Ra Ra Riot is a New York band formed by Wes Miles ( vocals), Mathieu Santos (bassist), Milo Bonacci (guitarist), Rebecca Zeller ( violinist), and Kenny Bernard (drummer). Their new album Beta Love was produced by Dennis Harring - Wavves and Modest Mouse. Fridöm spoke with Mat about their upcoming show in Mexico city, their new album Beta Love , their inspiration, etc.
Fridöm: How would you describe the essence of your new album “Beta Love”?
I'd say it's just the next chapter of the Ra Ra Riot story - one to which we can hopefully keep on adding in the future. To me, it's an extension of what we accomplished with our first two records, and will be a great jumping-off point when it comes time to start working on the next one.
Fridöm: How was the experience working with Dennis Herring?
It was incredible being able to work with someone like Dennis, who has so much experience and is thinking about things on a totally different level. None of us had ever had an experience like that in our careers. We needed him to push us beyond our individual and collective comfort zones, which he absolutely did, and we learned a ton about writing, arranging, recording, everything. Dennis can be mysterious and intimidating, but we were all operating together with a lot of mutual trust and respect, which allowed it to work very well.
Fridöm: Whenever we are starting a new project we can get inspiration from a lot of things, places, etc. If this were the case, what inspired your new album “Beta Love”?
We were inspired by a new attitude of un-self-consciousness and openness, by Dennis's methodology, by the sunny warmth of Oxford, Mississippi, by some books we'd been reading (most notably Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near and William Gibson's Neuromancer), and by all the different kinds of music that we were listening to before and during recording. Inspiration is everywhere!
Fridöm: If we were in a relaxing moment, which song from Beta Love would you suggest us to listen? And in the party mood?
For the first, I'd say Wilderness, which is one of my favorite of Wes's songs. My party song would have to be I Shut Off, which I think is my favorite track on the album. It's definitely my favorite to play live!
Fridöm: Recently we wrote an article about how to save money when travelling to NY, as you guys being from there, do you have any extra tips for our readers?
Well, I'd say get familiar with the subway system, which may seem daunting but really isn't - it's the easiest and cheapest (and arguably most "real") way to get around the city. Cabs are expensive and not necessarily that efficient. Also, my favorite experiences in the city involve simpler things, like finding a small park, a nice cup of coffee, a good cocktail, a small art opening or concert somewhere. You don't need to do all the tourist-y things - get out of midtown and go hunting for something! And maybe save up some money for one really good, unforgettable dinner somewhere.
Fridöm: How would you describe each member of Ra Ra Riot in only one word?
Becca is Becca, Kenny is Kenny, Milo is Milo, Wes is Wes, and I am Mat. Is that cheating?
Fridöm: It has been a couple of years since your last visit in our country, do you have any unfinished sightseeing or things you´d like to do on this visit?
My only experience of Mexico is limited to Mexico City, so it'd be nice to get out of the city and see some of the rest of the country, some of the more natural beauty. Though, unfortunately on our only trip to Mexico, I was really sick, and spent nearly the whole time in my hotel - so there's still lots for me to see this time!
Fridöm: Finally, anything you´d like to say to our Mexican readers?
We're very excited to be coming back to Mexico, and are looking forward to sharing our new music with you! I remember how hospitable and enthusiastic everyone was last time. It's been too long since our last visit.