When the passion for music is at stake, boundaries and other difficulties can be overcome easily. The musical bond of a band is a special power that can create things much bigger than the sum of its parts. Our recent find Ralph brought together a group of musicians that found their true calling working together.
The three members of the band met at Frank Turner’s Campfire Punkrock in Big Indian, New York. Even though they all live in different states, they found a way to work together to create a unique sound that covers many parts of the genre map. The strength of the internet and their bond allowed them to work virtually writing songs.
Eventually they built up enough material to set up a session in Minnesota to record thier debut record Dougie Murphy’s Law. The 6 song EP is quite the amalgamation of sound, perfect for what has become Ralph. The lead off single “Rise Up” shows the energy these guys create together. The speedy post-punk sound gets the blood moving right off the bat. Then Ralph shifts gears on us with “Dougie And The Bear”. The track is a campfire full band folk song. The story draws you in perfectly requiring a few listens to take it all in.
On “2019” we get the Ralph protest song. The imaginative guitars sit alongside a steady rhythm section as the vocal is a spoken word piece that shares real emotion on what has become of America in the past year. We slow down again with “The Man” settling in to relax before being punched in the face with the angst-ridden closer “Minnesota Nice” and its raw old school punk feel. The album is a full fledged adventure in only 6 songs.
We had the chance to chat with Ralph about how they got to this point in their musical journey. Enjoy the interview here:
So first off, how did the band name Ralph come about?
We came up with the name Ralph after the character Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. Ralph is just that goofy yet lovable character and I feel it fits us well.
How would you describe the band’s sound?
Eclectic. Each song on our EP sounds different then the last. I can’t say that was done intentionally but it definitely shows our versatility. Maybe on the next record we’ll narrow the scope a bit but who knows. That’s the beauty of this project, there are no rules and nothing is off limits.
Which bands have had the biggest influence of Ralph?
We all have very different tastes but the one act we can agree on would be Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. We all met at Frank’s songwriting camp and kept in touch. Frank and the Souls play different styles as well and their sound is always evolving so it’d be safe to assume that we set down that path subconsciously. Other influences include Springsteen, Ween, Tool, The Dames, Bat Bridge, Faith No More, Planet P Project and pharrah phosphate.
You guys have quite an interesting origin story. Can you share it with our readers?
We all met at Frank Turner’s songwriting camp. There was so much talent at the camp it is unbelievable. Dr Dan and I were pretty inseparable during the camp. Ryan was one of the guys I remember seeing perform and was completely blown away. I remember thinking I’d love to be able to work on something with him. We all stayed in touch and decided to get together to make a record. This proved tricky with Ryan living in Minnesota, Dr Dan in Texas and myself in California. We worked via direct messages on social media. We’d share lyrics and riffs all in those messages. Once we were all in the same room everything just seemed to click and went well. It proved to be challenging but now that we know how our process works I feel the next record will go a bit smoother.
Having band members in different states is a challenge. How do you go about writing songs?
I wrote most of the lyrics and shared them with the group. Dan did most of editing. Ryan did all producers duties. We’d go back and work on riffs for them via direct messages. When we all got together in Minnesota I feel it went really well especially considering our unorthodox process. It was amazing how everything just clicked. We had so much fun recording this record and I feel it really comes across in our songs. We all come from different musical backgrounds and it comes across in our music. We are a team in every sense of the word. I feel we do a great job of highlighting what each member does best.
We heard you went up to Minnesota to record your debut Dougie Murphy’s Law. What was it like recording away from home?
It was incredible. Dr Dan and I shared a room at a very interesting hotel with my buddy Dave who came along to document the entire process. We hope to have a making of documentary and a few music videos out by the end of the year. We would get up every day and go to Ryan’s studio and work. We worked round the clock to get the record done. We only had 4 days so we had very little time to waste. I’m very business like when there’s work today which I think came as a surprise to the other guys because I’m definitely the resident partier/trouble maker. We definitely partied and had a good time but not until we were finished with our days work.
Give us some advice for other bands trying to overcome challenges of bandmember distance?
Communication, communication and more communication. We have a policy of brutal honesty with each other. We don’t have time to waste by beating around the bush and inflating each other’s egos. If you can’t communicate openly and honestly with each other you’re doomed from the start. Be open and upfront with each other. You have to look at things as what is best for the group not yourself personally.
What is in store next for Ralph?
We’re hoping to make a full length record in the spring. There has been some preliminary discussions about a run of US shows after that but with the distance between us, there’s a ton of logistical issues that need to be sorted out. Honestly, I feel like we like the challenge of it all. If it’s not impossible we don’t want any part of it The challenge drives us. We’re not your typical band and we like it that way. Our way. The Ralph way. At the end of the day I don’t feel like there’s anything this band can’t accomplish.
Follow more of Ralph’s adventures on Instagram and Twitter at @ralphband209