Rare Americans’ James and Jared Priestner talk to Dom Smith about their personal development, and creativity.
S] How are you guys doing today?
Great! Today is a day off and we’re in Palm Springs so I definitely can’t complain. The last two shows have been great in LA and San Diego, and we’re excited to play in Phoenix tomorrow.
S] How do you define success as artists?
I think that is different for every artist. For us, we said a long time ago our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives of a million kids around the world. Playing these shows, meeting everyone and hearing their stories, it feels like we’re accomplishing what we set out to. Of course though, I want to see the band continue to grow, to play larger venues, and to reach as many people as we can.
S] What about legacy, do you think much about that?
I’d say that’s more of a yearly thought, not a daily one. Sometimes there are darks days in this industry and I ask myself why I’m doing it? But then I remember the impact we have on kids, and I think about my life through a grander sense, and realize what im doing is important work. It’s a legacy I’m proud of when all is said and done.
S] What does ‘You’re Not A Bad Person, It’s Just A Bad World’ mean to you, now that it is out in the world?
For me, it’s kind of shedding off the pandemic, moving to a new chapter. To me this record was a calling card to young people that the world is very confusing right now, very polarizing, and I found even myself getting confused sifting through everything. I wanted to tell people look, the world may be F’d up right now, but you are probably doing just fine. Cut yourself some slack! You’re not a bad person, it’s just a bad world… right now.
S] How do you look back at the self-titled record now, at this point in your band’s history?
With very fond memories! We were young, green, just doing our absolute best to make a cool record. I’m really proud of that album and always will be. It opened a brand new chapter in my life and I still love playing RA1 songs at the shows.
S] How have you changed and developed as artists over time, what have you learned about yourselves?
We have worked on a ton of music at this point so we’ve just learned a lot through experience. We’ve tried new sounds, new approaches to songs, had unexpected wins, and big disappointments with releases. I’d say we’ve learned at the end of the day we aren’t trying to just write hits you know? We will always write what we genuinely think is cool and hope others do as well. I know that I still love doing what I do as much now as I did then, and thats a great sign for the future.
S] What is your message for your UK fans?
UK has supported us from day 1! That’s huge. I love going to the UK, we have very passionate fans there, and I think we’ll continue to tour there yearly. It’s so awesome seeing merch purchases from the UK, shows sell out, it’s amazing.
S] Anything else you’d like to plug?
RA is an independent band, so at the end of the day word of mouth is our most powerful tool. If you like what we do, tell your friends!!!
S] Thanks for your time!