Ravens were delighted to be featured in Shindig Magazine’s ‘Beatleisms’ special. Read on for a full transcript of the interview.
Many thanks to Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills and all at Shindig.
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW – RAVENS
JON ‘MOJO’ MILLS is entranced by some big, bold, thoughtful pop with lysergic ruffles
These three young lads from Leeds sprang out of the woodwork six months ago. And like woodwork, they are entirely organic. Debut five-track EP Sound Of Ravens is slightly reminiscent of Damon Albarn singing songs honed in the tradition of the late ’60s and early ’70s or Stackridge without the West Country burr.
Perhaps one of the members resembling a young Harry Nilsson can also be justified as another pointer. “Ah yes. That’s Rob the Fox with his luxuriant beard,” says the band’s Richard McTague. “I know he will love that. Nilsson’s definitely an influence. His dedication to the idea of ‘the song’ is as important, if not more so, than any particular sound.”
Like Nilsson, Ravens are not really classifiable via genre, but the Beatley inflected vibe that effected so many artists past and present is certainly apparent, notably on the jolly ‘Lemon Sorbet Sunrise’. And indeed, when questioned about one key album that has inspired them, the whole band resoundingly reply, “Abbey Road!”
“It blew my mind when I first heard it and it still does today,” admits Richard. “Early on we were massively into the circus as a theme. Everything we wrote revolved around clowns and cannonballs and tightrope walkers,” he laughs shrugging off any further Lennon or Nilsson comparisons.
But their music is neither entirely backward looking or wholly psychedelic. When discussing “new music”, Edgar ‘Summertyme’ Jones, Phosphorescent, Jagwar Ma, Django, The Bees and Moon Duo all crop up, and for this writer the classicism of Supergrass’s more refined moments is also evident.
“It’s really interesting what people hear in the music,” says Richard. “Everyone seems to find something slightly different which is brilliant. We want to combine all these strands and become everyone’s favourite new band!”
It’s early days yet but gigs alongside Trembling Bells will no doubt bring Ravens to the right audience, and their five-track EP is a good show of what they are capable of. “We recorded most of it earlier this year,” explains Richard, “when it was raining every day. Our producer Zac would instruct us to ‘Bring the sunshine out’. So, in a way, the UK can thank us for the wonderful weather we’ve had this year.”