Jeff Cook
Band of the Week

Space Raft Offers Catchy Power Pop

Hot off their second album, they may need a mini-fridge.

By - Jul 15th, 2016 03:02 pm
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Space Raft. Photo by Tom Grimm.

Space Raft. Photo by Tom Grimm.

Ever think about genetics and music?

Think of all the music that exists as a kind of gene pool. Every time some inspired person creates a new sound, a new genre, they not only add to the sum of all music, they change the mix. And just like breeding puppies, sometimes you get an awesome dog with all the best qualities of its parental lines and sometimes you get a mutt.

With so many musical traits in the world influencing every artist, you get of lot of bands they call ”eclectic.” Now sometimes that’s a fancy excuse for not knowing what they want to play. Not so with these guys. When I listen to this band I get the feeling they grew up listening to the same music I grew up listening to. They have taken what they like, left out what they don’t and blended it into something called Space Raft.

Space Raft is a group of talented young musicians: Jordan Davis, vocals and guitar, Jon Heibler, bass, TJay Christenson, keyboards and Tyler Chicorel on drums; and they are making their own rules about how to play music and don’t seem to be willing to do it any other way. I have to respect that.

In terms of musicianship, I think they are still young. They still remind me a little too much of a garage band, but the talent is definitely there and I expect them to go far.

The band had a number one song on WMSE-FM (91.7) two months before their first album Space Raft came out, because the DJs at the station liked it so much.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel rock writer Piet Levy saluted Space Raft, calling it “one of the more assured debuts from a local band. It overflowed with supercharged, and super-catchy, power pop rifts.”  We’re guessing he meant riffs. Levy was even more impressed with the group’s recent follow-up album Rubicon, calling it “a meatier and more diverse album.”

The band was happy to answer a few questions from Urban Milwaukee.

When did you start playing music?

We started playing music together as a band in the summer of 2013; we all learned very young.

How did the band come together?

We wanted to start a band, so we asked the people we would like to hang out with. At first we mostly talked about “Seinfeld.”

What are some artists that influence you?

Vangelis, Electric Light Orchestra, Erkin Koray, Klaatu, Francois Hardy, Nilsson, The Hudson Brothers.

How did you come up with the name “Space Raft”?

We were on a tiny raft once and decided it was time for more leg room.

Describe your music for us.

It’s loud rock and roll music

What are some other artists or styles of music you like/listen to?

60’s French YeYe pop music, Turkish psychedelic rock from the 70’s, Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire on repeat, We listen to a lot of soundtracks like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and other cassettes we find in thrift stores like Gustav Holst‘s “The Planets.”

Do you ever collaborate with other artists?

Space Raft keeps us busy, but here and there we may sit in with other projects.

What’s the vibe in the studio when you are practicing/recording?

Goofy as hell, we can’t be in a room together without giggling.

Do you most often play Milwaukee?

We play around the area a fair amount: Green Bay, Chicago, Madison, Detroit.

Where else have you played/ toured?

Most of us have done US/Canadian tours in different bands. Space Raft hasn’t hit the road much yet, but we are going to Europe in the fall.

Any albums or EPs coming out soon?

Our Sophomore LP Rubicon was just released in April on Dusty Medical Records. We are currently writing another, but we aren’t in any rush.

What are your plans for the future?

We have been planning on getting a mini fridge in the jam space. We spend a lot of time up there.

Cascio Interstate Music is proud to sponsor Urban Milwaukee’s Band of the Week column. Running in tandem with their own Band of the Month program, supporting local music is key to CIM’s mission.

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