Interview – Ra Ra Riot

Photo Credit - Nicole Busch

Let summer enter the city scape with its warm bliss. On top of that, while enjoying those desired moments outside, music fans will be busy re-listening to some of their favorite tracks by the legendary musical act, Ra Ra Riot. Ten years ago, their stunning collection of music from the album ‘The Rhumb Line’ brought them into the fold of listeners worldwide. Not only is their music captivating and catchy, their energetic live performances give new sense to modern music as it constantly evolves. They never disappoint and will be brining that glory onwards with a tenth anniversary tour to appease the masses. Wes Miles was kind enough to take some time and look back on their amazing journey and optimistic future.

Right off the bat, reflecting on ‘The Rhumb Line’ was easy to share. “… First records are always important in defining a band, but we also got a decent amount of success from it. I remember as we were finishing it feeling like it was something we’d be touring and promoting for basically as long as we existed, and here we are now! [We are still] half-jokingly hoping that we’d be sick of playing Can You Tell ten to twelve years into the future. Aside from that, it’s the last time we really had songs that we really finished with John, our OG drummer and co writer, which is always going to be very special and emotional.”  

This year offers more new creative work down the road. “The big thing is that we’re working and getting close to finishing our fifth record. It’s amazing because as much as I knew when we started that ‘The Rhumb Line’ was special, I couldn’t have imagined what our music would be like in ten years, let alone that we’d have explored so many avenues, and completed four more records.” In regard to their musical evolution, Wes had a perfect reply. “Well, all you need to do is listen to everything else in the last ten years and then listen to our new record when it comes out!” Beyond music, their 2018 wishes are right on par. “[We just want] peace and Justice.”

Venues like Webster Hall and various spots in Geneva, NY are staples in the band’s touring history. “Webster was a really fun place to play for us, each time. Any place in NY is fun, but Geneva was also cool since it’s Milo’s hometown.” Beyond music, other mediums and a sense of community help keep the band in a solid groove. “Right now we’ve been re-discovering Hasui Kawase. [Also,] having good friends that make great music and learning from them. The never-ending quest for something you’ve never heard before. Milo and Kenny both are very adept at building stuff; furniture, sets and generally big cool things, Becca is doing a lot of video stuff, and Mat and I are more in the painting/spray painting visual art zone.” For when the band is on their own for the day, Wes listed their ideal location to visit. “[We love] White Sands National Monument or any National Monument/Park and hot springs.”

As the current climate of music continues to grow, Wes gave his two cents on it all. “I’m definitely not a doomsayer in this way. It’s easy to point to what you don’t like in music, business or creative, but there are so many cool and thoughtful artists making cool things right now, all you have to do is look. In the meantime I’m listening to some other new tracks that my friend Rostam has produced recently including Maggie Rogers and Cosha, both are lit.”

Time slows down for no one, Mr. Miles’ day is no exception. “[I] was going to meet Mat at Peter Pan for a donut, but probably will be listening to a new mix of a song we’re wrapping up and then maybe playing some board games, ha-ha! This record was and continues to be a rather big project, but probably another record [will be released] pretty soon!

Jam on.

Give Ra Ra Riot’s classic album ‘The Rhumb Line’ a listen below: