Interview: Big In Japan ~ Music Feeds, Sydney

Ray Mann Three are a Music Feeds favourite, as is lead singer Ray. He has hair like Amy Winehouse and wears a vest; basically the guy’s a legend. However, it turns out that people are cottoning onto the stylish Ray and his sweet tunes. The Japanese have seen the potential and come a knockin’…

By Thomas Mitchell.

“Since the end of last year we had a label from Japan get in touch with us, they were keen to put out our album in Japan, they had faith that it would appeal to people over there. So we spent the first few months of this year sorting out that deal and the album came out a few weeks ago in Japan.”

While simultaneously taking over Japan the band has also utilized the Internet. Instead of wasting precious monies on creating EPs, Ray Mann and his three, well technically two, have released songs digitally, whetting the appetites of their fans.

“We’ve released a few digital only EPs on iTunes, it was little bits of music, either live versions or remixes. It’s been our version of live updates of what we’ve been doing creatively. It’s digital so there is no money spent on packaging, we can get things out quicker, we did three in 6 months which was a new experience for us.”

That’s not the only new experience for the band lately, with the line-up also changing. Bart (who knew people actually had that as a name?) left the group, and Grant came in, meaning the name didn’t have to change to the Ray Mann Two. In between these movements the band has struggled to find rehearsal time.

“Well funnily enough we haven’t played a lot together this year, most of what has been going on has been behind the scenes or administrative stuff. So this tour that we’ve just started the shows are the first we’ve one in two months so that’s been kicking things pretty fresh for me and for Byron, and for Grant too.”

The same Grant I mentioned earlier. Keep up.

“Grant was playing with us last year before he joined the band full time. We do know the songs inside out but the thrill is getting to know each other better musically, that doesn’t seem to get old for us, it seems to be getting more exciting.”

While the Sydney scene has embraced the Ray Mann Three there is no doubting how lucrative the international market is. It’s just so lucrative.

So signing with a Japanese label is a big step, now to tour?

“Hopefully, nothing set as yet but we are keen to do it, in the meantime we’re waiting to see how it unfolds. The album came out a few weeks ago, the response so far has been really encouraging. The initial response was good, the album debuted strongly on Japanese iTunes, retailers have been pushing it hard over there. We’re quite big in Japan.”

Everyone is big in Japan I think, the national height is like 27 cm, but I keep this witty remark to myself while Ray continues.

“The impression I’m getting is that the system is different there. Over here the label or the band has to sell the shops/retailers on stocking their work whereas in Japan the retailer kind of sells the label. So they ask for a certain amount of stock and they push it as hard as they can. We’ve been sent photos of these racks of our CD’s on sale, with amazing signage, its surreal, the kind of display that here, someone like Pink would have.”

One thing Pink doesn’t have that the boys do have, besides penises, long hair and credibility you could rest your hat on, is a video made by a fan. Ray Man Three, because of their sensual and intimate music have fans that are equally sensual. One particular Melbournian took it upon herself to make a tape and the rest is history. “This dancer from Melbourne she introduced herself, liked our stuff, we ended up featuring her in one of the videos we made. That purely came about from us doing a lot of shows in Melbourne, keeping in touch with her and she sent me a video of her freestyle dancing to our song and I just looked t it and thought, ‘This is the clip.’ We just needed to insert ourselves. It was literally our audience dancing to our song.”

It’s beautifully cyclical and the video is sweet. In between taking over Asia, digitally controlling our lives and dancing with their fans the band has also found time for a tour that, by the sounds of it, will be quite tame.

“Try to get as much sleep as you can between rounds of shows, it’s such an old Nanna thing to say. We did 30 dates last year, maybe 12 of them were in a row and that was a big learning curve for us. In all the years of touring with Kid Confucius we never did a run that was that intense.”

You can find Ray Man Three probably watching Antiques Road Show at 5pm with a milky cup of tea, but if that fails then catch their Sydney show on July 24th at the Basement as part of the Opa Opa tour.

Original article: Music Feeds

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