Interview with The Bucket Playlist about our new album "Fernando"
-Sara Seddon 5/28/21
LA-based rock band Raised On TV is working on its third studio album, Fernando, which is due for release around September.
The band comprises Keaton Rogers and his brother Kacey. Raised in the San Fernando Valley in LA, California, the band has gone through many incarnations since its original formation in 2016, and subsequent reformation from a 3-piece into a 2-piece in 2019. I ask Keaton if their name comes from being TV addicts as kids. ‘Oh, we definitely were, we grew up on a heavy dose of The Simpsons! The name came from a few things, we used to be in a bigger band and it was the only name we could all agree on! Me and my brother were child actors, it’s all part of being a kid in LA,’ he joked.
For the brothers, Fernando refers to an adventurous and bold journey and is also a nod to the valley they call home. To them, this album seeks to capture something raw, scars and all. They are releasing Fernando as singles, all eleven songs, one at a time, each accompanied with a video.
Last month, they released their single, ‘Strange Times’, a 60’s inspired song about lockdown: ‘The riff and melody pre-date it and just hung around,’ Keaton said. ‘I couldn’t find the right words for it, that’s how I approach songs and the words just came to me during the pandemic.’ I tell him that I like the duality between the upbeat melody and the darker lyrics and he nods: ‘I guess I was consciously wanting that contrast,’ he said. ‘I wrote it the first couple of months into the pandemic when it felt heavy, when you had the sense that this is how things were going to be for a long while.’
As the chorus goes:’ These are strange times indeed, I’ll be there when you need. Found out the hard way there’s no easy way, there’s blue and green and there’s grey.’
‘I think it’s one of the best songs on the album, it’s got a cool riff’
They’ve released four singles so far this year, including ‘Strange Times’ and ‘Like a Drug’, all of which will be on Fernando. In June, they will bring out the next two singles, ‘Mess I Made’ and ‘Helium’. ”Mess I Made’ is about a mess I made,’ he said cryptically. ‘It’s a quick song, it has a lot of punk energy in it, in the vein of Blur. It’s just 2 minutes long. I wrote it at a time when I was going through a transformation and found myself in a place I didn’t expect to be in.’ As such, it is an entirely different song to ‘Helium’: ‘That’s a love song about a girl I’m now engaged to,’ he said. ‘ I wrote it really quickly at the park one day. It’s about Lynsey, my fiancée, about really falling in love. It was so nice to write a song that’s fun and positive. Our next song ‘Helium’ has a Blur/Killers/Strokes vibe, it came out pretty cool. I think it’s one of the best songs on the album, it’s got a cool riff.’
Other tracks, such as ‘Like a Drug’, are open to a myriad of interpretations. From the line ‘no matter how much I get, I can’t get enough’, I had assumed it was about being addicted to a person but that turns out not to be the case: ‘It was written on a nationwide tour in 2019, it started from a riff that I’d had for a while. It’s about being addicted to music, to touring, to the thrill of playing live,’ he said. Raised on TV has a gig lined up in July at a local arts festival. ‘We’re still feeling it out, although more is opening up,’ he added.
‘I was playing the guitar at the lake, strumming away. It’s cool to be able to write songs like that.’
All of their songs are strongly rooted in their own experiences, something that is particularly evident in tracks such as ‘Lake Song’, which came out earlier this year. I ask him if it’s about a specific encounter. ‘So the song is about a very specific encounter. I was in Reno, at a lake, and I saw a woman yelling at the ducks. I was playing the guitar at the lake, strumming away. It’s cool to be able to write songs like that. Roald Dahl did that, didn’t he? He used to go for walks to get ideas for his stories.’
As the song goes: ‘If I could be like those ducks that swim and just let things go, I guess I’d be free as a bird.’
‘Where The Sun Goes’, a single from last year, might well be the first love song to a van. ‘It was about our first van,’ Keaton said. ‘It broke down at some point in Las Vegas, it ended up being months it was out there, so it’s a love song to our van and getting it back again! Now it’s fixed and my mom has it.’
In LA, he is a big fan of the band Sorry Party. ‘They put out one album, a little similar to us, they’re heavy indie rock, they have their own thing going.’ I ask him who he’d most like to collaborate with: ‘I feel like everyone answers with Dave Grohl,’ he laughed. ‘We recorded in his studio once but he wasn’t there. Dave Grohl is on the list, for sure. Beck is also coming to mind for some reason. River (the frontman) from Weezer would be interesting, I’d let him take over!’
If he could hear one of their songs on any TV show, he plumps for American crime drama series, Dexter: ‘I watched it recently, it’s really good,’ he said. ‘I’d love to hear one of our happy songs, some kind of love song, in a dark moment!’
Link to the Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5qp4zNIO8DvtJMbKdjoCSP?si=8a63d01f88f4423a