Ra Ra Riot's Milo Bonacci: Even the most well-balanced people have issues

Categories: Interview
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Who says a band can't change their stripes? New York's Ra Ra Riot's new album falls more in the pop than the indie-rock distinction. Beta Love points the band in a much more focused direction, condensing the arrangement and vocal delivery of the group's sound, but the essence remains.

Before the band's sold-out show at the Triple Rock, Gimme Noise spoke with guitarist Milo Bonacci and tried to get him to open up about the new music.

To a degree, Ra Ra Riot had a rotating lineup of band members. Recently, cellist Alexandra Lawn announced her departure from the group. The band's original drummer passed away as the group was coming together, and Milo was admittedly reserved when bringing it up. "We had a number of drummers come in and play with us for a while," he says. "It was hard for us to approach the position as a permanent sort of thing. When that initially happened, there's inevitably going to be cast changes at some point. With Ali leaving, it was at a point where she got tired of touring and wanted to finish her degree and do other things. Between albums was the cleanest time to do that."

Milo admits that being on the road is not meant for everyone. "Even the most well-balanced people are gonna have issues. You have limited space and time. You're always around other people, and that can be hard to take for anybody. I definitely like my personal and quiet time, and whenever we're off tour, I relish that." Outside of this, the band caught themselves by surprise this past fall when after being in the studio for a good six to eight months, they were hungry for the road again.



Much of that hunger came from a new album. The translation of recorded to live show included a lot of musical technical issues to figure out. He says, "Preparing the stuff for the studio versus the live are two very different settings. The music doesn't always translate, so we accept  there are going to be differences. You use each setting to highlight the capabilities of each song. We went into this making something that was exciting to us -- something we were interested in. Beta Love, to us, is fulfilling on a creative level, and hopefully people connect to it. To an extent, you need not worry about a fan's reaction when you're writing. Even if we made a record that was part two of The Rhumb Line or The Orchard, there's no growth in that. A couple people might be excited, but we wouldn't. We want to feel like we're growing."

Ra Ra Riot comes to their own onstage. More rock than you would expect from and indie-rock band to be, and as Milo simply puts, "A little louder. A little more energetic." Come to a show expecting to be whipped up into an energetic frenzy. "We love Minneapolis. It's definitely a destination we always look forward to, and I'm not just saying that cause I have you on the phone."

Ra Ra Riot will perform at the Triple Rock Social Club on Sunday, March 3, 2013 with Pacific Air. 18+, $15, 7:30 pm. This show is sold out.


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