Moving Forward: An Interview with Riot Tapes
Since becoming as a band in 2009, Riot Tapes are now ready to release their debut record. The Dublin group (consisting of Elaine Doyle, Chris O’Brien, Marty Canavan and Darren Gorey) found each other online and came together to infuse their shared love of rock, pop and electronic music. The time since forming has been spent songwriting, developing their live set and recording their album exactly how they wanted it to be. Expected in early 2016, the as-yet-untitled record features energetic guitars, pulsating drums and big pop choruses sung by the compelling lead-singer Elaine Doyle.
Andrew Darley caught up with her to discuss the long, often-frustrating, road they have been on and what she hopes for Riot Tapes’ music in the future.
Let’s go back to the start, how did you all meet each other?
I saw an advert online by our guitarist Chris who was looking for a singer to collaborate with. We wrote and recorded some songs and realized we needed to get a band together. Some time after I met Marty in The Workman’s Club and Darren who plays drums came to us after. So basically, we came together with the help of the Internet!
When you started, were there any bands or musicians that you all mutually loved?
We all had very different tastes in music back then. The only band that comes to mind we all would have been a fan of is Blondie. I think for us, having so many different influences really worked out well. We’re able to find a sound that we were all happy with and proud of.
How did you think of the name Riot Tapes? Were there any other contenders for the band’s name?
Chris came up the name Riot Tapes before we met. It came from a documentary he saw many years ago while he lived over in America. When we first started writing together, we posted a few songs on SoundCloud and needed a name so we used it. We unexpectedly got some really nice reviews and somehow people started to notice us and share our music so we stuck with it.
In terms of writing the music, how do you work collectively or as individuals?
When I write a song I know will work for this band, I record it and send it onto the lads. If they like it, we work on it and they add their bits. Then collectively we put the shape on it, change what needs to be changed and get it to where it needs to be. The same goes when somebody else writes something. The majority of our songs start off with an email and an MP3 attached saying “What do you think?”.
Would you say you work as a democracy?
I would like to think so. The four of us are all as passionate as each other about the band and about music in general. I think it’s important that everyone has their say and is able to express their opinions. Of course, this requires a lot of compromise at times but it matters a great deal that everyone is happy.
Which songs changed the most from when you originally wrote them to the finished result on the album?
Most of the songs changed in some way from the way they were originally. The song that changed the most and took the most time to get to where it is now, was ‘The Key’. There is a lot of production on this song. I still have the first demo we recorded and the whole feel of it is miles away from where it is now. It used to be a real sweet song with a gentle electronic vibe. Now, it’s a big song with huge sounds and a lot of layers.
Did you face any challenges making this album?
We did face some challenges. Some were minor like everyone getting time off work at the same time so we could book a studio for a week. The bigger challenges were getting the money together to record our album properly. After we recorded the album we decided to get it mixed in Nashville and that was incredibly challenging for various reasons. It took a long, long time to have the finished product in our hands. On the flip side, we were extremely fortunate in many ways. Our producer at the time, Tim Clarke, had his own studio in Dublin so we were able to put down solid demos there before we went into record the tracks which saved us a lot of valuable time.
What goals have you got for what you want Riot Tapes to become?
Our main immediate goals are to release another single before Christmas and to do some more gigs around Ireland. We’re trying hard to get more radio-play which is an incredible challenge for any band at our level. We’re also in talks for the album release – it’s been a long time coming. Hopefully the release of the album will give us the opportunity to do some gigs around the UK and Europe.
We want to get bigger, better, and we want to get Riot Tapes in more ears around the world!
Do you feel ready for the success and attention this record may potentially receive?
Absolutely. We have this album recorded a while now and we’ve been extremely patient waiting for the release. We are very confident in what we’ve made and we are so ready for any success and attention that it will get. We really hope people enjoy it!
Riot Tapes’ debut album will be out next year with a new single later in 2015. You can listen to their music on their official Soundcloud.