Formed back in 2017, originally under the name Raavi And The Houseplants, Raavi is the Brooklyn based quartet, led by queer-desi songwriter Raavi Sita. After originally finding their feet on the Boston DIY scene, Raavi relocated to Brooklyn and began work on the music that would become their upcoming EP, It Grows On Trees. Like so much music we’re hearing this year, It Grows On Trees was born from the emotionally alien landscape of pandemic life, what Raavi describes as, “two years of worldly idleness”. With the EP due out next month via the Barcelona-based label Beauty Fool Records, Raavi recently shared the EP’s second single, Chorus Girl.
Described as a song about, “watching crises unfold among her loved ones and herself”, Chorus Girl taps into a similar sincere and melodic musical world as bands like Forth Wanderers or Pansy, where 90s alt-rock guitars meet emotive lyrical howls, as Raavi repeats the refrain, “I’m gonna cave, I’m gonna cave”. The track follows on from the earlier single, Lazy Susan, “an internal pep talk”, set to a sprightly guitar line and bassy rumble. The track was inspired by an exploitative job and Raavi re-evaluating her self-worth, reflected in the lyric as she sings, “I am trying not to go backwards, but I’m stuck catching up to you, and you think you could understand your free-ranged brand raised in private school”. It may have emerged from a period of enforced inertia, yet, It Grows On Trees feels contrastingly mobile, the sound of a songwriter defining their place in the musical landscape and starting to bloom.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Raavi?
I’m Raavi the person (Raavi Sita) and there’s also Raavi the band! We’re based out of Brooklyn now but we’re from Boston – we got our start in DIY. We make indie rock music and our most recent EP pulls inspo from 90s alt rock, emo, math rock, and indie pop. Our band members are: Justin Termotto (Guitar/Production), James Duncan (Bass) and Jason Block (Drums).
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The first ever show for this project was at a small festival in Cambridge called Hindi Rockfest in the fall of 2016. My dad was an active member in the local South Asian art scene and a family friend put the festival together, sooo I guess you could say I’m a bit of a nepotism baby lol. As you could imagine, it was basically just meant to showcase local South Asian musicians. Me and James were in a different band earlier in high school. I eventually left that project because I was starting to get embarrassed by it but he pushed me to keep writing my own songs. We got a 20 minute set of originals together for this event and played it as a duo. Most of what I was writing back then was a far cry from what this project has become, but I do believe we played a very early version of the song Just to Live which eventually ended up on our debut record, Don’t Hit Me Up.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Honestly, if I could draw I would 100% be writing comics or working in animation instead but music just ended up being the thing I had an aptitude for. That’s not to say I’m settling for this artform though. I’ve always felt incredibly moved by music just as a listener. It helped me connect with people in my life at a very early age and that made navigating the world a little bit easier and definitely more fun. I’ve always liked how dynamic of an artform it was. Enjoying music can be both a social act and something deeply personal. In that way, it’s limitless.
As I got into songwriting, I started feeling this visceral satisfaction with finishing a song. It’s not necessarily just the catharsis I would get from working through all my emotions lyrically, but a satiating act similar to finishing a massive jigsaw puzzle or completing a difficult equation. It’s almost like a game I play with myself: trying to constantly write a song more interesting than the last. I feel like I’m making it sound really lame but what I’m trying to get at is just how uniquely good it feels once all the pieces finally come together.
FTR: What can people expect from the Raavi show?
Good vibes and like seven reminders that we have merch in the back. But yea, I think we work hard to have a really tight set. Everyone in the band is really good at what they do and it’s always a good time playing with them.
My ADHD brain also makes the whole public speaking aspect of this job a bit messier – especially when I’m going from high intensity focus on something I’ve rehearsed a million times (playing a song) to a break in the set, when I’m changing tunings or introducing the next thing. I think James really helps me out with the banter though – he should probably get his own mic at this point.
Overall, my favorite shows are the ones where the audience is meeting me with the same informal energy and we can kind of have a silly little back and forth between the songs.
FTR: What’s next for Raavi?
Our EP It Grows on Trees will be dropping May 13th (through Beauty Fool Records) and we are gonna celebrate it with a release show at Elsewhere Brooklyn on May 18th. We’re super excited for that show and we’ll be playing with some of our NYC faves, Jachary and Earth Dad! It’ll be the kick-off of our May/June tour, which spans the East Coast and a bit of the Midwest.
As for what’s next after this release, we are working on setting up some more short tours in the summer, I might play a few gigs in Barcelona solo, and then it’s off to recording the next big thing.
They Listen To…
Dora Jar – Tiger Face
Tegan and Sara – Red Belt
Hiatus Kaiyote – Sparkle Tape Break Up (Mndsgn Remix)
Gollylaging – Your Party
JW Francis – Cars
It Grows on Trees is out May 13th via Beauty Fool Records. For more information on Raavi visit https://raavioli.bandcamp.com/.