Perth quartet Rag N' Bone refer to themselves as "polished scunge" and describe their sound as "an angel meeting up with a drunken choir, vomiting diminished scales over battle drums". They really make us feel uneasy, and we love it.
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
Axel: Kiera, Sara and I all met at university. We shared mutual interests in distortion, decadence and despair and the idea that we needed a hunk of a Scot on the skins - Jamie popped into view. Jamming in isolation in Sara’s family home in the northern suburbs of Perth really gave us time to connect before we’d even played a show - now, hundreds later, we sound like polished scunge, an angel meeting up with a drunken choir, vomiting diminished scales over battle drums and feedback cries over wheatfields. Also, we get compared to Midnight Oil heaps.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
Axel: Making any medium of art is such a curious process, so I can only answer for myself - making music is as much a part of my routine as my morning coffee. Work is work. I think that with our recent material we’ve really tried to go really within ourselves, the dark crevices and all to really create something worthwhile and meaningful. I also really strive to create a throughline from our work to other works of art - our songs wouldn’t exist without Charley Patton, Carson McCuthers, John Cassavetes or Gareth Liddiard and like my experience following this snakey trail of artistic lineage, hopefully we get people to walk down that path too.
What can punters expect from a RAG N’ BONE live show?
Kiera: We like our live shows to be cathartic for us as much as for our audiences so there’s usually a lot of energy, writhing around & even screams from band members. Our strength lies in the intensity we create on stage but also bringing that back to something quiet and controlled. Ultimately it’s where we feel the most connected as a group and probably the thing we love doing the most so hopefully that’s felt by the people watching!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
Kiera: In the world of music making it’s easy to go through periods of self-doubt and get caught up comparing yourself to others. Whenever I feel myself leaning towards those thought patterns I always think about a particular Alan Moore quote that basically says that anything of value in our lives starts with a risk & in order to be able to make it you have to put aside the fear of failing and the desire of succeeding. This plus the love and support from family & friends is usually enough to steer me back on course!
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
Kiera: Parking Lots by Ermine Coat
Axel: Harmony by the Avalanches - after spending a whole weekend with Wildflower, I’m convinced that this track in particular is the perfect balance between bursting with joy and crumbling in melancholy: a recipe for bliss.
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Kiera: Autoluminescent by Rowland S. Howard
Axel: Hollow by The Tommyhawks - they get a shoutout later but this track in particular is so warm and full of quiet spirit that it gets me everytime.
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Kiera: I’m a sucker for bangers so I’d go for something like I Touch Myself by The Divinyls!
Axel: Death to the Apple Gurls by Gerling
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
Kiera: It was actually last night and it was The Tommyhawks EP launch at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. We played along with them and Hyla and the room was buzzing like mad! They are such an awesome live band who work really hard. We drank bourbon and coke and I felt like I was in highschool again.
Tell us about the bands or people in your music community that inspire you.
Axel: Perth is a veritable hotspot for people who inspire me, for various different reasons - Dave Parkin for being an absolute wizard with a mixing console, Luke Rinaldi for his dedication to assist and nurture (as well as a complete mastery of ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’), Shit Narnia for their complete emotional and sensory assault, Foam for being the most consistently improving band for the past five years, Childsaint for their lilting, dreamy songscapes, Pat Chow for having the best rock songs of the past recorded human history, WAM for their total love for all things music in Western Australia, so many bands, instrumentalists, bookers, punters and people that make Perth such a wonderful place to be a musician.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Kiera: We can’t reveal too much just yet but we can say that soon we will be leaving our Aussie shores to play a few shows overseas. We’ve just finished recording our debut album which we feel really proud of so you can expect to hear more music & see more videos in the lead up to its release early next year. Other than that we’ll be working on new music, going to all the amazing gigs in Perth & trying to win at quiz nights.