Raynes may not be a band that you have heard of … yet. Mat Charley, Joe Berger and Mark Race make up this “expensive” folk trio. We first covered them with their song “Second Thought” (see video below) and it has been one of our favorites across our playlists. Their new song “Come My Way” picks right up where they left off and we believe it may be the song that introduces them to a wider audience. We absolutely love this group and expect huge things for them soon.
Watch “Come My Way” by Raynes
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The band was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us and we really appreciate their time and support.
NEM: We are living in some pretty crazy times. How have you been holding up during the worldwide lockdown? What have been the biggest personal challenges and how have you been keeping busy?
Raynes: You know, we’ve been doing alright, all things considered. The hardest thing for us was having to split up and all return home in the middle of March––we were all in the UK and had a bunch of shows and sessions planned, and of course, had to cancel all of it. We’re lucky in that we are actually pretty used to all being in different places and working and writing and recording remotely, so the adjustment hasn’t been as hard for us to handle as it could have been. That being said, the uncertainty is probably the most frustrating thing about this––we have all kinds of plans and ideas that we want to get started on, but nothing can really move forward that easily until there’s a more obvious light at the end of the tunnel. But we’re keeping busy by writing and recording all kinds of things, doing more covers, shooting videos, basically just trying to not stagnate creatively.
NEM: The way you guys came together is a great story. Would you mind sharing some of that with our readers? We would especially like to know what initially drew Joe and Mat to Mark?
When Mat came across a video of Mark singing on Instagram, we instantly knew that this was the person we had been looking for. We didn’t get our hopes up right away, though, since he lived in England and it seemed pretty unlikely that he would uproot his life to move to LA.
Raynes: We knew right away that we were looking for someone with a phenomenal voice. That was at the top of our list because with the music we make it’s not possible to hide a mediocre voice behind a lot of production and auto-tuning. But we also were anxious that, even if we found someone with a great voice, who was willing to join, that that person might not fit with the vibe or the look of what we imagined for the band.
So we were also very much hoping that we would be able to find a tall, good-looking guy with stage presence and charisma. And on top of all that, we needed someone who could at least play guitar, not to mention someone who wanted to make the kind of music we were making. So it was a very specific and pretty restrictive shopping list.
When Mat came across a video of Mark singing on Instagram, we instantly knew that this was the person we had been looking for. We didn’t get our hopes up right away, though, since he lived in England and it seemed pretty unlikely that he would uproot his life to move to LA. But, long story short, that’s exactly what happened. We reached out to Mark and all felt a connection right away, and within hours of him landing at LAX we all just knew that this was the perfect fit.
NEM: You have talked about how each of you come from different backgrounds musically, how has that musical variety helped shape the sound that is now Raynes?
Raynes: It’s been interesting, for sure. Before Raynes existed, Mat was mostly writing songs that were very much pop songs––lots of synths and drum samples and MIDI programming, not a lot of acoustic elements. But he also had been playing the violin and mandolin and some other folk instruments for years. So when Mat and Joe met, and it turned out that Joe was a great acoustic guitarist, the songs sort of shifted in that direction, with essentially all the songs then having an acoustic guitar foundation and some sort of violin or mandolin element. Then, when Mark joined, there was suddenly a lot more room for electric guitar and piano, as well as a phenomenal lead vocal. More than anything, though, just the fact that we can all sing is a massive component of our sound––being able to layer three-part harmonies on top of largely acoustic instrumentation and somehow have it come across as a pop song is usually our goal.
NEM: We have really enjoyed the cover songs that you have shared on your YouTube channel. How have you picked the songs and come up with the arrangements? Is that something you will continue to do as well as writing new songs?
Raynes: Well, thank you! That’s really nice to hear. We have a lot of fun with the covers so it’s good to hear that people are enjoying them. To be honest, we have absolutely no process for picking the songs we do. Usually one of us will just suggest one that we think would be cool and then we just go for it. We’re all fans of a lot of different genres and styles, so we cast a pretty wide net––we’re as likely to do a classic rock cover as we are to pick something off the Billboard Hot 100. Generally, we’ll all record our parts separately and then Mat will arrange and produce the song in a way that “makes sense” for the video––we don’t like to add a lot of extra backing tracks or crazy production with the covers, as we prefer that the videos always show pretty clearly who’s playing and/or singing which parts. Our focus as a band is always on writing original music rather than recording covers, but we certainly have no plans to stop making those videos. It’s a lot of fun for us, our fans seem to appreciate it, and it’s a good creative exercise to work on arranging and producing a song that already exists in a unique way.
NEM: The world of Indie Music and music, in general, is more competitive than ever. It is a ton of work to get your music in front of the world and we know it can be discouraging at times. Who have been your biggest encouragers along the way? In what ways can your fans and supporters best encourage you?
Raynes: As a band, we often talk about how crazy it is that we even have fans––it’s wild that there are people all over the world, literally, who spend time listening to our music and engaging with us on social media. And all of them encourage us so much, just by spending that time. We’re also very lucky to have great families and great friends who really believe in what we’re doing and regularly go out of their way to support us. Having that kind of support system has been remarkable. Of course, it absolutely can be difficult, and there are days when we do get discouraged. There are so so many extremely talented artists all shooting for the same goal, and it often does feel overwhelming. For us, though, it really is just lovely to know that there are (apparently!) tens of thousands of people around the world who think our music is worth listening to, worth talking about, and worth thinking about.
NEM: One of the things we are amazed by each day is how much “undiscovered” talent there is out there. Are there any other artists that you are currently listening to or influenced by?
Raynes: One of the great things about being in a band is being able to actually meet so much undiscovered talent. Some of our favorites at the moment are Loyal Lobos, talker, Tors, and Logan Prescott. There are so many more but those are the ones currently in heavy rotation.
We’re very excited to get back out there and start playing shows again, for sure.
NEM: Once things open up and start getting back to normal, what are some of the things we can look forward to from Raynes?
Raynes: We’re very excited to get back out there and start playing shows again, for sure. Writing and recording can be done in quarantine if necessary, and music can be released from anywhere at any time, but there’s really no substitute for a live show. We have a number of new songs we hope to release as well, and the dream is to be able to go on tour to play them for real people in real life.
Here is another version of Lemondrop performed by lead vocalist Mark Race.
Thanks again to Raynes for all their support and great music! We cannot wait to see what is next for these talented and genuinely cool guys.