Artist Interview: Rikas

Posted: by The Editor

German, indie-pop outfit Rikas has recently released their new single “Never Leaving the House” off their upcoming EP Goodbye Sunshine. The tune is reminiscent of the Talking Heads, playing into the new wave, funk attitude that enveloped the era. The music video for the song only further amplifies that avant-pop feel as it follows each of the band members as they wake up in their bedrooms—all identical except for the different colors assigned to each member. They go about their morning routines yet end up banding together and taking part in a kooky, playful dance number. After, they head back to bed. The video leans into charming, retro aesthetics and a curious tone that is present in the single itself, lending itself to a light and fun experience.

I was able to sit down with Rikas and talk a bit about their upcoming EP, working with Benny Sings and Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and taking dance lessons for the “Never Leaving the House” music video below:

Your newest singles “Barefoot” and “Never Leaving The House” were written with Benny Sings. What was that process like with him? What did he bring to the track that ultimately brought the idea to life?

It was a great opportunity for us to work with Benny Sings. We have been listening to his music for a couple of years. He invited us to his little studio in Amsterdam and we made like a bunch of demos. I would say like 3 songs a day, in a week. Even though we had the chance to work with him, I still have not figured out the magic he can add as a songwriter. He just makes everything sound and feel very easy. In the case of Barefoot he just made the song fit together. We had the idea for the Barefoot part and the verse, and he came up with the chords for the chorus and the C-Part. 

Why did you ultimately choose to release your upcoming Goodbye Sunshine EP as a series of singles over a four-month period? How does the project’s name lend itself to its sound?

It might sound stupid, but we just could not decide which one is the standout track because we love them all equally. So, we kind of gave every track a visual or a video and let our fans decide which one is their favorite. And about the title. For us this EP is kind of an end of an era and also a start of a new era. I can’t tell that much about it at the moment but we will talk about it another time. 

Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado helped produce this entire record—even implementing the idea of recording you guys to tape in a single room without a click track to embody that 1960s era of Californian pop. How was it working alongside him for this project? Was there a more present feel to recording the record to tape in this way?

We loved working with Jonathan on these tracks. In some way his presence gave us a lot of confidence. We’ve worked with a couple producers in our short career as a band, but Jonathan was the first one that was just like “You guys sound great as a band, let’s do it exactly how you play it at the moment.” That made thinks easy for us. Not too much overthinking. A lot of fun and a lot of jokes. I think the humor is something that really connected us. We tend not to take life that serious, and he is of the same kind. 

What gravitates you to that approach and sound of the golden era of laidback California pop?

To be honest, we’re not really trying to replicate the sound of the 60s. We don’t go into the studio and try to sound like the Wrecking Crew. I think we just like to reference a lot of different eras in our music and that is one of them. It’s more from the outside that people tend to say “you guys’ sound very vintage.”

I’ve seen where you guys are no strangers to the festival circuit. The crowds at these events are very unique to the experience. Do you feel these large crowd settings have affected how you tackle creating new music? 

It’s been great to be back on the road and play at all these different festivals. But most of these songs were written in a phase of our lives where we had not been performing at all. Performing in front of that many people is still very new for us. So, it might have more of an effect to the new material we are working on at the moment. 

Are there any other artistic outlets you guys engage in to channel your creativity as artists?

For sure. For us it is important not to be locked in too much as musicians. Chris for example, designs all the merchandise and every album artwork for our band. We also have a big influence on the ideas of our videos and even self-directed some of them. I think that is the best part in being in band compared to a classical musician. You can create your own little world.  And for our latest song ‘Never Leaving the House’ we also had dancing lessons for the last couple months. 

Favorite type of ice-cream?

I can just speak for myself, but I’ll always go for Cookies and raspberry. And my mum used to live in Vermont next to Ben and Jerry’s, so I do enjoy a Cookie Dough.

You can follow Rikas on Twitter and Instagram @rikasband

Hope Ankney | @Hope_ankleknee

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