Interview: Ronald Raygun | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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There’s no band that makes you want to grind your hips more than Ronald Raygun does. The funky, dance-inducing outfit from Darlington/Manchester return with a brand new single, Fruit (out now). A song that is loaded with juicy beats and luscious licks and will most definitely soundtrack your summer. We find out more about the new track from lead singer and songwriter, Sam Kennedy.

Where did the name Ronald Raygun come from?
Al-Gore-Rhythm was taken. So, I had to use the next best thing. Why I resigned myself to playing off the names of american politicians, I wish I could tell you. I guess it’s a dark humor; making a silly pun from the president that oversaw one of the most oppressive eras of conservatism. Or maybe I’m overthinking it.

Describe your sound?
The sound is a mishmash of style-features from across the eras, genres and artists I find attractive. I love the melancholy groove of funk and soul and the cheesy optimism of disco. I draw on the kitsch songwriting and synths of the 80’s. I love the production of 90’s and 2000’s pop, mainly for the integration of sampling and experimentation. I employ these elements and collage them together. I put myself in a writing situation where there aren’t many rules, and just do what sounds right. Taking the bits I love and blending them together in the studio creates a personal sound, but one that embraces its influence.

What is Fruit about?
I’m aware “Read into it what you will”, is what people who want to give their meaningless ramblings a sense of unearned depth. Having said that, read into it what you will. The song doesn’t have a concrete meaning. I wrote the lyrics in an afternoon. I try to convey a mood more than a universal meaning. Sometimes I’ll have a subject I’m directly writing about, but in this case I just wanted to create a feeling. The music came first for Fruit, so I just sang nonsense and syllables until they sounded right, I then formed the mush of sounds into words and retroactively applied coherent sentences to the structure I’d made. Am I a fraud?

Where did you record the single at?
I recorded most of it in my flat in Manchester. I recorded louder stuff like the drums (Max Barron) and saxophones (James Krusz) at the New Adelphi studios in Salford. The rest of the live band (Elliot Rundle, Max Hargrove, Josh Kirby and Walter Harrison) all helped with the mixing of the track. They are all great musicians with solid ears on their noggins so it’s a process of me mixing it and sending multiple versions to them for notes. When it sounds good by them, then I’m happy, and it’s a case of mastering the finished product.

Do you have any shows to support the release?
We’re playing the Georgian Theatre on the 7th of June for ‘Visions’. Got a few more in the pipeline but it’s all hush hush at the moment.

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