Exclusive Interview: The Raffaellas

theaussieword.com meets with The Raffaellas in this special blog interview!

What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin? The Raffaellas as it exists now came about as a result of all four of us (Doug – Lead Guitar + Vox, James – Bass + Vox, Pat – Rhythm Guitar + Vox, Michael – Drums) were all playing together in a cover band. It was a big corporate, horns-sectiony, big band and we were 4 out of 11 or 12 members. Most of us were writing our own music anyway, and thought it might be a good idea to start playing. Ideas came pretty quickly and naturally so we started playing under The Raffaellas which was the only name we really agreed on at the time – Pat’s niece Raffaella had been born a week or so before – we just went with it.

What had you first interested in music? Everyone in The Raffaellas has been playing and listening to music pretty well all their lives. Doug and Pat have been playing guitar since they were 5 or 6, James grew up on the piano – only picking up the bass to level-out the sound – and no-one knows how long Michaels been drumming – but it’s ages. Forming a band, or even simply deciding to write, usually comes as a natural progression to any musician that has played one or many instruments for a long time. They do it because the want to contribute to the wealth of songs and pieces that inspired them in the first place. For us, forming The Raffaellas was the same – it was just the next way we all wanted to keep going in music.

Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music? We tend to like live music and old music. We are drawn to performances and songs where the artist doesn’t hide behind the song or production, and the listener has nothing between them and the performer. It takes real musicality and real artistry to be able to perform like this and do it well. We go anywhere from Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and the ‘soul-ers’, to early rock-and-rollers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry. We listen to Dylan religiously, Johnny Cash but also Creedence day-in-day-out. Our go-to-Brits start as early as Herman’s Hermits, to The Kinks, Beatles and a few of us are 80’s synth-pop fiends as well.

Do you have any planned tours coming up?
We are hoping our latest single ‘Words’ will give us momentum and a good reason to come play anywhere (and everywhere) north of Melbourne – and we can’t wait. We would also consider playing Tassie.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
Our biggest goals are probably still forming. We all like the idea of steady enough record sales and busy gigs, but I don’t think we really set out to break the bank and tour the world. At the moment we are still stoked when people like us enough come say hello after a show – we think that’s a big deal.

What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
We have just released our latest single ‘Words’ which is actually chugging along really well and we’re chuffed. In the last month we’ve done interviews, live video shoots (one of which on the side of the road in the backstreets of Richmond), photos and general ‘material-readying’ for the release of ‘Words’ and another track (out soon!). We are going to launch ‘Words’ at Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne on 20 April! Some really cool bands on the bill, too.

Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
One of our career highlights must be selling-out the launch to our first self-titled EP and getting radio traction and all that came with it. It was a couple of weeks where we realised we had a few more folks interested in us and enjoying the music than we originally anticipated.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
We find the bands we play with in and around Melbourne inspiring. Some of whom keep plugging away for the thrill of it despite waning audiences and a massively crowded music scene, others can’t afford to keep going and have to pack it up. It’s likely the same Australia-wide. We are lucky to have only been playing a couple of years and have (only just) enough of a following to justify heading to the studio again. Also apparently McCartney recorded ‘Yesterday’ and ‘I’m Down’ in the same afternoon which is also somewhat inspiring.

How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
We’ve been told it’s a little confused, but in a good way. It’s definitely rock, but also somewhat poppy. There’s a country twang especially in the guitars, though it’s Britpop/dancey when we really get going. Pat loves screaming-about like Little Richard, though it’s often to a background of lush 50’s harmonies. Yeah… maybe just give it a listen.

What can you tell us about your latest album?
We’d like to think an album is in the works (and unbeknownst to us, it probably is) but our single was recorded over at Birdland with producer Lindsay Gravina (The Living End, Roland S. Howard) and the man is very good at what he does.

Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
We have already written our next releases and are beginning the early recording stages next week – we have no idea when it will be out but probably the moment we get it done!

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
There are venues in Melbourne that we aspire to play in, such as The Forum and or a good show at The Corner Hotel – two of the best there are. Outside of those ambitions we want to get out of Melbourne and up to other Australian cities on the back of an album or two.

Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
City Calm Down, Chet Faker, Tame Impala, Cloud Control, Hungry Kids of Hungary, The Panics, Oh Mercy, New Gods – and loads more.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Social media can be a blessing and a curse for artists, particularly in our position. It means you can get your music out there faster and more easily but it also makes it really difficult to get yourself heard amongst the flood of musicians, particularly in Melbourne. I think musicians these days have to become ‘good’ at social media as well as being good at their craft – it’s a whole new bag for us.

Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today? Come check us out and let us know what you think! Hope to be playing for you soon.

Twitter: @theraffaellas

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