Oh Brother, Brother, Brother... It’s An Interview with The Family Rain.
Words by Augustus Lindsay
With The Family Rain having recently put out their first releases in two years, including a pair of singles that feature on their upcoming EP (‘Machete Western’ out September 29th) I caught up with the charming fraternal trio to see what’s new.
Will (Bass/Vocals): “The initial thing that’s been driving us to come back is an identity that’s stronger than we realised. We wanted to flex that. We’ve got a platform that’s a solid version of us, so now let’s have a bit of fun with it.”
Tim (Drums): “I think the main difference is working with Bad Sounds (they produced these tracks). With them, we’ve been extremely experimental with what we’re creating. We’ve always wanted to push the envelope and bring the craziest kind of influences into our sound. And maybe that hasn’t gotten past the line in the final result this time, but with these tracks - the latest releases - we’ve finally been able to show our most artistic side.”
Ollie (Guitar/Vocals): “Yeah and it’s been quite organic from the point of view that we’ve known the guys at Bad Sounds for years. They’re local to us. What they do there is quite different to what we do. So it’s been nice to kind of mix what we do and what they do together; and for that reason I think they’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. That’s what’s made it. Hopefully that comes across on the record that we’ve both enjoyed tapping into what it is that the other does.”
One of the most significant differences apparent on the EP is rapper Dylan Cartlidge’s appearance on ‘It Ain’t Easy Being Mean’ - a fantastic genre-blending Hip-Rock track reminiscent of Del the Funky Homosapien or Bootie Brown’s features on iconic Gorillaz’ tunes ‘Clint Eastwood’ and ‘Dirty Harry’.
Ollie: “Yeah that basically came through you, Tim, didn’t it? Because you drummed for Dylan on a track that Bad Sounds was producing. And then yeah, turns out Dylan was a fan, and he wanted to do something together, and it all just rolled out really naturally and that’s almost really where it started.”
"The thing that keeps us working together, is that our shared attitude has always been seeking rather than repeating.”
The collaboration with Bad Sounds seems to have opened a door for the band, allowing them to push the envelope and develop beyond their own pre-conceived limitations as a 3-piece.
Will: It’s just that thing of us hearing how crazy a sound or a song could be in our head, and being in a room with a producer or someone who’s willing to take that risk. And it feels like for the first time ever there is no line. We’re just allowed to go as far as we want. It’s getting stuff passed by a producer who you trust and they trust you, and it’s having that relationship.
Ollie: The line always before was really about what we thought we could do live, and now we’ve realised let’s just not worry and let’s go beyond it. And actually it creates the other fun side of that, which is ‘how do we make this a live song?’, because we’re not the kind of band who are willing to have a track we can play along with. So now I’ve got some weird synthy guitar pedals and some extra delays so yeah…we’re having fun with the live side of it too.
Will: That’s the approach we’ve never really had before but we’ve been able to do on these records. It’s a 3-piece band at the end of the day and we’ll work out some way to do it live but until then let’s just make the most insane record that we can without putting any limitations on it.
Tim: The structure of all those songs is really just the three of us tracking in a room together, so held within them all is that core sense of live performance. So you could be sat in a bar watching us play all of those, but then there’s the things we’ve attached onto it - the trinkets, the armour.
Ollie: I guess that’s the thing, because obviously we’re brothers who’ve played music together our whole lives, there’s such a solid centre to what we do that everything that comes around it is always gonna have that DNA…is it literal DNA? No we don’t have the exact same DNA.
Will: We do, we’re twins.
Ollie: Oh yeah, I guess you do. Well, genetics then.
You can find out what the band’s new live sound feels like at two upcoming gigs this month - September 16th at Dalston stalwart, The Victoria; or in Southampton on September 30th. Missing from the shows, sadly, will be the stunning visuals present in each of the videos that accompany these first two glimpses of the EP. They are each very different in feel - one an old
timey cartoon tribute; the other a Mos Eisley acid trip. Both well worth watching.
Tim: So I make the music videos for us, and for other artists, and what I do every time is I just lock myself in a room and listen to the track - this sounds extremely wanky I’m aware - but I just sit and listen to the track over and over until an image pops inside my head so effectively what you’re seeing is what’s inside of my head. So when I hear ‘Machete Western’ I was like yeah it’s aliens and it’s a desert so we just went about trying to make that happen. And with ‘It Ain’t Easy Being Mean’, you know, it is like a little Steamboat Willie song at the start and I thought it feels just like a little black and white cartoon. So the aim is really to just try and let the song speak for itself and not limit ourselves to one theme or one aesthetic. Just letting it flow as naturally as possible, hopefully giving the song its own identity.
Going down the AI route was purely a financial issue
Ollie: Well it was timing as well.
Tim: Yeah it was timing and financial.
Ollie: We had a month to turn around a music video and we reached out to some animators who basically just laughed at us.
Tim: But lo and behold AI did it for about £300.
Throughout our conversation the band seem truly excited about what the future holds. A fresh lease of life has gripped The Family Rain and they’re ready for whatever the future holds. With that in mind, I finished off with a few curveball questions…
WHAT WEAPON ARE YOU WIELDING FOR THE ONCOMING APOCALYPSE?
Ollie: You remember that film ‘The Mexican’ where Antonio Banderas gets out a guitar and it’s actually a gun? That.
Will: Spaceship. Getting the fuck out of there. Like the one Branson went up in the other day. Tim: Knowledge, what with it being power. I need a bit more of it anyway…
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE?
Will: I’d like to be flattened. Not steamrolled but just flattened.
Ollie: Like in Space Jam with Stan Podolak???
Will: I’m picturing like a Looney Tunes weight, just Boom. So heavy everyone goes “We can’t move it. We’ve just gotta build the road around it.”
Ollie: I quite like the idea of being on stage playing, mid show and just dissolve - float into the air like in wotsitcalled…Avengers something something.
Tim: I reckon I’d go for inside a giant sand-timer like in Aladdin.
AS THE KARMIC CYCLE RECOMMENCES, WHAT WILL YOU RETURN AS?
Will: Toucan. I’ve always had an affinity with the Toucan. They’ve got a built in amplifier. The reason that beak is so big is because there’s chambers in there that amplify the sound. I’ve been obsessed with them for years. I’d quite happily be a Toucan in Mexico just flapping about the place.
Ollie: Well if it’s an animal, I quite like an owl. But if it was anything then maybe some kind of Pokemon.
Tim: Well I’d be Gengar if I was a Pokemon, but I would be a tiger…which is a reference to a song which may or may not coming in the future. But I can’t say too much about it.
Follow The Family Rain
Listen to ‘IT AIN’T EASY BEING MEAN’
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