We are always fond of west coast vibes from New York based band, Little Racer. Look no further, our writer Ashley Bulayo chats with the band about their upcoming full length record, festival season and a typical day with the band.
Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer a few of these questions.
LR — Absolutely, thanks so much for inviting us to have a conversation with you guys.
Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourselves and how the band came together?
LR — We all had brief cameos in each others lives during high school and college, and ended up in New York City eager to play music. Ish and Elliot met at a party in Boston, started writing songs together when they both moved to NYC, and one day Wade ran into them on a subway platform and chatted about looking for a project in the city. Ali just joined us this summer and has really jumped in feet first.
When was music introduced into your life and how did you know this is something you wanted to pursue?
LR — That’s story is definitely a bit different for all of us.
WADE — I really discovered that classic rock sound driving around Wisconsin with my dad in this big babyblue Ford150 he used to have he was a big Steppenwolf, Rush and Genesis fan, so that was always around when I was real young. My grandmother would also gather all us kids around this little Casio keyboard she had, and we’d all sing songs, clap and dance around. Those are my earliest memories I really l didn’t find my own musical identity until later in life, high school and shortly thereafter. Oasis was really the first band that really transformed my idea of what music was once I heard that, it was all over.
ISH — Music has just always been there in my life, even if I wasn’t paying attention to it. My parents used to gather friends in our living room on weekends and they’d all hammer away on Bengali Folk songs until 3 am. My sister and I would make mixtapes on our cassette deck in grade school. Early in high school is when I actually paid attention to making music for myself, I started my first band before before I even learned my first chord, and have worked my way up from there.
ELLIOT — Music has been a driving force for me my whole life. Ever since receiving my Walkman for my fifth birthday, along with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Beatles tapes, my life has been cut and measured to the albums that I love most. I can’t imagine not living with these greats in my mind to keep me company on whatever road life throws my way. My family was always there to sing and shout with me way later in the night than we should have, and it was their rebellious leanings that made me sure I can could hold my own in the world of crooners and axe slingers.
ALI — I remember discovering my mom’s old tapes when I was 13 and hearing Pink Floyd, Bowie and Queen for the first time. I think that was the turning point for me. Within the next year I was playing drums in a band. I think it is been about trying to recreate that experience ever since: the rush of hearing a song so familiar for the first time, it’s like meeting a longlost friend. Completely addictive. Sometimes it feels like playing music is just an active way to deal with that constant thirst.
What do you think you’d be doing now if you weren’t in Little Racer and making sweet music?
LR — Ish would probably have gone pro with the NBA, Elliot would have been discovered by some Hollywood agent and Wade would be a professional race car driver in Formula 1, and Ali would have become a renowned butcher in New Orleans. We’ve always been dreamers.
Little Racer’s sound has generally been described as beachy/new wave type of music. Since the west coast has been known for its beach/chill vibes, do you think you’ll ever move on over there anytime in the future?
LR — The west coast is great, and we enjoy visiting Wade even lived in SF and LA for a short stretch, but we love NYC and can’t imagine playing music anywhere else at the moment. Who’s to say what could happen in ten years or tomorrow, but right now we’re firmly planted and proud to be an NYC band.
How did you end up coming together with PaperCup Music and how has your experience been with them?
LR — Some of our best friends play in this band called The Teen Age, who are absolutely amazing, just think Doo Wop meets Garage. We were at our bar Lake Street in Greenpoint talking after a rehearsal, we mentioned to them that we had an EP we were shopping around. They were signed to the label, introduced us, and the rest is history. Papercup has been incredibly supportive and it’s been amazing working together.
I read that you’re working on your debut LP! Congrats! How is that coming along and when can listeners expect to hear it?
LR — Thank you! We’re really excited to be getting down and dirty with the process we’re currently writing and doing preproduction at the moment. I can’t really allude to timelines yet, but our full length is the next step for us as a band and we can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and present our statement.
What has it been like for you to get on stage and perform in front of people who maybe haven’t heard of you yet? Was it nerve-racking at first getting up on stage for the first time?
LR — There’s always a nervous energy you get before going on stage, whether it’s playing to 5 or 500 people. You always have a chance to win someone in the room over and that’s the most important thing to remember. The first shows you play is always terrible! We all start there though, so there’s absolutely no shame in it. Once you settle in, you start to feel your confidence grow and you start thinking less about what you’re playing and more about putting on a show for whoever is in the audience. There’s really nothing like it.
With so many festivals and rising bands being added onto the lineup, what’s one festival you hope to be part of?
LR — There’s so many festivals out there now, isn’t there!? You obviously want to play the big ones: Coachella, Bonaroo, Outside Lands and Governors Ball in NYC would be amazing because it’s literally in our backyard. There are so many great smaller festivals though that are equally as exciting. Savannah Stopover was an incredible experience for us last year down in Georgia packing a venue with faces we’ve never seen before, people dancing to around to our music and coming up to us the entire day afterward congratulating us on an amazing set.
What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learned while being in this band?
LR — Probably friendship, we spend more time together the four of us than we do really with anyone else. We’re a family, we’re there when we’re up, and we’re there when we’re down. On top of that, we’re all lucky enough to speak the same language musically which makes the bond we have that much stronger. Being in a band is work, but it’s great if you can make it work. That and super practical things, like how Wade’s hair accessories keep Ali’s snare in one piece.
What’s a typical day like for Little Racer?
LR — When we rehearse, we usually meet at our favorite bar, Lake Street in Greenpoint just a few blocks from our studio, have a few pints during happy hour while we all slowly make our way from our daily responsibilities. Depending on whether we have a show that week or not, we grab a fourpack of the finest Polish beer we can find at the local deli and we either rehearse or use that time together to write. Being a band is a lot more work than most people realize we get out as much as you can to support our friends and the scene, but it’s also important to set aside time for getting work done.
What are your hopes for the band in 2016?
LR — We’re going to continue to write and start recording in the early part of this year. We’re getting incredibly excited to start setting things in motion for our full length, and that’s where our main focus is at the moment. Until then, we’re going to stay active, play some shows here and there, hopefully hit the road for a few stretches once spring rolls around and hit the ground running again.
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