“Our music sounds like four guys creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Republic of Letters singer-guitarist Chris Venti. “The songs can be characterized as a combination of melodically driven Brit pop, ambient rock, and post-indie rock…imagine if Death Cab for Cutie, the Editors, and Nada Surf got together for a beer.”
The atmospheric art-rockers were founded in 2004 by Venti and his brother (and drummer) Nick. Bassist Martin Niwinski joined the band in 2005, with guitarist Adrian Thorstensen added to the lineup in early 2006.
Nominated Best Alternative Band at the San Diego Music Awards in 2008 and 2009, Republic of Letters just debuted an EP called Painted Hour, with a full album slated for release later this year. The band recently shot a video for their song “Stories” at the Ruby Room.
Republic of Letters performs May 16 on the main stage at the North Park Festival of the Arts.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Editors, In This Light and on This Evening. “The new sound is growing on me.”
2) David Gray, Life in Slow Motion. “Great record to listen to while driving.”
3) U2, The Unforgettable Fire. “One of my favorite albums.”
1) The Jam, Sound Affects.
2) MGMT, Congratulations.
3) The Clash, London Calling.
4) The Helio Sequence, Keep Your Eyes Ahead.
1) David Bowie, Let’s Dance. “Always puts me in a good mood.”
2) MF Doom, Vaudeville Villain. “Best rhymes ever.”
3) Arcade Fire, Funeral. “Classic.”
4) Tom Petty, Greatest Hits. “So simple, and so good.”
5) Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “The production is amazing.”
1) Interpol, Our Love to Admire.
2) The Cribs, Ignore the Ignorant.
3) Joy Division, Closer.
4) The Smiths, Meat Is Murder.
WHAT CELEB DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?
Chris: “Someone told me I looked like Josh Groban.”
Nick: “Andre the Giant.”
Martin: “I get James Brown a lot, but I don’t think that’s accurate.”
Adrian: “I was once told I look like Brad Pitt in the movie Seven Years in Tibet, but I had a huge beard at the time and I don’t think it was a compliment.”
Chris: “Time travel, to check out some legendary shows I’ve only been able to read about.”
GOLDEN-TURKEY MOVIE AWARD?
Chris: “I’m sure I’ve seen worse, but Possession with Gwyneth Paltrow comes to mind.”
Nick: “Monkey Shines was so bad, it was funny.”
Martin: “I once was in a waiting room and watched an entire Ben Affleck movie where he rents a family for Christmas.”
Adrian: “Bringing Out the Dead put me straight to sleep in my theater seat.”
WORST TV COMMERCIAL?
Nick: “Werther’s Original Candy.”
MAC OR PC?
Chris: “Mac hearts musicians.”
Nick: “Once you go Mac, you never go back.”
Martin: “Make mine Mac.”
Adrian: “I prefer a Mac but currently have a PC.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
Chris: “Nick and I had a conversation with Eddie Vedder at the Casbah one night. We talked about music and being in bands.”
Nick: “I saw Mike Myers walking with his wife in the St. Mark’s Place area of Manhattan.”
Adrian: “I scared the shit out of Mick Jones of the Clash at South by Southwest a few years back. I rushed him like a superfan and began shaking his hand, telling him how much his music changed my life. Halfway through I realized I was squeezing his hand so tight that I was crushing it. I walked away completely embarrassed.”
“SOMETHING I WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT MYSELF IS…”
Chris: “…always running late. I definitely need to work on that.”
Martin: “…working on doing something physical every day.”
Adrian: “…I would like to learn to speel. Uh, spell.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
Chris: “I don’t have a Facebook page.”
Nick: “I’m good at football.”
Martin: “I can juggle.”
Adrian: “I’m from Utah.”