Ra Ra Riot: Returning to their roots - INTERVIEW
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • December 10, 2012 @ 9:09am
Formed in 2006 as a college band from Syracuse University, Ra Ra Riot wasn’t supposed to last very long.
Made up of Wes Miles, Mathieu Santos, Milo Bonacci, Rebecca Zeller and Kenny Bernard, the band found a stellar momentum in their early years that has resulted in an incredibly successful career thus far. Their “let’s go for it” attitude paid off with appearances on David Letterman and on movie soundtracks including “The Last Song” which featured “Can You Tell.”
Their new album “Beta Love” comes out on Jan. 22 and features a synth-pop sound that slightly differs from their usual string-heavy music. Ra Ra Riot will be playing with Guards at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Mohawk Place. Tickets for the show are $15 and can be purchased through After Dark Entertainment.
We got a chance to chat with bassist, Mat Santos about the band’s upcoming trip to Buffalo. Check out the interview below.
We’re all pumped to see you guys in Buffalo this week. Any good stories to share?
Mat Santos: It’s funny, when we were all still students at SU, we recorded our first three-song demo at a studio in Buffalo. We’ve got roots there. It was like a quick road trip for the weekend, recorded a few songs and then headed home. That was like early 2006. We’ve played at Mohawk Place a couple times and we always try to get some wings when we visit.
What do you love and hate about being on the road?
MS: Well, my favorite part I guess would be a lot of things. Getting into the whole rhythm of touring, we tighter on stage every night. Being in a different city every night across the whole country can be cool too. I like traveling. The worst part would have to be being away from my friends, family and girlfriend. Having alone time is really hard too. We’ve been doing this for so long though, so that’s always a challenge.
Working on your new album “Beta Love”—what’s your favorite song off the record?
MS: I’m particularly fond of the title song “Beta Love” and the last song “I Shut Off.” It’s really fun to play and was one of the first songs we recorded.
With the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn, how have you guys adjusted your sound on the new record?
MS: Going into the record, we wanted to change our approach anyways. That maybe contributed to her leaving. A little bit of both—making changes before and continuing change after Ally decided to leave. I think even though some arrangements are different, its the same DNA and the same core people making music. We’ve got a wonderful new cellist with us now, so live it won’t be much of a difference.
Did you guys have a turning point in your career when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
MS: I always knew I wanted to tour and be in a band, but when we started this band, that wasn’t the plan at all. It was just supposed to last like a semester. Then the summer after, we booked a small tour and that was fun. Then we got a little momentum going and it sort of picked up steam without even expecting it.
We all sat down, maybe a year and a half being in the band and decided to go for it. The last year has been great and I’ve heard a few other successful bands kind of started out the same way.
What can we expect from Ra Ra Riot over the next year?
MS: We’re just excited to get back on the road. The album comes out at the end of January. We’re used to touring all the time, like for even 3 or 4 years straight. Then our last real tour was about a year ago. We hadn’t had a proper tor in awhile and we’re just excited about that—for everything coming up.
Are you guys into Buffalo wings?
MS: Yes, I’m a hot kind of guy. We call ourselves “the spice guys” when we go out to eat as a band—including Rebecca. We always try and order the spiciest thing on the menu, so we’ll definitely be getting some Buffalo wings when we get to town.
What are your favorite songs to sing in the shower?
MS: “Oh! Darling” by the Beatles and anything peppy and belty by the Beach Boys.
For more information on the Ra Ra Riot show this week, check out the After Dark Entertainment website for details.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.