RAKIB ERICK Coming of age

Perth musician and filmmaker Rakib Erick was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and moved to Australia in his late teen years. After beginning writing music in 2005 and starting a filmmaking career in 2011, he has built an impressive catalogue of work in both fields, culminating in the release of his new video clip AOA (Age of Anxiety) in February. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Rakib Erick to find out how he developed his craft by embracing diverse genres of music, and why after originally writing AOA as a teenager, he now finally felt it was time to release it to the world.

Congrats on the release of your new video for AOA! How long has it been in the works for and how does it feel to be releasing it?

I originally wrote Age of Anxiety shorter for “AOA” way back in 2010 when I was a teenager. I recorded it with an old rusty acoustic guitar and midi drums onto my beat up laptop but I had to shelve it due to situations that arose in my life.

I came back to it in 2020 when the pandemic started and decided to re-record the song in the studio. I don’t know why but this track felt like some sort of an inner calling for me. Even though it has been a decade long wait, the timing now felt right, both for me and with the people who were involved in the process of the studio recording and the video production.

I have been wanting to share this song for so long, and now that it is out in the world, it feels so great to be honest.

It seems your music is a blend of several different styles. Is that a deliberate approach or more a reflection of what you appreciate and listen to personally?

When I started out as a musician, I never truly followed any specific genre. I love music in general and that means any kind that suits my mood and feeling. It can be electronic, trance, indie rock, grunge, punk etc.

The music I create, leans more towards indie rock, synthwave/electronic and ambient genres. However, I believe a musician shouldn’t get stuck or limit themselves to a specific genre. Music is evolving nowadays, so finding your own sound is really important, and I aim to continue to experiment and grow into other genres.

How did you originally get into music? Were there any artists, or even people you knew, in particular that you felt shaped your sound?

My biggest inspirations are Michael Jackson, Billie Joe Armstrong, Julian Casablancas, The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. As a kid, I was inspired by these artists and bands, and I started playing around with FL studio and some piano software way back in 2004. I was just a kid making random electronic noises, with no idea and no aim. I was making it for myself and it was just fun.

But after watching the concert Bullet in a Bible on DVD by Green Day everything changed and I got into music seriously. I got my first guitar in 2006 and started playing full time and a few months later formed a band called Septentriones. Unfortunately, that band was only active for three years. After which, I went solo as an artist. I grew up in Bangladesh and I was exposed to variety of music scenes and culture.

And how do you feel your most recent music, and in particular AOA, is different from what you have done before?

If you hear my other singles, AOA is very different. It is the heaviest and upbeat song I have done so far. I am a huge fan of indie rock so exploring this genre was quite fun! AOA is a song about authenticity, ending war and loving the nation and the world. People who are in similar situations may be able to relate. AOA is my personal favourite track.

How about lyrically? What do you find yourself writing songs about and how important is that as a whole?

Writing songs from different perspectives is one of the most challenging things, I believe. I write songs based on my feelings and my life experiences. Whenever I write lyrics, I try not to think too much about it; I’d rather let my feelings speak for themselves. And when there’s a subject I feel passionately, the lyrics just naturally flow.

If you listen to my songs on Spotify or Youtube you will see for example, Unfinished Tales of Middle Earth is a song about love-hate relationship between a king and a queen from Middle Earth, and the inspiration came from watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hidden Tail is a song about the philosophy of life and the mental struggle a person goes through when they can’t leave a toxic relationship. Modern Clocks is a song about how a child’s toxic environment can affect his or her adult life and relationship with others and they repeat the same cycle with their children but are not willing to break it. Persian Girl is a song about every woman on earth who has been through traumatic experiences in life but stood up for themselves at the end.

I am not a fan of giving away the meaning of each song I write. I let the audience decide what they want to feel from it. I’ve written songs about people I know, but they don’t know the song is about them – and I’d like to keep it like that.

How have you gone about capturing these songs on record? Who did you enlist in that process and how did that shape the result?

Mason Vellios has been my producer of all the songs that I have released so far. When it comes to making music I usually make demos on my laptop, acoustic or electric guitar and then present it to Mason. Mason always says to me “Yaaaa dawwwg, you brought me a half sandwich – gotta make it full bro!”

He then takes his own approach to it and puts in his own flavour and the song becomes something special. Whenever we are in the studio we like to experiment a lot and on some occasions I rock up to his studio and I go like “let’s make a song that has some middle eastern vibe to it” and we just go from there.

Mason is a great film composer as well. You should check him out on social media at @masonvellios

What’s next for you for the rest of 2022 and beyond? Any more new music, videos, or live shows we can look out for?

I am working on my first ever studio album called Metafiction. I am hoping to release it this year. As you know as an independent artist you’ve got to manage everything by yourself.

So far, I have released four singles from the upcoming album (AOA, Unfinished Tales of Middle Earth, Hidden Tail and upcoming single Persian Girl) and I am super excited to share the album with you all. I am planning to perform live during my album launch and I will start looking for shows as soon as I have a manager. Also I am working on a new music video.

I really enjoyed the video clip for AOA and was impressed by the quality of the performances and the production. Who was involved in creating this and what was the experience like?

This is the only music video where I didn’t do any planning nor rehearsals for the shoot. I just told the cast and crew that “It’s a children’s playground – let your inner kid out and dance to the beat of the song. There will be a dance-off scene between two groups. Don’t think too much!”

We rocked up to the shoot and filmed for three hours. The video was produced, directed and edited by myself and cinematography was done by Christian Kennedy. All the cast members were amazing. The main reason this music video feels complete because of our main cast member Briana Esmé McGeary was unbelievable on set. Her energy and charisma is unmatched by anyone else.

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