With a name established for themselves overseas, and with a recent slot performing at Rocklahoma, Ragdoll are a band you need to get familiar with. We had a chat with guitarist Leon Todorovich ahead of the band’s Geelong show.
Thanks for having a chat to us, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Great thank you. Our new album ‘Back to Zero’ has been out for a fortnight now and we’re stoked with the response so far. At the moment we’re packing and prepping to get on the road (and in the air) to launch it across Australia and in the USA.
You guys are set to play Rocklahoma in America at the end of May, where you’ll be sharing the line up with acts like Disturbed, The Scorpions and Five Finger Death Punch, do you feel a bit as if you have to rep Aussie music when you’re there performing?
I think the greatest quality Aussie bands seem to have is the freedom to be themselves, on stage and on record, and that’s definitely something we definitely focus on going on tour in the USA. The accents definitely turn heads!
It was only four years ago that you played your first US show, how was it and how are you feeling about heading back?
Since then we’ve done over 70 shows in the USA; it’s where we cut our teeth as touring musicians and where we really found our sound. I’m still very excited to be back, but that giddiness is tempered with a real sense of purpose and focus to do the new album justice live.
After that, you’re back in Australia to play some shows in support of the new album, Back to Zero. What can we expect from Ragdoll at these shows?
Aside from the usual pre-show milkshakes and beard waxing, we’re doing a fresh new set that’s probably 70% brand new material. We love making records but we live to play live; it’s a fun, hairy, sweaty show.
You guys have a really good rapport with your fans over Facebook, do you think that’s one of the key things musicians should be open to if they a want a successful career?
We write a lot about the pitfalls of modern technology and social media, but we also embrace it’s benefits. Being accessible and being transparent with your fans is definitely a large part of getting ahead these days.
You recently asked your Facebook fans what their first concert was, what was yours?
Santana and Yothu Yindi in 2002/2003 if I remember correctly. I remember being more blown away by how amazing Carlos’ band was than by Carlos himself.
We know Ryan likes to write songs that aren’t so lyrically cliché, has there been a particular song/band with lyrics that first put you off the idea of cliched writing?
As a teenager I got into concept albums in a big way; 2112 by Rush, Animals by Pink Floyd and Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche to name a few. The idea of constructing an overarching narrative within a song and from song to song on an album is something that stuck with me. ‘Back to Zero’ isn’t a concept album but there’s definitely consistent themes throughout the album.
What’s the process like of creating your lyrics and trying to avoid the cliches?
It’s less about avoiding clichés and more about conviction and clarity; we don’t live a sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle so why pretend? What may seem deep to one person may seem pretentious to another though, so the bottom line is that we stand behind everything we write.
Thanks again for your time, are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to our readers?
Do what you love, love what you do and be good to one another. Oh, and don’t try to stand up in a canoe!
When & Where: Barwon Club, Geelong – June 3 & Cherry Bar, Melbourne – June 4
Release: ‘Back to Zero’ out now