Great Scott was an interjection of surprise and amazement used by Doc Brown in the Back to the Future movies. When you listen to Rival Sons guitarist Scott Holiday on the band’s pair of latest albums and current live tour – perhaps you will be left saying the same thing.

Rival Sons have released two albums throughout 2023. Starting with Darkfighter in June, the Californian rockers followed up with companion album Lightbringer in October.

The band kickstarted their Autumn UK tour in the capital with a sold-out show at the Roundhouse. A far cry from the band's early days playing venues in and around Camden. "We have a special place in our heart for the Roundhouse. Early on, we played some Classic Rock Award stuff there. And we’ve even seen other artists there,” said Scott. “We were playing venues like The Barfly and some of the other smaller gigs out there and thinking, this would be good if this was not an award show, and this was our show. But it felt good; I like the room, it’s special. And then be able to sell it out, it feels nice. But then as I mentioned, we have so many great friends around town. So, London brings a lot with a little reunion and an audience, which was lovely.”

The UK has become a home away from home for Rival Sons. In the early days of the band’s career, the group were welcomed with open arms. “Things were happening here more than they were happening at home,” recollects Scott. “This was a place we continually came back to. We would work here, we would do photo shoots here, we did press junkets and we came and spent a lot of time in the UK. We made a lot of friends that we consider family here. And it just feels good to come to a place that understands what you're doing and appreciates it and embraces you.” He adds: “This is a place for us.”

Besides the release of the band’s two new albums, they’ve been touring in the US. “We just finished up a tour with the Smashing Pumpkins. It was really fun. There were a really big band for me and some of the other guys. We were able to make great friends with them. And play beautiful outdoor venues all summer long,” said Scott. “We have two records coming out. This is a new thing, something we've never done. So, it's been fun. It's been busy.”

With two albums coming out almost a few months apart, did the band always envision a multi-album project? “We finished all the songs. We were about to sequence and choose what's going to stay or go,” explains Scott. “I could feel that this is too much music for one record. And the idea of breaking it up, as soon as I brought the idea to Jay, he loved the idea.” Scott adds: “He [Jay] was really adamant about having a refractory period between these sorts of songs that were a little darker and content in lyrical form and with a little more despair reaching in them. We would separate the songs that had more lifting kind of resolve.”

The pandemic afforded Rival Sons more time than usual to work on this bigger album project. "Normally, this band has been working inside of 40 days to make an album. Because of the nature of everything we had, the pandemic, how studios we're booking, how people can even work in a stretched way. As soon as we started to work that way, we were happy that it was stretched out. We didn't rush anything specific,” said Scott. “We can hear and work into the story instead of just pounding it out quickly.”

For their latest album projects, the group worked with long-time producer, Dave Cobb. "The band really met Dave before he was award-winning. So, we've been friends and worked together since before all that happened. And he's always brought something great to the table,” said Scott. “I do some producing and write records and have done that for a long time, before this band even. And when I met Dave, he was doing something that I had never been.”

Scott adds: “He immediately wanted to push the band. Let's not do those songs. Let's do something completely new. Which for me, it was a really crazy idea, a really bad idea. That's what I thought, this is a horrible idea. Can you imagine bringing in all the songs you worked on for the record, that you have in your head, and then working off the floor with all new material - lyrics, music, everything? You think this is a suicide mission. But this is a way he works. And every song isn't like that with him. But he brings that to the table - a spontaneity. And that means you have to trust yourself and the musicians that you work with. And that means you have to also dig really deep. You can't go in there and do what you've been practising or relying on for a month, or two, or three or six, or for some people a year. You have what's in you, that's what's going to come out. And what do you want to be on that tape? You're going to do it right now.”

“I love the idea of this. Because the way modern music is made, it's accustomed to building a home, your foundation. And he kind of framed it out. Even before that, you’ve got your blueprints, which will be your demos. And then you very slowly build this beautiful home building. And in the end, it's like you're careful about everything. And it's long form. I like the idea that tape brought, and I have called it comparative more to like capturing a wild animal, like throwing a net,” explains Scott. “So, if you've got these great musicians, really what you want to do, and I use this when I produce myself is, you want to hear what they're doing. Who they are, and then cut them loose and maybe almost back them into a corner a little bit. Get them really riled up, and then get them really excited and sounding good. And then let them just go and capture it. And that ends up being a lot cooler than the thing they've been working out for six months tired. So, he brings that.”

Next year, Rival Sons have their sights set on festivals. “We're staying busy. We skipped festival season for the most part this summer to do other stuff. So, next year, we'll be doing all the clusters of the festivals that we would normally do in Europe and the US," he said. "We're talking to Australia right now. South America. Japan. We have a lot of plans kind of spinning right now,” concludes Scott.

Darkfighter and Lightbringer, the two new albums from Rival Sons are out now.