The Ravishers

Ravishers – another product of the Portland, Oregon scene that’s fast becoming the go to spot for insightful, deep, creative sound, and a band that’s onto something. Something not easily captured; the captivating ring of “dark pop”. Not an oxymoron, Berklee College of Music alum Dominic Castillo is bringing back the other side of pop music reminiscent of guys like Elliot Smith. The band has already been compared to acts like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes and will drop their debut self-titled record on May 10 off Timber Carnival Records. You need to check it out, and then prepare yourself for me – the second collection ain’t far behind. Keep reading now for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: The Ravishers, Dominic Castillo (guitar/vocals)

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Dominic Castillo (DC:): I'm not as aware of the genre as I should be, so someone else would know better than I. I think, like some other musicians, the act of creating can be insular and consuming. I occasionally come up for air between songs, and then dive back down again.

PEV: Calling Portland, Oregon home, what kind of music where the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

D.C - Both Jonathan and I are obsessed with The Beatles, and have been so prenatal.  We also geek out on Jazz guitarists, which is a result of childhoods spent at weekly guitar lessons.

PEV: Tell us your take on the music scene in your Portland and what was it like trying to break into it?

DC: - Portland is absolutely wonderful. Within a week of moving here we had met tons of great musicians. The cool thing was that they were good people too. My jaded personality was pleasantly surprised and delighted. Here there are artists and a community that I haven't noticed elsewhere.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Ravishers show?

DC: - Some great guitar work from Jonathan, and some light, good natured heckling from me.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

DC: Often it is, "Damn, I left my beer back stage." I don't get too cerebral when playing. Although it's cliché to say, the mind stays pretty clear if you're doing it right. It's more fun to just play.

PEV: Having all been in other bands before how is playing with Ravishers different then those other works?

DC: The music is much better.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

DC: It's remarkable how un-self-aware I am. Is that a word? Some people make music because they want to, others because they need to do it. For better or worse, I'm in the second camp. My writing process is largely unconscious. I listened to the album some the other day and was surprised. Who the hell is that? My ideas come from staring into the abyss.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

DC: Not really.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of The Ravishers?

DC: Jonathan is really good at bad puns. I enjoy bubble baths.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a goal for you?

DC: The first time I heard "Stella By Starlight" played by Tal Farlow.

PEV: Tell us about your self titled full length debut on May 10, 2011 on Timber Carnival Records. What can fans expect from this?

DC: 12 solid songs done in interesting ways.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

DC: The road affords you several luxuries. The two I like are that there's time to read and there's time to listen.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

DC: Asia would be cool.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

DC: We've been doing music a while now. I think they all are so used to it. We haven't played the home town in a while. Let's book that.

PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

DC: Not Angry Birds. I do not have a problem.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

DC: There are a lot of producers and engineers I would love to work with - Tchad Blake, the Dust Brothers, Nigel Godrich.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

DC: There are too many! Too many great ones to mention, and risk alienating the others.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think each of you would be your career?

DC: I would be in Academia. Or washing dishes.

PEV: So, what is next for Ravishers?

DC: There will be another album within a year.

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