Ra Ra Riot opens up about new album and musical influences
One of the most down-to-earth bands, Ra Ra Riot, made a killer performance at Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival last week in San Francisco. This band, known for their rhythmic sounds and incorporative instruments, surely know how to please the ears. Their original sound not only shines through out their live performances, but also brings an authentic dynamic between the five band members -- vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, violinist Rebecca Zeller and drummer Kenny Bernard.
AOL.com editors had the chance to chat with Ra Ra Riot as they dished out the secrets to their group dynamic, what it took to create their latest album -- 'Need Your Light', and much more.
Check out some of the local art from Outside Lands Festival:
How's festival touring different from a traditional tour for you guys?
We're a little more refreshed you know not burned out from being on the road, and obviously you see so many bands you normally don't see. You're in a more fun environment you don't normally see. All the fans are down with it more than your average Joe. All around, everyone is out to have a good time
How was the development creative process your latest album?
We felt the freedom to do want we wanted to get out of the box. We keep it fresh and exciting by taking breaks along the way. We brought in a lot of collaborators to work with. You know we can sort of change up the way to come up with music by finding new ways to express ourselves. We are always jamming in a room together hear what everyone else is doing. It's fun to craft some textures and some sound. It kind of came together in a really exciting and natural way. Sounds so generic but it's true.
How often do you guys think of genre during your creative process?
That's one of the things we want to escape is that box. When a cab driver ask you what kind of music you are, that's the last thing you're thinking of when you're making a record. We spent a year-and-a-half trying to escape from this title, this one sentence answer to who we are and what we do. Usually, we think of ourselves as a pop band. It's probably not what the rest of the world sees us. Usually we are trying to make music that is exciting to us and our influences come out regardless what we are trying to do deliberately. There's a kind of an attitude from the 90's in our music too. 'Hug' is one our songs that has a 90's flare. There's a lot of things we like to try and do but maybe the next thing we are trying to escape is the 80's.
Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival was a total bliss:
After a decade of being a part of this band, how has your band evolved?
I think when we first started in college, it was kind of just jamming in a room. Whatever anybody wanted to do, they just did. But now we are collaborating with people who are outside of the band. There's a lot of sending things back and forth because we don't live in the same place anymore. Still, when we get together, it's good to play things and one of the things we wanted to focus on is what's gonna make this fun to play live? That probably is our greatest strength is our live shows.
We actually had a lot of technical issues today. The computers got ripped out and it wasn't as much of a big deal as you thought. All the things we made while creating this record boosted our ability to play absolutely live without any technology. That was a great relief and amazing feeling.
What's the biggest misconception people have about musicians?
That's a good question. That we live such glorious lives and for the most part that's not true. I mean, some days it's awesome, but you know it's a lot of hard work and downtime. I think people take that out of the equation they just kind of see a musician traveling to all these different places. It's a pretty exotic thing to go through, but there's a lot of hard work and time involved.
What's one piece of advice you wished you received before you entered the music industry?
There's not much advice. Like all creative mistakes, you look back and hated what you did at the time, but eventually, they made up to be good decisions. You realize you are identifying yourself and standing out in a way. I think when we first started looking back at our second record, we thought we did stupid things. But looking back those things, it actually set us up to learn so much. We're really happy with where we are now, not to say things could be better. We are just excited and grateful for what we have because it wouldn't exist without our past.
Check out which other A-list performers were at Outside Lands in the gallery below: