Ra Ra Riot recently celebrated their 10-year birthday as a band, a feat that few achieve. This huge milestone is being topped with their new album Need Your Light and a nation wide tour. They will be visiting the Triple Rock on April 7th. The show is sold out but check the day of the show for last minute blocks of tickets that may still be released.
TCM was able to have a quick chat with Mathieu Santos about the music industry, new material and a fabled deck of cards.
How is the tour?
Very well so far, this is out first serous tour in about two and a half years. It’s been really fun being back on the road. We have been touring with two bands that we love. It has been really fun having new music to play for our longtime fans.
Are you getting good fan reception with the new material?
Yea definitely, the new songs have been connecting really well live so far.
How is this the newest album different from your previous music?
We never had any idea what kind of music we were making when we first started and it was received well out of the gate so we have learned to trust our instincts and go in whatever direction we were feeling. I think our music has evolved naturally over time. For this album we worked with every producer that we have ever worked with in our past, which wasn’t even intentional, we just turned ten years old. We knew that milestone was coming up and we were reflecting on the things we had made in the past. So it was a good time to pick and choose from the people we’ve worked with. It was a nice summation for the last ten years and also a good jumping off point for the future.
What changes have you seen in the music industry since you first started?
Every time we come out with a new album there seems to be a new paradigm in the music industry. When we first got started MySpace was the place to discover new music so we would be monitoring our plays on our page everyday, like a barometer for how well the band was doing. Every time it is a little bit different. We were crushed when our first album was leaked. We thought it was going to ruin our careers, but now bands leak their own albums strategically. People try to keep up with the Internet age and incorporate how those things work into an album cycle. Spotify is playing a huge role by promoting our new record. It seems like the digital world is settling in a little bit and now becoming the norm. We are always trying to adapt to what is going on.
Does the band share similar inspirations in music?
One of the interesting things about writing and arranging with this band is that everyone has pretty different sensibilities individually and those are always changing. At the same time we are always bringing new ideas in and when we discover something new we are excited to share that with the band.
Do you have a certain protocol to inspire creativity when you are stuck?
Not really. Something like that could help. Sometimes things come together really fast and other times they will be sitting around for years before we figure out that last puzzle piece that makes everything click. Usually we will just put stuff on the back burner if we are beating our heads against the wall. Having a lot of different things to work on helps. For this last record, Brian Eno had this awesome set of cards that all had a little idea on it, specifically to get writers and artists to get through blocks. If you are ever stuck you will draw a card and you will have to write a new chorus or play the melody backwards. We did a few of those but we didn’t religiously use them although I think they would be kind of fun to try.
Image Credit: Shervin Lainez
3/30 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
3/31 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
4/01 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall
4/03 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
4/04 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theatre
4/06 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
4/07 – Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
4/08 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
4/11 – Columbus, OH – A&R Music Bar
4/12 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre
4/14 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
4/15 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz
4/16 – Geneva, NY – The Cracker Factory