Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Interview > Raw Moans

Raw Moans' first album we want it beautiful NOT REAL makes me think of a gray, cloudy city with tall, abandoned buildings, all their windows covered in dust and dirt. The songs are eerie, minimalist reworkings of R&B songs from the 90s. Joseph Vorachack's voice sounds both melancholic and warm, even when he is singing explicit verses from Snoop Dogg's "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)." Joseph wrote out responses to notes I had made for a proposed phone interview, and I retrofitted questions based on my notes to his responses.

MP3: Raw Moans - Aqua Net [from we want it beautiful NOT REAL]

Is Raw Moans your first band?
Joseph: Raw Moans is my first band. It started off as a solo bedroom project. I produced the sounds with adopted equipment throughout my apartment and also provided the vocals for the tracks. As it progressed and more fans started taking notice, requests started coming in for live performances. I then approached my friend Jeff Graves a couple months ago, who has extended knowledge and experience in music to help me create and execute our live act. Raw moans is now a duo with Jeff on the instruments and myself handling the vocals. I can understand why people presume that Raw Moans is a solo act, because all the previous blogs and press pertaining to Raw Moans was when it was doing it solo.

Did you listen to a lot of R&B when you were growing up?
Joseph: Growing up and being first generation American, my parents didn't own any vinyls and music was not accessible to me. I didn't have the luxury of being introduced to particular artists or genres of music, only Lao folk music. I took it upon myself to be like any other rascal in the hood and latched on the likings of FM radio stream. I spent my younger days in South East San Diego living only blocks away from an indoor swap meet. Once the weekend hits, you can find all the hood kids loitering in the parking lot bumping the latest 90s R&B cuts. Because I was so much younger than them, I looked up to these teenagers and thought it was fucking cool.

Do you feel like these musicians are overlooked by the people that your music appeals to?
Joseph: I do feel like 90s R&B artists are overlooked and not acknowledged by most of my peers. I wasn't surprised that most of my friends have never heard of acts like MoKenStef and Total just to name a few. Therefore, I wanted to re-create and introduce these hood classics to folks from a different demographic. My goal for this EP was to break the invisible barrier between social classes of music.

Why do you use new titles for your reworkings of other people's songs?
Joseph: Titles of the songs were changed because the original moods of the songs were changed. These tracks are not covers, word for word, it was more of a re-creation. I felt like it was a second coming/re-birth and that a re-name was necessary.

A few of your songs are based on songs by women singing about men. Was this a purposeful attempt to undermine gender roles?
Joseph: I'm very fascinated by the gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender lifestyles. With music I feel like there shouldn't be a specific gender classification. My goal was to seduce and lure my listeners with a no gender voice. I wanted to experiment through music to see how it would be perceived. This allowed me to toy with my underlining feminine emotions considering that I'm male.

Do you feel like witch house musicians are part of a 'music scene' despite living so far apart?
Joseph: I love what's going on with music right now, there's a lot of excitement and electricity in the air. Witch House/Drag has always been around to me, hidden beneath electro clash, gothic industrial, minimalist electronic, and most importantly hip-hop. Finally with notoriety and respect, this is the spirit of the future. With assistance from the world wide web, individuals are able to locate like-minded beings. We are a community, a community of outcasts from near and far. With that said, this explains my first encounter with Robert Disaro, founder of the Disaro label. As for the symbols, take it for what it is. It's sexy to me and everyone should get a tattoo of it.

Why does Raw Moans use the Raiders logo?
Joseph: I'm not a big sports fan although the boys are hot. Back in the 80s and early 90s NWA identified themselves through the Raiders logo. Therefore, the streets took that as an example and translated sports logos/symbols into a territorial trend. The cover idea for we want it beautiful NOT REAL was sampled from this formula.

What is the significance of that title?
Joseph: we want it beautiful NOT REAL is literally in your mother fucking head. The reality of situations aren't always it seems, dreams do come true. To believe is to breed, so start making love.

Raw Moans sounds like music that would be played on a radio station in a dystopian future movie like Blade Runner or something. Do movies like that influence your music?
Joseph: I am the Disney's Studio back lot. Welcome to my life, my life full of drama and animation.

How 'important' was Altered Zones in getting you attention?
Joseph: With Altered Zone being Pitchfork's sister site, of course it has a huge impact in breaking new and low key bands. Considering their massive following, I'm very fortunate to have been featured twice.

Do you have Halloween plans?
Joseph: Jeff and I will be playing at "Tin Can Ale House" on October 29th with White Ring, King Dude, Nike7up and Robert Disaro on the ones and twos- for the Disaro West Coast Tour, in San Diego. So scratch Cheap Fest, no one ever confirmed with us. For booking and inquires email: rrawmoans@gmail.com THX

Do people slow dance during your shows?
Joseph: We've played a couple private shows in a bedroom setting, for a handful of peeps. From my recollection, I noticed a few people making out, wasn't sure if it was boy- boy or girl- girl or boy -girl, but nobody slow dancing. Our first live official show will be taking place at "Tin Can Ale House" in San Diego, on October 29th. Possibly we'll also be going on an Art Fag tour late November with Heavy Hawaii and Colleen Green, but dates aren't confirmed yet.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
"To make Gepetto's wish come true, it will be entirely up to you. .... prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish, and someday you will be a real boy" the Blue Fairy
Check out Raw Moans on MySpace and Facebook.

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