When I was growing up, I’d been bullied for being different. It had started as a petty fight between friends. When you’re little you argue about the small things with your friends, but I never expected it to become a trigger for my then friends to bully me. We were immature. I admit that the fight was my fault to begin with, but I wish it never gotten so out of hand for them to do what they did. When you’re young, you make irrational decisions. Maybe on their part, they didn’t understand the long-lasting impact of their actions, but it doesn’t erase the fact that bullying hurts. It tears your confidence down and makes you feel worthless. Like everything you do is never right. So, yes, bullying is an issue that’s close to me. I’m glad kids today have bands like Reverse Order who stand up for bullying through their music. If you’re being bullied or were bullied, please don’t be ashamed of who you are. You are not alone. Stay strong x – Izzy
John Russo, lead singer of Reverse Order, talks about their growth since America’s Got Talent and how they use their music to stand up against bullying.
Days in Wonderland: How has Reverse Order’s sound evolved from the days of America’s Got Talent and your first release in 2012 to your music now?
John: Our sound has definitely evolved a great deal since 2012. When we released our EP “Right Now” we were writing fun summer songs about girls that were heavily influenced by pop punk. As we matured we started to write more alternative rock influenced songs focused on connecting with people on a deeper level. We have songs that speak about personal struggle (Nothing Left to Give), trying to reach someone who’s been lost to their personal demons (Call My Name), and we have an anti-bullying song (Not Alone) which we wrote for our nonprofit, Reverse The Trend.
Nothing to Hide debuted a month ago. What was your creative process while recording the EP and what was it like working with Matt Squire?
Working with Matt Squire and Steve Tippeconnic (co-producer) was an awesome experience. It was such a great vibe, and every session was filled with so many incredible ideas. When we first went into the studio our plan was to record two songs we already wrote, and then write a third song from scratch. The already written songs we picked to record were Call My Name and Let You Go. Before we decided to write the third song from scratch, we listened to a few unfinished demos we had to see if there was anything that stood out. Matt really liked the music to one of those unfinished demos, and he decided that it was going to be our third song. He told me to write lyrics to the song overnight, and we would start recording it the next day. It was actually a song I had been trying to write lyrics to for over a year so I was a bit concerned if I’d be able to think of anything in one night when I hadn’t been able to for over a year. It wasn’t until the next morning, a few hours before heading to the studio, that I found the right words for the song, and everything just flowed together. This song ended up being our lead single, Erase You.
You’re currently on a nationwide anti-bullying tour called Reverse the Trend. Can you tell us more about it? What’s the idea behind the tour and was it something you organized yourselves?
Reverse The Trend is an anti-bullying / suicide prevention nonprofit founded by the members of Reverse Order. On the tour we perform concerts in schools and teen centers across the country, and speak to the students about overcoming bullying and following their dreams.
It’s great that you guys are using your music to spread awareness about bullying. What made you guys decide that you wanted to support this cause?
After America’s Got Talent we had been performing concerts in high schools along with our regular touring schedule, and a lot of students would come up to us and talk to us about different things going on in their lives. We realized students were going through the same things we went through in school, and even now, so we created Reverse The Trend and started bringing it to schools across the US.
What’s Reverse Order’s biggest goal for 2016 and how do you guys plan to achieve it?
Van’s Warped Tour has invited Reverse Order’s nonprofit Reverse The Trend to be a part of this year’s tour. We hope to make a positive impact on the thousands of people who attend the tour each day, and we look forward to channeling this experience into more incredible things for both Reverse Order and Reverse The Trend.
Days in Wonderland loves featuring good music. What are your 5 favourite tracks at the moment?
7 Years – Lukas Graham
Spirits – The Strumbellas
By Your Side – Tenth Avenue North
When You Were Young – The Killers
Makes No Difference – Sum 41
Photos provided by John Russo of Reverse Order