20 Watts

ISSUE 20 | Home Recordings: Ra Ra Riot by 20watts
February 21, 2010, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Issue 20, Issue 20 Home Recordings | Tags: ,

Profiling Ra Ra Riot

Part of 20 Watts’ Best of the Decade Coverage!
PREVIEW: VISIT Ra Ra Riot’s Website

Don’t ask what their name means. Even guitarist Milo Bonacci has no idea how they came upon it.

“It was supposed to be temporary, some­thing to write on the flyer that week for that show or whatever, but ended up just sticking,” he says. “It wasn’t our intention.”

Little did Ra Ra Riot know that their band would be far from temporary. They would be the first indie band from Syracuse to make it big beyond Comstock Avenue.

Ra Ra Riot, consisting of Bonacci, Alexan­dra Lawn, Wes Miles, Mathieu Santos, Rebecca Zeller and Gabriel Duquette (replacing John Pike after his tragic death in 2007), formed in January 2006 during their senior year at SU.

“Early on we joked about this kind of stuff and didn’t count on the idea of us getting to this point,” Bonacci explains. “Some of us did have other plans career-wise… but we’re all re­ally excited to be in this place now, to still be able to play music and write new music.”

They used to practice in their house on Ostrom Avenue and play at house parties on campus. As an architecture student, Bonacci had trouble balancing his school work with the band’s burgeoning popularity.

“By the end of the semester it just became bigger and bigger and more crazy,” he says. “Whatever free time I did have was spent playing music. Sometimes it would mean I would have to pull an all-nighter to be able to play a show on the weekend.”

Those all-nighters paid off. After playing the CMJ Festival that fall, Ra Ra Riot became rising stars on the indie circuit, and they’ve continued moving up from there. Last sum­mer, Miles even completed the synth-ori­ented side project Discovery with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.

But despite any solo success the band­mates may achieve, Ra Ra Riot are certainly not finished. Bonacci says that the band has been recording at a studio in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and plans to release their sophomore album next year.

— Claudia Scholz

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