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BGS 5+5: The Rayo Brothers

Apr 2, 2019

BGS 5+5: The Rayo Brothers

Artist: The Rayo Brothers
Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana
Latest album: Victim & Villain
Personal nicknames: Daniel – “The Squirrel”; Jesse – “Banjovi”; Lance – “Mandolin” (he’s the drummer); Jordan – “Sad Samurai”

What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?

Daniel: We were playing at a dirty dive bar with a bluegrass band from Texas. It was one of those gigs where you have more people on stage than in the bar. After the show the bar closed and we went into a vacant lot next door and jammed with the other band until 3 a.m. Bluegrass music was a big influence on us growing up and it’s so much fun to play. We really bonded with that band, and that night always remains in our memory as one of our favorites. One of the best things about playing in a band is finding kindred spirits from around the world to share music with. Even when the audience doesn’t turn out and the pay sucks, there’s always the music itself. That’s the reason we’re doing this.

What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?

Jesse: Daniel and I both write lyrics for the band and literature is a big influence on both of us. Before I realized I was writing songs, I was just writing poems not meant for music. I often don’t have a melody in mind when writing lyrics, so I try to make them sound good on their own even without music. A lot of the poetry that inspires me is from the late 19th and early 20th century – Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, and William Ernest Henley. And as cliché as it is, we’re both into Shakespeare, so that has probably informed some of our writing too.

What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?

Jordan: We used to do shirtless chest bumps backstage after shows. I don’t remember how that got started, but we did it for a long time. But once we started having a female violinist playing shows with us, that ritual died out.

Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?

Daniel: This might be an odd answer, but it’s a path. Whether it’s a narrow road through fields and woods, or even a hiking trail. It’s where the human element meets the natural element. The road is like time – our perpetual motion through life. It moves us forward, brings us from one place to another. It’s a guide to move you through vast landscapes of possibility.

How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?

Jesse: We almost always write in the first person. Usually we’re writing a song by taking some thought or emotion that we have had and building a story around that. But even if it’s not from personal experience, you still have to be able to think like your character when writing a song. So that naturally leads to speaking in the first person, even if the character is not really me.

Photo credit: LeeAnn Stephan

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BGS 5+5: The Rayo Brothers
BGS 5+5: The Rayo Brothers