These guys kick some ass, which makes them a great listen in a world of music that you can predict. Raz Mataz connected with the guys of Return For Refund who talk about the industry, a different way to make some joyful noise, and where the band is headed.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): What generally inspires the lyrics to your songs and the content of your music?
Return For Refund: Most of the time, I try to let the lyrics write themselves. I do this by only starting the lyrics and vocal melody once the music is finished. I’ll just improvise over the music until something comes out that really grabs me. Usually the line itself will tell me what the song is about. Once I have that single idea I can base the song on, I use a lot of my experiences and beliefs to fill in the rest. One thing is for sure, if I don’t believe in it, I don’t sing it. I find that’s the key to having a unique and authentic voice, to truly believe in what I’m saying.
RMM: A lot of guitar-shredding metal bands make their music out of a place of hate or anger – what emotion does your music come from? What prompts it?
RFR: We definitely don’t draw from hate and anger in our creative process. We love music and really want to spread a positive message in what we say. Often that is masked in the very sarcastic and satirical approach I take with my lyrics. If I were to describe one emotion that’s key to our process, it would be joy. There is a joy we experience when we put a song together and it works. It gives us joy to create music we love and believe in.
RMM: You’ve trashed the idiots of this generation with the song ‘Yolo’. How do you generally feel about mainstream music today? Does your music present a throwback to a more rock-n-roll heavy time, is it a sort of counter-cultural movement, or is it something else?
RFR: As a band, we do have a general contempt for a lot of the mainstream music out there. So much of it is incredibly generic, very predictable, and plain boring. A lot of that comes from the way most music is made these days. The technology used to make music is so robotic. Everything is on a grid. It’s all cut and paste. The psychological effects of that process really kill the feeling and originality in the music itself. Also, I think the role of the producer has expanded to compensate for a general lack of artistry these days. So many of my favourite records were produced by the artists themselves and they were cut live off the floor. How often does that happen today? The takes weren’t perfect but they were awesome and didn’t have to snap perfectly to a grid.
In that regard we are a throwback to a time when artists had the courage to produce their own music from start to finish with their only concern being whether or not they achieved their artistic vision. That’s why we self-produced. We wanted our EP to be something different, something new, and above all, something purely Return For Refund.
RMM: What direction do you hope to take the band in the future?
RFR: I want to avoid trying to make the band become anything. We’ll be who we are and make the music that makes sense at the time. I think any other approach would work against us creatively. One can already hear the diversity of styles and influences just within the six songs of our EP. The way I see it, we’re just beginning to explore what we’re capable of.
RMM: What projects can we expect in the future?
RFR: Right now we’re just focusing on live shows. Although we have plenty of material for a full album, we’re going to take some time before embarking on another recording. As a rock band, we feel it’s important to get on the road and bring our music to people directly.
RMM: How do you effectively blend all of your inspirations to make your music?
RFR: We try to do blend our different influences as organically as possible. We all have one common goal, to make the best music we’re capable of. It only works because of the mutual respect we have for each other and our unique abilities as musicians. I don’t tell Sasha how to play his solos or tell Karlis how to play his beats. Likewise, they believe in my voice and the riffs I come up with. It’s when we all come together and contribute uniquely to each song that we come up with our best material.