Recently, one of my favorite local bands, Raunchstar, went back into the studio to begin recording their new EP. This go round, they were at Clay Garden Studio with sound engineer extraordinaire, Matt Katherman who also mastered their self titled debut EP in 2013. I was thrilled to shoot the night, and “peek behind the wizard’s curtain” to see how Matt works his magic. Truly, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, and I’m looking forward to visiting Matt and Clay Garden again in the future.
After the shoot, I caught up with Raunchstar to get the skinny on the band, the new EP and of course, ask them The Quick Six.
Beth Austin: Okay for people who aren’t familiar with Raunchstar, who’s who and what do you do?
Alex Harrison: Kenny Andrews - Bass, Jamie McGuffey - Drums, Laura Reyes - Lead vocals and I’m on guitar.
Beth: I’ve been going to your shows for a while now. You guys click so well together that I can’t imagine Raunchstar with any other people. How long have you been together, and what makes Raunchstar work so well?
Laura Reyes: Three years.
Jamie McGuffey: We work well together because everybody respects each other’s input.
Beth: How did the band get together?
Alex: Laura and I were starting to write songs together, and she pulled Jamie in. It seemed natural to grab Kenny, since he played with Jamie in The Villains and wasn’t currently in a band. And he’s awesome.
Kenny Andrews: I was going to join The Lookers with Alex, but that went south. Laura came in, looked hot and could sing a bit. I already knew Alex and Jamie, so that sealed the deal.
Laura: Alex and Jamie were the first two people to ever take me seriously as a musician. When Kenny came in Raunchstar was born.
Beth: So how did you decide on the band name?
Laura: When I was a little girl, I always wanted my band name to be Punkraunch, but we didn’t want to use the word “punk”. Jamie came up with the world “star”, and there you go.
Kenny: I wanted to call it Battlestar Galactica, but Jamie hadn’t seen it all yet.
Beth: Alex and Jamie, I’ve been a fan of yours and the various bands you’ve played in for years. Laura and Kenny, who else have you played with?
Kenny: Abstract Signs, 13 Steps, Swinging Johnsons, Dreadline, The Villains, Swampfire and a few others.
Beth: I loved your first EP. I played it for two days straight when I first got my hands on it, no kidding. And it’s still in heavy rotation in my collection. The songs seemed to come from a place of relationship, uh, issues. Where are you coming from on the new one?
Laura: Coming from? Uh, from our raunch and roll lifestyle! I’m just telling some stories.
Jamie: I don’t even know what the lyrics are.
Beth: When it comes to writing, how do your songs come together, and are they based on real life stuff?
Alex: I write most of the music and a chunk of lyrics. Laura’s taken a more primary role writing what she sings, and that’s great. She’s gotten better and better. Jamie has brought a few things to the table. Jamie and Kenny have both been instrumental (haha) in arranging everything.
Laura: I’d never written a song until Raunchstar. And yes, they’re about real life.
Kenny: But not like a reality show.
Alex: Eh, a bit on the real life, but not necessarily mine.
Kenny: I’ve never woken up naked in a parking lot, but I’ve passed out in a few.
Beth: (Laughs) Okay. When I try to describe your sound, I come up with, fast, punchy, a little bratty, a little screw you that you can dance to. But that’s not really a genre. How would you describe your sound?
Alex: Rock ’N’ Roll.
Laura: Raunch ’N’ Roll!
Kenny: I like your description.
Beth: Let's talk about the night you recorded. Thanks for letting me hang out, by the way, I had a blast. How was the experience for you at Clay Garden Studio?
Laura: I worked two doors down, so I just walked over. It had been a long day, but I perked up as soon as we started playing.
Alex: It was nice to let somebody else worry about engineering so I could just play. It made the experience so much better.
Kenny: Great equipment in there. Matt did a great job and knows his stuff.
Laura: And so does Laura, Alex and Jamie.
Kenny: And I’m glad the bathroom worked properly.
Jamie: It’s an incredible honor to work with Matt Katherman. Beth, you owe us backing vocals.
Beth: (Laughs) Careful what you ask for. Okay, so your first EP is something I can’t stop listening to. For me, it’s never a bad time to listen to Raunchstar. Even first thing in the morning before I’ve had the proper amount of coffee. Who can’t you stop listening to?
Laura: Antic Hay, The Villains and the Hardcore Norfolk: A Story of Rock ’N’ Roll Survival soundtrack.
Alex: Def Leppard’s High ’N’ Dry.
Jamie: As it applies to this band, The Dead Weather.
Kenny: My new cat meowing to be fed at 6 a.m.
Beth: Where are your favorite places to play and why? Are you planning on hitting the road out of the area code anytime soon?
Laura: The Hook Up on Atlantic Avenue at the oceanfront. That’s the type of crowd I’ve been wanting to play to since I started.
Kenny: Norfolk Taphouse, because I’ve had so many good times there.
Jamie: Belmont House Of Smoke, because of Patrick Walsh doing sound.
Alex: Belmont, for the same reason. As far as hitting the road, we’ve a few leads, but nothing concrete right now. But we’d love to!
Beth: Wow, Patrick Walsh’s name keeps popping up with nearly every band I’ve talked to. That’s impressive! So what’s next on the Raunchstar agenda?
Alex: Get this next EP done, and tour the world.
Jamie: We need to do artwork!!!
Laura: Play some bigger cities.
Beth: Where can people get your last EP, and the newest one when it comes out? What are you calling the new one, by the way? Do you have a release date set?
Alex: At the shows for sure!
Kenny: At Alex’s house.
Alex: It’s a work in progress. We’ll have it up for download on all the usual suspects. No release date yet, but I’d say mid June-ish.
Jamie: If you’re really hot and cute, you can come by my place. We’re open to suggestions on the title.
Beth: You could always call it, By The Way. Okay, I’ll keep my day job.
THE QUICK SIX
Beth: Iggy or Bowie?
Beth: Waffle House or IHOP?
Beth: Partridge Family or The Brady Six?
Kenny: Partridge because Danny Bonaduce really knew how to party.
Alex: Brady Six, because I’ve always had a crush on Alice.
Kenny: You got that maid fetish! You always wanted to be Sam the butcher!
Beth: Urgh! A Music War or The Decline Of Western Civilization?
Laura: I don’t understand the question.
Alex: Decline! I learned both those Catholic Discipline songs and really want to cover “Barbie Doll Lust” one day.
Beth: 7-11 or Wawa?
Kenny: Food Mart on Campostella Road.
Beth: Good Times or What’s Happening?
Alex: Good Times for the theme.
Jamie: Good Times.
Laura: Good Times.
Kenny: I wanna know whats happening with the good times.