Stepping into the Spotlight with Les Racquet

, Staff

Every week we like to spotlight a rising bands from outside of New England. Today, we get to know Brooklyn’s Les Racquet. You can catch the band in Boston when they perform at the Middle East Upstairs on Thursday, February 6. Learn more about the band, below.

Band Name: Les Racquet

Band Members:
Kenny Murphy: Bass, Vocals
Daniel Malone: Drums, Vocals
Patrick Carroll: Guitar, Lead Vocals

Albums:
Whale Hail (2013)
Be Water My Friend (2012, EP)
Les Racquet (2011)

Website:
www.lesracquet.com

How did you form/start?

Kenny Murphy (KM): In the fall of 2010, Pat and I decided Brooklyn, New York was the best place for us to pursue music full time. We moved into a sublet apartment in Bed-Stuy and met Daniel within a matter of weeks. Our first rehearsal together was in a studio on the lower east side of Manhattan. Daniel was drumming with a handfull of groups at the time, and recognized that this was the kind of project where each member not only has full creative liberty but an equal stake in the business management side of things. For better or worse, it all falls on us, which is a very exciting idea for people like us. At the very least, it would be a great experiment and learning experience. After it became clear that we were each “in it to win it” we agreed to dedicate five full years to this project no matter how many times the van broke down (we’ve put 100,000 miles on it in two years so as you can imagine, there have been issues) and how many times we ran out of money, etc. Three years in, I’d say we are right on track.

Finish the sentence, someone would like your band if they like…

KM: …to take their fun very seriously.
Daniel Malone (DM): …exist and stuff.
Patrick Carroll (PC): … surprises, twists, turns, and rollercoasters.

What song of yours should people listen to first and why?

KM: “Ambulance” (streaming below), off of Be Water My Friend (recorded in Boston with Drift Design Studios) because it exemplifies our vocal harmonies, catchy melodies and energy.

Walk us through your songwriting process.

KM: Sometimes an idea will come to us in the middle of an exploratory jam, other times its a melody in your head when driving through the desert. Often, one of us will come to the table with an idea where we’d like to start, a groove, chord progression, melody, or feeling. Once the idea is shared with the rest, it’s fair game. We’ll run through different arrangements, feels, and vocal ideas. Pat has been lyricist to this point, and he’s got a great ear for melody. I focus more of chordal structure, movement and the math behind the music, and Dan obviously has a strong rhythmic sense but also arrangment ability. Although we have different strengths, we defintely each have opinions on every detail. We always speak our minds and will try any idea that’s thrown out there.  A song will continue to evolve even beyond the studio. At a live show we may decide to extend certain sections for various reasons, whether Pat happens to be killin it with a guitar solo that just shouldn’t be cut off or the crowd is gettin down to a groove that needs to go on.

Tell us a little bit about your latest album.

KM: Whale Hail is an eclectic and well produced fourteen song album, recorded in Savannah, Georgia at Elevated Basement Studios. The songs and styles developed at a point when we’d been on the road for 14 months or so, having criss-crossed the entire country. We raised over $10,000 for the album with a kickstarter fundraiser (Thanks everyone!) which allowed us 11 full days in the studio, compared to only 3 days on each previous album. In it we touch upon numerous genres including salsa, indie, RnB, and prog rock. What gives the album cohesion is our unique combination of personalities, if any one of us was subbed out it would be a distinctly different band.

What has your most memorable moment as a band been?
   
KM: The first time we played together at Rivingtone Studios in Manhattan. In that moment I saw a hundred lifetimes of possibilities, most of which would never happen, but any one of which could.

DM: The first time we sold out the Middle East club in Boston. There were people crowd surfing and the first five or six rows of people were singing everything!

PC: Being #1 on WUSC radio in South Carolina and playing a house party there where the floors felt like trampolines because of the jumping audience.

What has been the hardest part of building your name onto the national level?

KM: At a jazz jam in Denver, an old pianist told Pat and I a story about his first meeting with a producer in LA. The performer was asked what he expected from the working relationship. Our oldtimer said something along the lines of “I want to be known all over the country”. To which the producer responded, “If you want to be known nationally you have to perform nationally”. We follow this idea, it’s pretty simple. We tour full time because we don’t have a huge PR budget to spread the word (and we love to perform, travel, and meet people). The hardest part is not being able to afford a home to come back to.

PC: Ditto.

DM: The hardest part is maintaining patience when our minds anticipate where we are going to be in a week, month, year or lifetime. Waiting on people and word to spread is the most difficult.

Who are the best bands from your hometown that we might not know about?

KM: That’s a ridiculous question!
PC: Do you know where we grew up!?
DM: Haha, I think the best thing for people to do in their hometowns is to help boost school music programs.

What band would you most like to open for?
   
KM: Hiromi’s Sonicbloom
PC: Dr. Dog, now. Paul Simon, 1987
DM: Zac Brown Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Wayne Shorter Quartet

Who is your all-time favorite Boston band?
   
KM: Since Hiromi’s Sonicbloom is mostly Berklee affiliated musicians, I’ll consider them a Boston band.
PC: The Pixies
DM: The Boston Boys

What are your thoughts on playing Boston?

KM: There’s no place in this country quite like Boston in the springtime. This time around, my thoughts are that I’m happy the show didn’t get snowed out. I grew up in Westminster, about an hour down Rt. 2 west, so I have lots of family and friends in Boston, it’s one of those places that feels like home.

DM: Boston has the feel of a big city but the stakes are a bit higher because of all the music schools in town. Sometimes it’s hard to sift through the bullshit but it’s a good market to build. One must be wary of the transitive state of the population here though. People tend to move after college and the turnover for talent buyers is frustrating sometimes.

PC: Everyone knows that Bostonites are wicked smaht, which makes which makes them coming out to get rowdy to our tunes something special.

What can people expect from your live show and why should our readers catch your next stop in Boston?

KM: People can expect thoughtful yet emotional music performed with intent, passion, and professionalism. They can expect to walk away believing that if you want something bad enough, nothing can stop you from going out and getting it. They should catch this stop in Boston because they’ll never have a chance to see this show again, next time around we’ll be a different band even if we play similar songs.

DM: Our live show is the practical application of the philosophies we hold dear. Music has an important place in the daily lives of humanity, and sometimes to the point that it gets taken for granted. When this happens people rely on others to tell them what is good, or hip, or valid. Our show provides a refreshing boost of musical awareness that is rooted in feeling good and not taking things for granted.

PC: Intimate excitement. Controlled chaos. An experience.

Les Racquet will perform at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge on Thursday, February 6. Tickets for the 18+ show, which will also feature Jetty, The Four Point Restraints and American Babies, are available in advance and at the door for $12.

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