“Indie Rock meets Electronica” is how local band Redline Graffiti describes their sound and they couldn’t be more right but with a good old-fashioned hip-hop flair. They’ve released their first EP About & Because late last year, providing fans in the DMV with something they can relate too. The band had worked on a second EP, nearing it’s release in June. We spoke to band members Drew Moten and Donald Martin, wanting to get to know more about their band and their sound. We got to know what musicians inspire them and their sound, how they came up with their band name and much more.
You can catch them live at the Black Cat on May 13th!
Quick roll call. Who are Red Line Graffiti and what do you all contribute to the band?
Drew: There are four of us. Ajene plays guitar, Ebony plays drums, Donald does sampling, synthesizer work, and vocals, and I do vocals, bass, and synth.
What’s the story behind choosing “Redline Graffiti” as your band name?
Drew: We were discussing the name among ourselves, when Donald mentioned that he wanted a name that reflected the idea of a collective. I thought of the graffiti that runs along the scenery of the metro rail near where we live. It’s beautiful, expansive, and collective art at its best. So, I named the band after it.
Being a band out from DC, how does the city inspire you all to make the music you guys make?
Donald: To be honest, we’re looking past DC for inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, there are great musicians here. But DC is saturated by what’s popular. We get the urge to stick a flag on DC with our sound because we want to do something else. Something that resonates with us and our fans.
There is a strong synthy-infused hip-hop sound going on; super chill tracks. What musicians inspire or influence you all as a band, as well as your sound?
Donald: Yeah, the only reason this EP is more along those lines is because I was at the helm of the drum programming. Hip Hop was where my mind was at the time. Anyone can tell you that our live show is a different aesthetic than the first EP. So that one of my influences, besides that, there is Soulwax, Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic, Le Knight Club, Com Truise parading around my brain right now.
Drew: (laughs) I wouldn’t really say our sound is hip-hop At all. But, as far as influences, for me, TV on the Radio, Sonic Youth, James Jamerson in terms of bass, and, say, Broken Social Scene.
You all released your EP About & Because late last year, how has the experience been for you all so far?
Drew: It’s been interesting. It’s too early to tell, but I have a feeling we could be doing worse. We certainly appreciate the support that has come our way thus far. Like anyone, we can only hope it continues.
Local support is always huge, how has the DMV love been for Redline Graffiti so far?
Drew: Well, I’m not sure. Like I said, it’s still early yet. So, there has been a response to our music, but I can’t tell rather or not it’s impressive. I’m not satisfied, but I’m not disappointed either.
Donald: I think everyone likes us, but they cant admit it (laughs).
Take us behind the scenes a little bit. Where did you all cut the EP and can you tell us about the songwriting and recording process for it?
Drew: We cut the record at this house in Brookland that we work out of. Right in the front room. I had two of the songs in my pocket (in terms of lyrics and melody), and we fleshed them out together. And we made two together as a band, for which the lyrics came afterwards.
What’s next for Redline Graffiti for the rest of 2012? Working on more music, we hope!
Drew: Yes, we’re releasing our second EP, The Drill, in June. We plan to play up and down the seaboard and grow our fan base throughout the summer and fall, returning to music in the winter.
Thanks a lot for your time! We love supporting local musicians. Any last shout outs?
Donald: S/O to all of our fans thus far, and every sound person that help us. You’re all awesome!