A while back this awesome Australian band come over for some European shows, we only knew the song "Break you" but we really loved that tune so we decided to check these guys out! Honestly they kicked our asses, and without hesitation we gladly added their debut album to our collection. After the show we had a cool chat with the guys and agreed into doing an interview! We sended guitarist Leon some questions, check out the result!
Hey there guys, for starters could you introduce the band to our readers?
Ragdoll is myself (Leon Todd, Guitar), Ryan rafferty (Bass and Vocals) and Cam Barrett (Drums).We got together in late 2009 in Perth, Western Australia. Cam and I had been playing together for a few years trying to find the right singer when we were introduced to Ryan who was playing in a pub covers band. After experimenting as a five and a four piece, we finally found the magic formula playing as a three piece and haven't looked back since.
My first thought when I heard your name, was immediately Aerosmith, but I guess they aren't really an influence or are they?
We all love classic rock from the 70's and 80's so Aerosmith is a band we all grew up listening to. The band name came from Cam's cat, a Ragdoll breed. If you're unfamiliar with the breed, they're hairy and scruffy just like us, hehe. Of course, we didn't immediately make the Aerosmith connection but it's something we're always asked about; I don't really care because it's a great song too!
After a fews ep's you guys finally released your official full length debut; are you proud of the end result? What is for you guys the difference between the ep's and the full cd?
We're absolutely stoked with how the new album "Back to Zero" came out, and so far it's been getting a great reception from the press and from our fans. Doing three EP's and lots of touring over a few years allowed us to experiment with our sound and develop our songwriting and production style without the pressure of delivering an album. I think "Back to Zero" serves as our mission statement and lays a very solid foundation for us going forward as a band.
A while back you guys came over to Europe for some shows! How was it?
Amazing! You guys really know how to enjoy shows and to treat bands, so we came away from the experience hungry for more. We did nine shows in a little over two weeks and got to play in places i've only ever dreamed of going, like Switzerland, France and Belgium. The strong culture and community around live music is something the rest of the world can certainly aspire to.
Can you tell us some things that really stuck to you and gladly remember from Europe?
For me, the shows themselves were very well organised and the fans were very respectful and enthusiastic. While the rest of the world seems to look down upon musicians as bums, Europeans treat it as a valid profession and as an important part of the cultural landscape. Then of course there was the food and all the amazing locations; I'm a history nerd and I love good food so I was in my element the whole time.
Is there a difference in the crowds compared to Australian fans?
For me, it boils down to this; Australian crowds go to the bar to drink, and if there happens to be live music then they get involved. In Europe, it seems that people go to see live music and if there happens to be a bar then they get involved in that too! As I said earlier though, there definitely seems to be a respect for musicians as artists and performers in Europe.
We've seen you live and to be honest we were quite impressed although I only knew one song, but it got me convinced to come over! Wasn't it risky to come over to play for lots of people who never heard of you guys before! We all know a flight from Australia to Europe costs an arm and a leg, must not have been an easy and cheap decision?
Living in Australia makes touring an incredibly expensive operation, but to be honest it would have cost us the same amount of money to play the east coast of Australia as it would to come to Europe. We love the music that we create and we believe in playing it to as many people as we can, so it made the most sense to come to Europe and convert people one by one. Old school!
Was it all worth it and will we see you guys again somewhere in the future?
One hundred percent. We'll be back as soon as we possibly can and we hope to play even more shows in even more countries next time.
How do you remember Belgium and what did you like the most off our country?
We spent four nights in Belgium and had a very interesting time. Aside from the incredible chocolate (it really is the best in the world) I really liked the friendly and diverse people we met. For example, we spent the morning before our show at a small market where we got talking to a couple selling sausages. They gave us lots of free sausages and, without ever having heard us, came out to the show that night and drank with us afterwards.
It isn't all that easy to compare the music off Ragdoll, for there are lots off elements combined! There is rock, there are progressive parts, some sleaze'n glam and melodic hard rock! How do you guys like to describe it or don't you like to think in boxes? ;-)
We never set out to write a particular style of music, we just really focus on expressing ourselves and writing music that we like to listen to. I call our style 'hair grunge' because our audience seems to fall into two camps; people that love the heavy, groovy and grungy element and then people who love the melodic and progressive elements. Ragdoll is a band with something for everyone.
Who is the main songwriter in the band? Or is it a mutual thing?
I normally bring in riffs, arrangements or melody ideas to the band and then the three of us spend time deconstructing and reconstructing the song so that it ends up with the characteristic Ragdoll sound. I think the three of us each have such distinctive styles that we could probably play a nursery rhyme and you could still identify it as us.
For people who have never seen Ragdoll, how would you convince them to come over to a show?
If you miss the glory years of live hard rock, come see Ragdoll. We'll make you sweat and shake and we'll give you a hug and take you out for a milkshake after the show.
Anything left to add?
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