Lyon, France’s RAINCHECK just released their debut EP “True Love” via Inhumano Records, KROD Records, Bad Wolf Records, Bad Mood Asso, Joe Cool Records, and PPB Records and it’s an absolutely vital record! Featuring an amazing cartoon artwork by Freak City, the effort is both anthemic, gig-friendly, fun-like and totally positive. RAINCHECK marry melody and aggression with a hook that pulls in the listener right on repeat listens. Listen for yourself and scroll down to learn more about their band, Lyon punk scene and their thoughts on the hardcore scene and community in general.
RAINCHECK formed in late 2014 with ex-members of NO GUTS NO GLORY, BURST ONE’S SIDE, NEVER AGAIN and GUERILLA POUBELLE: Jimmy Cliff Anger, Stevie Ray Vegan, Eddie Van Halal, Paul Macramé. and Manu Catchy. The PMA-driven quintet draws from various influences like LIFETIME, HOT WATER MUSIC, DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS, CRIME IN STEREO, NONE MORE BLACK, and SHOOK ONES!
Hey hey Jimmy! How are you?
In the times of no new DEATH IS NOT GLAMOROUS records, it is so fortunate that you have formed this band and released this gorgeous record. What led you to form RAINCHECK?
Jimmy (Vocals): Hi! Well thanks a lot man, I love DING, this band, as SHOOK ONES or LIFETIME were really the kind of stuff I had in mind when back in 2014 I reached Stevie and Eddie to make band.
We started to practice with different musicians, Stevie was on the drums, that was really bad but we had some fun!
Then Paul bring up his bass and finally I saw Manu at a COPYRIGHT show, he wanted to play drums again (at this time he was the singer of LES RASOIRS ELECTIQUES) it was written!!
What’s the origin of the name RAINCHECK?
J:a-ha! It was really hard!! we weren’t able to agree on anything when we had to find name, but we ended up to choose RAINCHECK cause, in a way, that’s what is like to play in a band, give rainchecks on everything from the day of practice to the release party of the ep,! it’s all about postponing stuff!
You’ve received some amazing reviews so far. How do you feel about the good reception that you have earned?
Manu (Drums): When you start a band you don’t expect for any congratulation of anyone. You have that strong feeling that your band is the best on earth. You don’t need approval from anyone to believe you’re in the right way.
J: Yeah but finally I must say I really appreciate it, its always nice to have cool feedback ! !! Like you said Idont need it but…. its cool!
Speaking about ‘cool’, the graphic communication of ‘True Love’ is exceptionally fun, colourful and eye-catching. What was it about Freak City’s art that caught your eye from not only an artist standpoint, but from the recognizability, if not marketing end as well?
J: Eddy (guitar) followed Freak City’s work for a long time, so when we had to chose someone to make the artwork he immediately thought about him. His work is really colorfull and punchy and we think it works great with our music. We wanted to make something with a cool 90’s vibe and he really nailed it.
We’re not that much into marketing, but we can feel that this catchy artwork really helps us to promote this first EP!
Check out freaks’designs over here.
Awesome! What labels have you teamed up with to put out this record? Are you still looking for more DIY distributors to broaden your reach?
J: We re lucky ’cause the ep were immediately available on tape with PPB records, the label of XNiamorX From HIGHTOWER. It was a limited edition as always with PPB!
Actually we working on the vinyl version with Diy labels such as Inhumano records, Bad wolf records and Bad mood from France. And last but not least we’re starting a small DIY label with Eddy, Joe cool records, and this ep will be our very first release!
We always look for more DIY labels, it would be great to release the record in other countries !
Ok, so back to the very backbone of the record, lyrics-wise, what’s the story behind these debut tracks? What themes do your songs deal with?
J: There’s not so many stories behind the lyrics! We don’t really have a message to claim, with RAINCHECK. Most of the songs of this ep are about the daily life: being in a band, going to concerts, being fed up with your job, whatever… To be cliché, I would say that it’s a picture captured in time ha-ha!
How about songwriting? Can you describe the process that results in such killer tracks? Is there a simple recipe for how to compose such energetic and powerful jams?
Stevie Ray (Guitar): Haha tricky question. Well, to be honest there’s two part in the songwriting’s process. Most of the time, for the first part, I bring a riff or two, and we jaming togheter to build the song.
When we got the skeletal of the song, we play some ideas on it, adding some melodies, rythmical stuff… each song is subject to many changes before we decide it’s cool.
So it can take hours of reheasals to find the right drum part, the good bassline, a nice verse… To resume, a RAINCHECK song is a compilation of hours of passionnates arguments about every single note of a song.
For the second part, jimmy writes lyrics and voices melodies alone. We totaly let him free for writting, vox arrangements… Eddy eventually adds some back vocals to the song, and i guess when you did this, you got a RAINCHECK song, a combinaison of the work of the 5 of us.
How do you go about touring? Have you already managed to play some memorable shows with RAINCHECK?
J: It has always been easy to book shows with RAINCHECK. We can’t play has much as we should because of our jobs, life etc… but we’re lucky and we know a lot of promoters from the area, mostly because of our latest bands.
So we only made something like 15 gigs since we began the band, but had the chance to play really cool shows, like the opening for GOOD RIDDANCE in Lyon for exemple. Recently we played some gigs with GUERILLA POUBELLE which is a very popular band over here, we never had so much public in front of us, that was really awesome! Especially at the punkroutine festival in Strasbourg.
In 2017 we wanna play more haha, we re curently booking a euro tour with our friends from FOOLISH and we always looking for festival around!
Speaking of which, what are some of the best European hardcore fests you’ve attended?
J: If we talk about hardcore, the most famous fest is the Ieper fest in Belgium, but even If I would love to, I’ve never been there, so If I speak about what I know, I have to talk about the Groezrock for sure. Even if a lot of people like to criticize it (cast a critical eye over everything is the national French sport) I still think this is a great festival, every year there’s so many good bands, so I hope to attend it next year to see undeclinable ambuscade!
Stevie: I’ve been a couple of times at Fluff Fest. Honestly this is my favorite. I’ve went to other big festivals, Groezrock, Ieper, Roadburn, Desert Fest, Temple Fest, Mosh Valley Fest (rip)… But I always feel at home at rockycany. The place is really nice, with people from everywhere, awesome bands, and the food, which is a total blast. And trust me, you will never forget the party tent of the fest :)
Gig-wise, is there anything specifically that you are looking forward to in the coming months?
J: Yeah like I said before, there will be our release party in Lyon on February 16th where Maybe we’ll ensure the perpetuation of the great punk rock tradition by making a release without records! and then in April we’re gonna make our first tour with our mates from FOOLISH, we’re currently booking it.
What do you enjoy the most from that live connection and all kinds of stuff that happen around punk shows?
J: I really enjoy the thing that you never know what to expect!
Basically when you book a show it always begins with a small talk on the internet, Most of the time you ain’t know anything about the place where you’re gonna play, so you drive to the venue, trying to figure how it’s gonna be. When you’re there, you meet a lot of new people, visit awesome places, see different point of views on everything, how should be the punk rock scene, how to party, how to deal with the struggle of our daily life …. I mean I’m 33, I play music for a long time ago so everything is supposed to be familiar but in the end… it’s not, and that’s really the coolest thing!
How do you see your local punk scene in Lyon? Does it fit the above idea?
J: The scene is cool in Lyon, but not so big if you consider us as the 3rd French city.
Back in the 90’s (when I wasn’t living In Lyon haha ) There used to have a lot of awesome punk shows (such as LEATHERFACE, HOT WATER MUSIC, ZEKE….), many venues all over the city… but In Lyon like other cities in Europe, the cultural politic changed at the end of the 90’s, and thanks to his mayor, the gentrification leaded to close clubs because of noise or other stupid reasons and so the promoters had to find venues more and more far from the city. So there’s not as much public as before, so they can’t make such big shows has before etc…
But If the politic sucks, Thankfully we can do things without them, and there’s still many cool clubs (shoot out to “warmaudio, to le “trokson”, le “sonic”….) and cool people to make shows like “Riot shows (punk rock, hardcore) for example or “tous en tong”
We also have a cool squatt scene, the grnnnd zero (noise, punk….) is active for at least 10 years, and the dbeat crust scene is also present.
There’s a lot of bands in the area, but not really a typical sound from Lyon, you have bands in every style you cloud imagin from soukouss to grindcore! In the punk rock scene, you have to check SPORT if you don’t know them, and also NO GUTS NO GLORY, TA GUEULE!, NOT SCIENTISTS or LOST BOYS!
As fans, how are yu satisfied with hardcore punk and independent music scenes of all kinds in 2016? Any new bands who you want to give a shout out to or who help to inspire you personally?
J: As a fan, I’m really happy! I think we are lucky cause Internet gave us the possibility to discover a lot of amazing bands from everywhere. It’s not filtered like before with magazines who just talked about bands they known or bands that paid for an ad. Nowadays, A small band can make a name for itself thanks to a good demo or album. If you don’t know them, go check HEAVY HEARTS I thinks its a great example of what I just said!
How do you feel the whole hardcore community has progressed over the years and what direction do you see DIY music and culture heading in next?
J: Well, I’m not sure there’s a real progress in hardcore scene through the years… Despite the amount of communication about the great ideas who come up with punk rock, there ‘re still people who can’t see the difference between a DIY punk rock band and a monster energy rock star band, who are acting like shit with girls at shows or around, who are laughing about people which are not like them… I am no Paco Rabanne, But I guess it’s going to last forever. Society doesn’t promote people who act or think differently and sadly I think the punk rock scene is kind of the same. We have to be aware of that so maybe one day we’ll be able to make it change.
Alright, so wrapping up all that’s been said, what plans do you guys have for the coming months? What else should we know about RAINCHECK?
First of all we’re gonna make our release party for this EP, it’ gonna be In February with a cool French hardcore band, MON AUTRE GROUPE with Fanny on the mike! Its gonna be wild! Then we’re gonna make some shows here and there and in April we’ll go on tour with Foolish! After that, I don’t know, maybe We’ll record something else! I think, if you have read this interview till here, that you know maybe more about us than ourself! That’s more than enough punk! Thanks a lot for this cool Interview Karol, See you soon!