Share this event:
Proudly partnered with:
When we last saw Raf Rundell he was stood in a clearing, dressed in a shaman’s robes with a modern day magik staff raised above his head. Looking like the special guest DJ at a post apocalyptic orbital rave, South London’s finest looked ready to take on all comers. As one half of the 2 Bears and the self-styled Selfie Boy, he was finding his feet as a solo artist – his first mini LP (the Adventures of Selfie Boy Part 1) was garnering glowing write-ups in the rock press as well as electronic magazines. But just after the record was released, the world around him changed forever.
Put side by side, the birth of a new child and the rapid rise of a generation of Post Truth politicians don’t appear to have much connection. There’s Question Time and there’s story time; nappies filled and Nigel Farage; the dummy and the Donald. But seen through the eyes of a sleep deprived post-millennial two-time dad, these seemingly separate occurrences knot together into one paranoid, helpless, loving whole called Stop Lying.
“I think Stop Lying feels fairly apposite for our time; it’s my regular cry of help and sanity. It’s the result of a bit of pub talk between me and a friend, the best kind of ‘high’ concept really. It was a desperate cry in the lead up to the last General Election and it quickly became a mantra that I shouted at the TV the whole time. It’s ended up working pretty well with my children,… and myself”
One can’t be certain if it’s the age we live in or the age of his youngest that’s most heavily influenced Stop Lying – whichever it is, it’s managed to make something pretty close to a perfectly reflective post millennial pop record. And it’s Raf’s most confident and strident set of songs to date.
“I think of it as quite a domestic record. At the start of the album, there’s a load of found sound that’s me coming in a six in the morning from a DJ gig. You can hear the dawn chorus and the jangling of keys; then I’m in the house and the role changes – I’m dad now with all the highs and lows that comes with that role. Two hours before, I’m playing music to the night creatures, then I’m back home and the baby’s up having a bottle and everyone’s rattled on no sleep. That’s the backdrop to how the record came together. It’s the sound of a scared, sentimental middle aged man… if that middle aged man has been out DJing in a rum old gay dungeon just underneath the City Road.”
While it takes its cues from the gloriously eclectic Selfie Boy mini-album, Stop Lying is a huge step on for Raf, a record that’s sonically both supremely confident and brilliantly consistent. From Every Morning’s sunny side up swing to the knock ‘em down swag of Ric Flair via Sweet Cheek’s ultra-disco (featuring a full-on house diva vocal from a local boy named Jovis), Falling Out ’s Pet Shop Boys lost on the floor at Sink the Pink and In Control’s beatless Blockheads workout, it’s the musical story of modern day London mapped out, where all the worries, stresses and inevitable releases are pumped through a decent pair of headphones. It’s a city where Ric Flair’s protagonist needs to make much money to buy for booze for his kids while across a Cure-in-space lament (Kinder Nature) a plea is made for a better way of interaction. Less lying, maybe.
To complement the candid nature of Stop Lying’s lyrics, the record comes housed in a sleeve that reflects the same everyday paranoias.
The sleeve was painted by my mate Ben Edge. A brilliant painter who was in a great band called the Spivs. It’s a portrait full of signifiers, like a modern day Bosch or something! It’s me in the middle of the estate I live in surrounded by demons, the kind of things that swirl into view when the sun’s rising outside. One of them has got a disco ball for a head and is clutching a baby’s bottle – I’ve been that chap a few times, I must admit.”
One of the conclusions drawn from Stop Lying’s soul search is that there’s hope out there in any number of hyper-personal situations.
“I find the world an incredibly confusing place at the moment, I don’t think I’m alone feeling that. More and more I’m realising that everybody needs that spot where they can allow their passions to shine. I see it at free parties and in some nightclubs. I see it in the grimy local or at Crystal Palace watching football. There are people at all of those things and they’re in their spot and it’s their release, their happy place, it doesn’t matter whether they’re winning or whether they’ve got to head home to change nappies afterwards. It’s an important part of all of us, that escape route… however mundane or fruity that may be. Somewhere to be true to yourself.”
Sounds like a plan. Whether it’s raising your voice in the stands or standing beneath the dripping sweat on the dancefloor, you know this year’s battle cry. Two words that mean everything and nothing. Stop Lying.