“Water” – the new single from Ra Ra Riot‘s collaboration with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam, showcases the band’s heightened levels of experimentation found throughout the forthcoming album Need Your Light. The album was primarily produced by Ryan Hadlock (Vance Joy, Blonde Redhead) with two tracks, “I Need Your Light” and “Water”, produced by Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend, Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen).
Need Your Light is the sound of a band being reinvigorated by its own existence. Correspondingly, the album sees Ra Ra Riot – Wes Miles (vocals), Mathieu Santos (bass), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Rebecca Zeller (violin), and Kenny Bernard (drums) – getting back to their house party roots they explored with 2013’s Beta Love.
“The inspiration came very quickly,” Miles says about recording new album, explaining that he decided to fly out to Los Angeles to work with previous producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello) in order to start fleshing out ideas. Shortly afterward, the group went on a writing trip to Milwaukee, then found themselves crafting Need Your Light with a host of previous collaborators, including Ryan Hadlock in Seattle (who produced 2008’s The Rhumb Line) and Andrew Maury in Brooklyn (a longtime friend, collaborator and live sound engineer who also co-produced 2010’s The Orchard).
Also in the mix – as he has been since the band’s inception – is Vampire Weekend’s Rostam. He has a long history of working with Ra Ra Riot (including the Discovery project with Miles), yet this marks the first time he’s actually taken on the role of producer for the band. Discussing the process behind “Water” and the title track, Rostam states:
“Between 2005-2009, Wes and I wrote an album together in snatched moments in our lives… That record (the Discovery LP) seemed to benefit from us having the freedom to pick it up and put it down. In January of this year, Wes came to stay with me, and we set out to write songs again. We didn’t know where it would take us. There was something I’d heard in Wes’ singing in the earliest days of seeing Ra Ra Riot live that I felt had never quite been captured on record. There was our shared love of U2’s Achtung Baby, something that having listened to the music we’ve recorded in our lives thus far you might not know about. And also this obsession with writing songs that tell stories. So we spent five days writing just two songs – ‘Water’ and ‘I Need Your Light’– and I think we found that same freedom in making these songs that we had found years ago making the Discovery record, not knowing where it would take us.”
Ra Ra Riot’s decision to do a short tour of warehouses and basements late last year before re-entering the studio worked to remind the band of how they “started as a house party band, we never wanted to lose sight of having fun and engaging with the audience through visceral live shows,” Santos says. With ‘Need Your Light,’ Ra Ra Riot are incorporating their past into the future.
Need Your Light Track List:
I Need Your Light
Call Me Out
Every Time I’m Ready To Hug