raener are LA-based indie-dream alternative quartet Daniel Fox (vox/keys), William Van Boldrik (gtr), Zach Bilson (bass) and Daniel Vanchieri (drums), and your soon-to-be favorite band. So far, the digital world has only heard their two singles “Time” and “Miles 2,” both songs boasting dreamy melodies intertwined with whimsical production, taking the sentiments of what we love about music and translating them in an innovative and beautiful way. We were smitten at first listen. The songs are melodic journeys to get lost in and swoon over, laced with sweet vocals, organic instrumental elements and unexpected progressions.
They are all USC music school grads, with the exception of Zach who is a Berklee School of Music (and LYKA ;) ) alum. While still a relatively green project, the foursome possess the technical precision, musical chemistry and cohesive sound of a band with years of experience and wisdom. We imagine the solidarity of the band’s sound and songwriting is a result of their creative process for their upcoming EP, which was recorded in isolation over the course of 3 weeks on an enormous farm in eastern Oregon. They also credit the success of the project to a fateful meeting of all four musically compatible minds, creative sensibilities and personalities. The four of them are roommates in addition to band mates, and live in a dope house, equipped with four in-home studios and vibey decor, on Franklin Avenue in Los Feliz.
"We lived together in our last house also, we had an old-garage guest house type thing, and converted it into a studio over the course of two years. So that became our rehearsal space, and that was where we were recording. Then over the course of that time, we had learned these songs, and we went to the farm to record and banged out 7 of them. So now we're in the process of slowly releasing those." - Dan V.
The textural and collaborative elements of the music are a result of every member being a multi-instrumentalist and having played in various musical projects leading up to raener. They experiment on each song, adding samples and instruments, taking things away, and nudging each track through multiple rewrites and rearrangements. This combined with their recording environment in rural Oregon, surrounded by 5am coyote howling alarm clocks and vast natural landscapes, set the tone and headspace for the ambient, ethereal songs. This aesthetic is consistent and encompassing outside of the music as well, conveyed through the lush band name and organic art/branding of the project.
Our favorite, and perhaps the most refreshing thing about this project is raener’s authentic, vulnerable and uncontrived approach to each creative process. Whether it’s creating the live experience, the visual brand, or the songs themselves, they set their pace revolving around how they are feeling and existing in that moment, forgoing trends or putting out work that feels too forced. Each element they release feels natural to where the project is at, and creates room for it to progress as they each personally evolve. Within that, they’ve pushed their initial musical connection further, and have created deeper human connections in their relationships with each other, which in turn, elevates and allows for deeper vulnerabilities in the music.
"It's interesting because you know every band butts heads at certain points. It's a bunch of different ideas, it's a bunch of different egos, things don't always perfectly mesh. But with this, it becomes not about avoiding these situations, but understanding and compartmentalizing them. And this is probably the only long-term musical situation I've been in where there's literally no doubt in my mind that we're all coming from a place of love and trust. With us, we talk about shit. It's pretty fucking cool." - Zach
"If everyone can feel good about themselves when they play, as a result, that makes the best music collectively. If Dan's playing and singing in a way that makes him feel good, then he's going to sing the best way he can, and I can match him in a way that I want to play, in my best way. People ask like, 'what is your signature sound?' And for us, it's just playing the way that you want ot play, and then you mold in together everyone's best version of themselves. And whatever product gets made is just the epitome of that." - Dan V.
We were instantly drawn in (and are now completely addicted to) the first two singles, and have been left eagerly wanting more. The first raener live show debuts tonight at the Hi-Hat in Highland Park, and it will be the first time for everyone to hear their unreleased gems. The band did share with us, however, that the live experience is a little louder and heavier than the recorded raener we are familiar with, and additionally we’ve been told that we can expect a vibe, an experience, and environment they describe as “sonically sensitive” and a show that will “hurt so good.” We can’t wait to cry on the dancefloor.
"It's not a dance sort of thing... I would love if people could just sit. Enjoy it and come together in that sort of like - we're all in pain just a little bit sonically, and that's cool. And I hope it bonds everyone. You know, sort of touches them in a way that's like, 'Ouch. That hurts so good.' This is definitely a big goal. I learned a word that I told to Zach the other day, 'jouissance,' that's almost like an intellectual orgasmic feeling, like a mind high sort of thing. Creating that would be the goal. But who knows, I just want everyone to cum buckets." - Will
A date for the EP release is still TBA, so for now we’ll just have to hold on to what we hear live tonight. See you at The High Hat! https://www.facebook.com/events/526750354171692/
What do you like to do outside of music?
Will: It’s only music, we’re totally pedantic, we don’t do anything.
Dan F: Well, we all really love the outdoors. Camping, hiking… we like to walk dogs. We’re good at that.
Will: We’re all into a bunch of different shit. We go to movies. We watch a shitload of movies.
Zach: We’re all just kind of nerds.
Dan F: Yeah, movies are probably the next thing we’re really into outside of music.
Dan V: I just watched the movie Akira for the first time. It’s an amazing 80’s Japanese animation masterpiece. That was pretty crazy, blew my mind. I’m not well-versed in anime or anything like that, but this was the first time I really saw high quality, artistic story anime. It was so crazy.
Will: That movie is super Metropolis-ey, and you can see all the influences of like, way earlier stuff. Super sick. All that stuff and a lot of the sounds that I do right now are coming from movies. I’ll just like sit down with a silent film with my synth and make sounds to that movie, you know? I just sort of get bored with software sometimes so I’ll put something on and try to focus in on like making sounds that make sense. Metropolis was actually kind of a big thing for me. Sitting down and trying to match that dark but playful innocent tone of that movie, but like, getting synthesizers to do that.
What are you guys listening to right now and what are some bands that have influenced this project?
Zach: I feel like with influences, personally, it’s never something I’m conscious of. I listen to whatever on a day-to-day, I’ll listen to podcasts, I’ve been listening to the new Kanye a bunch… I don’t know, is it more conscious for you guys?
Will: I honestly haven’t been listening to music for the last three weeks. I listen to a shitload of like, Stereolab and The Free Design, and then just sort of stopped listening for a while. I think that’s part of just moving and transitioning, too.
Dan V: George Harrison. I’m the biggest George Harrison fan. I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient stuff. I love soundscapes. I’ve been listening to Clem Leek a lot lately, it’s slightly post rock but more composed.
Will: More post, less rock. Hilarious.
What’s your definition of success as a band?
Dan V: A big house.
Will: Yeah, once we play Coachella, we’ve really fucking made it.
Zach: 5 million Instagram followers. Getting rich and stuff.
Will: Just all the turnings and trappings of fame. Just all that stuff. Honestly though, I just want to make music for as long as I can. A lot of the artists who I look up to were just doing okay, really blossomed and made interesting things when they turned 30. I’d like to be making music professionally from now until I retire. And whatever I have to do to do that, is part of it.
Dan V: I think half of it is just staying alive as a musician. Because the more that you’re in the game, the more time you have to practice it or to get better at it, and some people are so talented but they give up at 24 years old, and so the person who might not have been as talented but kept doing it til they’re 30, will a) have more hours of practice, and b) just be more mature as a person. Like just imagine how you were thinking four years ago, compared to how you think now.
Will: This is probably the first time I’ve, or we’ve, released music that I’ve had a part in that wasn’t like immediately like, ‘oh god, I’m going to regret that.’
Any guilty pleasure music?
Will: I don’t feel guilty at all of loving the shit out of Ariana Grande and huge pop stuff like that.
Zach: I feel like my guilty pleasure music is just stuff that people assume I listen to. Like Animal Collective or whatever, or one of my favorite bands is Death Cab, and I always feel weird about that because like, OF COURSE I like Death Cab, haha. Everything I listen to is radio indie rock from 2005-2010. But I don’t feel bad about that.
Will: These guys try to make me feel really bad about loving Tom Petty. But I fucking love Tom Petty. I know I’m a Midwestern frat bro.
Dan V: Can I just say it’s more legitimate to like Tom Petty than it is to like Coldplay.
Will: I’M WITH YOU. We’re divided, this is a band issue.
Dan F: Coldplay was my first concert, I love Coldplay.
Will: I like how they’ve decided to become all acid-trippy and cover themselves in paint. Like, oh now we’re a multicultural acid band. Cool. Great. The first time I heard that new song it was just like… ‘So what are we doing here? What’s the plan here, guys?’
So where are some of your favorite brunch spots in LA?
Will: This place… (We brunched at Franklin & Co.)
Dan V: Next time we do this you guys should come over to our place and we’ll cook breakfast.
Will: We’ll have to play board games. We like to play board games like Pandemic.
Dan V: Oh yeah, that’s another thing, we love to play board games.
Will: So, if you guys are trying to play some Catan…
Bloody marys or mimosas?
Dan V: Bloody marys.
Will: Yes, if I have to choose, bloody marys.
Dan F: Mimosas, I hate tomato juice.
Zach: Can I say hot toddy?