The RA-6600’s Indiana Lights evokes a particular place as well as a particular person. Song-by-song the album paints a portrait of an ambivalent hero who’s alternately confused and courageous, uninspired and passionate. It’s a narrative about love found and lost, but most importantly Indiana Lights reminds us of how we might find ourselves in our love for another.
In this interview, we chat with this East Nashville based group about their newest project, influences, and surviving as indie musicians in this digital age.
Full Q&A as well as streams available below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
To my mind, the pop genre is a catchall in the best sense of the word, and one of radio’s richest gifts. Since I can remember, the most constant musical influence on me has been the radio, with its catchy melodies, and once I discovered that I had a knack for writing hooky tunes, pop was the clear choice for me.
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
I formed the RA-6600 in October of 2010, although I had other projects before that.
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing? Also, what motivates you to keep going?
The temptation in answering a question about influences is to turn immediately to specific artists, and for me there are many, including those in the familiar pantheon of pop writers: Brian Wilson, Leiber/Stoller, Lennon/McCartney, Ashford/Simpson, Barry Gibb, and the list goes on. But when I give it some thought, it turns out that my biggest influence–maybe most people’s–is the radio. As for motivation, that is an interesting individual mystery, one that probably has more to do with how a person is wired, than what a person wants. And my bet is that that is true for everyone, so people with whatever wiring it takes to produce the drive to paint, or to write, or to tinker, or to run marathons, are likely motivated much like I am. And I think about songs and song writing all day long.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
This album, Indiana Lights, is the second in a trilogy–the first being last year’s Alien Planet–that tracks the well worn path from innocence to experience, and it does it from perspectives outside of my own, as I am not the primary lyricist. After years of writing my own lyrics, I took a shot in the dark and wrote Alien Planet from lyrics written by a girl who was then (2013-2014) fourteen. It was wildly inspiring and liberating. For Indiana Lights, I solicited lyrics from Doug Mace, a New York writer, who is, without exaggeration, the best lyricist I have ever met, and the inspiration and liberation continued.
What was the last song you listened to?
Carl Smith’s “Go, Boy, Go”.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
I have to admit that I don’t subscribe to, or use, any of them. I still listen the radio a great deal, and when I don’t, I listen to CDs.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
I think one challenge is to reach an audience composed of actual listeners, rather than other musicians or song writers. Of course, there is nothing wrong with other musicians or writers, and in fact, they might be your biggest allies. My point is only that connecting with a critical mass of non-musician/writer listeners is crucial and that other musicians and writers might not be the best majority audience for a new band or a new project from an established band.
Do you gig, tour or perform? Do you ever live stream? Where can music lovers see you live?
Yes, we do perform, largely in the southeast, as we are based in East Nashville.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
You can listen to the RA-6600 at Hembot Records; Facebook, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and cdbaby.
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
Yes–thanks for your time and thanks to Hembot Records, which has given the RA-6600 a home.