“I’m unafraid; we’ve come of age”
(Lyrics taken from ‘My Blood Is Brave’)
The Riff Raff’s sound captures your attention. Masterful in combination, intelligent wordplay weaves throughout four-piece vocal harmonies, infectious melodies and intricate string/guitar arrangements.
“Beautifully complex melodies, definitely the new sound” – Sir Paul McCartney
Growing up in the Midlands, the prevalent Punk, and Ska scenes with Terry Hall and Gerry Dammers making regular appearances at Tile Hill music college, left a lasting impression on The Riff Raff lead singer/songwriter Alex Thompson. Alongside John Peel’s radio show as a heavy source of inspiration.
With first performances on the illegal/free party scene in the midlands, Alex quickly developed a live following within the midlands with regular appearances at local venues from a young age. Thriving in what was at the time and underdeveloped music department he was rewarded with a place studying at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Music Institute L.I.P.A where he met a writing partner child protege in the form of vocalist/ multi-instrumentalist, Harry Robinson. Post education the pair carefully pieced together a live project from friends including Paul Noels guitar / vocals , Richard Soward drums/ vocals and Andy Hill bass/ synth / piano.
Via the web, early recordings spread and created a buzz that found its way to BBC Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank, who became the first person ever to play an early demo of ‘So Long’ on National radio. The Riff Raff were then invited to record a live set at Maida Vale studios and further support from Huw Stephens, Colin Murray and the BBC Introducing team propelled the band into being asked to headlining Radio 1’s ‘Introducing’ stage at Glastonbury alongside The Ting Ting’s, in national press and live coverage. Performances swing from the raucous energy of ‘Fins in the Dark’ and ‘Changes Everything’, to the beautifully introspective and majestic ‘In a Recession’ with further tracks like ‘Rolling in the Mud’ and ‘NYC loves LDN’ – executed to perfection. Performances across the summer’s festivals culminated in a steamy set at Bestival, a further Maida Vale live recording and an invitation to play a coveted spot at the BBC Electric Proms in London. Following the Electric Proms the Riff Raff were offered a place on the BBC proms live touring around the UK’s top venues with Radio1.
Exposed to the limelight at such a young age the band honed there live-craft and toured extensively throughout Europe, and looked towards the States. New material attracted the prestigious support of Joe Strummer’s New Music Foundation- ‘Strummerville’ and guidance from some of the most famous and prestigious names on the planet. ‘My Blood Is Brave’ was recorded at Trevor Horn’s studio SARM West and featured in the charities advertising campaign and live programme at festivals throughout the summers.
The buzz around the band spreading abroad independently was inevitable, with huge support in Paris and France infiltrating Europe was a natural progression. A recent strong inclusion in Grammy Award winning director Don Letts new project based around the charities support programme for bands led to a SXSW trip to Austin Texas early in 2010. The Riff Raff travelled down from New York with East Village Radio and have gained firm support from the station with big plans to be announced in coming months. In Paris the Riff Raff headlined at the Factory FAC151 launch party with Alan Mcgee and Dave Haslam, Bez and Phil Smith the Oasis tour dj securing an invitation to record at Moolah Rouge studios with Dan from the Happy Mondays.
In October 2010 the band attended CMJ music conference in New York with a joint invitation from the uber-cool East Village Radio, playing a two week run of shows in the evenings and free shows in the daytime. The band clocked up significant media coverage to be invited onto Steve Lillywhite’s world famous radio show. 6 acoustic songs and a private showcase at Webster Hall led to Steve Lillywhite inviting the band back on his radio show and announcing on air he would like to record with them in 2011.
Steve’s colleague at the station- Andy Rourke ( the Smiths/ the Pretenders / Freebass / Jetlag ) heard the Riff Raff and with his Jetlag partner has remixed several of the bands new recordings set for release in 2011.
The Riff Raff have been invited to attend SXSW music conference in 2011 along with East Village Radio and the debut single ‘Static on the Radio’ will be released in March to co-incide with this tour. With recordings being completed on the debut album the stage is set for a triumphant homecoming and culmination of a lot of love and hard work.
-COLIN MURRAY- BBC RADIO1:”DIGITAL KINGS- PERSONAL FAVOURITES’
- KRIS NEEDS @ MOJO MAGAZINE LIVE REVIEW:”A JOYOUS STORM SHOT WITH THE KIND OF DIVERSE MUSICAL STRAINS WHICH SEEM INTEGRAL TO ARTISTS AFFILIATED WITH THE STRUMMER CAMP”
- SIR PAUL MC CARTNEY @ LIPA:”SPEAKING ABOUT ‘SO LONG’; “BEAUTIFULLY COMPLEX MELODIES, DEFINITELY THE NEW SOUND”
- HUW STEPHENS – BBC RADIO1:”ONE OF THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BBC INTRODUCING NEW MUSIC RADIO1 STAGE @ GLASTONBURY, TRULY ENTERTAINING AND WELL WORTH GOING TO SEE THEM LIVE, LEGENDS IN THE MAKING”
- ROB DA BANK – BBC RADIO1: “IF THEY ARENT DAYTIME BY NEXT YEAR ILL EAT MY OWN PONYTAIL”
- TIMEOUT MAGAZINE: “POP HOODLUMS”
- THE TIMES NEWSPAPER – “ On this December day the doors of a small auditorium are flung wide open. Five young men and one woman are belting out modern ska-inflected, post punk anthems against a backdrop of leopardskin sofas, glitterballs and Native American ornaments. They are the Riff Raff, one of a growing number of young British bands who have benefited in these tough times from facilities and advice provided by Strummerville..”