Four-piece band The Ravens had the honour of being the last ever band to play Live@YP in our old office in Tai Po last month, where they sang Pretender by the Foo Fighters, 4Ever by The Veronicas, and Famous Last Words by My Chemical Romance.
Following their awesome unplugged session, we caught up with 15-year-old Jockey Club Ti-I College students Stephanie Sheena Chan, Katie Kam Hoi-tung, Candy Lau Man-yan, and Rachel Leung Po-yee to talk about playing acoustically, song writing and how the band started.
How did The Ravens start?
Sheena: The Ravens started when Katie, Candy, and I – a drummer – joined the school’s rock band club. We found Rachel, our singer, immediately. Katie switched from playing bass to guitar, and Candy from keyboard to bass.
How did you choose your band name?
Sheena: We were doing an English literature project, and we learned about the writer Edgar Allen Poe. He was so interesting that we decided to name our band after his most famous poem, The Raven.
Who are your influences?
Sheena: We love bands like Foo Fighters, Muse, and My Chemical Romance, but we’re learning about new bands all the time. At the start, we were inspired by a band that covered Foo Fighters, called The Warning. After [we heard them], we knew that we [wanted to] cover big rock bands that way too.
What was it like performing Live@YP?
Candy: The venue and set-up was colourful and comfortable, and we felt really relaxed while performing. We had practised beforehand with our acoustic instruments to get comfortable playing the unplugged versions as well. It was a lot of fun getting to use a Cajun percussion box and an acoustic bass, but we had a bit of trouble with how loud or how quiet we were.
Why did you choose those three songs?
Candy: Those are our current favourite songs. Pretender is our signature song, 4Ever sort of tells the story of our lifestyle, and Famous Last Words is our “big picture” song.
Did you have to change the way you played the songs to make it work acoustically?
Sheena: Yes! I had to learn how to play a Cajun [percussion box], and my drum solo part on 4Ever was taken off.
Rachel: I had to figure out how project my voice, as I didn’t have a microphone.
Katie: I noticed there was quite a different style and feel to playing my leads on an acoustic guitar unplugged. It was much quieter. We decided to stay with my leads rather than go to chords, though, because we wanted to keep our own sound [as much as possible].
You’ve only performed covers so far – how will you go about writing original music?
Rachel: Candy and I have been trying to write lyrics down in a journal when we experience different emotions and events.
Sheena: We’re also going to a songwriting workshop with our English teacher and rock band club manager, Scott Linder.
For those who haven’t seen you play live, how would you describe your live shows?
Sheena: Hard, guitar-driven girl power!
What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
Sheena: Playing at YRock in Discovery Bay. That was our first big event in public with a big audience, not just our peers at school. It was incredible. The atmosphere was great, and the crowd was super excited. We were a bit nervous, but once we got started it was electrifying. It was fun, getting to meet other bands and experience an international culture.
What did you learn that you’ll take forward to future competitions?
We learned that we have to interact with the crowd more, and have a lively performance when onstage, not just play our music well.
What are your goals for 2018?
Katie: Write some original songs, practise more awesome guitar solos, and perform on bigger stages.
Sheena: And to perform whenever, and wherever, we can!
Have there been any challenges to overcome so far as a band?
Sheena: Moving equipment, ha!
Edited by Ginny Wong