Hailing from Seattle, Rainwater first emerged back in 2016 with their debut album, Swimming In Sunlight. Rainwater started life as the solo project for principle songwriter, Blake Luley, at that time based in New York. Following his relocation to Seattle, Blake recruited the musicians who are now vital parts of the Rainwater sound. This collaboration is evident on their recently released second album, Saturn Return.
The record’s astrological title comes from the time when Saturn returns to the place it occupied at your birth, coincidentally or otherwise, this occurs in your late 20’s, when many of us find ourselves in a place of change and growth. The tracks on Saturn Return document those feelings; ideas of death and marriage, friendship and faith, are all dealt with throughout the album. Musically, Rainwater’s sound is reminiscent of the sleepy-Americana of early Kevin Morby, with a touch of the natural wonder of British Sea Power. At times, Rainwater get expansive and driving, at others they dabble in a more muted and restrained sonic pallete. They might be feeling the effects of Saturn’s return, but all that questioning and wonder certainly seems to suit Rainwater’s music, which has never sounded better.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Rainwater?
We’re a band based out of Seattle, WA. We play indie pop with a little bit of alt-country. The band is led by me, Blake Luley, but it’s a real collaborative effort with my bandmates (depending on who’s around could be: Stephen Steen, James Kasinger, Amy Fitchette, Drew Fitchette, Jesse Botello, Aviva Stampfer). We made this latest album, ‘Saturn Return’, together. I would bring a real basic skeleton of a song and flesh it out with the band. We recorded it in Anacortes, WA at The Unknown with our buddy Nich Wilbur and most of it was tracked live to tape. The album is all about growing up and older and we’re really proud of how it turned out!
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I played my first show of my songs with some NY friends in January 2016. We went by the name Ajnabi, and hadn’t quite figured it all out, but it was such a fun show. It was at the former Brooklyn DIY space Shea Stadium and the bill was Half Waif and Fraternal Twin. Both Shea Stadium and these two bands hold a really special place in my heart, so I can’t imagine a better way to have first shared these songs in public.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Making music has been extremely therapeutic for me. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager. Making and listening to music has consistently been the way I’ve processed my challenges with mental health, as well as any big life changes, good or bad. I also love visual art and think it’s equally as therapeutic. I’ve never advanced beyond my elementary school art class level, so I tend to just appreciate others visual art. All in all, I believe everyone should make and consume as much art of any kind as possible, regardless of skill level. It’s really good for us!
FTR: What can people expect from the Rainwater live show?
When we play live it’s usually a bit sillier than the recordings. We like to have fun. Also, our line-up shrinks and expands often because everyone is doing their adult life things, so I like to think it’s cool to see the songs performed slightly differently at most shows.
FTR: What’s next for Rainwater?
Speaking of adult life things, I’m headed back to graduate school to become an elementary teacher. It’ll be my first time entering the realm of salaried job with benefits, and leaving the realm of musician with six part time jobs to make ends meet. Honestly, Rainwater is going to slow down and just play shows when it feels right going forward. I think that’ll make the shows we do play really special though. I’ve also been writing new songs that I’m really excited about, so I do hope we can record those sometime.
They Listen To…
When we were getting ready to record ‘Saturn Return’, I made a playlist of songs that I was hoping we could channel when creating our arrangements. Here are my favorite five of those songs:
Yo La Tengo- Last Days of Disco
This song has been in my top five favorite songs since I was a junior in high school. I usually revisit this YLT album (‘…and then nothing turned itself inside out’) every fall when the leaves start changing color.
Neil Young- See The Sky About To Rain
I actually hated Neil Young at first because I had a roommate who played nothing but Neil Young and Dinosaur Jr. It took me a long time to come around, but hearing ‘On The Beach’ and specifically this song is what converted me. The lyrics, the tremelo’d rhodes, the slide, everything is just perfect on this song.
Frank Ocean- Chanel
I’m obsessed with Frank Ocean and I think this might be his best song. The off-beat vocal phrasing, the circular jazz chord progression, and the soft beat all make this a classic. On a different note, reading his interview in GQ convinced me to moisturize every day with SPF during the day and a nice night moisturizer before bed.
Emmylou Harris- Wrecking Ball
I love this song and this album so dearly. It’s a one-of-a-kind blend of country with ambient rock music. This song gets me every time. Fun fact: it’s actually written by Neil Young, but this version is way better than his version.
Mulatu Astake- Tezeta (Nostalgia)
I first heard this song waking up from a nap in the van on my first European tour with the band Air Waves. I can’t imagine a better song to hear as you emerge from slumber (thanks to Pat for the perfect timing). This song has such a deep mood and vibe going on that is pretty out there. In general, being exposed to Mulatu Astake and other Ethiopiques artists like Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou has been truly ear-opening and life changing.
Saturn Return is out now via Furious Hooves. Click HERE for more information on Rainwater.