Hey Guys!! So excited to be chatting with all of you. What led to you guys forming “Raynes”?
To make a long story a little shorter, two of us—Joe and Mat—started playing music together after we met at university about five years ago. Mat had a ton of songs he had written and we knew we wanted to start something together. We started trying to find a singer, and found the proverbial needle in the haystack when we came across a video of Mark singing on Instagram. We messaged him and asked if he wanted to be in a band in LA, and within ten days he was on a plane to the US to meet us. We clicked instantly, and the rest, as they say, is history.
What’s the meaning of the name “Raynes”?
When we were deciding what to call ourselves, we were looking for a single word that didn’t really have any prior associations so that we could make the name mean whatever we wanted, so that we could shape its associations and connotations. We came up with a list of hundreds, but none of them felt exactly right. Finally we came up with Raynes, which seemed like a big enough and “free” enough word that we could make it mean whatever we wanted.
What’s the difference from your band and all bands that are currently doing well?
Probably the main difference between us and any other band right now is that, as far as we know, nobody else is making this kind of music. No one sounds that similar to us. Of course, there are all kinds of great folk groups and pop acts and indie bands out there, but they’re not putting three- and four- and five-part harmonies over violins and mandolins, then layering all that over synths and pianos and shekeres and taikos. It’s a unique sonic fingerprint and we’re proud of it.
Can you tell us a little something about each of you?
Something about each of us: Mat is the coolest, Joe is the most fun, and Mark is the most handsome.
What inspired you guys to pursue music?
For each of us, the inspiration has been a little different. Mark fell in love with John Mayer’s guitar playing; Joe saw Michael Jackson in concert; Mat started listening to Top 40 radio for the first time when he was 14. Each experience triggered essentially the same thing in all of us, which was a realization that all we really wanted to do was create music.
How would you describe your musical style as a band?
This is a tough question. We’ve tried to condense the answer into one sentence that makes sense, but it’s hard to do that with so many disparate influences and sonic elements involved. The closest we’ve come is calling it “expensive folk,” but we could probably just as well call it something like “organic pop” or “alternative Americana.” More or less, it’s folk instruments playing pop riffs and melodies, layered in a relatively sophisticated way and glossed up with modern pop production.
What artists do you guys look up to right now?
There are always different artists we look up, and for dozens of reasons. Right now we all love what artists like Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey are doing, but the artists that we’ve admired for a long time are the ones who really seem to have created something beautiful and lasting—for example, The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon.
You guys just released your new single “Lemon Drop”. How excited are you guys that this new single is finally out into the world?
We’re so thrilled to have the song out in the world finally! It’s been on our minds for the last two or so years, so it’s very satisfying to have it exist in reality now. The reception has been amazing, even more than we had hoped for––it feels great to be able to, in a sense, “deliver” for the people who have stuck with us since the very beginning, as well as all the people who are hearing about us for the first time because of Lemon Drop.
Can you guys tell us about how this song came about?
Lemon Drop is basically a song about moving to LA to try and get famous. And a few other things, but mostly that. It’s sort of a funny song to us, because none of us are really that interested in throwing our lives away on drugs and partying or any stereotypical Hollywood excess, but it’s just fascinating to be at least adjacent to that kind of life. It’s a shock, but it’s a rush, and we love it. Mat wrote the track and the lyrics to Lemon Drop just a couple months after Mark had flown out to LA, so it was very early days for the band and everyone was pretty excited––chasing fame in California was very much on our minds. So it’s definitely a reflection of our shared experience in that sense––of our excitement and determination to “make it” no matter what.
Are there any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
As far as other projects, we have a few other singles that we’re planning on releasing in the next couple months. And we’ll see where things go from there!
Why do you think social media is so important for singers today?
Social media is vital these days if you’re looking to succeed as an artist. It’s been said before, but there really is no better way to connect with people, with fans around the entire world, than to show them your life and work and invite them on the journey with you. And social media makes that easier than it’s ever been before.
How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?
It’s bizarre to think that we even have fans, to be honest! It’s so humbling to think that anyone––much less thousands of people––cares about the music we’re making. We’d hope that our relationship with everyone who follows us is just one of gratitude and, as cheesy as it sounds, love. Every comment or response, every time someone comes to a show or listens to one of our songs, means the world to us, and it’s not something we take for granted. It feels like we’re nowhere near famous enough to be saying things like “We love our fans,” but we truly do.
How has this whole music career experience been?
For all of us, being able to be in a band, to play and write and travel and meet people together, is nothing less than a dream come true. Of course, trying to forge any sort of path in the music industry is not without its struggles and setbacks, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.