Metal process

Interview: RM47 talks about “foreigners” and their creative process

Los Angeles-based alt/electro-R&B duo RM47 recently dropped their new single/music video, “Strangers,” following “Needed U.”

Consisting of MAAD – recording artist, songwriter, DJ and model – and Raleigh – music and production – before collaborating as RM47, the two worked together on a number of projects, including solo releases of MAAD such as “Eventually Pt. 1” and “En tarde” by Earl Grey. Since then, the two have developed a unique creative chemistry.

RM47’s sound draws inspiration from New Jersey, Nigeria, Chicago, London, Toronto and Tanzania, capturing the essence of their own lived experiences and paying homage to their origins.

It’s a sound fusing soulful vocals over a sonic fusion of sultry guitars, hypnotic synths, stuttering jersey club beats and funky Afrobeat beats.

Riding a cool, funk-lite beat topped with delicious waves of sultry R&B textures, “Strangers” drips with exotic flavors and MAAD’s captivating, luxurious vocals, whose tones infuse the lyrics with seductive timbres. Both MAAD and Raleigh have an irresistible charisma and screen presence that is both compelling and spellbinding.

“Take me baby, drive me wild / I don’t wanna tame you, it’s just not human nature / Fire burns in the night / Touch me, love me, beg me / Ooh , I like danger.

CelebMix caught up with RM47 to find out more about the inspiration behind “Strangers,” how they got started in music, and their influences.

What are three things you can’t live without?

Raleigh: Oxygen, water and love.

MAAD: I agree with Raleigh on oxygen and water. I’m going to add family to this list but to be honest, 3 is really hard to commit too because my list is long!

What inspired your new single/music video, “Strangers?”

When it came to ‘Strangers’, we were inspired to create a record that we could see ourselves playing at festivals. Making sure to encompass what the energy would feel like on stage, seeing the sun go down as we played and feeling the vibes of the audience.

For the video, we wanted to capture the cinematic side of this record and it’s really lovely how it all came to life.

Who made the video and where was it shot?

Our good friend Paulo Berberan made this one. I want to say that this is the 5th video we shoot together so we really understand each other. It’s always our mission to make sure we progress with every visual we make. As for the location, we shot it in Alhambra, CA

How did MAAD and Raleigh come to work together?

We’ve been collaborating for a while and one of our colleagues mentioned that we should think about forming a duo since we already have a really solid creative relationship. So here we are!

How did you start music?

Raleigh: It started in the womb…it was always there, then it was reinforced by mom when she bought me a drum set to fill the empty space under the Christmas tree. My dad was also a DJ and sound engineer in his spare time, so there was always music around. I have an uncle who played keyboards and always gave me his old gear, and another uncle who worked as a radio host/DJ. My sisters and I used to write songs and do choreography for random stuff.

MAAD: For me, it all started at home. My parents always played music in the house, and I was so inspired that I sang in my room and created my own harmonies. I loved finding instrumentals of popular songs and writing my own verses there.

Looking back it’s funny to see where I’m at now because at one point in my life singing was my little secret, it was like something I had to protect because I loved it so much… now you can’t make me stop talking about acting and putting on shows. The other night I went to a jam session and it felt so good to let go.

Where do you come from?

MAAD: We’re both from the East Coast, I’m from New Jersey.

Raleigh: I’m from all over New York.

Has your hometown had an impact on your sound?

Raleigh: Absolutely! Especially the radio and the church. Since my family was separated, I heard a mix of different radio stations in different markets and went to different churches. I also gained some of my first local following as a rapper/producer in high school. The hallway soundtrack at my elementary school was filled with hip-hop, R&B, pop, rock, metal, and punk. At home, I grew up listening to my parents’ music, and my older sisters have cool musical tastes that I’ve always enjoyed. I played in my school band and orchestra, and also in church growing up.

MAAD: Absolutely! Jersey club, house and disco are some of my favorite genres to listen to. I always make sure to incorporate them into my DJ sets so people understand where I’m from. We’ve incorporated a lot of those sounds into our own music, so it’s really cool for us to put our own spin on it.

Which singers/musicians have influenced your sound?

Raleigh: Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, PFunk, Usher, Pharrell, Jay Z, Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, Andre3K, Swizz Beatz, Will.I.Am, Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor, Timbaland , Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Gil Scott Heron, James Brown, James Fauntleroy, Jack White, Krauhngbin, Kevin Parker, Neal Pougue, Rick James, Gamble & Huff.

MAAD: To add to his list, I would say Kaytranada, Tame Impala, Kelis and Little Dragon.

Did your sound evolve naturally or did you deliberately push it in a certain direction?

Raleigh: I would say a bit of both…we just said “we want to make music that people can dance to”…and then we went to find out what that sound is in a very natural and organic way.

What inspires your writing? Are you inspired by poetry, music or other media?

MAAD: It varies from song to song. Sometimes my inspiration comes from conversations I’ve had with friends or something I’ve watched. Sometimes it’s just us in the studio, the melodies flowing, and we’re thinking about a concept. It’s a different experience every time.

Raleigh: Everything, every experience, everything I consume, everything I observe has the potential to be a song. Most songs, to me, start out as a vocal note of beatboxing and/or melodic, rhythmic mumbling.

What can you share about your writing process?

Our process is different with each song, but most of the time it’s us in the studio, vibrating and exchanging ideas against each other. If we get stuck on something, we have a few friends who are amazing songwriters that we bring in to collaborate with us.

We share a bit of our process on our IG and YouTube page, if you follow us (@rm47rm47rm47) you’ll get a glimpse of the process!

Which artists do you think are killing it right now?

We have to say to each other, Doja Cat and Kendrick.

What can your fans expect over the next six months? Music videos? Live concerts?

Yes, to all of this and more! We’re definitely focused on doing more live gigs, we think it’s one of the best ways to connect with our listeners and introduce ourselves to new audiences. You can definitely expect more music, visuals, a podcast, and collaborations from us.

Follow Instagram RM47 | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify