They’ve been mates for years (two of them are sisters), they’ve worked with some of the hottest writers and producers on the planet and they’ve achieved chart success, strangely not in their own backyard – but four piece Aussie pOp outfit Raen hopes to change all that with their slick new single ‘Honey’.
Chatting with the ‘A’ from Raen, Amanda, we find out what the band’s been up to since their 2006 Maxine Nightingale cover ‘Get Right Back’.
“We were writing an album at the time, and then we had a UK manager jump on board and he took us over to America to record and write, and then we put finishing touches on the album and then took off to the UK, so we kinda bypassed Australia”, she says, almost apologetic for the band’s local absence.
Not that she’s complaining. With their follow-up single, ‘Drama Fanatic’, they roared into the top 10 on the British club chart and performed countless shows throughout the UK.
“They love pop music over in the UK and there’s so many places to perform – in a lot of the weeks, we were performing five/six times a week and I think we counted that we’d performed to over 50,000 people by the end of the trip”, she says.
“It was refreshing because Australia has such a rock mentality and a lot of pubs, so you know it’s kinda nice to go to a pop world for a change”.
And Amanda feels it’s a combination of that Australian penchant for rock music and the power of the four major record labels that’s made it difficult for them to get a look-in with the mainstream radio stations.
“Because we don’t have the big budgets behind us that majors labels do – it is definitely harder. But on the same hand, we’re releasing songs that we’ve written ourselves and that we’ve so invested in emotionally that it’s more rewarding when you hear something on the radio that you’ve worked so hard for. There are definitely walls up there that we’re trying to break through as a pop indie act.
“We’ve had a few radio stations pick it up – JOY FM in Melbourne – they’ve always been a big supporter of us – we love them – and then 96.1 in Sydney. They’ve been playing it non-stop and even 2Day FM has been playing it in their dance shows. Hopefully we just keep going”, she says.
But Amanda also admits that being an independent artist does have it’s upsides.
“We’ve got an amazing team around us – our manager and our publicists – all these people who are just beautiful people. Because we are independent, we can choose who we work with and the type of people we work with and I think we’ve chosen an amazing team that’s really excited for us and loves our music too and wants to work as hard as possible.
One member of that amazing team that the singer heaps praise on is the director of the band’s rather perplexing and slightly scary ‘Zombie’ film, Jesse Davies.
“He is incredible. The zombie clip was just him running around with a camera, so that kind of shows you how creative he is. It was so much fun to do though. It actually all started because we just wanted to shoot something fun with him and he was like ‘let’s shoot this’ and we were like ‘okay’ and he said ‘what’s something that you guys get asked all the time’ and we said, ‘well we always get asked if we fight’. And he asked, ‘do you?’ and we said ‘of course we do – we’re creative people, but we’re like sisters and so it doesn’t matter’. And he said, ‘then let’s do something where you rip each other apart’ and we’re like ‘yeah! That sounds great’.
Thankfully Rachel, Amanda, Emily and Natalie (their names in that order spell out the name of the band) also have a more glamorous and sexy side, as seen in the video clip for their new single ‘Honey’.
“We thought ‘let’s do the opposite to the zombie clip’ so that people can see we’re obviously not taking ourselves too seriously. We do love our glamour and our glitz and we do want to show that side of us as well”.
That said, being four very attractive young women in a vocal group also has it setbacks – with many quick to dismiss them as ‘just another manufactured girlband’ with no perceived longevity.
“Because we’ve come from friendship and knowing each other for so long, we see ourselves as a band. So we kind of see ourselves differently to how the rest of the world sees us, but we understand that girlband stigma because you tend to think of them as not having much creative input and they’re manufactured and they’re just pretty girls who dance around the stage and they can’t sing much – that’s a stigma – I’m not saying that’s true, but that’s the stigma. Which is why we love performing live, especially so people can hear our voices and see what we can do live – it’s so important to us’, the singer adding that following a number of live gigs in and around Sydney, Raen is planning to get out to explore the live scene outside of the New South Wales capital.
“We want to go to Melbourne – we’ve possibly got a show in Melbourne in May – no I think we’ve definitely got a show there, we just haven’t confirmed the date. We definitely wanna get down there and hit Melbourne a bit and do a few shows down there and then maybe Brisbane, so we definitely have the plan to start touring – we’ve got people running around trying to get us shows. We’re all excited for it”.
So, with ‘Drama Fanatic’ and ‘Honey’ now under their belts and a club tour of the country already underway, the girls’ focus is now the release of their debut album ‘After The Storm’, due to hit stores around the middle of the year.
“We’re really excited to get the album out ‘cause we’ve very proud of it. We’ve had some amazing people working on it so we can’t wait. We just want people to hear it. Hopefully mid-year. So kinda soon-ish! Probably another single first and then the album to follow”, Amanda chirps excitedly, as she muses about the group’s next local single.
“We’re kind of debating it at the moment ‘cause Honey’s being released in the UK very very soon – it’s already gone to clubs over there and is already going better than Drama Fanatic, so we’re very excited about that. There’s another song that we’re DYING to release in Australia as well”, careful not to divulge the possible single’s title.
With pOp music as fresh, polished and strong as ‘Drama Fanatic’ and ‘Honey’, we don’t think it’s going to be too long before the courageous, glamorous and talented Raen foursome and their ‘Dorothy Records’ will be hot-footing their way down that yellow brick road to pOp superstardom.
Raen’s single ‘Honey’ is available on iTunes/Bigpond Music now.
The band’s debut album ‘After The Storm’ is due mid-year.
For more details on tour dates, head to RAEN’S OFFICIAL WESBITE