Raleigh Ritchie talks to eFestivals at Liverpool Sound City

Liverpool Sound City interview 2014

By Sean Tizzard | Published: Tue 13th May 2014

Liverpool Sound City 2014

Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd May 2014
various venues, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 6RR, England MAP
£55 for festival wristband
Daily capacity: 25,000

eFestivals caught up with the increasingly popular Raleigh Ritchie before his appearance at Liverpool Sound City. Four flights up in a half-finished building, we were able to talk to him about his plans for 2014, his influences, aspirations and whether he sees himself primarily as a musician or an actor. It was a chatty, light hearted interview with quite a bit of laughter.

Sound City heralds in the start of the festival season. What are you looking forward to from Sound City?

I love Liverpool. I was here for like two months. When I was about 19 I lived here. It's such a beautiful city. It's got a really nice energy here and I haven't played here yet. So, it's really nice to come back and see it in that light because, like, I came to shows when I was here so I'm really looking forward to it.

What can the audience expect to tonight?

We never know. Probably a lot of jumping around. And encouragement to jump around.

High energy?

Yeah. High energy. Every single show we try and see what happens, we don't really have rules. We don't rehearse it to within an inch of its life.

So, other festivals over the summer? I know you've got Wireless and Boardmasters announced. Any other exclusives you can give?

I don't know if I can give any exclusives. I wish I could tell you about some of the others we've got announced but I'm not allowed to because I'm worried I'll get kicked of the bill by talking about it before it's been announced. We've got lots of festivals.

What's your favourite festival?

Wireless always get a really great line up, like from the very beginning. My Mum used to work there.

It's a stunning line up this year.

Yeah, I don't know how they did it. Not including Sound City, Dot To Dot, Live at Leeds, the more kind of city festivals this doesn't really count for, but a lot of the festivals are crossing over quite a lot, they've got the same acts. And Wireless pulled out quite a few surprises which is really cool. I'm looking forward to doing that again this year. I went to the first one when Kasabian headlined. It was O2 Wireless and that was my first mosh pit. It's not very cool is it? It's not like 'Yeah, I was at Sex Pistols pogoing around'...

I wouldn't have you down as a Kasabian fan? What are you listening to at the moment?

At this point, Raleigh's manager joins us – he's had a nightmare journey up here from Cheltenham that's taken him four hours. He sits down and then leaves again after checking that Raleigh is alright.

Where were we?

What are you listening to at the moment, I think?

What am I listening to at the moment? I really like – do you know Laura Welsh? I've listened to quite a bit of her recently. Sasha Keable's really good. Lots of girls, there's lots of really good girls at the moment. That sounds like a weird thing to say doesn't it – lots of really good girls singing.

I saw Rosie Lowe last night.

Rosie Lowe – Yeah, she's cool, she's very cool. I really like – I know they've been around for quite a while but I really like Twin Atlantic. They're on their third album I think now, Twin Atlantic. I like that they use their own accent as well. What else have I been listening to? Brody Dalle – I think she's awesome. It's quite a mix.

How did you settle on your own musical style?

It's kind of weird. When I started out, I was very much into Neo-Soul. I was really into Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, that kind of thing. And I didn't really feel that I had a place there after a while. So I was trying to, kind of, figure out what my place was in music, as an artist where would I be put? I realised that when I thought about the music I wanted to make, I didn't really fit into any of those boxes. I was, like, maybe that's a good thing. Originally, I was really bad and I was, like, nobody's ever going to listen to my music. There are boxes that I'm put into. I kind of haven't settled – I'm rambling a little bit – I haven't settled on a specific thing. I don't know if I ever will.

Is that the beauty of releasing EP's? You can do different stuff on each?

My album's going to be quite – my friend said to me the other day – he's one of the only people that I play stuff to before I mix it or anything. And he was like, 'it's really weird, your album sounds like three or four genres in one album'. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing?

It's got to be a good thing?

I hope so. There's like a fine balance I think. You can do lots of different things and everybody's like 'you're shit' or you can do lots of different things and people are like, 'Yeah, we like this because we think like this', because people do now – maybe in the 80's and 90's things separated out a bit but I really feel like people listen to a bit of everything now. I mean, I do.

I spent six years in Bristol –it's a great city – do you think growing up there has led you to take on board this wide range of styles?

Yeah, I think it helps. There's a very strong Drum N'Bass , jungle and trip hop thing that was very much present in Bristol and I never really got into it. But, it's definitely quite an eclectic place. My dad, born and raised, grew up in Bristol, he has very much a mixed taste which very much informed what I listened to. I'm sure it did help in ways. I definitely fought against not being part of the Jungle Bass thing. It just never really interested me. The amount of people that have said, like, 'Raleigh Ritchie's kind of a Massive Attack/ Portishead kind of thing', like I'm a Trip-Hop artist. And I think that's because I'm from Bristol. I don't think that's an indication of my music. I don't really know where they get from?

There's a certain chilledness about your music?

Yeah, maybe..I think they're clutching at straws. (laughter)

My final set of questions is about the split between your acting and your music – do you put things into boxes or is it more blurred than that ?IS it music one day and acting the next or can it merge into one?

No – I kind of have to focus. I'm like a fucking walking contradiction so this is going to sound contradictory – but, like, for me I have to focus on one thing intensely. I've had things where I've been talking to the label about the bass. I like the bass and they don't and we'll go back and forth about that for weeks. So in that way, I'm very focussed on the thing I'm focussing on. But, at the same time, there's always something else I want to do, other things I want to play with. I've got quite a childlike mind in that way. In terms of acting and music, I'm not even thinking about acting at the moment. I'd love to do another series of Game Of Thrones if they'd have me. But, apart from that, my album has to be the focus. It's the thing that's been occupying my mind for four years. And now I've actually got someone saying, 'Yeah, go on.'

Do you keep your head in this series of Game Of Thrones?

I couldn't possibly tell you – there's a clue in that I said I hope they give me another series. But who knows? I could be lying? It could be a double bluff. No, a bluff, oh whatever.

Thanks for spending this time with eFestivals Raleigh/Jacob. I'm looking forward to seeing your set tonight – there's a few of us coming along to see you tonight. Will your friends from the two months you spent here be coming along?

I didn't make any friends here. Genuinely I didn't have any friends. There are people that I met and people that I know here but nobody who would probably bother to come along. I didn't ask them.

And on that sad note (we're both laughing), I let Raleigh Ritchie progress onto his next interview. His show later that evening/early the next morning was an absolute belter and I'd certainly recommend that you catch him in a field near you this summer.

interview by: Sean Tizzard

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