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Rayowa

Musician — Essex

Name, where are you from? 
We’re Rayowa - Dan, Reece and Luke Baker. Three brothers from Basildon, Essex.

What do you do? 
We’re a disco/soul/RnB influenced band who play live as a 9-piece.

Describe your style in three words? 
Authentic contemporary disco.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Chic at The Royal Albert Hall.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
So many over the years. It’s mad writing this because it’s made us realise how much our taste has developed as we’ve grown up. Between us and in no particular order: Disco, soul, RnB, Motown, gospel, jazz, funk, rhythm and blues, post-disco, house, vaporwave, hip hop, rap, G-funk, Chicago house, acid house, Britpop, indie, blues, '70s prog and psychedelic rock, Madchester, jazz-fusion, post-punk, grime, '90s trance, cloud rap.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history who would it be?
D: Alan Watts. One of the greatest speakers of all time and always gives me the right words when I need them most. 
R: Kashif Saleem. I’d love to sit and pick his brain about production and songwriting. His style defined a lot of music in the '80s.
L: George Michael. I’m really inspired by his songwriting and incredibly soulful voice.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Moth Club, Hackney. Our debut show was here on a rainy Tuesday night. We announced the gig with a little visual and 15-second clip of our track ‘Better Man’ and sold it out in 48 hours. That moment blew our minds as we hadn’t even released any music at that point. The venue is an old working men's club and has gold walls and ceilings. It was the perfect place to launch our live show.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Steve Monite. Steve Monite is an incredible artist from Nigeria where there was a huge disco movement in the ’80s. He received some heat recently for his record 'Only You' that Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) did a version of. Have a listen to the compilation, 'Doing it in Lagos'– there are some huge records on it.

The first track you played on repeat?
This was a tough one as there are so many songs that stand out. We remember listening to the Abba Best Of 'Gold', over and over again when we were really young kids in the kitchen with our Nan’s. 'Chiquitita', 'Dancing Queen', 'Fernando', 'Take A Chance On Me'… so many bangers, and a bit of a guilty pleasure really. Maybe our Nan is responsible for our first introduction to disco.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Live Forever' by Oasis. Uplifting and optimistic. It was the penultimate track in the film ‘Goodbye Charlie Bright’, which is one of our favourites and makes us think of happy memories from when we were teenagers and just starting out in bands. It reminds us of those times we felt invincible and like we could do anything.

One record you would keep forever?
'Lost In Music' by Sister Sledge. This record sums up what music and this band mean to us. It’s all we want to do.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"What are you gonna be?
'Why don't you go get a job?' uh-uh
All that I could say 'I won't give up my music'
Not me, not now, no way, no how, oh"

From 'Lost In Music' by Sister Sledge.

A song you wished you had written?
D: 'Love & Hate' by Michael Kiwanuka.
R: 'It Should Have Been You' by Gwen Guthrie.
L: 'Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by Elton John.

Best song to turn up loud?
D: 'Aletheia' by O’Flynn.
R: 'The Glow Of Love' by Change.
L: 'Amazing' by George Michael.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
D: 'Don’t Give Up' by Chicane ft. Bryan Adams.
R: 'He Lives In You' by Lebo M (from the Lion King 2 soundtrack).
L: 'Left Behind' by Slipknot.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
D: 'I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun' by Rotary Connection.
R: 'Movin’' by Brass Construction.
L: 'World Hold On' by Bob Sinclair.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
D: 'I’m God' by Clams Casino Ft. Imogen Heap - 1-hour loop on YouTube – the best thing to fall asleep to.
R: 'If You Were Here Tonight' by Alexander O’Neil but slowed down by 23% to get that vaporwave edit going on. Try it.
L: 'Sweetest Taboo' by Sade.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?

Definitely our label mates Model Man. Also from Essex. They make music that sounds like a mixture of Ross from Friends, Burial and Maribou State, but with their own thing going on.

Name, where are you from? 
We’re Rayowa - Dan, Reece and Luke Baker. Three brothers from Basildon, Essex.

What do you do? 
We’re a disco/soul/RnB influenced band who play live as a 9-piece.

Describe your style in three words? 
Authentic contemporary disco.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Chic at The Royal Albert Hall.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
So many over the years. It’s mad writing this because it’s made us realise how much our taste has developed as we’ve grown up. Between us and in no particular order: Disco, soul, RnB, Motown, gospel, jazz, funk, rhythm and blues, post-disco, house, vaporwave, hip hop, rap, G-funk, Chicago house, acid house, Britpop, indie, blues, '70s prog and psychedelic rock, Madchester, jazz-fusion, post-punk, grime, '90s trance, cloud rap.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history who would it be?
D: Alan Watts. One of the greatest speakers of all time and always gives me the right words when I need them most. 
R: Kashif Saleem. I’d love to sit and pick his brain about production and songwriting. His style defined a lot of music in the '80s.
L: George Michael. I’m really inspired by his songwriting and incredibly soulful voice.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Moth Club, Hackney. Our debut show was here on a rainy Tuesday night. We announced the gig with a little visual and 15-second clip of our track ‘Better Man’ and sold it out in 48 hours. That moment blew our minds as we hadn’t even released any music at that point. The venue is an old working men's club and has gold walls and ceilings. It was the perfect place to launch our live show.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Steve Monite. Steve Monite is an incredible artist from Nigeria where there was a huge disco movement in the ’80s. He received some heat recently for his record 'Only You' that Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) did a version of. Have a listen to the compilation, 'Doing it in Lagos'– there are some huge records on it.

The first track you played on repeat?
This was a tough one as there are so many songs that stand out. We remember listening to the Abba Best Of 'Gold', over and over again when we were really young kids in the kitchen with our Nan’s. 'Chiquitita', 'Dancing Queen', 'Fernando', 'Take A Chance On Me'… so many bangers, and a bit of a guilty pleasure really. Maybe our Nan is responsible for our first introduction to disco.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Live Forever' by Oasis. Uplifting and optimistic. It was the penultimate track in the film ‘Goodbye Charlie Bright’, which is one of our favourites and makes us think of happy memories from when we were teenagers and just starting out in bands. It reminds us of those times we felt invincible and like we could do anything.

One record you would keep forever?
'Lost In Music' by Sister Sledge. This record sums up what music and this band mean to us. It’s all we want to do.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"What are you gonna be?
'Why don't you go get a job?' uh-uh
All that I could say 'I won't give up my music'
Not me, not now, no way, no how, oh"

From 'Lost In Music' by Sister Sledge.

A song you wished you had written?
D: 'Love & Hate' by Michael Kiwanuka.
R: 'It Should Have Been You' by Gwen Guthrie.
L: 'Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by Elton John.

Best song to turn up loud?
D: 'Aletheia' by O’Flynn.
R: 'The Glow Of Love' by Change.
L: 'Amazing' by George Michael.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
D: 'Don’t Give Up' by Chicane ft. Bryan Adams.
R: 'He Lives In You' by Lebo M (from the Lion King 2 soundtrack).
L: 'Left Behind' by Slipknot.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
D: 'I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun' by Rotary Connection.
R: 'Movin’' by Brass Construction.
L: 'World Hold On' by Bob Sinclair.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
D: 'I’m God' by Clams Casino Ft. Imogen Heap - 1-hour loop on YouTube – the best thing to fall asleep to.
R: 'If You Were Here Tonight' by Alexander O’Neil but slowed down by 23% to get that vaporwave edit going on. Try it.
L: 'Sweetest Taboo' by Sade.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?

Definitely our label mates Model Man. Also from Essex. They make music that sounds like a mixture of Ross from Friends, Burial and Maribou State, but with their own thing going on.

Rayowa | Better Man (2019)

Rayowa | Keepin' Me Under (2020)