As mentioned in the Run Toto Run review, we were treated to a magical night out when the Manchester based electro band played in Oxford on their recent tour.
After talking with the band that night, I wanted to know more about them.
Run Toto Run band members: Rachael (vocals, drum pads), Mike (synths, backing vocals) and Matt (electronics, occasional violin).
Read the exclusive Run Toto Run interview with Jenny May on BandWeblogs.com:
Jenny May: We enjoyed your show at The Port Mahon in Oxford last Friday night. I'm sure we're not alone in wanting to know when your debut album will be released? Are the demos going to be on the album?
Rachael: We're looking for an early July finish date for the album, the demos will be on there, they'll be tidied up, refined and mastered and they'll be another 6 or so tracks. It might be a little longer before it makes it out into the public domain though.
Can you give us an idea of what the album might sound like?
Matt: That's a very good question! It's pretty hard to take a step back from what you're doing and give an objective idea as to what it will sound like... demos 'squared' I guess - more and better! No doubt a few surprises too, we're constantly growing exponentially as a creative unit - it's around this time, in the final straight leading up to the completion of the album, that I think we will pull some tracks, mixing and production ideas, out of the bag that will surprise even us.... Oooo, mystery.
Where are you recording the album and what equipment are you using to record? Is there a producer involved?
Matt: In this respect we are uber DIY, we are the embodiment of musical Homebase... a kind of sonic Wickes. In this day and age; with some good knowledge, a few favours, and a laissez-faire attitude to rent payments, it is very possible for a mainly electronic band to make very professional sounding recordings at home. We run Logic pro 8, Reason and some other random bits and bobs... On a production front, we have experimented with external inputs - but we end up doing it ourselves. It's another situation that is peculiar to electronic music I think, you have potentially limitless possibilities when it comes to deciding what actual sound you want from a line, your production choices end up being made in the writing stage... and if it aint broke!
You've just self-released your latest single "Hater". Is there someone in the band that organises your tour schedule, release dates etc.?
Rachael: That would be me at the moment, it's been fun, I think it's meant we've done some very interesting gigs. I'm quite happy to let the reins go though and an indie are taking care of our next single which will be a nice break for me!
Mike: Rachael does work very hard though her curiosity has led us to some strange venues we'd never previously thought about playing. Still, it's always an adventure.
Rachael: Like Scunthorpe, that was interesting.
Are you looking to be signed by a label?
Rachael: Yes, because they have the mechanisms to ensure people actually hear what we're doing. It would be nice to have a little support, a bigger team around us and it would mean we only have to worry about making music.
Matt: I'm just in it for the lulz... If someone wants to give me some cash though I won't say no.
Who are your influences?
Rachael: People like Hotchip, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Metronomy, The Knife, Bombay Bicycle Club etc.
Matt: Burial, Radiohead, PJ and Duncan, the XX, Micachu, Bowie, a lot of our unsigned peers... I think it's safe to say our influences result in a sound that is more than the sum of its parts (see: PJ and Duncan).
Mike: Modeselektor/Moderat, Thom Yorke.
How did you become Run Toto Run? How long have you been together?
Rachael: We've been Run Toto Run for a while, over a year and we've sounded like this for probably about 6 months. We were all playing in various groups around Manchester and recognised qualities in each other that we admired.
Matt: Like a love of 90s Dance!... Oh wait, that's just me.
What is your songwriting process?
Matt: Just playing silly little ideas straight into a Logic session and seeing what sticks, often the line that sparks the flow of ideas ends up being completely masked in the mix or discarded altogether... so it's actually an interestingly organic process - but very much a studio writing environment.
How did you go from playing folk music to electro?
Matt: Couple the aforementioned laissez-faire rent paying attitude, with a guilt over stacks of relatively unused electronic equipment and you have all the impetus an electro band needs!
Mike: It snuck in as we started doing live sampling on stage with the acoustic instruments, then added keyboard parts. The impact of that sort of instrumentation made for sets with more of a lively vibe which we decided to expand on.
Did you play folk covers?
Rachael: We never started playing covers, I'd hate people to think we'd been a covers band when writing music is so important to us.
Watch video - "Sleepy Head" (Passion Pit cover):
You do a great cover of Passion Pit's "Sleepy Head"...where did you get the masks that are in the video and how did you decide who wears which?
Rachael: Now this is what prompted the previous question, this cover was done as a promise to Dave Haslam that we'd do something different for our set at Manchester International Festival last year. We made a silly video for it and it went crazy online. I found the masks online and I think the boys suited the animals to their personalities
Watch Catch My Breath video:
How long did it take to shoot the video for your single "Catch My Breath"? Did you have much input in creating it? Did you have fun? Where was it filmed?
Rachael: 24 hours solid. It was supposed to take 10 hours but over ran. I spent about 14 hours being dragged on my back. We worked with a very talented director Nick Bentley, when we work with creatives, it's important to hook up with someone whose work we admire and to let them have their input, we trusted him with it.
Matt: Mike and I spent 24 hours with, essentially, a shell suit painted on each of our faces. 5am was CLOSE-UP TIME!
Mike: I have never wanted to scratch my nose so bad. Driving back through London at stupid am in the morning was very surreal too.
What movie, released in the last year or so, would you recommend?
Rachael: I loved Kick Ass, Alice in Wonderland and The Fantastic Mr Fox. I love Tim Burton and Wes Anderson films in general. Our song Margot and Richie's the story of his protagonists in The Royal Tennenbaums and other than that I love zombie films, so anything with zombies in and I'm happy, Zombieland was great and I'm really looking forward to the next [Rec] film, the first one was great and has made me think there's a zombie bricked up in our basement.
Matt: The Human Centipede.
Rachael: I don't think Matt's even seen the Human Centipede, I've not seen it and just his description of it nearly made me sick.
If you could have anyone remix one of your tracks, who would it be?
Rachael: Noel Edmonds.
Matt: Anyone except Noel Edmonds.
What's the conversation like amongst band members in the car after a show?
Rachael: More often than not it's a buzz about the show and about hanging out with old friends and making new ones.
Matt: It's like a post-mortem - but with more booze and partying and fun... and less dead people.
If you could go anywhere to hang out for the day, where would it be?
Rachael: I'd pop off to Thailand, my friend just got back from there and it sounds amazing.
Matt: I'd hang with my slightly less evolved name-sake, Farthing, in Chester Zoo... She is awesome.
Mike: Japan! Too much cool stuff to buy out there.
Watch "Little Wonder" video - a David Bowie cover by Run Toto Run (commissioned by David Bowie's publishers):
Comments - "We were asked to do a Bowie Cover, we took it one step further and tried to out-do the Passion Pit costumes. Thanks to Anna Kiely for the filming!"
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Photo credit - 1, 3: Ted Park
Photo credit - 2: Karen Mcbride
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