|photo courtesy Sacks & Co.|
In the meantime, here are excerpts that didn't make it into the article.
Ra Ra Riot performs Tuesday at the El Rey in LA and Wednesday at The Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif.
Q: How did the recent shows go? Had the band done much touring in that part of the world before? Do you have a big fan base there?Amazing! We'd been to Japan a few times before and absolutely love it. But this trip [was] particularly fun for a few reasons - we've been playing shows with one of our absolute favorite bands, Dirty Projectors, and have gotten to visit a few new places along the way - Hong Kong, Taipei, and Jakarta, all of which have been surreal. It's also been nice to kick off our new album cycle in such fun and exciting places.
Q: Last month you did a handful of U.S. shows around the album’s release on the East Coast. Are you incorporating a lot from Beta Love into the sets and how have fans been responding to the new material live?
Q: What kind of feedback have you seen or heard from longtime RRR fans? Are they digging the change in direction?
For the most part, yes. Whenever you make any kind of changes, no matter how superficial, you're always going to lose some people along the way. You'll always have people who complain that things sound too much the same and people who will complain that things sound too different. So all that matters is that we make music that we enjoy making and the idea is that most of our fans will be willing to grow along with us. We may even pick up some new fans along the way. But it seems that so far, most everyone has been very supportive and excited about some of the new directions we took on this record.
Q: Was anyone listening to old dance/electronic/New Wave music during the songwriting process?
Q: In what way did cellist Alexandra Lawn’s departure change the band’s musical dynamic? Did it provide more of an opportunity to be experimental and not become tied to the baroque indie rock tag?
Q: Whose idea was it to work with Dennis Herring? What previous albums that he helmed did you admire?
Q: How was the overall experience with such a “big name” producer and heading down to Oxford, Miss. to record?
Q: Herring not only produced, but had a hand in the music and songwriting too. Was it a total collaborative effort from everyone involved?
Q: Josh Freese handled most of the drums. What did you like about working with him? Did he provide some welcome insight on getting electronic/New Wave sounds?
Q: I read that you set up a makeshift hockey rink in the studio parking lot. Can you tell me about that? Who is the biggest hockey fan in the band and what is their opinion of our SoCal teams, the Anaheim Ducks and Stanley Cup-winning LA Kings?
Q: There’s a futuristic tone of many of the lyrics. Was that a direct result of reading sci-fi authors like William Gibson?
Q: While The Orchard tended toward lonely lyrics, the new songs seem more positive for the most part. Was that intentional?
Q: One of my favorites is “That Much,” especially the weird guitar solo at the end. What type of effects were used on that?
Q: Were you trying to get a real menacing vibe on “What I Do For You”?
Q: Wes’ vocal falsetto is more prevalent than before on the new songs. Was that a conscious decision on his part or something Dennis suggested?
Q: Going back a bit, can you tell me the inspiration for “Kansai,” off The Orchard, where San Diego is mentioned in the lyrics?
Q: Finally, since the band is based in Brooklyn, why do you think New York City has such a vibrant music scene?