Straight out of Portland, Oregon comes indie rock and roll band, Ayla Ray! The collective of Alaskan hometown friends features, lead singer/ songwriter Sam Tenhoff, bassist Raven Liss, guitarist Brandon Shaw, Keys, and soundscape synthesis, Minoka Kaizaki, and drummer, Tobin Tanner. Sam and Raven go way back, first meeting in elementary school. The duo grew as friends and bandmates to create a sick rock and roll sound with undertones of electronic, indie, folk and soul styles. They strive to bend genres and create a full dance experience with their high energy music collaborative use of artful stage props and lighting. The band recently released their debut album and we got a chance to check out their music video release for their single 'Liquor Witch".
“Liquor Witch” debuted today on YouTube and it's is full of life video that had us bumping right out of our seats within 10 seconds of watching! The band has found a similar sound to bands such as The Killers, Arkells, and a dash of The Black Keys. Throughout the entire video, the vocalist displays a unique sense of gentle and softness in his voice which is very alluring and leaves your ears craving for more.
"Liquor Witch" describes a young man and woman in love, enjoying their time with one another no matter what their daily life circumstances are. The young man in the video wakes up one morning in a dumpster (Suggesting he lives in the dumpster). He goes to his friend's house to borrow clothing and to 'clean up' his appearance before meeting the woman of his dreams for a date. He 'glams' up, she 'glams' up, they meet and realize there's more to love than meets the eye. Their personalities connect perfectly and both of them enjoy an evening of laughing, eating, drinking and companionship. The video ends with both of them waking up in the dumpster the next morning, still smiling and enjoying each other's company. This is a mental peace of mind for anyone who's going through a personal challenge. The message here is strong and we're living for it. It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, what you have done etc. Love is love. Love is happiness. Watch "Liquor Witch" below!
Hi Ayla Ray and welcome to BuzzMusic! Tell us how did the two of you come up with the name Ayla Ray?
Hey, thanks for having us! The name of the group was inspired by bringing together equal parts of feminine and masculine. Ayla was Sams older sister that died at birth but being the only girl of his three siblings the name was always felt like part of his character. Ray was his grandfather's name, who was a test pilot for the military in the '60s and invented the rocket-powered ejection seat. Those two strong influences inspired a dynamic that resonates with the band and our vision.
Is "Liquor Witch" a symbol or a real girl? What is the inspiration behind this song?
Writing a song is a great way to process specific personal experiences, sure, but the core inspiration for Liquor Witch stems more from that universal search for mental peace in the face of vice and addiction. We all have our own Wiley temptress, and we want to contribute to the magic of music as a bandage for the injury of circumstance.
I get such an indie vibe when listening to this single, which artists do you draw creativity from?
Our influences are pretty wide-ranging, and bringing that together is always an interesting ride. Different aspects pull from various wells I suppose. Vocally, Man Man and Tom Waitshave had a major impact. The production of artists like Jai Paul, Marian Hill, and Lorn will only become more relevant for us as we move towards a more electronic sound. We also have a lot of love for those visionary icons of immersive experience and performance aesthetic, from Bowie to Gorillaz. That being said, a lot of it also comes from growing up in Alaskan nature, fantasy and sci-fi writing, and various lores and mythologies.
What is the vision of your newest album? Is there a central theme or message you wish to convey?
We've been working on this first album for a few years now, with some of the tracks evolving from Sam's solo songwriting endeavors even before that. So for us, this has been a process of discovery and development. We hope to convey a message of self-empowerment to find your own connection to magic through whatever channels make sense for you. A lot of the songs deal with personal growth and reflection, and finding ways to transmute harsh realities or toxic situations into positive energy and intention is only going to become more important for all of us to focus on in this crazy world.
Thanks for chatting with us! We love the video and energic performance. What does the future of Ayla Ray look like?
Thanks so much! This video was the first we planned, shot, and edited ourselves and it was a lot of fun. We're looking forward to a busy year. There's a pretty sizable cache of music we've been sitting on because it may not correlate exactly to what Ayla Ray has grown into so far, but having the first album out as a fulfillment of this particular cocktail is getting us really excited to broaden that scope and create a fuller representation of everything we're about. In 2020, we'll be releasing a lot more material, branching out with the creative process, and developing more performative and experiential aspects of the live show.