Rags and Riches -INTERVIEW – Raising Awareness of Mental Health With The Beast

Today we speak to Rags and Riches, an American pop-rock band from Lexington Kentucky which features brothers Tanner & Peyton Whitt. They have recently released their brand new single called The Beast which is centred around mental health. The track represents the manic behaviour of trying to contain your inner demons and aims to raise awareness for a topic close to the duo’s hearts. I caught up with Tanner and Peyton to find out more.

Hello Rags And Riches tell us three unknown facts about yourself?

We love Stars Wars and own tons of the original action figures.

We both played baseball growing up and still love to play, when we can!

Neither of us have been outside of the United States.

How did you get into music?

Our parents were extremely into music and always listening to anything new, so that opened us up to music as a whole. They really deserve all the credit, especially because they bought us our first instruments as well.

Who do you find your inspirations? 

It is ALL OVER THE PLACE… that ranges from Queen & Led Zeppelin to Imagine Dragons & Twenty One Pilots to Kanye West & Post Malone. Haha

Definitely a wide spread of genres.

Tell us all about your latest single The Beast?

It started as a song about controlling your anger and rage and quickly turned into making changes in your life to protect and care for your mental health, while dealing with personal demons. That topic is a big part of the band and something we care for deeply. we have lost friends to suicide and have seen very close friends struggle daily. We hope that anyone who hears the track is inspired to keep fighting and reaching for stability and if it gets out of control don’t be afraid to seek therapy.

How long did it take to write the song? 

Actually, the song was started with the chorus back in 2018 and was left on the shelf until Peyton had a beat for it in September of 2020. That is when we wrote the complete song, but decided to hold off on releasing it. We knew we had a special and unique feel and didn’t want to release it until the “right time”.

Where does the inspiration for the song come from?

I think for me personally when things get difficult or overwhelming, anger is something that I(Tanner) have a hard time controlling in those situations. So, I would say based off of what the song started as, that was the initial inspiration. 

 What is the most challenging thing when it comes to producing a record?

The amount of time it takes to complete. You have this song or “baby” that you want to show off and let everyone hear/see, but there is this extended wait time that comes with it. So, definitely patience is the most challenging. Everything else is fun and extremely exciting.

Tell us about the music video for the track?

Yeah! So, the video was written by my brother Peyton, Ashton Johnson and myself(Tanner). We drew some inspiration from Joaquin Phoenix’s role as “Joker”. We wanted that darker side and the progression of what can happen if you allow your inner demons to get the best of you. The video itself is on the extreme side and the reason behind that was we wanted to feel 1000% real and authentic. Overall, it was a blast to film and we have a killer team around us for this project, including our always incredible Director/Videographer Austin Barron.

Also let’s talk tour – will there be live shows this year?

Yes, we have a few coming up and are dying to get back on the road. This has been the most difficult part of Covid. We had just finished up 130+ days on the road and then a sudden stop to it all. We miss seeing fans and exploring new places!

How do you warm up for a show?

It is always changing…we don’t have a set routine yet, but vocal warm-ups are a must and jumping up and down to get our blood flowing as our intro track is starting ALWAYS happens! Haha

What have you missed about performing on a stage?

We are both performers at heart through and through, so the feel of being on stage for one. Also, the energy of a crowd or fans singing along to one of our songs is one of the biggest achievements of our lives. There is nothing that can fill that void that has been stripped away from us by Covid.

What is one of your favourite songs  to perform live? 

It is actually an unreleased track called “Victim”. It is just one of those songs that came together perfectly and became a “Banger” live. People seeing us for the first time or anyone who has been a fan from the start ALWAYS LOVES that one live!

What are the toughest songs to perform live and why?

“Speed of Sound” for me because the vocal parts are extremely hard to sing and nail just right. Peyton would probably say, “Victim” because of the beat being so off-time throughout! 

Our site also is about improv – in a music sense, what have been some of your favorite improvised melodies that you have created and been able to use in songs and why?

That’s awesome! Always the ones that magically run through my head in the shower… not sure why, but I get all of our best improvised stuff in the shower and have to quickly get to my phone to voice memo it, so I don’t forget it. Lol

What are your plans for the rest of 2021?

More music. More music videos. Live shows back. Write, Write, Write.

And finally why should people check out your music?

Our music is all about inspiring others to go after their dreams… so, if you have a dream to achieve anything in this life… listen to RAGS AND RICHES and make it come true!

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