The name ‘Le Rayes’ is one that might not be too familiar yet with Gold Coast music fans. But on the strength of their debut release, ‘Ego Mask’, they certainly won’t be flying under the radar for much longer.
The project features moonlighting members of Gold Coast punk/hardcore band Driven Fear, namely vocalist and guitarist Chris Hyde and drummer Nic Lalot, as well as Joe Lanskey (Promises) and Benny ‘Whiskey’ Willis, from blues rock act Hell and Whiskey.
The sound of Le Rayes marks quite a stylistic shift from the members’ other bands, straddling more of a surf and classic indie rock type vibe.
By way of introduction Le Rayes have dropped an impressive three song salvo, ‘Ego Mask’, which you can pick up on striking blue 7 inch vinyl via Pee Records.
The A sider, ‘Last Rays’, is a gorgeously uplifting cruisy rock song, allowing the band members to step out of their musically heavier headspaces and give birth to a melodically charged delight. A searing guitar motif breaks things up half way through before the track sails home off the back of its memorably wistful refrain, “you’re like those last rays of summer, because those rays are bitter sweet”.
The flip side features the tracks ‘Outside’ and ‘Grey Hair Faded Tattoos’, which ramps up the ’rock out’ quotient with some harder edged fare, while subtly channelling some of the bands stated influences, such as Wavves and The Pixies.
We had an enlightening chat with Chris Hyde, to discover more about the world of Le Rayes..
Can you give us a bit of an insight as to how Le Rayes came into being as a band?
Nic (drummer) and I have been playing together in our other band Driven Fear for well over a decade now and punk/hardcore has always been our focus musically. However, I’ve always wanted to create something more rock based and do something different. Over the years I’ve written riffs that didn’t fit with the heavy stuff that we do in Driven Fear and had developed a collection of songs that I wasn’t doing anything with, but still really loved and wanted to lay them down. Inspired by living on the Gold Coast, these tracks all had a bit of a coastal feel and gave the project direction. After recording a few demos, some other mates that we’ve known for years wanted to get on board with the project and it went from there.
Are you expecting fans of your other musical projects to come along for the ride and enjoy Le Rayes too? Or is it more a case of picking up a whole new bunch of fans along the way?
A little bit of both I think – hopefully! Most punk and hardcore fans are into diverse styles in addition to heavy music, so a few might come along for the ride as there are some tracks that flirt with those heavier genres. However, I guess I’m really looking forward to playing to a bit more of a mixed audience. This project is relaxed, it’s about having a good time which is something that can appeal to everyone.
Are the band planning on multi-tasking and keeping your other projects going concurrently, or is Le Rayes the number one focus for now?
All the other projects will keep going. For Nic and I, Driven Fear has been a part of our lives since we were teenagers and we are in our thirties now. Driven Fear is writing and recording some of the best material we’ve ever written soon. Benny is always involved in multiple bands. His project Hell and Whiskey recently completed a national tour and he has also just toured with his other band Nowhere Else. Joe also does a lot gigging with his solo work.
You’ve just released a debut 7 inch EP, ‘Ego Mask’, Is the lead-off single, ‘Last Rays’, indicative of the sound of the band?
As far as the sound goes I’m a massive fan of bands that mix it up on their records; bands like the Pixies and the Beatles did it the best in my opinion. I love not knowing what is coming next, each song has its own character and sound. Or even within a song, being surprised by where the song goes is refreshing and exciting as a listener. That’s hopefully the same with these Le Rayes songs. ‘Last Rays’ has a rock ballad vibe but some other songs are punchier and the punk influence is evident. It’s not an intentional thing, when writing I try to let the songs go where they need to, rather than forcing a structure that comes out contrived in the end. So with this release, each song offers up something different from the last.
Where do you typically play live here on the Gold Coast? And do you have any gigs coming up soon?
The next show for Le Rayes will be the ‘Ego Mask’ 7 inch record release. It’s going to be in Cooly around the middle of the year. Right now the Gold Coast is doing really well for live music, especially in Burleigh and Miami, with lots of smaller boutique venues popping up and keeping the live music scene alive.
How is the rest of 2018 shaping up for the band?
After this release we’ll be looking to release another EP later in the year as a ‘part 2’ to our current 7 inch release, and the entire project will then be available digitally. I’ve got a lot of material in the works at the moment that I’m excited to lay down soon. After that we’ll be looking forward to the end of the year and the Australian festival season.