THE RAFT: The power of melodies
The French naval frigate Méduse, ran aground off the coast of today's Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft.
All but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practiced cannibalism. I'm just showing off how clever I am when I find out why The Raft uses a jellyfish in their artwork.
It's really easy to find new music and new sounds. It's also really easy to find bands that remind us of songs from the past.
There are billions of Slowdive clones out there. What's harder is to find good songs, and I mean really good songs. This is where The Raft come in. Phil Wilson writes good songs, really good songs.
How do you write your songs?
"Most of my songs tend to be little stories, some based on reality, some completely made up and some a mixture of both.
I really like songwriters like Michael Head who have the ability to drag you into their universe in a four-minute song. If I ever get close to having the same effect on people that his songs have on me then I'll have made it!
I also tend to vent my frustrations on people through my songs. Sometimes the message behind them can be pretty vitriolic but I usually set them to pop tunes to soften the blow, mainly to amuse myself. "Blue And Blue", for example, is probably one of my poppiest tunes but the lyrics are about a particular individual and they are pretty cutting. It's one of my favorites!
As for the process, some songs come about while I'm sitting around playing guitar. I'll stumble upon some chords and start humming a melody. Other times a melody will pop into my head then I'll find the guitar chords for it. I never sit down with the intention of writing a song because that hardly ever works for me. As pretentious as it might sound it's usually a matter of waiting for the song to come rather than forcing it."
Describe your palette of sound
"Generally light and airy. Occasionally fucked up and psychedelic."
Who have you worked with?
"I've been really good friends with Marc Joy of Lights That Change for about fifteen years and we have worked together a lot either as The Raft or as Wilson&Joy. We're still very much involved with each other and in fact, I've just done some vocals for the next L.T.C. single which will be out soon.
As The Raft, I'm currently working with JPedro who is a producer based in Portsmouth, my friend Claire O'Neill who is an amazing vocalist and songwriter in her own right and guitarist Jeremy Llewellyn who is bringing some interesting textures to some of the new songs. I'm also delighted to have my old friend Lisa VonH doing the odd thing for me. I'm sure she's going to feature heavily on the next album.
Claire and I have also recently contributed vocals to a new track by Xeresa which is awesome. I believe it's going to be on his next album which is out this summer."
What are your goals?
"My goals have always been pretty simple. I just want to make as much music that I like as possible. Anything else that comes as a result of that is a bonus. I'd obviously like to make a decent living as a songwriter but that's not the motivation and never has been."
Who would be your dream producer?
"I'd love to work with someone like Washed Out or Deptford Goth. Or anyone who could bring a bit of glitchiness to the equation!"
What are you trying to avoid?
"Writing music that I think others will like instead of writing for myself"
In this day and age there is no old or new music to a 17 year old, discuss?
"I've never really thought about it but yeah I guess there is no new or old to a 17 year old, only brand new. I think it's good in some ways to have it right there all the time but sad in other ways. I'm old enough to remember how exciting the chase for music was. You'd hear a new single on the radio and actually have to wait before you could go to a shop and buy it. The fun was in the anticipation.
I'm really grateful for the internet and social media though because it allows someone like me to put music out whenever I please."
Why do you make music?
"I make the music I make because I have to, simple as that. If I didn't my quality of life would be nowhere near as good.
As for the music itself, it's just what comes out when I pick up a guitar and start trying to sing. We're all a product of our influences and I wear mine on my sleeve. It's pointless to fight against it. I have always listened to a lot of music all the time and if I like it I really try to absorb it. I'm definitely not choosing to sound a certain way, it's just a mash-up of my favorite music."