooled. She makes really elaborate lace pieces, dark, mournful pieces. Another designer we're into is Jeffrey Michael.
Dustin: He does a lot of handmade, one-off pieces—it's almost Lady Gaga-ish. Super-flamboyant, but it's so creative, and it's all handmade. Actually, we were talking about the stylist who did Lady Gaga's meat dress.
Nathan: It was ridiculous, but I totally fucking get it… You know, it's, like, a fucking meat dress? The audacity.
DETAILS: So should we expect to see Early Morning Rebel in meat-based outfits soon?
Dustin: Exactly. Meat suits!
• • •