Hanging From The Rafters is a three piece band based from San Diego, California. Their music is a unique blend of electronic and analog layers creating a lush, ambient and sometimes haunting sound.
We caught up with them at a branch of Los Pollos Hermanos where we ordered a large family bucket, some soda and sat down to talk about the best album EVER, Neil Sedaka and self promotion, here's how we got on...
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence...
Hanging From The Rafters’ music is a fusion of electronic and analogue elements creating a unique, lush and haunting aural experience.
You’re called ‘Hanging From The Rafters’, how did you come about choosing this name?
Where did you record your debut ‘Box of Songs’ and what made you choose that studio?
We chose SDRL in San Diego. Brad Lee, of The Album Leaf, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced Box of Songs. We knew he would understand experimental and ambient electronic music and we loved working with him on the album.
Being an independent band how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media aided your music?
Vocalist Lolly Brown works full-time at promoting HFTR and has made some great global connections through social media, and particularly with music sharing sites like Soundcloud. We have recorded 2 collaborations with a producer in Finland via Soundcloud and have more planned with musicians in Spain and the UK. We are continually supporting, giving feedback and sharing ideas with artist from all over the world.
We’ve had a tougher time locally where the music scene is dominated by reggae, surf jazz and folk music. Our local music awards here in San Diego have a category for cover bands, but none for electronic music. We recently did a showcase with RAWartits.org and think our next show may be through RAW in New York City- see how we do on the other side. (Lolly lived in and played music in NYC until she moved to California in 2009)
‘So the Same’ is a dark sounding track, very enjoyable, what was the process of writing and putting this track together?
The lyrics for this song were written by Lolly when she was pregnant with her son. She was looking into the future at what she would see of herself in him. Kawika had written the music and when Lolly heard it she put the lyrics to it and it was the perfect fit. The darkness may come from the fear that her mother had put in her head so many times growing up, “Someday you will be a mother and I hope you are put through the wringer with a wild child!”
The comic style art work within your website is exceptional, who inspires you to do this and who does it?
Drummer Michael Brown creates all of the artwork, branding, web design and cd cover art for Hanging From The Rafters. Michael has a background in graphic novel illustration, and animation. (Check out his portfolio at www.michaeljb.com)
Who designed the cover of ‘Box of Songs’?
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
Between the 3 of us we have four dogs and we love a good lullaby, but if the gorilla is tiny and has a really bad attitude we could change our minds.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
That’s a tough one…can we pick two? Probably Mezzanine (Massive Attack) or Dummy (Portishead). Ground breaking albums.
Tell me a fascinating fact about you or one of your band members?
Lolly was not allowed to listen to the radio or “secular” music growing up. Her household had only three records- Neil Sedaka- Sedaka’s Back, Paul Simon- Still Crazy and Roberta Flack- Killing Me Softly. In high school her parents found a cd player hidden under her bed and confiscated it. She was crushed because she had learned that you could plug the headphones into the microphone jack and record her song ideas. She had to wait a few more years until she moved out of her parent’s home and purchased her first 4-track recording system.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Between the three of us probably Neil Sedaka - Sedaka’s Back
Lolly Brown – the vocalist has a wonderful tattoo, where did this idea come from and who did the artwork?
Lolly was in the music store choosing a mic and was torn between the classic Shure and a Blue Spark for recording. She went with the Spark that day but got the Shure tattoo a few days later. A lover of both ink and the many influences who have crooned into a vintage Shure make this one of her favourite tattoos. The tattoo was drawn and inked by Garrett Fransen at Frontline in Oceanside, CA.
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
We know too much about each other as it is.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Probably Goldfinger because we are told we are very “Bond” (and shhhh, we are recording a version…)
First gig you ever went to?
Lolly- Gene Loves Jezebel (had to sneak out), Michael- Blue Oyster Cult/Judas Priest (he was 12), Kawika- The Commodores (no, he’s not that old).
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
We each picked one and this should be an interesting night- Aretha Franklin (Lolly), DaVinci- (Michael), and Anthony Bourdain (Kawika)
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Here in San Diego our local favourite is Tiger Milk Imports.
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow, Adrian Thaws, Bruce Pavitt, Jonathan Poneman, Tracey Thorn, Thom Yorke… oh, Jools, of course Jools, a free download of everything for Jools.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Miriam Blaylock in The Hunger. After all, she and David Bowie seduce a girl at a club to Bela Lugosi’s Dead and then suck her blood.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
We are putting together our songs for album number two and plan to do some out of state shows.
Damn, that chicken is good, so addictive, one taste is all it takes and you're hooked. Prior to all of us becoming chemically addicted, we threw in a bunch of quickfire questions to hopefully steer their thoughts away from the smell...and the taste !!
Coffee or Tea?
Oh, both. They each have their merits.
Coke or Pepsi?
Two Cokes and one no soda (Lolly, though if she must, she would prefer a Pepsi)
Drum machine or the real deal?
Real deal! Although drummer Mike Brown has incorporated a Wave drum into his kit which gives us some fun sounds. The sitar you hear in Post, and the sound of a plucked Asian string instrument of some sort we haven’t identified in Heaven’s Daughter both come from the Wave as well as plenty of BOOM!
Mac or PC?
We have a few of each…
Taco or Burger?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
Lemmy! Lolly spent a day with him at Jeckyll and Hyde in NYC for a taping of Headbangers Ball! She was his bartender for the day.
CD or Vinyl?
Vinyl is great for some albums, you have to appreciate some scratch for say, In A Silent Way. But we mostly stream and download albums for everyday listening.
House of Blues or The Casbah?
While we love the The Casbah and would love to play there, we haven’t been asked (and we have tried!) We have played at HOB twice and recently had a great show on the main stage in so HOB is winning at the moment!
Car or Motorbike?
Lolly and Michael are waiting for their Google cars and would be happy to never drive again. Kawika has a motorcyle and a muscle car.
Acoustic or Electric?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Only Lolly has tattoos (quite a few) and one piercing, but is mostly phobic about jewellery. Kawika has one pierced ear and Michael is a modification virgin unless you consider a beer belly or a missing finger body modification.
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
Robert Pacino. (Weird fact- Lolly has never seen any of the Godfather Movies)
God or Google?
Google is God