Before taking on the alias of Seance Crasher in 2013, Portland songwriter Kevin Rafn sharpened his teeth playing with various local indie bands, perhaps the most notable being Wampire. In the three years since then, he’s released 4 EPs of off-kilter analog bedroom pop that are equally as catchy as they are bizarre. Rafn has also recruited a full live band to play with, including his older brother and fellow alt pop songsmith Daniel Rafn. On August 31 at Holocene, Seance Crasher will celebrate the release their first full length album, Basement Behavior, produced and engineered in part by the illustrious Riley Geare, and released on Warble Records. Ahead of that release, Holocene is pleased to premiere the track “You Don’t Waste My Time.”
We spoke with Kevin about the new album, working with his brother and Geare, and what music is currently on his playlist.
Both you and your brother Daniel have long been musical souls. Do you come from a musical family, or what’s helped influence the creative drive of the brothers-Rafn?
We do come from a musical family. My Dad played guitar, Mom was always involved in choir and musicals. Moody Blues, Wings and The Carpenters were on heavy rotation in our home. As kids we all had pretty active imaginations and were very much convinced we’d be visual artists but making a leap into music as a teen was both shrewd and tidy.
Is it difficult writing and performing music with your brother? Is there ever any kind of sibling rivalry at play?
Maturity reigns. There’s no rivalry anymore. We’ve worked in each other’s bands for a while and I usually seek his advice on arrangements when we’re playing live. It’s easy for us to critique each other without fine china flying across the room.
Basement Behavior was co-produced by Riley Geare. Was this your first recording project working with someone outside of the group, and how did that affect the way the album took shape?
Not the first. Jeremy Wilson (Dharma Bums) engineered and co-produced my last EP. Riley was a huge part of Basement Behavior. He played the drums and mixed it too so his sonic stamp looms large over the material. He did a great job.
OPB reports that you’re already halfway done with a follow up record. Are you working with Riley on that one as well? Is there a timeframe in mind for that release and what kind of nuances should listeners expect to hear between the two albums?
I was halfway done but I’ve written a bunch of new songs that I want to include so now I’m 1/32nd done. Riley is not involved yet. TBD. Listeners can expect something that sounds nonchalant, sparse, un-fussed over and very guitar driven. At least that’s what I’m expecting. We may both yet be surprised.
Any tour plans on the horizon?
Not at this time.
If you were to hit the road, what are a few songs that would definitely make the tour-van playlist?
Glad you asked!
Todd Rundgren – ‘Useless Begging’
Prince – ‘Damn U’
Taco – ‘I Should Care’
Isley Brothers – ‘Contagious’
Daniel and I are both huge Isley Brothers fans and have been ever since we saw the music video for ‘Contagious’ on BET the summer of ’01. We still have all the lyrics memorized but it gets tricky in the middle when one of us has to do the parts of the woman and R. Kelly while the other pretends to be Ron Isley. I also have a replica of the fuzz pedal used in ‘That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2’ that I’m just in love with. I use it on our closing track ‘You Don’t Waste My Time’.