R5 have developed some New Addictions. The group dropped their EP last month, including the song "If", for which you can watch the music video now by using the media player included with this article. In advance of their two upcoming concerts on July 7 and 8 in support of New Addictions, AXS conducted an email interview with group member Ellington Ratliff to learn more about what went into the EP. Read what he had to say below and purchase tickets to either of R5's live shows at the bottom of this article.
AXS: Tell us what we need to know about this EP.
Ellington Ratliff (ER): The EP is called New Addictions and it's a collection of five songs we wrote and produced in our guest house/homemade studio. "If" is the summery 80’s jam single about falling in love on Instagram. "Red Velvet" is a slick track with Philly hits and a J. Dilla/D’Angelo drum beat. "Lay Your Head Down" is a true story about a Polish model [lead guitarist/vocalist] Rocky [Lynch] met in Japan. "Trading Time" is our sexy synth heavy jam reminiscent of a James Blake track. And "Need You Tonight" Is a cover of the INXS classic.
AXS: How is the creative process when you're working with four other members in a band?
ER: Me and the other two writers, Rocky and Ross Lynch, have a pretty flexible process. We all dabble in different aspects of writing, be it lyric ideas to arrangements. We don't need anything, but it's nice to have the voice memo app nearby if we're out of the studio. We probably have thousands of voice memos between the three of us.
AXS: So what should we be listening for on New Addictions? What are you hoping listeners pick up on?
ER: When I listen to music, I listen to how chords change, the tone of someone's voice, the type of synth that's used. I'm into how a song sounds sonically, because that's what makes me feel something. We just want people to feel something when they listen to New Addictions. I think that's the whole purpose of music in general.
AXS: You have two shows lined up in early July. Any other tour plans ahead?
ER: We just started the New Addictions tour in North America. Then later in august we'll hit Mexico, Europe in September/October. That's all we have announced so far but we'll definitely make our way around to South America, Japan etc. I'd like to play Jimmy Fallon and meet Questlove. That’s one thing left on my bucket list.
AXS: How did you get into music in the first place?
ER: Growing up in Los Angeles, my early years were more focused on acting rather than music. Still I grew up with my parents [playing] Motown and classic rock; eventually I got into my parents' vinyl collection and it was all over. I started a bunch of middle school indie bands and then met the guys in R5. It essentially was a hobby that turned into an occupation. I'm very lucky.
AXS: Were you listening into anything in particular while making this latest EP?
ER: During the making of New Addictions we listened to a lot of Kaytranada, The Weeknd, Tame Impala’s last record and Calvin Harris’s new stuff. Recently I made a folder of every classic album I haven't heard, and so far my favorites have been Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.
AXS: What's the last great live performance that you went to as a music fan?
ER: I went to go see Christine and the Queens at The Theater at Ace Hotel and it was one of the most special shows I've seen. It was a dance show but not like a pop act. It was unique and every song was different. Another great show was Lucius. They have the most solid harmonies and their songs are perfect.
Below are R5's upcoming tour dates:
New Addictions is now available on iTunes.
For more on R5, visit their band page at AXS.