Since its inception in late 2015 Actual Villains has been an evolving project. Formed from the dissolve of the singer’s prior band, Close to Home (Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie Records) Andrew DeNeef and his former guitarist set out to continue their signature blend of pop-punk and metalcore with their first single “Cave In”. These two parted ways in 2016 shortly after releasing the self-titled Actual Villains EP. The project sat in hiatus for a few months until Andrew moved back to Phoenix, Arizona where he met producer and guitarist Hiram Hernandez, a former label-mate from the band The New Low and former guitarist for Glass Cloud. The duo released their first single “VOID” in 2019 and have been busy in the studio writing new tunes for 2021.
Their newest venture, just in time for the original song’s 30th anniversary, is a dynamic cover of one of our favorite songs of all time, R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion.
DeNeef says, “To me, R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” has always been a quintessential Alternative Rock song. Since it’s release thirty years ago, It’s been one of the only songs from my childhood that I never grew tired of as my musical tastes went through multiple stages of evolution. I’ve always felt the lyrics are about the frustrations of feeling like you’re losing control, at the end of a rope, trying to find yourself through the noise and confusion of the world. A feeling I know all too well lately.
This year has been particularly tough, with all of its challenges and stress, it’s led to a lot of moments of introspection and soul searching. Throughout this time this song kept finding its way into my life, like a sign begging for my attention. I’ve been apprehensive in the past about doing cover songs but the more I sang along to this song, the more relevant the lyrics seemed. I could hear my own version of the song in my head taking shape, begging to come to life.
I wanted to homage the original song but bring in new energy and a more dynamic sound overall, taking into account my very diverse pool of influences. It starts with a sense of sadness that boils into rage by the end, taking the listener on a journey that matches the feelings this song evokes still today after three decades. I hope you enjoy my vision for this timeless classic. “Losing My Religion”, reimagined by Actual Villains.”