It’s safe to say to that RACKETS frontman Harrison Kipner is picking up the songwriting reins from a prestigious line of songwriters. The Los Angeles-based songwriter has teamed up with his schoolfriend Dane, and his schoolfriend Aaron, to form the exciting new trio.
His father Steve wrote Christina Aguilera’s ‘classic hit’ Genie In A Bottle, co-wrote the Olivia Newton-John smash hit Let’s Get Physical, and wrote songs for Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart and many more. While his grandfather Nat produced the Bee Gees’ first big hit Spicks and Specks.
No pressure then, Harrison. Our first taste of his songwriting prowess is Ooh Aah, which begins with high-pitched vocals that drop into cries of “Ooh ahh” before the rockiness ramps up through a more energetic verse of engaging vocals “Just ’cause you got a voice, Doesn’t mean that should be said.”
The vocals pick up pace, then more cries of “Ooh aah” over lively guitars give way to another verse of catchy vocals “I heard there was a time when we cared what people said, Around the time Ryan Wilson spent three whole years in bed, But then we went to Paris, Are you embarrassed, With keeping up the bullshit, Famous excuseless, But you know I can’t deny the stars come out to play, Everybody say Ooh Aah.”
Another blitz of “ooh ahhs” is followed by big high-pitched cries that feed into an intense section of high-pitched vocals, which drops into more “Ooh aahs” to finish. It’s funky and super-catchy, and you can check it out in the video below:
They’ve followed that up with the release of The Gold (Did You Even Want It?) two weeks ago, which further showcases the band’s ability to write super-catchy songs. You can give it a listen on Spotify (embeds aren’t working).
We had a chat with Harrison to find out more about RACKETS. Read on below…
GR: Who are Rackets?
HK: “RACKETS started as my solo project, but in late 2018 when I casually put a band together to perform the songs, it took on a whole new direction.
“Dane and I met in elementary school. Dane recalls me encouraging him to take up playing the saxophone after being inspired by a jazz band at assembly. Aaron and Dane went to high school together and used to play in garages together until the fuses blew. We all kept in touch but had our own projects until late last year.
“I had an entire set and album that he wanted to rehearse with a band for upcoming shows and Dane and Aaron agreed to help out because they love to play, and they loved the music. But what started happening in the hour before the actual practice began was what became RACKETS.
“After a few exciting practices and a show at the Del Monte Speakeasy, we knew that we had something special. We wrote, recorded and finished a brand new debut album, Red Flag Days, by May and Ooh Aah is the first single.”
GR: Sounds good – tell us more about Ooh Ahh then?
HK: “Ooh Aah feels like the perfect introduction to our band. We wanted to start with a song that would keep people guessing and curious to what would come next. The song takes drastic dynamic twists and turns and it hints to what the album might do as well.
“Lyrically we love this song because it pokes a bit of fun at the time. We Ooh and Aah when we see fame, but then pretend like they mean nothing to us and aren’t human. We abuse them online but still want their attention and copy what they do. We love them but have no empathy for them.
“It’s just bizarre having all of these people in the palm of your hand who have no presence in your actual life. It’s hard to decide how much power that holds in our lives and how it really affects us, we’re only just starting to see the results of it.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
HK: “We could probably be described as California Pop Rock…?”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
HK: “We find a lot of joy and stress relief in playing together, so the songs usually come from that place. Some of the ideas start from some kind of frustration or confusion that we are going through and writing the song becomes the therapy.
“Most songs start with the energy that comes out from being in the room that day and squishing together all the best bits, then trying to find the lyrics and melodies that can tell the same story as the instruments.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
HK: “My biggest musical influences would have to be his father and grandfather, both hit songwriters. I grew up learning about song structure and that’s what fascinates me the most. As a band, and probably because of the incredible structures, we can all agree on The Beatles as being an influence.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
HK: “We have a show at the Troubadour (in Los Angeles), opening for The Palms and Bay Ledges, tomorrow (24 August).” Tickets for the gig are here.
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
HK: “We wanted our first official album to be a direct invitation to see us live. We wanted to capture the energy and magic that we make at a show and at rehearsal and have it reflected in the recordings, and we did just that.”