raener are LA-based indie-dream alternative quartet Daniel Fox (vox/keys), William Van Boldrik (gtr), Zach Bilson (bass) and Daniel Vanchieri (drums), and your soon-to-be favorite band. So far, the digital world has only heard their two singles “Time” and “Miles 2,” both songs boasting dreamy melodies intertwined with whimsical production, taking the sentiments of what we love about music and translating them in an innovative and beautiful way. We were smitten at first listen. The songs are melodic journeys to get lost in and swoon over, laced with sweet vocals, organic instrumental elements and unexpected progressions.
They are all USC music school grads, with the exception of Zach who is a Berklee School of Music (and LYKA 😉 ) alum. While still a relatively green project, the foursome possess the technical precision, musical chemistry and cohesive sound of a band with years of experience and wisdom. We imagine the solidarity of the band’s sound and songwriting is a result of their creative process for their upcoming EP, which was recorded in isolation over the course of 3 weeks on an enormous farm in eastern Oregon. They also credit the success of the project to a fateful meeting of all four musically compatible minds, creative sensibilities and personalities. The four of them are roommates in addition to band mates, and live in a dope house, equipped with four in-home studios and vibey decor, on Franklin Avenue in Los Feliz.
“We lived together in our last house also, we had an old-garage guest house type thing, and converted it into a studio over the course of two years. So that became our rehearsal space, and that was where we were recording. Then over the course of that time, we had learned these songs, and we went to the farm to record and banged out 7 of them. So now we’re in the process of slowly releasing those.” – Dan V.
The textural and collaborative elements of the music are a result of every member being a multi-instrumentalist and having played in various musical projects leading up to raener. They experiment on each song, adding samples and instruments, taking things away, and nudging each track through multiple rewrites and rearrangements. This combined with their recording environment in rural Oregon, surrounded by 5am coyote howling alarm clocks and vast natural landscapes, set the tone and headspace for the ambient, ethereal songs. This aesthetic is consistent and encompassing outside of the music as well, conveyed through the lush band name and organic art/branding of the project.
Our favorite, and perhaps the most refreshing thing about this project is raener’s authentic, vulnerable and uncontrived approach to each creative process. Whether it’s creating the live experience, the visual brand, or the songs themselves, they set their pace revolving around how they are feeling and existing in that moment, forgoing trends or putting out work that feels too forced. Each element they release feels natural to where the project is at, and creates room for it to progress as they each personally evolve. Within that, they’ve pushed their initial musical connection further, and have created deeper human connections in their relationships with each other, which in turn, elevates and allows for deeper vulnerabilities in the music.
“It’s interesting because you know every band butts heads at certain points. It’s a bunch of different ideas, it’s a bunch of different egos, things don’t always perfectly mesh. But with this, it becomes not about avoiding these situations, but understanding and compartmentalizing them. And this is probably the only long-term musical situation I’ve been in where there’s literally no doubt in my mind that we’re all coming from a place of love and trust. With us, we talk about shit. It’s pretty fucking cool.” – Zach
“If everyone can feel good about themselves when they play, as a result, that makes the best music collectively. If Dan’s playing and singing in a way that makes him feel good, then he’s going to sing the best way he can, and I can match him in a way that I want to play, in my best way. People ask like, ‘what is your signature sound?’ And for us, it’s just playing the way that you want ot play, and then you mold in together everyone’s best version of themselves. And whatever product gets made is just the epitome of that.” – Dan V.
We were instantly drawn in (and are now completely addicted to) the first two singles, and have been left eagerly wanting more. The first raener live show debuts tonight at the Hi-Hat in Highland Park, and it will be the first time for everyone to hear their unreleased gems. The band did share with us, however, that the live experience is a little louder and heavier than the recorded raener we are familiar with, and additionally we’ve been told that we can expect a vibe, an experience, and environment they describe as “sonically sensitive” and a show that will “hurt so good.” We can’t wait to cry on the dancefloor.
“It’s not a dance sort of thing… I would love if people could just sit. Enjoy it and come together in that sort of like – we’re all in pain just a little bit sonically, and that’s cool. And I hope it bonds everyone. You know, sort of touches them in a way that’s like, ‘Ouch. That hurts so good.’ This is definitely a big goal. I learned a word that I told to Zach the other day, ‘jouissance,’ that’s almost like an intellectual orgasmic feeling, like a mind high sort of thing. Creating that would be the goal. But who knows, I just want everyone to cum buckets.” – Will