Posted On 09 May 2019
“Recreational Magic” is the latest album out now by Racket Man. Since their formation, Racket Man has worked hard to blend influences together into a single project and they have done just that with “Recreational Magic,” being the group’s most cohesive work yet
Crafting upbeat and cruisy arrangements contrasted by darker lyrical themes, Racket Man pulls from influences like Prefab Sprout, Toro y Moi and Sade to create their own brand of Indie Pop.
Formed during the summer of 2017, the band released their debut self-titled EP in December of that same year. Since their formation, the band has worked hard to blend influences together into a single project with “Recreational Magic” being the groups most cohesive work yet. Embracing a diligent DIY mentality, the band stays steadfast in their quest to manage the business and recording sides of their career from their Cleveland home.
Racket Man is made up of members Tyler Elwing (Synth, Vox), Chris Seaman (Bass), Vince Silvestro (Drums) and Tommy Marx (Guitar, Vox).
Learn more about Racket Man in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Hey All Access! We are currently huddled up in our Subaru Impreza on our way to a gig in Muncie, Indiana. The temperature just dropped 15 degrees and our keyboardist just ate some baklava. Special baklava.
Now that we are into the 5th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
2k19 is going great! Everyone is eating more carbs than ever, our latest release has been well received, and we are excited for current and upcoming tour dates. Our goals for the rest of the year are to play as much as possible and to finish some new songs!
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
Cleveland is a great city. It has great culture, food, art and we think that environment is largely responsible for pushing us into music. We also draw a lot of musical inspiration from the artists we grew up with, our personal experiences, and BURT BACHARACH!!!!!
How did your band name first come together? Was it hard to all agree on one name? What other names were you considering?
There was about a two week period when we were trying to piece together a band name. Ultimately Chris, our bassist, picked up a tennis racquet in our basement and did a wee interpretive dance while chanting he was the “Racquet Man”. It was a pretty poignant moment so we dropped the tennis spelling and went with it. We did consider some other names including but not limited to: Skeeter Valentine, Fleetmac Jones, Toasted Bagel with Strings, Ambient Pizza, and Drippy and the runs.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
Yes, we are all best buds and we do karaoke sometimes.
Let’s talk about your newest album, “Recreational Magic.” What was it like putting this collection together? How is it your most cohesive work yet?
Yeah, putting the album together was a really nice journey. Everyone in the band had a strong hand in the songwriting direction and recording. As far as cohesiveness we feel we are starting to bridge the gaps between our different musical inspirations (from grunge, to bedroom pop, to 90’s R&B) and incorporating those elements into single songs. As the songwriting has evolved we feel our production has also improved.
While its difficult, can you pick out a few of your favorite songs on this collection and talk about their inspiration and how they came to be on this album?
I think some of our favorites are: a bit more obscure, d.e.r.p., and scaredformore.
“a bit more obscure” was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered in a single day. We even threw together a music video that shows us making the song and getting take out before returning home to master the track. Something about doing things in a single sitting is so awesome. You are continually enthused about the track and there is no second guessing or doubting your creative decisions. We all remember sitting on the coach when we finally bounced out the music video and being so stoked on the track. So yeah it’s just fun being proud of things and doing it with your pals is even better.
“d.e.r.p.” dives into the crippling elements of jealousy and the irrationality of the emotion. It is inspired by our own love lives and shortcomings.
“scaredformore”, the EP’s first single, was inspired by a dull love life that had lasted long enough for its future to be questioned. The song is rooted in past relationships that test one’s self-identity and expose the degrading effects of following one-sided love. This unrequited love challenges our sense of self-worth, leaving us confused and disenchanted in its wake. When faced with an opportunity to try again, we find ourselves fighting two opposing forces: fear of making the same mistake and the pressure of time urging us to continue.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
The tracks often originate individually before we break them down as a group to find their final form.
How has the sound of this grown changed over the years? What has remained the same?
We strived to make more interesting arrangements and tackle new sounds as we have progressed. Our initial EP was definitely pretty indie and lo fi which holds a place in our hearts but wasn’t necessarily pushing the envelope creatively. We feel newer tracks like “scaredformore”, and “surt beavons” dive into more interesting arrangements, containing moments of R&B, 80’s soft rock, and riff rock while still falling into the indie-pop genre.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
This is probably pretty cliche but we really enjoy both and it seems the enjoyment level of playing live vs recording can be a bit cyclical. After working on songs for a while and finally releasing them it is awesome to play live and connect with new fans over the music. Then after a good run of gigging we get the itch to release new songs and re engage creatively.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
We will be touring the all over the good old U.S. of A this summer and fall. We have an East Coast/Canada run in July and a 70 plus date U.S. run coming this September. As far as shows go, any opportunity for us to connect with people is ideal. As a band spends who spends time booking a lot of our own shows, making new friends and meeting the people gracious enough to let us play in their venues is extremely rewarding.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans?
Tyler manages our twitter, he is still thinking of his first tweet.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
You took the words right out of our mouths. We often feel our music is an escape from current events whether performing or creating. Lyrically songs like “going to canada”, “brunswick boaties” and “burt Stevens” speak to some of the dissatisfaction we have with current political climates and climate politics.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
Yeezy! Mark De’Maco! (we really love Kanye and Mac this was just the first thing we blurted out LOL)
We are really inspired by groups/people like Stereolab, Big Star, Paul Mccartney and Thundercat. Would be surreal to meet any or work with any of those people.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Don’t take anything too seriously, but seriously consider it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
We really appreciate anyone who took time to read this article or even listen to a song of ours! Also, a huge thank you to All Access for the interview opportunity. We would love to see people at our upcoming shows. Feel free to hit us on the soul consuming social platforms for upcoming dates. We love meeting and connecting with the amazing people in this world through music. Best, R. MAN.