More Than Just 'Indie Rock With Strings': Ra Ra Riot On Evolving Together The band is known for combining elements of rock, classical and electronic music. After making music together for over a decade, the members say they're aiming at a different goal.

More Than Just 'Indie Rock With Strings': Ra Ra Riot On Evolving Together

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RA RA RIOT: (Singing) The life I had...


The band Ra Ra Riot has been making music together for over a decade. Early on, their upbeat cello- and violin-heavy songs earned them a reputation for strings you could dance to.


RA RA RIOT: (Singing) That's when you call me (unintelligible), out of the dark and in the last night.

WES MILES: People probably expected like a rocky party band to just be bass, drums, guitar and vocals. They'd say, what is that (laughter), and we'd say, well, that's a cello, and it's a violin.


RA RA RIOT: (Singing) Master of the universe only at night.

WERTHEIMER: That's Wes Miles, the band's vocalist. The band got their start playing house parties in college, and that's where they developed their exuberant sound, competing with the hum of young people having a good time.

MILES: The house party vibe is not really a place to get emotional and quiet. So basically, when we started, we had to make sure the attention was always coming towards us, you know, being loud and little crazy.


RA RA RIOT: (Singing) It's the year of absolutely being absolutely nothing, absolutely crushing, absolutely everything, absolutely loving, absolutely loving, absolutely loving, absolutely.

WERTHEIMER: Ra Ra Riot wanted to make a go of it after graduation, and they wanted to stand out.

MILES: It's good to have an angle, you know, a one-sentence description, like indie rock with strings.

WERTHEIMER: But a lot changes over the course of a decade. After two albums, the band decided that description was confining and started experimenting with a little less strings, a little more synth.


RA RA RIOT: (Singing) Suck, suckers, I swear no pleasure to be out there.

WERTHEIMER: They said goodbye to their longtime cellist and took some time off, but the core group is grateful for the way they've been able to evolve together.

MILES: It's a sibling sort of relationship and all the flaws and all the insecurities. We've gotten really good about navigating around them, but, you know, you just kind of have to accept people how they are and love them for what they do for you.

WERTHEIMER: The band's fourth album is called "Need Your Light," and it's out now.


RA RA RIOT: (Singing) Don't, don't punish me for what I feel.

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