Ragdoll are exporting a new kind of thinker’s rock – and they happen to be W.A legends too. Ahead of their appearance at Perth Rocks Festival in July, Ragdoll’s guitar-botherer, Leon Todd, explained to Around The Sound why rock doesn’t need Triple j anyway.
“Community radio and internet radio have been far more supportive of what we do and I think they do a far better job of showcasing the diversity of modern Australian music.”
Leon Todd is one-third of Ragdoll and probably one of the smartest dudes you’ll come across in Perth.
That’s if you can catch him standing still. Ragdoll just got back from yet another fly-in/fly-out demolition job. “Cherry Bar was an absolutely wonderful show and it’s reinvigorated the writing and recording process” he says of their most recent stint teaching Melbournites how to rock properly.
By now, this lot probably have too many passport stamps to count. “We could probably write a book about the dodgy stuff we’ve gotten into – tornadoes in Oklahoma, getting our passports seized in Switzerland and getting groped by border cops in France come to mind. Watching a footballer getting beaten with his own best and fairest trophy at a pub in Kalgoorlie might take the cake”. Bloody Hell, Leon!
Observant readers would have noted Leon’s allusions to recording. “We’re balls deep in the studio recording a follow up to “Back to Zero” [Ragdoll’s debut album] which is exciting and challenging in equal measure” . The writer advises you to stay tuned for that album, ‘coz it’s probably going to be sick.
When you see a Ragdoll gig, you can tell that these fellas have been playing for a while. – they’re just pros. “My Dad still plays guitar and he was my first guitar hero, so it’s kind of inevitable I ended up being into music. Cam got the bug after seeing KISS in concert and Ryan is pretty much self-taught”. Not prone to hyperbole, Leon almost undersells Ragdoll’s level of collective skill — “It sometimes feels like one big organism rather than a collection of guys jamming.”
So how does a modern rock band thrive in the post-music industry epoch? Here’s Leon, measured as always: “As a user I love Spotify. It’s a great tool for us because it lets us reach people anywhere – but it also means any chance we’d have to make money from our recorded works is eliminated.
“Spotify is symptomatic of what is happening to many aspects of our economy. Rather than innovation in the way music is consumed coming from within the music industry, it’s coming from tech companies using big data and big money to convert the seemingly innocent task of listening to music into profit.
“Social media has completely upended and disrupted the entire human social ecosystem, let alone the terrarium that is rock music. Our last album was thematically driven by what we’ve seen social media do to our own lives and the lives of our friends and family. But we also realise it’s a necessary evil if you want to play music to people these days.”
So how does a rock band get a start nowdays? Competetion and noise complaints are a threat, surely? “Rock music is becoming a boutique experience, so we make music we personally enjoy rather than seeing what we do as some crusade to win over the masses.”
Can’t argue with that, mate. The best Rock ‘n’ roll lives in Perth, and Ragdoll are going all over the world just to prove it. You can catch them as part of the Perth Rocks Festival in July.
Back To Zero is available via Firestarter Distribution (AU), Bad Reputation (EU) and should be purchased immediately upon receipt of this message. facebook.com/ragdollrock