According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word ”revenant” was first used in 1818 as a French word to describe a return from death or a long absence. As these former veterans of the Virginia beach metalcore scene return as the aptly titled RVNT, which is pronounced as the aforementioned term, the name is more relevant than ever. The newest member of The Monarch Agency, the band members include vocalist Ricky Gillis, guitarist Cole Sweeney, bassist Matt Madariaga, guitarist Ryan Potter, and drummer Jose Rodriguez-Qulles. The band let that overall concept of darkness become instilled in all the aspects of the band itself, thus giving their music that edginess. We had the chance to interview Gillis about the bands beginnings and how they hope their new music will speak for itself.

Can you explain why you decided to name your band RVNT (pronounced as “Revenant”)?

When we first decided to name our band back during the recording process of Vulnerable, we wanted something to hit on a more mysterious level. Here we were established musicians in bands before the birth of RVNT, so we didn’t want to take away the concept of rebuilding the band’s reputation through promotion. So essentially speaking, we wanted to work just as hard to make a name for ourselves instead of our previous projects doing all the talking for us.

Your line up consists of former members of the Virginia metal bands UNDER CITY SKYLINES,BEFORE HIM, and STILL, I RISE. How did you all come together to start this new project?

We basically brainstormed for a bit on who we were going to try and recruit. Spencer, who had been a very important piece of the band, had decided that he was going to move back home and pursue his schooling again, [and] at that point Ryan (ex-BEFORE HIM) moved back to guitar, as well as Cole (ex-UNDER CITY SKYLINES). We already had Matt and Ricky so from there with drums left, we talked to Jose (ex-STILL, I RISE), and our lineup was set.

Tell me about the technicalities of your sound, which is darker, heavier, and more raw than any of the previous projects your members have played in.

From a musicianship standpoint, we had all felt like we had matured more from our previous bands, and we wanted that to speak through the music we were writing and performing. Everything was much more personal and emotional ­- even the lyrics. Ricky had never even written like this before. The name also invented this same kind of twist. The word ”revenant” in definitive terms was said to be a ghost that came back from the dead to seek revenge on the people who had caused them wrongdoing. The band let that overall concept become instilled in all the aspects of the band itself, thus giving it that edginess.

Recently, you released your debut EP Vulnerable. What are some of the central themes of that record?

Basically, we chose the theme that described how we all felt about the music we were writing. Having a “stripped down” approach made it easy for us to title the EP Vulnerable. We felt like the title itself would allow fans to instantly relate because in some time or another in everyone’s life, we’ve all felt this way.

In the music video for your first single, “Vain”, as well as your promo photo, the band is shrouded in darkness. Why was it so important to maintain that level of mystery?

The main reason was to build a sense of excitement and anxiousness to draw people to the band and its music, instead of the familiar faces within the metalcore Virginia Beach scene everyone had come to know. We wanted the music to speak for itself.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Virginia music scene?

It definitely has positive things going for it, but of course, there could always be improvements. We feel that this area has some very good bands that have worked very hard to build a positive reputation for their respective brands, so the scene definitely has shown some resiliency in the way they conduct themselves. As far as improvements, the scene as a whole could always work harder and cooperatively to promote better to make the scene thrive more. The more we start taking strides to all be a part of something then [we] will make it that much more fun and cool to be a part of.


Having played in other bands before, are there any skills or experience RVNT can bring to the scene to help make things better and encourage more involvement?

I think collectively as a whole, we understand what will help build our band’s name for the long run instead of learning everything like it was our first time. We also feel like performing is always a treat for the people watching us as we try to deliver an energy-driven set each and every time we play so that you walk away with a positive experience from our shows.

For more updates on RVNT, be sure to like their Facebook page, follow them on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and stay tuned for new announcements.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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