Presenting an interview with the awesome Raphaelites, a five-piece pop-rock band hailing from Barry, South Wales.
Cat On The Wall: First up, for those of our readers who have yet to discover the Raphaelites can you introduce yourselves? How did you all meet?
Raphaelites: Raphaelites are made up of Harrison on vocals and lyrics, but better known as Badger, Tom and Theo on guitar, Ed on bass and Dale on drums. We all sing on our songs as well.
When Theo and Dale were just beginning on drums and guitar, they started practicing together as they lived near each other and knew that both had just started playing but neither could sing or write lyrics. Badger was friends with Theo and knew he could write lyrics, he played him the first song he and Dale had written (later called “Stay With Me” – incredibly corny according to Badger, but it was a start). After singing the lyrics, they asked if Badger to be in the band. Their mutual friend Perry joined on bass, followed by the appearance of Tom Atkins a year later but would spark the first creative juices we needed to create a “pre-Raphaelite” song “Sleep Talk” (now part of Raphaelite’s collection of forgotten songs.) Perry left due to his other commitments before Raphaelites’ first major gig, selling out Cardiff Barfly and gaining them their first recognition as a band. After struggling with no bassist for a further two years (in a desert of a lacking rhythm section) they attracted the attention of Ed whilst taking photos at a later gig in the Barfly and having just finished with a band as bassist. After Ed settled in and with combined experience and years of working it gave the band all the tools they needed to write a whole new collection of songs that now make up the set.
COTW: Your EP ‘Find The Path’ came out in October last year. Are there any stories behind the songs? Where was the EP recorded?
Raphaelites: Find The Path is made up of three very differently written songs:
‘Worse For Wear’ is the oldest song that we still play and it’s a bittersweet love song – our poppiest number with a ridiculously catchy outro. It has a secret powerfully emotionally chord that we accidentally wrote into it in the studio. We made a music video for Worse For Wear and had it played on a number of radio stations.
‘Redrum’ is obviously based on a horror film feeling, and has the EP’s title in it, as well as the original title ‘Horror Flick’ that we had in mind. It’s definitely our heaviest song and harks back to when we’d play less poppy material. When played live it leads to some fun rocking out situations, especially when we’ve drunk a lot. The last part we recorded for the EP was the gang vocals in the bridge.
‘She Said’ is a song that changed almost completely from one thing to another in the studio. A lot of the lyrics were written that weekend and the spoken word parts were ad-libbed by Badger, plus all the instrumentation changed heavily to create a really fun song to play live.
We owe a lot of the reshaping the songs to our producer Adam, who took these songs which we had started to get bored of somewhat and pushed them to their absolute best and made us fall in love with them again. The EP was recorded in a gruelling weekend at Op:Ec Studios in Porthcawl during July 2012 where we all pushed ourselves to our absolute limits to come out with the best that we could.
Raphaelites: There are two main methods. We either have a quite fleshed out idea from one of us with main guitar and lyric ideas and we work off it, or we base it all on one riff and write it from that. It would be easy to say it was a ‘collaborative process’ but it always needs to be based off something otherwise we would skew it wrong musically. We all offer ideas to each other as well as working independently on our own parts. We often openly express our opinions on the parts and songs completely, and have more often than not thrown out songs we’ve worked on for hours if they’re not up to scratch.
COTW: Is there a new record in the pipeline? What can fans expect?
Raphaelites: We currently have enough new material since writing Find The Path for an entire album. However, as the recording process of the EP was so laboured not just in recording, but rewriting, we’ve decided to work excessively hard in improving the songs we have until they’re at their very best before returning the studio, as well as seeing if we can come up with better stuff. We intend to work with the producer from Find The Path over a less intense period to fully craft out the album. Material we’ve been playing live recently is all set to go on it as well as a couple of other ideas we may be bringing back or have on the backburner that we’re still working on.
COTW: Do you have any live dates coming up? What do you enjoy most about performing live?
Raphaelites: We have the following dates:
March 22nd: Hobos, Bridgend supporting Milestone’s EP Launch
May 18th: Pili Pala Festival, Swansea
We all love playing live, and agree that it’s definitely the best part about being in the band. We always aim to make the live experience a bit more interesting than five people on a stage. We’ve done some ridiculous things on (and off) stage in the past.
COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
Raphaelites: We’re taking a short live break until March 22nd but lining up as many gigs as possible over the next couple of months whilst working on our set and songs every week. We aim to finish writing the album and have booked time to start recording the first five songs.