Not only are the girls of Raining Jane cute as hell, they’ve got real chops. They’ve been staples in the indie scene for more than a decade and are returning to Utah for the Women’s Redrock Music Festival, which will be held in Torrey, Aug. 10-11. Along with local musicians and American Idol veteran Crystal Bowesox, Raining Jane will showcase their impressive lyrical harmonies and melodic musicality with the gorgeous redrock background.
Raining Jane bassist Becky Gebhardt shared her memories of the Beehive State, along with what it’s like to be an out, lesbian artist in the indie industry. For more information and tickets, go to redrockwomensfest.com.
You’ve been to Utah before. What do you remember about your visits?
We have very positive memories and thoughts about Utah. The community colleges were one of the very first shows we did out of California back in 2004. We drove out there in our van in the middle of winter, so it was not only that we were warmly welcomed by the people of Utah, it was a really memorable moment in our history as a band. We were embarking on a new thing. It was sort of distinct for us. We continue to go back for shows in different cities around the state. It’s really such a beautiful state.
How did you get involved in the WRMF?
We heard about it through our friends who have played it before. One of our band members was performing there last year and we think it will be a really great fit for our music.
There is a big queer and feminist presence at the festival. Are those important causes to you and the band?
We love our queer audience. I think mostly we love music lovers, people who want to listen and partake in the music experience and a live show. I think playing to a mostly female audience is unique and special and we love it. We love all of it. We don’t make a special effort to play to queer or all-female audiences, but it’s really awesome when it works out that way.
I do. I am a lesbian. I’ve been out … let’s see, I came out in college. There were different comings out to friends and family. I guess I came out when I was 18 and I came out to my family.
How is it being gay in the indie scene?
I think it might be different for a solo artist or a whole band that identifies as a queer band. I think that it’s different for me. I don’t feel like my sexuality really affects anything. I don’t notice it professionally. I think being a woman is more obvious. I don’t know if people interpret me as being a lesbian. I don’t know how people read me, but I think there are already challenges for women in the music industry.
How would you describe your music to those that haven’t heard your songs before?
I describe us as acoustic indie with a lot of vocal harmonies. I hate trying to describe the sound because it depends on your own frame of reference. But I’d say it’s feel good acoustic indie.
What can you tell me about the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles?
We started a nonprofit in Los Angeles two years ago. It’s based off an idea of a camp in Portland that was started 10 years ago. The basic concept is a summer camp for girls who form bands and learn music. They all write an original song and perform it live. The camp is really designed to empower girls through music education. It’s sort of about encouraging girls to have a comfortable space to be loud and make noise and to collaborate with each other. About 50 volunteers come to teach, with a largely female volunteer core for female mentoring. We know the music industry is still a male-dominated field. We’re trying to provide more opportunities to learn about who they are.
Is it growing and becoming more popular?
It is, we don’t have the capacity to take the number of girls who apply and we don’t even advertise. It’s a small-scale thing and we have about 60 to 70 girls attend each summer. We work out of an elementary school campus. We really want to make it acceptable to every single girl who would wants to do it and financial support is given to half that attend. Money is not an acceptable barrier for girls to not attend. People really are crazy about it.
You work with Jason Mraz on a regular basis. How is it to work with him?
We work with him on an ongoing basis, but we don’t have any songs on his new release. There’s a song we co-wrote with him called “Collapsible” that came out on a movie soundtrack for the film, The Big Fix. It’s a documentary about the BP oil spill.
We started working with him in 2007 and it’s really, really great. We write with him, so a couple times a year, we’ll go down to his house in Oceanside and be in a studio there and just spend some time writing songs. It’s been comfortable and we have some creative collaborations. It’s all about getting back to the basics, writing and sharing ideas. His status is able to help us foray into a large arena.
Any last words for QSaltLake readers?
We put out a record last summer called The Good Match. We’ll be playing material off that album as well as some other favorites at the show. We can’t wait to see everyone!