Driving electric axe work, a contemporary Goth rock sensibility and impeccable timing describes The Raygun Girls. Twitter followers will tell you how the band effectively reels off “One man metal for the Apocalypse.” After listening to the RG’s latest single, “The Harm Anthem,” chances are you likely will agree. With lyrics by songwriter Petra Faulk, the 3:47 studio track exhibits a modern post-punkish balance of darkness and light, thanks to Geoff Saavedra, mastermind of The Raygun Girls.
While The Raygun Girls falls somewhere between Metallica and The Clay People, Saavedra is an artist unto himself who maintains a political conscience that often oozes into his music. He frequently tackles important subjects like gun violence and social responsibility with metalish aplomb. But “The Harm Anthem” is a bit more personal with lyrics that reveal “Daisy’s on the floor, her head’s on the door, holding onto her heart, she can’t take it anymore.” For The Raygun Girls, accountability goes well beyond the music. Proof can be found in the band’s one-liner on Twitter which states, “The rise of the woman equals the rise of the nation.” However, the story does not stop here.
If you thought Saavedra’s Raygun Girls is a music newcomer, think again. On Spotify, listeners can check out the albums Rising Dawn, Ghost 15, Dirt Collector and The Ones I Denied. Various lead vocalists have joined The Raygun Girls along the way; now it’s all Saavedra. In addition to “The Harm Anthem,” “The Time Is Now,” from 2013’s self-titled debut collection, continues to be a fan favorite. For hardcore loyalists, Raygun Girls merchandise also is available.
Musicinterviewmagazine.com caught up with The Raygun Girls’ Geoff Saavedra for an interview.
Interview with Geoff Saavedra of The Raygun Girls
Congratulations on the new single. With lyrics written by Petra Faulk, from Scars and Ashes and XEW, you’ve described the song as “a Goth rock dive into depression and isolation.” What was the motivation behind “The Harm Anthem?”
I cannot really explain Petra’s motivation for the lyrics. Regarding the song as a whole, I’ve participated in FAWM (February Album Writing Month) every year since 2011. I started off this year wanting to play punk music for a potential side project. Generally speaking, somewhere toward the middle of the month, I ran out of lyrical ideas and started searching through other participants’ pages to see if anyone had lyrics looking for a musical home. I found Petra’s lyrics flowed and sounded familiar to me. They were words I could connect to. I quickly put together the music, after she said I could use the lyrics.
What’s the band lineup on the new song? Who produced the track?
Since 2011, I’ve been a one man band. Through FAWM, I found other singers for my songs, like Ryako, Sync and Jacinda and sometimes another lead guitar, including Peter Watkinson of Abomnium. But I typically play all the instruments and perform the recording, mixing and producing myself. “The Harm Anthem” is all me.
Geoff, tell us a little more about your background?
I grew up in Queens, New York, home of The Ramones, Run DMC, Anthrax and Kiss. Thanks to my uncles, who I grew up with, I developed a diverse taste in music while listening to, among others, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, Mountain, The Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Ramones and David Bowie. I’ve been playing guitar for about 30 years and started The Raygun Girls with a friend of mine in 2003. We began with the aim of following in the footsteps of KMFDM, Killing Joke and other heavy industrial bands. We toured and played through many lineup changes. Then in 2009 I had emergency open heart surgery, my third, which ended playing live. Since then, I’ve been recording in my home studio.
Without a doubt, “The Harm Anthem” is a crunching axe-driven cut that cranks. What guitars and equipment did you use?
I use my 30 year old Fender Strat® plugged straight into a computer and a Fender® Jazz bass, also plugged straight in. For the past six years, I’ve been learning how to use Garageband because it’s free and the virtual amps produce the guitar sound I want, as well as being able to tweak the vocals. I use the drum simulator for a demo and then transfer those notes to a drum sound I’ve tweaked over the years which adds fills and such.
We have to ask, how did you arrive at the name The Raygun Girls?
In 2003, my friend and I were really into this album that had just come out by a band that I was following, named The Clay People. They were part of a genre that was becoming big at the time called Cold Wave, which has a more guitar driven sound than industrial and more synth driven than metal. Examples include bands like 16 Volt, Down and Stabbing Westward. On the Clay People album was a song called “Raygun Girls.” I put that on a list of possible names and it turned out to be the catchiest.