I love rock music. I also love electronic music. So when the two are combined, very intriguing results can be created. This is no exception for Raw Fabrics, a band that have created a style completely their own. Allowing the band to be a blank canvas for musical creativity, Jack Franco, Jon Fredrik, and Justus Dixon have created an enticing sound that's all their own, combining the organic rock stylings heard in bands like The Raconteurs with electronic elements and experimentation. I spoke with Jack recently about the creation of their most recent EP, Plastic Joy, why there are no musical limitations within the band, and much more, prior to the band's show that will be taking place in San Francisco, California this Wednesday, September 30 at The Chapel.
I’m not sure how to identify you guys. You’re a rock band, but you have this kind of art-house feel to you, if that makes any sense at all? I can hear a lot of various rock influences in your music. What’s the hardest part for you guys when writing a song and having to condense down all of those influences into three-minute selections?
There’s not really a system of how we do it. It’s working on something until it feels right, I guess. Sometimes there’s too much going on, and it kinda takes away from the music is there’s too much going on. It’s all about the feel of the song. When it feels right, it is right?
How did the conception for the Plastic Joy EP initially come about? Did the ideas start coming in immediately after Gold Handcuffs? Or did it take some time?
After Gold Handcuffs, it was probably a couple months before we started working on the second EP, just because we were doing music videos and stuff for Gold Handcuffs. We were really excited about that. Usually what happens, and I don’t know about other artists, but for me, whenever I write a new song I get super excited about that one, and then I don’t really care about the old ones anymore. (laughs). That was at the beginning of the band though. Now we’ve found a way to not do that. It makes things hard if you can’t write until you have to.
We took a few months. I had the idea for the words “Plastic Joy” floating around in my head, but we didn’t have any new music. We knew that we wanted to capture a more electronic side of the band, and show the full mixture of us being a rock band that’s very open to other genres. Like, a new style of our band.
The musical ideas came first. Like, the idea to do a song called “Beast” came from a chant. The song “Dead Instruments” came really quickly. Those came not from us jamming as a band, but just from ideas for songs that popped in my head. When I wanted to record them, it just worked really well.
That process lasted a couple of months. But now, we’re almost always working on new music.
There were moments on this EP that felt almost a little bit experimental, particularly with the electronics. When did the idea to incorporate electronic elements come into the process?
I think originally, when we started the band, we didn’t want to limit ourselves. We’re three musicians; we’ve all been playing drums, bass, guitar, and piano for ten years. Not together, but individually. We all come from the rock world. We really wanted to have it be a creative, open space with this band, where we could do whatever we want. If we grow a fanbase that knows we do whatever the fuck we want, then we’re gold. (laughs). So we really wanted to make the band be like a blank canvas. These are the tools that we have. I’ve been playing guitar for years. We have drums, but we don’t have to stick to that. We can get the drum machine out if we want, because we all like different music too. We just wanted to make something interesting to listen to over the priority of just sticking with our instruments.
You worked with Joe Chiccarelli, who has produced artists such as Morrissey, U2, and The Strokes. For you guys, what did he bring to the table as a producer that helped you bring your songs to life?
With this EP, actually, we worked with him, but I was actually in charge of producing. We are a smaller band, so we couldn’t really get him to be a full producer. I had actually talked to him on the phone a year before. He really liked our music, and he was stoked about the band. We didn’t end up working with him right away, but later on, I said “hey Joe, what would you think about engineering our EP?” He has such a knowledge of the technical side of recording, and he’s one of the best in the world of analog.
It just worked out. Everything was really in line. Originally, we were just like, “would you help us track some drums?” We love the “White Stripes, Raconteurs”-sounding drums. We thought that mixing those old, blues-y rock drums with an electronic, aggressive sound would be really interesting. We asked him the day before if we could set up live and play guitar and bass as well. We ended up recording all of the tracks. We did all of Plastic Joy in one day.
After that, I went back and we figured out all of the electronic sounds and did the vocals over a couple days. Most of the music was all done in one day, though. We were literally going at one song per hour. It was moving really fast.
Let’s talk about the video for “Dead Instruments.” What was it about that track that made you guys choose that over others in terms of bringing it to live visually?
With that one, we all liked it. We thought that the melody was really great and that it was a cool, hard hitting song. Right away, I just kind of saw the idea for a video. Usually when that tends to happen, it’s kind of hard to get the idea out until you actually do it. I had the idea right when we made the song. I was like, “oh I totally see the video for this. That would be great.” I convinced the band.
The lyrics are all about trying to be creative and not stick with a certain plan. But we didn’t really want to make a video for the song because of the lyrics. We were mainly just influenced because the song had a really energetic vibe.
This is the last question I ask to every artist that I interview, as a way to close things out. It’s broad, but what does music mean to you?
Music is just everything. It’s the soundtrack and the color in your life. It’s the soul, you know? (laughs) I wouldn’t be the same person without music at all. I don’t know what I would do. It’s extremely important; it’s the lifeblood of my life.
Raw Fabric's newest EP, Plastic Joy, is available now. Tickets for the band's show in San Francisco, CA TOMORROW, September 30, can be purchased here: http://www.thechapelsf.com/event/911823-night-terrors-1927-san-francisco/
This has been another Shameless Promotion.