Hailing from Gettysburg, PA, Riley Rager is the type of indie/rock artist that is able to provide musical offerings fitting to the genre, but capturing elements that we didn't even know the genre needed. Riley uplifts listeners with his music, providing his singer/songwriter/musician qualities to transform the category his music predominantly falls into. Knowing music was for him at suh a young age, Riley Rager has been exposed to the music industry early on, and takes his profound experiences to shape what his music is like today. Riley sets out to take his listeners on a journey with his music, putting out musical stylings that take the listener to another atmosphere. Riley Rager has a killer execution with all of his tracks, most especially his debut album "Subminial Swimming Pool". Our personal favorite track off of the EP: "Acid Rain".
You know when you first hear the initial beat to a track, and you immediately go "this is my kind of track"? That's the type of feeling we get when listening to Riley's recent release "Acid Rain". It's alternative/indie-rock elements are showcased in the most brilliant way. With more of a modern twist on his music, Riley Rager is able to blend together a variety of alternative elements that are absolutely fitting for the type of track "Acid Rain" is. The atmosphere to Riley's tracks is undoubtedly laidback and care-free. I think it's safe to say that we all need those kinds of tracks on our playlists from time to time, and Riley's "Acid Rain" should be that exact track we find on your playlists! Integrating some more heavy-hitting guitar riffs throughout "Acid Rain", Riley is able to take on a more aggressive production with his soothing vocalism. Riley Rager's voice holds honesty and authenticity--combined with his ability to sing (really sing), we must say "Acid Rain" impresses us with it's musical stylings, and has already been added to our Spotify playlist!
Discover Riley's "Acid Rain" here, and continue reading for this artists exclusive interview!
Hey Riley! Welcome to the BuzzMusic community! Tell us more about you and how you developed as an artist!
It's a pleasure to be here! I've been playing music since I was nine years old, starting with drums and moving to guitar, bass, and vocals. In fact, I played every instrument that you hear on the new EP. "Acid Rain” had a strong lyrical presence to it.
What was the theme behind this record? What motivated you to write the track?
I wrote Acid Rain in my garage after a trip to Puerto Rico. All the palm trees and the ocean really inspired me. At the time, I was primarily influenced by indie rock and surf rock artists like Local Natives and Palma Violets, so the bright, reverb-drenched, beach sound felt natural.
Acid Rain is about the feeling of stepping outside into the sunshine after being cooped up in the house all day. Or, on a heavier note, it's about being trapped in a rut and the difficulty of trying to escape. "My skin is sizzlin'; I walk to the door again; I will hold my breath; Until this day ends" translates to: I've stepped outside and tried to change, but the pain of change is so intense that I end up staying the same. Subliminal Swimming Pool is a concept album, depicting one who is slipping into a rut, hits a low point, and, by the end of the album, recovers from the hard times and is better than he ever was before. Acid Rain is the beginning of the EP and the beginning of the rut, but by the last song, the main character has gotten to a point where the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. He has confronted his demons and moved on.
How would you say the music you make now compares to music you made when you first started out?
My style has been evolving for years. I've written metalcore riffs, mellow acoustic songs, and various other kinds. However, when I wrote Acid Rain, everything clicked and finally felt natural. It was the first song I wrote that actually felt like me. Every other song on the EP came shortly afterwards, following the same vain of music Acid Rain is in. Elements of alternative rock, surf rock, and indie rock are all prevalent in my sound, so it's hard to for me to categorize it. But what I do know is that right now, this sound feels right.
While curating your debut EP Subliminal Swimming Pool, did you come across any creative blocks? If you ever come across creative blocks with creating your sound, how do you typically surpass them?
Yes, I ran into several creative blocks. In the midst of writing and recording this EP, I graduated college, moved away from my hometown of Hanover, PA, to Ocean City, MD, and then to Gettysburg, PA. A lot was going on in my life socially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually... all fronts. I took a break from working on it for many months due to lack of inspiration and motivation. In an effort to regain the fire for life and for writing, I took a three week road trip across the country with my buddy, Justin Kollars. We drove from Pennsylvania to California and visited everywhere in between. Justin owns The Shed Productions, which is where he recorded, mixed, and mastered Subliminal Swimming Pool. Though this road trip helped spark creativity, it was still another year until the EP was finished. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into this. It was a rough time. But all the failures, all the mistakes, all the changes, all the battles with anxiety that I had to overcome cranked out a killer EP that I am incredibly proud of, and I learned a lot from it.
What's on the rise for you next as an artist?
I'll be staying on the grind! I have some songs slated up to release next, but for right now, I'm focusing on getting this EP to as many ears as possible. There is definitely more to come as I keep growing, learning, and evolving as a musician and as a human. I have a broad range of influences, from surf rock to hip hop and lo-fi, and I can pretty much guarantee that future releases are going to incorporate some sort of crazy crossover between those.
I'm looking forward to what's next. Trust me, this is just the beginning.
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