SRJC Band of the week: Rags

Rags is working on releasing a five song EP by the end of summer and breaking out in to the greater Bay Area and beyond.

Estefany Gonzalez, Co-Editor & Chief

Harsh. Punchy. Odd time signatures.

“We typically don’t write songs with a groove that repeats. We write in a linear fashion where the song is always moving forward and repeats very little,” said Rags front-man Charlie Davenport.

What Davenport started as a project influenced by singer-songwriters like Elliot Smith and Bon Iver, turned into a full band over the course of the past eight years. His goal was to create an all acoustic musical arrangement, to give listeners a unique experience.

In the beginning, Davenport played solo and later introduced other musicians to round out the sound. Different members have come and gone throughout the time Rags has been a band. The current lineup includes drummer Gabe Katz, upright-bass player Chris Johnson and cello player Jiordi Rosales.

Davenport is excited by the new lineup because it has influenced new material. “Gabe and Chris are extremely progressive players and are game for whatever crazy direction I want to take the music in,” Davenport said. “Having Jiordi on cello is awesome too because it’s nice not having to rely on vocals as the melody instrument all the time. Plus he has an ear for noise and experimental sounds that’s pretty brilliant.”

At the moment, the band is focused on writing new material and plan to release an EP by the end of summer. Members are working to pair up with a record label to break out in to the greater Bay Area and beyond.

What’s your favorite song to play live?
Davenport: Whatever is our newest song. Right now it’s a tune called “Demon Striking.” The new material we’ve been writing feels very cathartic to play because the subject matter is all current. Plus we do this really fun breakdown in the middle that is easily the heaviest thing we’ve put in any of our songs, which is a direction I’m very stoked about.
Johnson: “Tree Spiking!” Very fun and challenging, and I like the super cool use of time signatures. Also, as with all of our songs (especially the more recent ones) the lyrics resonate with me quite a bit.
Katz: “Heart and Soul.” It’s the best.
What song can’t you get out of your head at the moment and why?
Davenport: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. I just like that moment when you’re really hitting it off with somebody and you’re just like, “this is crazy, here’s my number. Call me if you want, or don’t, whatever.”
Johnson: “Amanaemonesia,” by Chairlift.
Katz: “Heart and Soul.” I don’t know why.
What inspires you to play music?
Davenport: I love to draw everything back to music, and how everything can be expressed in a song. It’s a pretty magical processing tool for me. I know I’m fully over something if the song is finished, y’know? Recently I’ve been drawing from joy, catharsis and self love for inspiration.
Johnson: When I was in junior high school, one of my friends was a talented thrash bass player, and I decided I wanted to play bass and thrash real hard. I didn’t end up sticking with thrash obviously.
Katz: My heart and my soul.
If you knew you were going to die, what would your last meal be?
Davenport: A really silly tofu wrap, a peanut butter bar, a beer and a mate.
Johnson: Staff meal from Campo Fina; woodfire oven pizza with asparagus, volcano peppers and green onions.
Katz: Scrambled eggs.
What do you miss about the ’90s?
Davenport: Rage Against the Machine.
Johnson: Not having to cook my own meals, cartoons and playing in my backyard with sticks.
Katz: Breast milk.
Which band would you want to open for?
Davenport: Rage Against the Machine.
Johnson: Kneebody.
Katz: Thin Lizzy.