By Evan O’Brien and Malcolm Doak
Syracuse, New York is home to the Empire Expo Center, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, The Erie Canal Museum, and indie rock sensations Ra Ra Riot. Bursting onto the Syracuse scene in 2006, Ra Ra Riot were quickly noticed, delivering a stunning set at CMJ just months after coming together. Their 2007 set at SXSW received much acclaim, with New Musical Express offering the show was “like Dexy’s Midnight Runners playing R.E.M.…their show in Texas was truly astonishing.”
The band is currently touring the US in support of their recent CD, The Rhumb Line. Despite the band’s ambitious schedule, we managed to meet up with guitarist Milo Bonacci recently and catch up his activities.
VOX: You are a young band, even now. How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Milo: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. And I’ve been in a band since I was about 12, which was a long time ago, as of now. But yeah, I’ve been making music for most of my life, and it’s just what I know.
VOX: The Rhumb Line is out in both the UK and America. Was it difficult to find a label here in the States?
Milo: Yeah, for the American label we really took our time with finding the right pick. We had been signed in Europe and the UK for some time, and as we were recording, we were sort of holding off on this. We started meeting with the people of Barsuk as we were recording and developing a relationship from there and it felt really good, and seemed like a good relationship. We were very, very happy.
VOX: Any memorable recording moments, or any particular song that digs deep for you?
Milo: Yeah, I think depending on the song we were working on, we were really trying to up the vibe factor in the studio by turning off the lights and lighting some candles…capturing the vibe more than anything.
VOX: And how’s the road treating you?
Milo: We’ve basically been on the road since last August, pretty much non-stop. Lots and lots of shows – and we still have a bunch ahead of us.
VOX: You just picked up a VOX AC30H2. What drew you to VOX?
Milo: In the space that we were practicing a few years ago, there happened to be an AC30 there. It was my first time playing through one, and ever since then I knew that I jut needed to play it. I think it’s just the ideal amp. I really like the simplicity of the controls, it’s just enough tonal options…and it just sounds so good for me.
VOX: are you using any other VOX gear? A Wah pedal or something?
Milo: No actually just the amp; and this is my second AC30.
VOX: So what’s next for Ra Ra Riot?
Milo: We’re going to be working on new material, writing for the next record and recording in the fall.
VOX: Are you working with new producers?
Milo: We just started that conversation. We’re going to be meeting with potential producers over the next couple of weeks and try to figure that out before summer ends.
VOX: Anything else you want to talk about? Any other projects you are working on?
Milo: I know Wes [singer Wesley Miles] has his side project Discovery; and that their LP just came out. I think I’m the only one without something else going on.
Milo closed the interview by playing a little bit through the AC30H2, and we couldn’t help but appreciate the music – and the sound.
VOX: There’s something about Class A tube amps that adds so much character to the sound.
Milo: Yeah, it’s really responsive when I pick, as opposed to just being overly compressed.
Well thanks so much, Milo. We look forward to hearing from you again, and great luck with the rest of the tour.
Check out this video of Milo Bonacci of Ra Ra Riot.