When you play music that isn’t considered mainstream how do you find your audience?
-If you play music which is far away from being hip or of any interest for the masses, the audience will find you instead of you finding the audience. Fortunately, we are not even slightly interested in becoming well known, so all those searching for some serious and hand-made oriental music with mystic content will find us either way.
We are constantly fed music in our daily life but we seldom get to hear anything that is out of the box. You have influences that aren’t common to western music. What I wonder is if there is an universal feel to music that transcends nationalitlity and ethnicity because you still use the same chords don’t you?
-All music should be boundless, transcending nationality, skin colour and country borders and so should be the human mind. Racism results out of fear for the unknown and neither music nor human thinking should contain anything of it.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band/artists was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-My guitar playing is strongly influenced by Oud Masters such as Munir Bashir and Rabih Abou-Khalil. Otherwise, I´m a devoted follower of classical Indian, Persian and Arabian music by artists such as Hessameddin Seraj, Davood Azad, Salar Aghili, Nikhil Banerjee, Sultan Khan, Ajoy Chakrabarty and Kala Ramnath, just to name a few.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
-The sound was first, as in earth`s creation. The mighty Om of God resonating in soul and over chaos. We already had some tunes written and rehearsed before we decided to name the Duo after our artist` surnames Ra and Al Dee. Also, I played in a Persian ensemble with Mister Al Dee before we decided to go on our own as Ra Al Dee. This experience was already accomplished.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-Of course not, that`s why we never released any single track. People who are interested in us will always go for the full release on CD or vinyl, I am pretty sure of that. If there will be a time with no albums to be released anymore, I shall pull the plug and quit as a musician.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-It is of less interest for me to catch any attention, the layout has to serve the music and its content properly, that is the only importance. People who make music or creating visual art to get famous have no understanding of what the real purpose of music and art is. To join and meet with the listener/viewer and to transport our thoughts and feelings to another place without any self-righteousness.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-It changed definitely, indeed. But nevertheless we go for the same channels as twenty years ago while sending packs with CD`s or LP´s to friends and fans and followers. I write letters to close friends and always send them the real physical releases instead of links for songs.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-With Ra Al Dee, the only scene we are part of is that of open minded, interested, faithful and spiritual people. It always feels good to meet and play for those who still are subtle enough to absorb our music clearly. This does not include any arrogance over other music genres, just to make this clear, I love many other different music styles by myself. It is just that Ra Al Dee demands a real special kind of listeners truly.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Yes, definitely and we want to play live more often in the future. Let`s see what can be arranged for dates to come.
What will the future bring?
-Only the One who is beyond all reason knows. And no matter how hard you try, it just comes what already has been sealed in destiny.
Thank you very much for the interview,