When the dudes in "dark wave" outfit She Wants Revenge started working on their 2006 self-titled debut (which has sold close to 295,000 in the U.S.), beatmaker Adam Bravin wasn't sure the LP would ever see the fuzzy light of retail.
"We made the first record with no expectations — we produced it ourselves, and we were maybe going to put it out ourselves, and I wasn't thinking about playing these songs live," said Bravin, who now has two straight years of touring under his belt. "I think we got lucky the first time around. To have that many people buy your record ... it's pretty overwhelming. We just hope that, for the same reasons people connected with the first record, they'll connect with this one as well."
Bravin said things were different when they went into the studio for their second record, This Is Forever, which hits stores Tuesday. They had established themselves as a legitimate act and brought with them the experience only the road can provide. And according to Bravin, their tour with Depeche Mode last year inspired part of the record's sound.
"It was amazing," he said of their tour with the Mode. "Imagine going on the road with your favorite band. ... We learned a lot from being on the road with them. We learned a lot musically. ... I grew up listening to their music, but I never really listened to it in a live setting before, so watching them every night, and watching how they write songs, it was all very interesting."
During the trek, Bravin realized what it was about Depeche Mode's music that he loved so much and what elements of his own music he wanted to stay away from.
"Those [Depeche Mode] songs have so many peaks and valleys, but our songs kind of just chug along, all the way through," he said. "So that tour, it led us to a new way of songwriting, because it's nice to have those peaks and valleys — which we didn't have on the first record. After playing those old songs for two years, on the road, we realized we missed that kind of stuff. We really got a sense of what [we] like and what [we] don't like about the first record, and I think we just figured out that we like the darker side of what we do better.
"There are certain songs on the first record that we'll probably never play again, ever," Bravin continued. "This record, in our opinion, is a lot darker than the first one. That's because after playing those songs so many times, and realizing what we love about what we do, we decided to focus more in that direction."
Unlike the band's inaugural release, the duo's love of cinema didn't play as significant a role in the way the second disc's songs took shape.
"During the recording of the first record, we stopped listening to the radio, and we stopped listening to a lot of music on our iPods," he said. "The only music we were really listening to at that time were soundtracks from the late '70s and early '80s, which were primarily instrumental, electronic soundtracks — 'Blade Runner,' 'Scarface,' Giorgio Moroder soundtracks. We're both huge film buffs, and we're huge fans of that type of soundtrack. It's very visual music, and it put us in a really nice place the first album.
"This time around, we didn't do the same thing," he continued. "We listened to whatever we wanted to. And we had so many ideas being on the road for that long that we didn't really need a crutch to help put us back in the same frame of mind. We were just ready to get in there and go for it. When we went back into the studio to do this record, we picked up where we left off."
Film will, however, weave its way into the first batch of the new album's videos. She Wants Revenge frontman Justin Warfield (who's been a father for about a week, following the birth of his son, Bowie) directed the first two clips, including the video for "Written in Blood," which is something of an homage to the opening scene from the film "The Hunger," starring David Bowie.
"But we put our own little twist on it at the end," Bravin said. "For the second one [for the song 'True Romance'], we always thought in movie terms. We wanted to incorporate 'The Parallax View' and 'The Manchurian Candidate' into the video, with the overall theme being brainwashing, and the theme of, 'Be careful what you wish for.' I gave the idea to Justin, and he just ran with it."
The band ultimately hopes to shoot a video for each track on This Is Forever, which they'll eventually release as a DVD. Bravin said he'll likely direct the next two videos, and he stars in the one for "True Romance." It's the first time he's been in front of the camera, but he hopes his performance might open a few doors in Hollywood. What kind of role is he looking for? "It doesn't matter, as long as I get to make out with a hot girl," he said.
She Wants Revenge is currently on tour with Kenna, TheStart and Io Echo. The trek kicked off in Los Angeles on Thursday, and dates are booked through November 13 in Sacramento, California.