SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEXIA ABARCA
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
The self-proclaimed “crooked and catchy”, Rare Americans have released their highly anticipated album You’re Not a Bad Person, It’s Just A Bad World; Tackling the stories that are reflective of modern life’s struggles and how it can take a toll on one’s sense of self. The band has garnered a reputation for storytelling and genre-blending fresh music, making Rare Americans and their latest record a fan favorite. Completely selling out a first-ever North American tour months in advance (even after adding additional shows and upgrading venus in certain markets) is only one part of the incredible story behind the band, which has grown a massive and passionate fanbase with their all-in-it melodicism and inventive audio/visual storytelling. Their music and message have resonated with a new generation of music fans, cementing them as a force to be reckoned with.
You’re Not a Bad Person, It’s Just a Bad World is an exceptional representation on how burdensome the current state of the world is on people’s mental health. Can you tell us a little bit about the writing and recording process of the record?
It is a very confusing time for sure, definitely the most polarizing of my lifetime. We wrote this record last year, and recorded it in the summer of 2021. The idea was that it’s just a very confusing time in the world, feels like there’s so many topics that have come up where you’re forced to have an opinion and sit on one side of the fence or the other. You’re either one of them, or one of us. But we didn’t want it to be grim and bad, like we’re never coming back or anything. The idea is actually positive, like hey we know the world is in a weird place right now and its confusing for everyone so give yourself a pat on the back, you’re probably doing just fine. We recorded the record over 3 weeks in Vancouver Canada with long time producing partner of ours, Ben Kaplan.
I’ve noticed that a lot of your music videos are animated, which is super cool, is there a particular reason you chose to do that rather than having actual people portray roles?
Two reasons. 1) We felt animation was more of a niche we could carve for ourselves as 99% of artists are doing live-action videos. 2) Story telling is a big part of who we are and the stories we wanted to tell are sometimes grand, and live action would be hundreds of thousands of dollars and multiple month long projects. With animation we can tell any story we want and its the same price.
You’re Not a Bad Person, It’s Just a Bad World has been on my release radar since it dropped, How has the feedback from this release been? Is it at all what you expected it to be?
You never know how a record is going to hit your audience so it’s always a little nerve wracking. Thus far feedback has been great which we’re really happy about. A lot goes into recording and releasing an album so you obviously want people to be jazzed on it.
I admire you for the way you are able to mix different genres, but as a brother duo, have you found it difficult to find a sound you’re each proud of?
Hah! Good question. Jared likes more aggressive sounding music than I do, so he will always push for harder, faster, more aggressive. Though I like that kind of music, bands like System of a Down or a lot of punk, I also like indie, alternative, folk, some pop, and hip hop. When it comes to us writing together though we’re almost always on the same page. By the time we “finish” writing a song, we both typically are pretty happy with where it’s sitting. I think we’re both proud of what we’ve been able to build together, it’s pretty damn cool seeing thousands of kids show up in T Shirts singing along.
For someone who is just starting to get into Rare Americans, what song would you recommend listening to first and why?
I’d say start at the beginning! Our first record is raw and has a frantic kind of energy that I think is really captivating. We clearly were newbies just going for it. With every record you gain a bit more experience and try different stuff. I would say just go in order, listen through, and form your own opinions. Some will like our first record more, and others will like our most recent work best! I’d say YouTube is a good place to check out because of all our animated videos, it really serves as a template for who RA is at our core, storytellers.
You’ve garnered quite a bit of a following from your music, Is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
Just how appreciative we are for their support. We can’t do any of this without them streaming, buying merch, and coming to shows. It’s the honour of my life to meet these kids and have an impact on their lives. Our mission statement is quite literally to make a positive impact on millions of kids around the world. I would also say that if you’ve never been to a concert before, or you’re a little shy or nervous about coming, just buy a damn ticket and come. You’re going to find the RA community is a very inclusive one.