Ray consists of song writing brothers Nev Bradford (vocals and guitar) and Mark Bradford (guitar) with Chris Lowe (drums). They have recently been joined by Martin Tisdall (bass),following the departure of first Jenni Tarma and then Ed.

Their mini debut album, 'First Light', came out in 2001 on Rough Trade, and there was a four year hiatus before their second album, 'Deep Blue Happy' came out in 2005. They have been gathering quite a lot of interest in the press for 'Deep Blue Happy' and also for their third album. 'Daylight in the Darkroom', which came out last year. Both these albums have come out on Pito Records.

Ray have been compared to acts such as the Waterboys, Nick Cave and the Chameleons, and their music, which has a cinematic quality to it, has a swirling indie pop sound.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to Ray to find out why the long break between albums, and what their plans are for the future. Nev and Mark answer the questions.

PB : You had a 4 year gap between your debut album 'First Light' in 2001 and releasing 'Deep Blue Happy' in 2005 - can you tell me what happened?

Nev : Good question! We located a self-destruct button hidden underneath the studio desk and just kept hitting it!

Mark : No we didn’t! Well - not consciously anyway… .We did a lot of good recording after the release of 'First Light' with various different producers. We did a track with Bernard Butler in the days before he’d started doing the Libertines stuff – it sadly never saw light of day though.

After leaving Rough Trade, we had a bit of a line up change and recorded 'Deep Blue Happy' with producer John Rivers who also did 'First Light'. We fell in with the wrong crowd for a while when we switched labels … won’t say who they were though …

Nev : Yeah, to cut a long boring story short, we messed around with a few characters at the arse end of the music industry until we found the very good people at Pito in mid 2005. They got the LP straight out there (after a slight scare over a missing master CD that was eventually located in a Berlin bar where drummer Chris had left it in 2003….)

Mark : Luckily we’d already recorded 'Daylight in the Darkroom' by then - so the follow up to 'Deep Blue Happy' was always going to be swift!

PB : Has Jenni Tarma left the band permanently now?

Mark : Yeah – she left to live in America before 'Deep Blue Happy' came out - although she played on 'Daylight' as well. We’re still in touch and hook up when she’s back in town … she’s currently playing in a band called Eskimohunter in LA and was trying out for the Smashing Pumpkins recently - unfortunately she didn’t get the gig…

Nev : Sad that, now we can’t go round saying that Billy Corgan stole our bass player!

Mark : Won’t be long before Jenni goes stellar though - we’ll go Artois.

PB : Has Martin settled in to his role as replacement bassist, and does he feel happy contributing?

Mark: All is going really well with Martin – I'm pretty sure he’s happy ! We don’t want to lose another…

We had a bassist in between Jenni and Martin – Ed – who played and toured with us for a year or so between 2005 and 2006 but we never recorded together.

Nev : Yep, Martin’s style is definitely suiting the new songs at the moment and he’s settled in great – he loves his music as much as he loves his Guinness (and that’s saying something!).

PB : I understand that there's an album due out this summer. How are things progressing with that?

Mark : Very well thanks - the only problem is deciding which songs to include … we’ll be recording some new tracks which we’ve just written and are excited about. It’s possible the album will be put back to the autumn now so we can fit some more studio time in.

PB : Have you got any gigs lined up to promote the new album?

Nev : Hopefully we weill be doing a couple of UK festivals this summer - but the LP wont be out by then. We’ll be popping up elsewhere, wherever the wind blows us.

Mark : There’s a North European tour planned in September / October … that’ll be great.

PB : You seem to be working really hard putting out albums and singles. Do you feel you're on the verge of commercial success or is that not really important to you?

Nev : We’re pretty careful as to what to wish for nowadays – we're glad to be out of limbo and able to record and release music. Reaching a wider audience without having to suck on any corporate appendages is always the goal though … it would be good to see the next album making a few more waves in this country.

PB : Most of the bands you describe as influences on your MySpace site are from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Is there anyone around now that you think are particularly good?

Mark : I love the new Mojave 3 album, 'Puzzles of You' … Midlake are great as well … admittedly our CD / 78’s collection is a bit dated … It's not a conscious thing, but it’s just a lot of the new breed of bands around at the moment don’t really do it for us.

PB: You've had press and airplay in the US and Australia. Have you any intentions of touring either of those places, or playing something like SXSW?

Mark: Yeah - we’ve had a lot more airplay overseas than we’ve had in UK. The US College stations seem to be a lot more receptive to new stuff than the main UK stations.

We’d love to get over to US for some shows – Australia would be cool as well. It seems to have a good scene - especially in Melbourne. Ray’s got a few buddies down there.

Nev : We’re currently working at putting together a ‘best of Ray so far’ for an American only release - if that all goes to plan we may be getting out there for at least some east coast dates next year. It would be great to do SXSW next year if that release comes off.

PB: Your songs seem to me to be elegant stories. What sort of things inspire you to write them? I feel they have a really cinematic quality to them. Do you write with particular images in mind or is cinema an influence on you as well as older bands?

Nev: Elegant stories … that’s a nice way of putting it. Yeah, I suppose the boiling pot is full of whatever films, books and TV News we’ve consciously or unconsciously consumed. The world seems pretty packed with things to either love or hate at the moment so there’s never really a shortage of ideas. Songs tend to pop up unannounced – we write a lot of them, but not all make the cut. If we could just make a record with the heart of Pedro Almodóvar, the economy of Raymond Carver and the swagger of Jagger … I’ll die a happy man!

PB : Thank you.











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