Ra Ra Riot has gone through quite a bit of change over the course of its six years as a band -- changing labels, changing lineups, and changing the place they call home. But the band’s upcoming album, called Beta Love, may mark its biggest shift yet. Inspired by futurist author Ray Kurzweil and cyberpunk novelist William Gibson, Ra Ra Riot began gravitating towards a more electronic, synth-heavy sound for their new album Beta Love (out on Jan. 22). They then sought out the producer Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, The Hives) who pushed and challenged them into new realms at his Missouri-based Sweet Tea Studio.
"This was the first album we did in a warm climate" the band's violinist and keyboard player Rebecca Zeller says. "And it really does matter, because when you leave the studio and you get to take a breather -- like you want clear your head -- you're not putting on your jackets and bundling up into the freezing cold. The boys were shooting hoops in the driveway and I would go on bike rides. It really affects your mood and affects the way the album comes out."
The band also talks about recently returning to their alma mater, Syracuse University, to teach and lead workshops -- guitar technique, songwriting classes, a look at how string players fit into the contemporary music climate. And, they played live. "That was cool, [to play] where I had all my classical orchestral concerts." Zeller says, "Going back up there you feel a sense of pride. This was where we all started together."
Ra Ra Riot joins us live in the studio for a preview of their new album, Beta Love. Hear the band play "Beta Love" and "When I Dream."