First off, thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions for me. Now, who do I have here and what do each of you do in Razbari Sumthing?
Rory- I'm Rory and I play bass guitar.
Derek- Thanks for having us Brandon, i'm Derek. I play trumpet and sing backups.
So, I hear you're having some pretty bad weather around your area?
Derek- Yeah dude, I was driving home from work today and there was a car flooded in the middle of a street. The guy was standing on top shaking his fists in the air, and it was funny.
Rory- Yeah, at the parking lot of my job, there was a huge gushing mountain of water. I wanted to play in it real bad.
Haha. Well, i'm glad you guys made it alive and well. So, you're currently in the midst of gearing up for the release of your debut record? Tell me a bit about what's going on there.
Rory- Well man, its getting busy for us. We just spent 10 days in the studio recording "The Great Distraction," which is our first full length. Were all so stoked about it man. It was so much fun making this record, moreso than the others. You learn a lot about people when your locked in a 10x12 room with em for so long. Haha.
Derek- "The Great Distraction" is something I know we're all gonna be proud of. All the sounds and ideas we've ever wanted to express are present on this record. Very tight.
That's awesome. I can't wait to give it a listen. What's it sounding like so far? More of what we heard on your latest EP, or are you taking a different direction with this one?
Derek- The "Great Distraction" is based on the idea that everyone's living their lives in this dream world where they go to work every day, take the bus, talk on their cell phones, feed the dog, etc. all the while turning their eyes from what's really going on, the truth ya know. The ugly truth is that we could all be gone if some maniac decided to push one button. It's ugly and dark, and that's more the tone of this album. In your face distortion with deep bass and drums. The horns are huge as always, but this record's a lot more serious than our EP's as a whole.
Rory- Whereas our first EP, Sacks on Ball Street was us going "I.. guess this is what ska is supposed to sound like," then Forget the Words was like "Yeah.. yeah, this is what ska is supposed to sound like." Now, we kind of gave up that notion of trying to fit into that category, and we went in with the mindset "Ok, this is what we want to sound like."
Sounds really interesting. Speaking of your EP's, Forget the Words was easily one of the most infectious discs i've ever heard. It seems like you guys took more towards the rock side of ska, rather than the punk side. Is that the style you feel comfortable with, or is that more of just how it came out?
Rory- Thanks a lot man, it really means a lot to us to hear people say that. But, the thing about our music is that we don't pressure ourselves to write in a certain genre.
Derek- Agreed, there are seven members with seven different music backgrounds. When we put it together, we get this mix that's more like rock with horns. That's what we've settled into for this album. Ska is a great way to express our messages, but sometimes it doesn't fit, so we don't force it. We love the rock and punk side of RazSum, as you'll be able to hear soon.
Derek- Here's the thing, I think a lot of musicians are too concerned with what "style" they wanna play, and they don't think enough about the messages in their tunes. Make the music match the message. Bingo, that's it.
That's seems like the route most bands take, and I guess it's true that it truly does bring out the best sides of bands. Now, just for kicks, what would you say is your favourite RazSum song?
Rory- Oh man! Haha lets think here. Right now, my favorite song is one on the new disc. It's called The Mountains Of Avalon. I love it because the message is so strong. As far as what we've already released, Stuck in Mediocrity is my favorite, mainly because it stirs up so much controversy, with the Reel Big Fish reference. We get so much flak for that. Hahaha.
Derek- My favorite songs have to be End of Time from Sacks on Ball Street, and In the Grey from the new album. It's about ghost hunting, and I really think ghost hunting kicks ass.
Right on. Good choices. I'd say my favourite thus far is Cuidado Piso Mojado, just because I can kind of relate to it. Speaking of that subject, do you find that your fans can relate to your music easily? Is that something you strive to achieve, for your listeners being able to make a personal connection to what you're saying?
Derek- Yeah man! I love it when people can relate to the music. That's what it's all about. I mean we don't write it with that in mind persay, but when a fan tells us how much they love a song there is no greater compliment. We share our songs with people in hopes that they enjoy it. If they don't oh well, but if they do that's icing on the cake.
It must be a great feeling. Moving on, lets talk more about your forthcoming record. So, you guys went up to PA and locked yourselves in a studio for a while. What was that experience like? Any crazy stories to share with us?
Rory- I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. I think the rest of the guys would say the same thing, also. Just spending 10 days, 16 hours a day making music with your best friends, does it get any better than that? It's like we were at summer camp, minus the wicked hot summer camp counselers and Donkey Lips. As far as funny stories, Vinnie got hit on by a 90 dollar hooker. But the best part is, he didn't realize it until Derek pointed it out. Hahaha, he just thought that some nice lady was talking to him!
Derek- Yeah, some nice, wicked, ugly lady. We must have spent like $1000 dollars at Taco Bell. Oh! One night there was this group of kids partying next door. I think it was the 4th of July. They were drinking and stuff and a cop came. There was this girl that kept swearing at him and we were trying not to laugh, but she got arrested. That was pretty funny.
Sounds like one hell of a time. About the actual recording of the record, how was this experience different from recording your EP's?
Derek- It was WAY more intense. For the EP's we were in the studio for like 6-7 hours a day. This album has us laying down tracks for up to 16 hours at a time. Plus this album was more experimental. We had the chance to try out different things that we've never done. Some worked, some didn't, but I think all the songs are just more intricate and enjoyable in general because of it.
Rory- What made a huge difference was the lineup change we went through a few months ago. K.K. joined up with us on drums in December, so he made this trip to the studio more musically intense, but also more laid back. Whenever things would get tough, or we felt like we were in over our heads, he would just start screaming hilarious things. Hopefully some of it ends up on the record!
That's awesome. I've got high hopes for this album. Let's talk a bit about your live show. I've heard you guys put on one of the most energetic shows out there.
Rory- Well dude, when we're playing our music, its hard not to get into it. Whether were playing Ska Weekend to a ton of people, or playing at some crappy bar, its always the same. We’re just happy to be on a stage playing with our best friends.
Derek- I always tell people, .if you can think of one thing in life that makes you the most happy, and make it last for an hour or two every week, that's how playing live feels to me. Seeing people sing our songs and playing all over the place is an awesome feeling. When you're that happy to be doing something it's hard not to jump around.
Amazing. You mentioned playing this years Ska Weekend in Knoxville. That must've been quite a treat. Tell me a bit about that, if you would.
Derek- Oh yeah, dude. Ska Weekend was definitely one of my favorite shows. To be invited to one of the biggest ska festivals in the country to play alongside the most well known ska bands out there, that was an honor. We got pretty lucky actually. We were supposed to close a side stage, which was cool in intself, but as we were getting around (on about an hour of sleep in 3 days total), we got a call from the promoter, Ben Altom, saying "get your asses back here, you're opening the main stage!" I pretty much crapped my pants. I want to thank every band that we made friends with that weekend. The whole vibe was incredible. Special thanks to the guys from The Planet Smashers, Suburban Legends, The Know How, SGR, Fatter than Albert, and Perfect Orange for being so friggin cool.
Rory- And Go Jimmy Go! Nicest bunch of guys i've ever met.
I only wish it was held a little closer to Canada and i'd be there in a second. Haha. You guys got to play alongside alot of amazing bands. Speaking of which, if you could pick any bands to hit the road with, who would it be and why?
Rory- Honestly, man, I would LOVE to tour with Against Me! It'd be a weird bill, I know, but I have so much respect for those guys. As far as Ska bands, I would love to be on tour with the Planet Smashers due to how nice they all are. Streetlight is awesome too, that would rock. Also, there’s this ska-punk band from Chicago called Plunket. Hahaha. We played with em a few weeks back, and it was such a great time. That would be an awesome tour.
Derek- I told Derek ( the Suburban Legends drummer ) that we'd tour with them someday. That would be cool. But no, my top choice goes to The Planet Smashers too. I respect Matt Collier alot for what he's doing with the group, and ska in general with STOMP records. Coolest guy. That would be a great tour.
Again, great choices. Alright, now i'll go into a few more of the cliche questions, so excuse me for being so predictable. Is there any meaning behind the name Razbari Sumthing? One of our forum users was wondering, and they'd like to know why it wasn't just spelt Raspberry Something?
Rory- Dude, we're loving the questions, don’t worry! And, to answer the question: No. There is very little meaning behind the name. At one point early on we had a Bari Sax player, hence razBARI. But really, we didn't put a lot of thought into it. We always just assumed that people would pass judgement on the substance, not our name.
Personally, I love the name. It's got a real nice ring to it. Haha.
Derek- Haha. Welcome to the minority, sir. But no, we just tend to tell people that it's a joke that never stopped.
Either way, what's really in a name anyways? Haha. Anyways, next up. Another one of our readers wants to know if you think the Syracuse ska scene, or the scene in general, will expand past where it's at now?
Derek- Well like in any city, there's different scene's for the different genres. The Ska scene in Syracuse is doing well right now, and there's always room to grow. It's just like the music obviously, scene's come and go in waves. I think the ska scene is on the upswing, which is great.
Rory- Honestly dude, if every ska scene is as supportive as the one we have at home, there’s nothing to be worried about. That’s what I love about this music, Brandon, its so supportive. We have kids that don't miss ANYof our shows. Now, that is amazing to me. We all really appreciate it too, and we try to give em everything we can in return.
So, it sounds like you guys have at least some faith in another ska uprising? Do you ever think ska will make a full-fledged comeback to where it was in the 90's? Is a fourth wave coming?
Rory- Who’s to say? I would love to say yes. I'd love to make a living doing this, and I'm sure every other band in our boat is hoping for the same thing. I mean, i’d love to be set like Gwen Stefani, or whatever, not having to be a hollaback girl.
Haha, who wouldn't, right? Okay, one last question before we wrap things up. I thought it would be good to end on a note about The Great Distraction, so basically if you could, summarize what's in store for us. What can we expect from your debut full length?
Derek- Expect a lot of different genres, I'd say. We really didn't set a limit or anything on this one. We're all so proud of this, man. We really hope that people can get into it. It’s a heavy record. We still have a lot of the Ska, but in general, its heavier.
Rory- Our first song will be available in a few weeks on our Myspace and pureVOLUME site.
I can't wait. Anyways, I just want to thank both of you a ton for taking the time to do this interview. Are there any last words you'd like to leave us with?
Derek- I just want to express how lucky I think we are. We've shared stages with some amazing bands, we've met some of the chillest people possible, and people let us get on stage and play music for them! We have been given such an amazing opportunity, and I really feel blessed.
Rory- Yeah., I think there's a guy canoeing down my street. This whether is crazy! But also, the same as Derek said. We have amazing fans, our parents are so supportive of this, and it gives us a reason to hang out with our friends.
Derek- Yeah man, and whenever our girlfriends get pissed at us for "Hanging out with friends too much," now we can legitimately say that its our job. Hahaha.