Posted On 28 Sep 2016
Ray & Remora’s first full-length “Startle It Up” was released on September 16th. This record’s 11 lovely songs are their first originals, but they are still under the influence of the bands they covered on the 1994 EP, while also tapping into some of their current loves like Florence Welch and MS MR.
Ray & Remora is fronted by the very cool, 23 year-old Amanda Walker (Remora) whose ethereal vocals make Startle It Up a beautiful and transcendent listen. The band started a couple of years back when she met her buddy and older brother-type Dan Crane (Ray) at a show in Echo Park, got talking about music and decided to make some together.
The result was the 1994 EP in which they uniquely covered classics from 90’s alt-rock giants like Weezer, Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. 1994 got a lot of attention including coverage from SPIN, Stereogum, USA Today and a premiere of the cameo-filled video (featuring Kim Gordon and Jeff Goldblum and his dog, among others) for “Gold Soundz” by Entertainment Weekly. Now Amanda and Dan are back with the first songs of their own.
Follow Ray & Remora here:
Learn more about Ray & Remora in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
Ray (Dan): This year I’d describe as: bizarre, epic, electric, analog and magnetic. For the band, I think finishing our first record was pretty exciting. None of us have ever printed on vinyl before, so that is amazing.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Remora (Amanda): Always. I really liked to sing as a kid. So my mom signed me up for voice lessons and I joined the church choir when I was about 7. Legit, this church choir was me and maybe 8-15 woman over the age of 70.
Ray (Dan): Yes, absolutely. I used to put on concerts in the living room for my family lip-synching to Elton John songs.
How did this duo first come together? How did you come up with your band name?
Remora (Amanda): Dan and I met at The Outpost in Echo Park. He was playing bass with our mutual friend Chris Hutson, and over a bottle of whiskey we just decided to try some songs together. Dan had been sitting on the name “Ray and Remora” for a while. I like band names that can be alter ego names and everything else we had come up with wasn’t right or too corny and so here we are. But actually, I am Ray and Dan is Remora.
Ray (Dan): Um, that’s all true except the last sentence. Je suis Ray.
With all the bands and various musicians here in Los Angeles, how do you stand out? How do you think being from LA has influenced your sound?
Ray (Dan): That’s not something we really think about. We just make music we like to make and hope people dig it. We are considering – if it all doesn’t work out – becoming a Seals & Crofts tribute band. Or maybe that’s just my personal fantasy.
In just a few weeks, you will be releasing debut full-length album called “Startle It Up.” How different is this collection then your first EP? How do you think your sound has grown?
Remora (Amanda): For starters, the EP was just Dan and I. And this album is the full Ray and Remora: Dan, Me, Jeff Liffmann (keys master) and Damon Kellard (drummer) – who joined after the EP came out. I think our sound was realized as we wrote the album – so this is our real first go at making a SOUND.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
Ray (Dan): It’s interesting how decreasingly little money there is in making music, and yet how many people increasingly attempt to succeed at it. I think that makes it ART.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Remora (Amanda): Well, I have always thought Jose Gonzales inspired my writing style the most and probably some Crosby, Stills and Nash in there too. When I really started writing my own songs I was listening to a lot of Gonzales, CSN, Nick Drake and Thom York’s solo album The Eraser. By “started” I mean, like, officially writing songs that I then tried to play to people outside my bedroom walls. I feel like everyday I meet new people I want to make music with.
Ray (Dan): I’m a 90’s indie rock guy, and have been since I was 20. In the early 90’s. Don’t do the math.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
Remora (Amanda): I like long walks on the beach at sunset and hanging with my girlfriend and our dog and cooking chicken wings and archery and wine and playing guitar and making collages and stuffed “animals” and going to concerts and taking day road trips and eating Chinese food. I do most of these things as often as I can.
But really, we’re all still hustling to make money on the side so that the “fun things”, like playing shows and recording can turn into our jobs and then it will all be fun, hopefully.
Ray (Dan): I unwind by hosting international air guitar competitions. No joke.
Where can people see you guys perform next? Do you have a fall tour scheduled?
Ray (Dan): Working on a tour now – for the time being we are mostly playing local LA shows.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Remora (Amanda): For me these songs are about getting through hard times of doubt and heartbreak. So lyrically, I hope that in some way these songs will help someone or anyone, through a similar time or moment.
Ray (Dan): I would hope that they listen to our music not only at the end of the day—but at the beginning, and middle as well.