Behind the scenes :: AKA the Context
With Followed a Boy, the third in a trilogy of solo EPs, musical duo the RA-6600 illustrates how much gold can be extracted from the emotional minefield we all traverse as we evolve from early teens to young adulthood.
For Daniel Olivas, the lead singer and musical mastermind behind the RA-6600, examining those significant years of development has proven boundlessly inspiring. Olivas and drummer, Mark Medley, have created a stripped-down sound of catchy pop melodies and gritty rhythms that artfully reflect the discovery, joy, and pain that, with any luck, leads to maturity and self-knowledge.
The songs and concept for Followed a Boy began to come together after Olivas had a conversation with a teen waitress (and single mother) who poured out her story to him while refreshing his coffee. “I couldn’t get her story out of my head,” he said of his encounter in a breakfast diner. Other ideas came from phrases and quips from Olivas’ elementary-aged daughter. “From those elements, I could see what I wanted to say and how I could wrap the songs into the third EP. When it was time, we recorded the songs in the same way we recorded the other two EPs. I took them to Mark, who is a first-class drummer and deep artist, and we developed what worked best.”
This trilogy’s songs-17 in all-initially began with what Olivas called a “quantum leap” of inspiration. In 2013, he read poems written by his niece, then 14-year-old Emma Kate Pearson. At the same time, he had become enamored with “girl pop,” listening hard to everyone from the Shirelles, the Supremes and more recent pop artists.
Suddenly, a connection materialized between Emma Kate’s open-hearted words and the timeless girl-pop melodies circulating in his mind. “Her lyrics were very honest reports about her life,” Olivas said. “There was an authenticity to them that an adult, trying to write a song about being a teenager, could never capture. They were about real-time vulnerability, disappointment and being invisible. It matched so closely to my listening experience that I could see how to write a sort of teen opera with her lyrics. It was the first time I had ever written songs with someone else’s words, and it was liberating and wildly inspiring.”
The take on take approach.
Ok. So they guys are on a mission to create a sort of a snapshot of life itself. Ambitious. And of course it got a deeper look from me. Becuase beyond the red carpet is after all the human element and the human condition. And it’s all subjective, told by both our strenghts, and more than often expressed from our weaknesses. So I was going to be paying some extra attention.
I must admit the preppiness of the first track seemed a little to anxious for me and life it self. ADHD maybe? Yet as we moved into Stay things felt they could breathe and a visual of the Beatles came to mind. Actually, i’m pretty sure they are a big inspiration. That and Beach Boys. Something tells me so …
Not a bad comparison to make hey?
By now if you haven’t met you inner child, you would be playing your heart out to this album. And going loco in a dance-like-no-one’s-watching state of funness that the world needs more of. The world actually needs more music like this. That and smart lyrics that just say it even smarter.
From oh-oh to oh-yes-please. This album took a quick turn around and got the official thumbs up and sharable mentions that music is really all about. Isn’t it?
Final words from the artist:
The band overdubbed additional vocals and some textures, but as Olivas said, “We still can play it live and you wouldn’t really tell the difference between that and the recording, which is not a given with many records. I credit that to this: the sound of the RA-6600 has an innocence to it because, at its center, it is two people doing something strictly for the love of doing it. That’s the gold standard.”
Everyone needs to hear this and the life in it.
Find your story and turn it into a dance-escape-ology.