Interview with Rayko

SBS:  Really dig your new single “Gender Genocide” Rayko – thanks so much for taking the time to do an interview with us and talk about the details!  You slay the guitar, you slay the mic…these are things we know 100% so far…but for those out there unfamiliar with your music yet, what would you say the defining characteristics of it are?  Give us a little bit of history on ya…and maybe some insight into what you feel sets you apart from the rest of what’s happening out there in the music-scene right now?

Rayko:  It is my pleasure! Thanks for having me J

I still don’t know if it’s good or bad but as an “Emotional Conduit” (a term that has been used to describe my writing style J) my music crosses all kinds of genres. One of my mentors says I write from ABBA to Zappa, because when I see things, hear things, or converse with people, music starts playing in the background of my thoughts, like a sound track of emotions. I trust the process and the music writes itself. All my music is born that way.

SBS:  From the notes I’ve got here…sounds like you’re causing quite a stir with your new single. In fact, the notes I’ve got specifically mention that it’s ‘causing more than a bit of controversy’ – and I’d love to know more about that, I’m sure we all would.  I checked out “Gender Genocide” myself…and on a personal level, I found myself completely on your side of the argument and agreed entirely with the lyrics you’ve written…which…well…it makes me wonder how in the heck someone out there wouldn’t agree with your perspective & point of view!  That being said, I can completely understand that in today’s world of online trolls & what not, that there could totally be risks involved with creating a song like this as a female artist that I couldn’t even possibly think-up or comprehend as a man…I can definitely get that there could be a whole bunch of keyboard warriors out there making some pretty brutal comments. Facts are facts though, the single is killer, you stand for something important as an artist & human-being on “Gender Genocide” – and you’ve essentially created a song that’s both insightful and awesome to listen to.  Haters are gonna be haters I suppose – but in my opinion, this would be a really strange time to take a stand in the opposite direction of the #metoo movement…there’s just no argument to be had for the other side of that coin as far as I’m concerned.  So…yeah…long-winded comments from me and here I am circling back to the original question – what kind of controversy, push-back, & comments have you experienced since releasing this single?

Rayko:  I appreciate your feedback. I just feel the best when I know that music is being the bridge between myself and the listener. I am truly moved when I receive comments/feedback like yours! Thank you!

So far, there are no negative comments received, as far as I know. The only thing I experienced was “hesitation” to post the full-length video and my caption to my own video on my part. In fact, this interview and your feedback gave it a go, literally just now, for the first time. This is what I said on my Insta post — Finally sharing the full-length video of “Gender Genocide” today! Why did I wait? This issue has been with me since day one of my career in the entertainment business. There is no bandwagon about this for me. I often think the reason why, though I am very blessed to be able to make a living with music, I yet have not had a huge break yet, is because I said NO to Every Single tainted opportunity that was presented to me. If I got a big break with my music by any other reason than my music being loved by my audience I would always know how I made it, and I wouldn’t be able to live with that! No matter what happens, I am proud of myself for who I am today, and I will apply my super power against the all mighty moguls, and their abusive powers!

SBS:  How would you respond to people that might think you’re writing towards a current trend and not necessarily as sincere about the subjects & themes of “Gender Genocide” – people that might think this track has more to do with clever timing than being a part of the movement.  Essentially, what made this important to you personally Rayko…why did it matter & what made you want to add to the soundtrack of this crucial social awakening?  No different than when tribute songs pop-up right after a famous celebrity artist passes away – people can be quite suspicious when it comes to timing; how will they know from listening to your new single that overall, it’s about a whole lot more than just another song?

Rayko:  Oooo I honestly just read this. I believe I gave an answer to it above. My collaborator, Frank Kilpatrick, who helped a great deal with writing words to this piece, knows me and my history well. It was, in fact, him that gave me the encouragement to speak up. I waited to post the video until today out of some internal fear of what some of my fans might think of me, which is sad and is one of the reasons why this shit never ends. Some people would rather focus on doubting the voiceless than supporting us.

SBS:  Was it the #metoo movement in particular that brought your music into the political realm – or are there instances in the past where this has crept into your music before, perhaps in your band Lolita Dark?  Personally, I’m a big fan of the combination of music & politics; it’s always been an incredible way to help educate the masses and proven to be an effective tool many times over.  That being said, I’ve been in music-journalism long enough to know that it’s a pretty even split out there when it comes to listeners and what they want to hear…some really dig politics & music together, others view this as two completely separate entities that should never crossover.  What are your views on all this?  Clearly it was important to use your platform on the new single – but in general, do you feel like this is something that all musicians out there should be doing when it comes to social issues, politics, and education?

Rayko:  What I believe most beautiful about music is Freedom. We aren’t given a template or script, and though some seek better reviews and ratings I tend to risk being honest. I can only write and perform about what I can live with. Some are regarding topics which I will be questioning for good and let my audience know that I don’t know everything, some I know very well like “Gender Genocide”. This is why it took me forever to be able to write a love song. I would love to cause a debate between listeners about what my music projects the way other artists, like Picasso caused me to debate while growing up.

SBS:  Do you feel like you’ve ever had to compromise as an artist at some point during your career?  Concessions generally come up for every artist at some time along their journey, though they don’t always necessarily need to be made.  When is it okay to compromise as an artist when it comes to your music & career – or is it ever?  Why might it benefit you as an artist to do so – or why might it not?

Rayko:  The only compromise I’ve had, and I still struggle with this, is the production value of how I imagine my music could sound if I had all the money in the world, for both live performances and recordings. I LOVE organic instruments such as viola, cello, Koto, Taiko, the sound of wind at night inside of a cave near mountain top at 3:30am… I cannot afford that on every recording, so I am forced to compromise and go to my geek squad to get me the best midi that exist today to produce what is closest to the real stuff! For live performances my band started playing with live horns, strings, and taiko, instead of opting to play to backing tracks. We love the sound, but it is not the easiest process and can often double the cost with every single extra musician, which we pay for out of our own pockets. Not having enough money is quite often the number one reason for my fellow musicians, with huge aspirations, eventually quit music. It is heartbreaking….

SBS:  A bit of a turn from the music discussion here for a second, but certainly related topic-wise I promise…  The recent reports on the return of former stars like Louis CK and Kevin Spacey basically show that they came out of their foxholes way, way, too early to find public acceptance again so soon.  Louis CK hid from the subject entirely in his unannounced comeback show and was massively criticized for being up on stage at all – and Spacey’s latest movie reportedly made a whopping $136 total when released just a couple weeks back. Personally, I think of it like…to me it shows that there’s backbone in the #metoo movement and that the message IS being received by the public out there.  On the flipside of the coin…I also do truly believe that every person out there somehow deserves a shot at their own redemption & to be able to right any past wrongs as best they might be able to.  And of course, some never will be able to based on what they’ve done…but on a case by case basis as we all evaluate and take-in what’s happening in the different industries where the #metoo movement has become prominent – how do we know, how will we know, or will it ever be appropriate for these ‘fakes, frauds, cheaters, operators, vipers, parasites, and monsters’ to show their faces in public again?  I guess what I’m ultimately asking Rayko…is the possibility & potential for redemption something that’s actually universally applicable to everyone…and should it be?

Rayko:  I recently learned something that hit a pause button in my brain. Do you ever hear something that you would say “well, of course…” but then it really dawns on you and you are compelled to dig deeper about it?

A couple of months ago, Frank introduced me to a renowned psychiatrist named Dr. Mark Goulston (aka The Suicide Doctor). During the course of our conversation we talked about yet another celebrity who severely damaged his career by doing something very disrespectful and seeking acceptance again from the public.

This is when Dr. Goulston said “There is a big difference between regret and remorse”…..

I can’t answer for the whole world, but as a forgiven soul myself, I am genuinely remorseful for my own wrong doings. Depending on the magnitude of our mistakes we could be judged until our last breath. The only tool we have against it is the strength of our minds and our commitment to better ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

I might have derailed from your question a bit, but what I am saying here is that redemption should not play a part when we repent for our sinful acts. Genuine remorse starts and ends within ourselves. Or, for a believer, like myself, it is between the Main Man up there and I.

If you are genuine the redemption will follow.

SBS:  Truly want to thank-you for your time & answers Rayko – I’ve got a ton of respect for an artist like yourself who’s courageous enough to lead the way & use your voice as a positive force for change.  So big-ups from me and huge salute to you – I think what you’re doing with your music is inspiring and tremendously important right now.  To end this interview off right my friend, I’m inviting you to our ‘open floor’ here at SBS…where you can take a moment or two to say anything else you’d like to the fans & readers out there…I’d love to say I can cover it all in one interview but that’s nearly impossible! So I’ll leave it in your capable hands Rayko – let the people out there know anything else you’d like them to – and thank-you again!  All the best to you my friend.

Rayko:  It is my great honor to have you reach out to me, and I deeply appreciate your time and energy spent to getting to know me and my music! Thank you!

I would like to end this interview with a positive note.

Life is put together with bunch of moments. There are no good days or bad days, just a stream of good moments and bad moment. Having positive perspectives is so essential to our overall health. So, remember if you feel you are having bad moments it is not going to last. The rough patches will soon be replaced with something new. Don’t ignore the simple joy!

If you are in your living room looking for your phone you may forget to take your keys, when at the office staring at an overwhelming amount of paperwork you may miss an encouraging note your co-worker left you. You could be missing out seeing the most adorable puppy if you are focusing on a traffic jam…

Relax, breathe, life is so very short. Be as happy as you can!

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