News RA: ‘We All Got Undressed - It Was Pretty Weird’

Swedish psych-punks RA are as raw as Iceage, but here they reveal themselves to be ultra-professionals.

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Swedish five-piece RA released their debut EP ‘Bloodline’ in early June this year via Double Sun Recordings (also home of dream poppers YAST and punk act Terrible Feelings). The EP is an impressive first offering showcasing the four-piece’s direct sound, which they label as psych post-punk. It’s a staple that’s lent them comparisons to Holograms and Iceage as well as Joy Division and Bauhaus..

Formed only last year when three of the band’s five members lived together RA first shared two self-recorded demos on YouTube that gained them the attention of Joakim Lindberg from the Swedish electronic rock band MF/MB/ (a project which is described by the band, bluntly, as “shitty”). Lindberg, also the head of Double Sun, ended up signing them to his label to record and produce the ‘Bloodline’ EP at Malmö’s renowned Studio Möllan. The debut was recorded last year, before Christmas, in only two days.

‘The actual recording only took two days, but we’d spent a lot of time rehearsing the five songs we had so we’d be able to just do everything live in the studio. And still the final takes on each song ended up the best – when we all got undressed. It was pretty weird.”

Prior to entering the studio the band had spent months trading songs and sounds with Lindberg, who “didn’t change the sound at all, but came with a lot of small suggestions that improved the end massively”. “It all went smoothly” they state about the collaboration: “He was on the same level as us, and when we got to the studio he knew exactly which pedals we needed and just had everything in place.”

Beyond the obvious Scandi-punk comparisons, RA’s influences go far beyond. While trading songs with Lindberg ahead of the recording the band wielded nods from “everything from Spacemen 3 to Joy Division” as well as a bout of garage rock including the Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees. “It was our common interest in music that first got us together, and as we lived together we sort of listened to the same music anyway”.

While the current wave of Scandinavian punk acts are frequently mentioned, so are the older acts as well. “I’ve gotten a lot of mentions of The Jesus & Mary Chain from older friends. There’s been lots of mentions in the more goth-direction as well, although that’s hardly what we’d label ourselves as.” When asked how they feel about what they’d like to be connected with the answer is quick: “Definitely Holograms and Iceage, and Shiny Darkly. Blue Angel Lounge too. While not being just another band, of course. As long as it’s darker stuff, it’s all good”.

In early June, just before the release of ‘Bloodline’, the band were lucky enough to secure an opening slot for Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy’s ’35 Years of Bauhaus’ tour in Malmö. “It was really cool, as Bauhaus is certainly something that have inspired us…Plus it was fun playing for a full house, and the crowd seemed to be quite susceptible to our music.” In a sense it was sort of the typical opening act situation for the band: “His management really kept us at an arms length and we only had ten minutes for soundcheck, with all his gear set up already so we only had a small area on the stage to work with.” But they got a little something from Murphy anyway: “I did steal some of his beer - that’s what he gets for not saying hello.”

New material’s emerging by the day, ‘Bloodlines’ but a distant memory. “There’s no clear plans yet but we’re hoping that our debut LP will be released early next year, and that we’ll start recording as soon as possible.”

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