Having formed in 2012 under the namesake The Raven Black Project, things changed like any other band would face, thus Raven Black was built from the remains, to develop into the band's changes ever so further. Line-up changed, musical style and approach, to writing and recording for their debut full-length album "13" due out soon. Drummer/vocalist Muppet discusses the band's past, present, and future.
1. Can we get things started by introducing Raven Black to our readers. Who are you and which role do you have in the band?
Muppet: Hello again Natalie!! I am Muppet and I play drums for Raven Black.
2. Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
Muppet: We originally formed back in 2012, when Raven received a phone call from our good friend Michael Black. He was telling us about a show he had coming up in a few weeks for a metal competition he was hosting in Fullerton with Logan Mader judging the competition. The line up we have now is not the same line up as when we first started. We have been blessed to work with a lot of creative minds throughout this whole process.
3. Do you remember how the idea of forming the band first came up?
Muppet: Raven and I had been dating for just about a year at the time and had been very dedicated to other projects we were involved with. We had talked about forming a band time and time again, but it wasn’t until Raven received the call from Michael that we actually made it happen. We both wanted to play metal and this competition was our perfect calling to starting something we’ve wanted to do.
4. How long after you formed was it until you played your first live show?
Muppet: Literally 2 weeks. We had written 5 songs, recorded an EP, and rehearsed our performance for the competition.
5. What are your memories of the performance?
Muppet: It was a lot of fun, I remember us all out back of the bar getting each other hyped up to go onstage and we had a lot of energy when we played. I also remember the majority of the room came up close to the stage and they were all cheering us on and pumping us up even more. Haha! Oh yeah, and during one of the songs, my elbow caught our banner and it fell on me and I still kept playing while I was pulling this damn banner off my back.
6. How about the band's name The Raven Black Project, on your social media the name is chopped to Raven Black, did the band get a name change or is it still the same as it always was from the start?
Muppet: We decided to change our name at the same time we started doing our costuming last year. We wanted to show how we are completely new from before, new music, new image and yet still keeping true to our metal roots. Thus, Raven Black.
7. Let's go back 3 years ago, during our first discussion, you were working upon your EP demo release, did that release ever see the light of day?
Muppet: That release did not. Raven had recorded the vocals to 3 songs, we had gone through a couple lineup changes, discovered a new sound and eventually decided to keep on the direction of what we were writing and really explore what we can write together.
8. Since then you went on to release, other material 2013's "Died Inside" single, 2014's follow-up EP debut "Midnight Dreary", which has lead to this, of an upcoming yet to be titled debut full-length album. Can you elaborate on these releases?
Muppet: Absolutely, we have just released our new music video for “Seven Sins” (https://youtu.be/GPz9LpX4Udo). Thank you again for sharing our video on your website!! (http://www.nataliezworld.com/2016/04/theraven-black-project-releases-seven.html) Whether that song is part of the album yet is undecided. As you know, we plan on naming the album “13” and have recently re-worked the list of songs for the record. We are continuing to write and are expecting to release the record this fall. Fingers crossed.
9. Have you got an idea of what the new album will be called and how the album's artwork will look like or you haven't thought that far ahead.
Muppet: We will call the album “13” and have started working on artwork as well. We are VERY excited to share this with everyone. We want everything to be just right and are working very hard to deliver the concept in the most captivating way we can imagine, sonically and visually.
10. Where are you in the recording process of the new material?
Muppet: So far we just have just our new music video for “Seven Sins.” With this, we want people to have a teaser of what we do, what we look like, and the dark world we are creating. Like I said before, whether that song lands on the album or not is still undecided. But, we are still writing the album and creating our vision.
11. How is the vibe in the studio?
Muppet: Amazing. Everybody comes in ready to put their absolute best into whatever we are working on. We all have so much passion and love for what we are creating and it really comes out when we record.
12. Will Dead Sea Records, be the label to be releasing the album? Are they the label behind releasing the previous works?
Muppet: Nothing is for sure as of this moment, we have many details about this record specifically that we have not ever done before. It’s one of those things that I can better answer after the fact. And no, we joined Dead Sea Records at the end of 2015, right before we opened up for Snot. So far, all of our releases have been self-produced and released.
13. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album? How does it compare to past works?
Muppet: A dark, metal, carnival. We really wanted to make a concept album of what we love, metal and horror movies.
14. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous releases?
Muppet: Believe it or not, we have been writing this record for 2 years now. This album has been completely different from our last recordings. With the last recordings, we were focused on playing as many shows as we could. We wanted to be out all the time, getting people familiar with us and who we are. After playing the same songs for quite a while, we decided to record what we have so people could start taking our music home with them. This time around, we have really been experimenting with so many different sounds and finding the right ones to deliver our vision with the show. This time around, we are really trying to paint a picture with every note we write.
15. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?
Muppet: Not yet, we have ideas of instruments we would love to include, orchestration, percussive sounds, etc.
16. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?
Muppet: Yes, we wanted to make a dark concept album that is quirky, heavy and passionate. We wanted the music to also represent our costuming and really bring out our inner selves and our own favorite influences in music.
17. Do you feel any pressure to follow-up to your previous releases?
Muppet: Surprisingly no, because we were basically starting the band all over from scratch, between members, sound and costuming, we fully intended to do something completely different from what we did before.
18. When can we expect the new album to be released?
Muppet: This Fall.
19. During your recent Los Angeles performance, drummer/vocals Ryan "Muppet" Cox did not perform vocals, nor did the bassist or guitarist, only front women vocalist Raven Cox, so is she the main vocalist from this point?
Muppet: There are a handful of new songs we have written that I have added backing vocals. We like to try out our material live to see how our audiences react to what we write. I’m glad you mentioned this, we have recently started working on another batch of songs that both Chris and I are singing, screaming or even atmospheric whispers and such (Chris on the verses in Seven Sins).
20. How is Raven Cox, able to handle such fierce vocals, performing each of the songs, in a growling/screaming sense, on your EP release there's the growling/screaming vocals but clean vocals as well, will this new material just feature one over the other?
Muppet: She practices every single day. She likes to work on her vocals most in the car driving to and from work.
21. During this performance, compared to our last interview discussion, the band's line-up changed, including its appearance, going from 2 girls, 2 guys, to 3 guys, 1 girl, with a whole new look and feel, why the change-up?
Muppet: We wanted to be more marketable with our look, we had also wanted to change the style of our music as well. We had musical differences of where we wanted to sound to go with the other members in the past as well. Since then, we met Chris who has wanted the same image and sound and the bassist of the night was a friend of ours, Bryce Castle, who helped us out by standing in for a couple shows while we found our new bassist.
22. Speaking of appearances, the band goes for this new look and feel with your looks, performance set-up, so where does the attire come from?
Muppet: All hand crafted or store bought or a little bit of both? A little of both, they are our own personally modified Halloween costumes haha.
23. Which way do you guys prefer, the old way or the new way or does it not matter?
Muppet: Personally, I prefer the new way. I love losing myself to music and when I’m all costumed up and playing our music, I really get into my character.
24. Can you describe your live performance for those who have never seen you live?
Muppet: We are a female-fronted costumed-themed band that has a lot of energy and quirky music. We want to move, and we want you to move with us.
25. What are your current show and tour plans, if any?
Muppet: Right now, we have a free show this Friday at the Karman Bar in Laguna Niguel. May 1st, we are starting the night at the Doll Hut for Christina’s BDay celebration. That one is free as well. After that, we are one of the opening acts for Ill Niño at Zombiefest 2016. That show is $16 and is at Malone’s in Santa Ana on June 25th. Lastly, we are playing Hell and Heavenfest in Mexico City July 23rd, tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com.
26. Will we ever be seeing an official music video coming from you guys? Is that something you would like to pursue? Which song and concept off the top of your head would you pick out and why?
Muppet:We just released our video last Friday (https://youtu.be/GPz9LpX4Udo) and are VERY excited about it! We picked the song because it has been one of our personal favorites for quite a while now. Billy, knew the perfect spot to shoot the vision we had and made it beyond what we imagined! We wanted to make a video of us in our element. So you could see what we look like live, what we sound like and understand the concept of what we are doing. We are all so proud of how it turned out.
27. Where do you hope to see yourself and the band in the next 5 years?
Muppet: Touring nonstop with at least 2 records released.
28. What does the band have planned for the rest of 2016?
Muppet: So far, the shows I listed above on question #25 is what we have confirmed. We are working on getting more international shows towards the end of the year as well.
29. Is there anything else that you would like to let your fans in on?
Muppet: Enjoy the video, we are working very hard to deliver something we are very excited about. Don’t ever feel like a stranger, come say hi, take a picture, hang out with us. You are the reason we do this, nothing we do is possible without the support of all of you. Thank you, truly, for helping us create a world we love and standing right there with us through every step of the way.
30. Is that your final answer?
Muppet: Does a bear shit in the woods? LMAO!!!!