-Interview- Refract (4/9/20)

Refract talk about their formation, the current landscape of Rock and much more.


From: Petaluma, CA
Sounds like: Progressive/Alternative Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Refract" and is there any meaning behind it?

We all started playing by being inspired by our heroes and wanting to understand how they made those sounds that move us. We are all very different in our musical backgrounds and we each bring something different to the table that creates our unique sound. I (Alex - guitar), definitely bring that heavy progressive influence to the table, while Nick Muchow (drums) brings more of a funk/dance vibe to his style. Refract started out as just Justin Fode (guitar) and I in 2010 and stayed that way for around 3 years. Nick Muchow was the drummer of my previous band “Backlash” from when we were just kids. Throughout the years after that band, he always stayed a very close friend to me. One day I think he realized how bad we needed a drummer. He had already had a lot more experience than Justin and I in the music world and we were extremely grateful! We recorded a demo which eventually was re-recorded once we found our other members. We all decided on the band name together. “Refract” is a verb of refraction which is essentially light passing through a medium that makes it become separated into different colors. The album cover of “Dark Side Of The Moon”, by Pink Floyd, is a perfect example of this. We like to think of our music as us passing through that medium together to create a spectrum of sound just as you would light to a prism. We nurtured our band for a few years which then evolved into our new release “Secular Pudding”.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

I’ve always been a fan of songs that have a sense of mystery to them. I think that's why I always been a fan of bands like Tool, Pink Floyd, Mastodon, etc. I like songs that I can almost make up my own meaning. Songs that have deep messages do resonate with us, however messages aren’t necessarily what you need to take away from Refract. The songs are meant to take you on your own personal journey, not ours. What we really want our listeners to get from us is to just have a great time. At the end of the day, its entertainment. It’s about getting up, having fun, and putting on a show that excites your fans. Of course, our lyrics can get you thinking about some serious topics, but if you enjoy the music for the music than that's enough for us.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Our sound is very unique, yet has familiar undertones to classic progressive rock bands of the past two decades. The uniqueness comes mostly in our song structures, and the different sound that each song gets. No one song sounds at all the same, and all of them paint a story in their own respect. We are very critical about our writing process and often reassess our songs over and over until we are absolutely satisfied with where each piece takes us. Its hard being limited into a genre so often we say we are a prog rock band because it can really mean anything!

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Wow, so many to choose from! I guess if we’re talking big hitters. Tool, Mastodon, and Deftones! That's just off the top of my head. Playing large festivals is what we really want!

5. What are your three desert island albums that you'd never get tired of listening to?

This is also a hard one. If I only had 3 albums that I could listen to it would definitely need to be 3 albums with very different palettes. I wouldn’t honestly want just metal/rock albums, I would want a decent mix. I think the first album would be “Animals” by Pink Floyd. It’s my favorite Floyd album and the lyrics and sounds really take me to another place with each listen. The second album would have to be “10,000 Days” by Tool. I think the sound/mix of this album is incredible. Hearing “Right in Two” and “Rosetta Stoned” just inspires me to be creative constantly. The third album would have to be something very different so I wouldn’t get saturated with similar genres. Right now Im thinking “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac. Would be a nice break from the intense heaviness of Tool and Floyd. Of course, these choices would change daily for us.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

As time goes on, rock music has that much more time to evolve. Now that we are five plus decades into rock music, we are finding countless more sub-genres trying to reinvent the genre. People want to say right now that there isn’t any good music out there anymore, but the thing is that there is an overflowing amount of good music out there. The problem is you have to take the time look as so many artists are self promoting. We all don’t necessarily have the time to look for all those great artists. Labels seem to be holding on to the bands of the past that work like Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc. because they make money consistently. Ultimately, that's a big reason why we are all here with new musicians, especially young rock musicians that can hardly make it in the industry when they have just as much talent. It’s hard to push the boundaries of the staples that came before us in an industry that values only the bands of past decades. As a band, we love doing what we do and no matter what success we reach, we will perform our best for anyone and everyone so that they can have an awesome time. In the end, play heavy music if it speaks to you no matter what its popularity is in the industry.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in California both locally and state wide?

We are located in the SF Bay Area which is always packed with musicians and artists everywhere you look! From the dive bars, to parades and festivals, this is a great place to bring your band on tour! We,ve played from Santa Rosa all the way down to Santa Cruz and the vibes always fun! We have still yet to conquest the southern parts of California such as Los Angeles and San Diego, but I’m sure I don’t need to explain how big the industry is there.

8. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

I have very mixed feelings about illegal downloading. When it comes down to it, I’m flattered that someone would consider taking those means to listen to our material. We make these songs so that people will listen to them and enjoy them, and at least at that point they’re at least listening. I’m not by any means condoning it and prefer that everybody stick to legal means to obtain your entertainment. Knowing how much it took to make the music we make both mentally and financially, its hard to just give your hard earned effort away as if its valueless. Obtaining our entertainment for free devalues the hard work it takes to make that product and support their own lives. All in all, it’s not something we really dwell on, we just hope you enjoy our music!

9. What’s next for Refract?

Right now, we are currently finishing up our new music video for “Pyramid” which will release in the near future. We plan to continue to hone our sound with more new music and touring when we can. We just want to see how far this thing can go!

10. Any shoutouts?

We would like to give a few shoutouts! First off, we would like to thank all of our friends and fans who have supported us over the years as well as all of the amazing people who worked on our recent album with us. It was a team effort from all of us including Matt Wright (Instrument engineer), Nate Nauseda (Vocals engineer), Billy Anderson (mixer), and Adam Ayan from Gateway Studios in Portland. We also would like to give a shout out to a couple bands we really like in and around our area such “PSDSP”, and “Brume”! Each band has their own eclectic sound we just all really like!