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"I'm unafraid; we've come of age" (Lyrics taken from 'My Blood Is Brave')
The Riff Raff 's sound is classic London poetry; brash and direct; masterful in combination. Its intelligent wordplay captures your attention and weaves throughout four-piece vocal harmonies, infectious melodies and intricate string / guitar arrangements. It's persistent, immediate, and joyful.
"Beautifully complex melodies, definitely the new sound" – Sir Paul McCartney on The Riff Raff
Growing up between the Midlands and London, the rampant punk and original two-tone scene's which found Terry Hall and Gerry Dammers making regular appearances at Tile Hill Music College left a lasting impression on The Riff Raff lead singer / lyricist Alex Thompson. It's where the band's candor comes from – why not say what you want to say? It's that simple with The Riff Raff. Add to that a connection with the music spun by John Peel's radio show in the 90's as a heavy source of inspiration, and something ignited amidst the urban decay.
With first performances on the illegal / free party scene in the Midlands, Alex quickly developed a live following in the area with regular appearances at local venues from a young age. At Paul McCartney's Liverpool Music Institute he met a writing partner in the form of child protégé, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Harry Robinson. After graduating, the pair carefully pieced together a live project from friends; including Paul Noels guitar / vocals, Richard Soward drums / vocals and Andy Hill on bass, which completed the bands formula.
Early recordings spread across the internet, finding their way to BBC Radio 1's Rob Da Bank. Rob became the first supporter of The Riff Raff at national radio, playing an early demo of 'So Long'.
They were invited to record a live set at Maida Vale studios, collecting them further support from Huw Stephens, Colin Murray and the BBC Introducing team, propelling the band to being asked to headline Radio 1's 'Introducing' stage at Glastonbury alongside The Ting Ting's.
Performances swung from the raucous energy of 'Fins in the Dark' and 'Changes Everything', to the beautifully introspective and imposing 'In a Recession' with further tracks 'Rolling in the Mud' and 'NYC loves LDN' executed to perfection. Performances across the summer's festivals culminated in a steamy set at Bestival, a further Maida Vale live recording and an invitation to fill a coveted spot on BBC's Electric Proms in London.
Following the Electric Proms The Riff Raff were offered a place on the BBC Proms Live, touring around the UK's top arts venues with Radio1. All the while, The Riff Raff stuck to the sound they knew they wanted to make, based on the early principals set out by idealistic teenagers turning Specials records.
At this point, they were yet to have a single released, and the lure of recording studios was beginning to nag them.
Thrown into an intense cycle of writing and performing at such a young age, the band honed there live-craft, touring extensively throughout Europe, and even looking towards the States. New material attracted the prestigious support of Joe Strummer's New Music Foundation, Strummerville, and with it came guidance from some of the most recognisable and prestigious names on the planet. 'My Blood Is Brave' was recorded at Trevor Horn's studio and featured in the charity's advertising campaign and live programme at festivals throughout the summer.
Though the band don't subscribe to the art of buzz-making, it independently grew around them, inevitably blossoming abroad with huge support in Paris and across France. For The Riff Raff, infiltrating Europe was just another natural progression. While bands around them became the big fishes of small ponds, The Riff Raff never allowed themselves to settle on one sound… or one city. Rather than take stock of their success and run the risk of repetition, they pushed harder, and further than their contemporaries would ever dare try.
A strong presence in Grammy Award winning director Don Letts new project - based around the charity's support programme for bands - led to a SXSW trip to Austin Texas early in March 2010. They travelled from New York with East Village Radio, causing a riot of support from the band's favourite station.
At what seemed like simultaneously in Paris, The Riff Raff headlined at the Factory FAC151 launch party with Alan Mcgee, Dave Haslam and other members of the old school Manchester elite, securing an invitation to record at Moolah Rouge studios with Happy Mondays engineer Dan Broad.
In October 2010, the band attended New York's CMJ music conference with a joint invitation from the purveyors of cool, East Village Radio, playing a two week run of shows in the evenings and free matinee performances during the day. Word was out across the East Coast; followed by an invitation to appear on Steve Lillywhite's world famous radio show.
Six acoustic songs and a private showcase at Webster Hall led to Steve Lillywhite coaxing the band back onto his show and announcing on-air he would like to record with them in 2011. Steve's colleague at the station - Andy Rourke ( the Smiths/ the Pretenders / Freebass / Jetlag ) - heard The Riff Raff 's steadfast pop and with his Jetlag partner has remixed several of the bands new recordings now set for release in 2011.
The Riff Raff have once again been invited to attend SXSW music conference in 2011 along with East Village Radio while the band's debut single 'Static on the Radio' will be released in March to coincide with a full tour. With recordings also being completed on the debut album, the stage is set for a triumphant homecoming. The final culmination of a lot of love and hard work.