Interview

Chris Rakete

Chris Rakete

Wednesday 6th April, 2011 1:08PM

Local mini-celebrity Chris Rakete is known mostly for his loyal attendance at live gigs in Auckland and a heap of curiously conceived Youtube videos. Recently, he picked up some attention for his heartfelt single ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ and the characteristically home-made music video he paired with it. The song will be included on his debut EP ‘Love & Pain’ which is to be released with a show at the Wine Cellar on Wednesday, April 20. UTR got together with Chris Rakete to discuss both love and pain, among other things.

What’s up?

Just listening to a cover I recorded today: Janine Foster - If You're Calling.

What was the inspiration to cover this song?

I was on the Kiwi Hits website a couple days ago and saw Janine got New Recording Artist funding, and I hadn't heard of her so I Googled and came across a video of her playing if you're calling and I really dug it. Really catchy chorus.

It seems that covers play a large part in your music - would you agree?

Umm... well, not really. I've got so many solo projects with various sounding songs and I record a lot so although I love doing my version of other people's songs, they're still in the minority of songs I record overall.

Would you say that other people's music is a large part of your inspiration though?

Totally, man. If I hadn't heard music first I wouldn't be making it. I guess that's probably true of every musician.

So who's the biggest influence on your music?

For the band I'm in, Fun House, it's the Stooges and Nirvana - and for my singer-songwriter songs it's Anika Moa, pretty much everything Neil Finn’s a part of, John Lennon (solo), The Beatles, Buddy Holly and Janis Joplin.

There are obvious sonic differences between Fun House and solo Chris Rakete, but what are the similarities?

All songs I write, regardless of which project, are honest and raw reflections of my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences etc. So I guess I'd say that. Whether it's a solo song like Please Not Tonight about the dysfunctional situation I grew up with in the household or a Fun House song like They're Coming To Get Me (about getting taken to hospital by the police cause I refused to take my medication)... it's all real, y'know? All me.

Sounds like a pretty heart-on-the-sleeve situation. Is it hard singing so honestly?

Sometimes it can be. Y'know... being onstage and feeling like I'm confronting myself with reality. Feeling naked and a bit scared.

Should more performers do this?

I'm soo not into the word "should", but, um... perhaps it's a healthy thing to do? Because escapism doesn't change a situation. It just removes a person from it for a while. And though yeah, being honest can feel uncomfortable, it helps get rid of baggage rather than piling more on via running away by being insincere or dishonest.

Tell us a little about the EPs you’re releasing…

The EP I'm releasing [for the show in April] is called Love & Pain (produced/recorded by me in my room) and the second EP is called Thoughts & Feelings, which was produced by Bob Frisbee with Oscar from Rackets on bass, Tom from god bows to math on drums, and Anika Moa on backing vocals for one of the songs.

How do you know Anika Moa?

I met her a few years ago at a gig through our mutual friend Tamasin. Tam's in a band called The Nudie Suits and records solo songs under the name Bunny Taylor (last time I checked).

So what's the idea behind both of the EPs?

Love & Pain is about a girl I had unrequited feelings for and Thoughts & Feelings is more general reflections on my life.

Has the process of creating these two EPs helped you consolidate yourself more as a person?

A bit. Yeah. It's pretty therapeutic to share my experiences, ‘cause a lot of them aren't very nice... and as the saying goes, "a problem shared is a problem halved".

How do you feel about playing music in New Zealand? What's the state of local music in 2011?

Playing music in New Zealand is cool, though I can't say anything comparatively ‘cause I've never played in another country. I don't know if this is a New Zealand thing, or if it's an Auckland thing, or what... but "the semi-circle" buzz suuuucks.

What’s that?

The semi-circle. At quite a number of gigs there's the band onstage and then a big gap right in front of them where it'd be lovely if the audience was. Instead, the audience are standing in a semi-circle, so yeah... they're quite far away from the people playing the music. Is this a reflection of insecurity? "I don't want people to laugh at my dancing"? Or is it "I'm too "cool" to show how much I like this music"? ...I really don't know.

As for the state of local music, some of it's really cool. Some of it really sucks. There's great stuff like Rackets, Kitsunegari and the Transistors and there's shit stuff like Shotgun Alley, The Earlybirds and that kinda thing. What works for me is not really paying attention to what's happening on TV (even though some of it's worth watching/listening to) and finding music on the internet + listening to my friends’ music and going to their gigs. And the thing with internet vs. TV is that I don't have to sit through a bunch of crap to see/hear one worthwhile band/artist, I can just Youtube them.

Michael McClelland




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