The Neo Disco Diamond of RALPH
    • THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    Here's a "truth" of music journalism. As Baeble's Managing Editor, I get around 400 e-mails a day. And, as it turns out, nobody on the planet has time to actually read that many e-mails every day. And so I have to figure out the proper way to to decide which e-mails are worth my time and which are going straight to the deletion bin unread. And one of those rules quickly became: "I don't have time to read artist submitted pieces." That may sound like a shitty way to do business, but generally speaking, if you can't get a PR person to contact sites for you, you aren't at the right level yet. I'm glad I broke that rule for RALPH.

    Ralph sent us their single, "Trouble," and it's turned out to be 2015's genuine diamond in the rough so far. A slinky disco/New Wave track, "Trouble" hasn't left my Spotify rotation since I first heard it. I find myself singing it under my breath on the subway and as I'm walking through Sunset Park and Park Slope (and any other borough that I find myself in). I'll hear the infinitely grooveable bass line as I'm taking a shower. "Trouble" is a genuine classic track of the year, and even if Ralph's Raffa contacted me instead of some PR agent, it doesn't change how sublime "Trouble" is.

    We had the chance to chat with Ralph's Raffa about the song so be sure to check out the track and our conversation below.

    I know that on your Facebook page you describe your sound as "Stevie Nicks meets ABBA meets Daft Punk." And I can absolutely hear the influence Stevie Nicks had on your voice, but "Trouble" seems inspired as much by 80s New Wave synthpop as it does the more modern feel of Daft Punk. Were any 80s electronic acts an influence on you as an artist?

    Raffa: My family has a massive record collection, and my favorite 70s and 80s electronic albums are from Roxy Music, The Eurythmics and David Bowie. I'm always inspired by their flare for fashion and ability to transform into different personas when they perform. I'm also a Tears for Fears fan girl - 'Head Over Heels' is an 80s synthpop dream and 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' is always on my road trip playlist, it's so anthemic and cool in a laid back, effortless way.

    What made you choose to don the moniker of "RALPH?"

    Well, just like Bowie and Annie Lennox, I wanted to play with the persona of Ralph. Diverging from my past musical projects, the name is gender ambiguous, which gives me room to create some mystery and magic.

    You also compare yourself to Donna Summers on your Facebook page, and that slinky bass line in "Trouble" is pure disco. Were there any other 70s/80s dance acts that were influencing you?

    I worship Prince, 'Erotic City' and 'Purple Rain' are my jams, and his platform collection makes me adore him even more. 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush is one of my top 5 favorite songs of all times, and of course Madonna, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson have to be recognized as inspirations. Marvin Gaye makes me close my eyes and move my hips, his music makes me want to incorporate soul and funk into Ralph.

    What's the sort of "Trouble" lying at the heart of that track?

    When I wrote the lyrics to 'Trouble', I was thinking about bad-girl fugitives on the run, like Thelma and Louise, or Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde). I studied cinema in university, and particularly loved buddy outlaw films for the cinematography and suspense - desert sunsets, cheap motels, hair flying in the wind as a red convertible races along the highway. The characters get lost in the thrill of being dangerous and destructive and eventually, get in over their heads. The music video for 'Trouble', which will be released by the end of the month, is my interpretation of a girl-gang outlaw tale.

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