In the Limelight | Rhode Island Band Rather Nice is on its Way of Becoming a Household Name

D. Blais: Please introduce yourself to our readers?

Rather Nice: Hey, we’re Rather Nice. We’re an Indie Pop band from Johnston, Rhode Island, USA. Our members include:

  • Joe Johnson, vocals and rhythm guitar;

  • Jack Frenier, lead guitar;

  • Max D’Uva, bass;

  • Oliver Littlefield, drums;

  • And Michael Monteriro, production.

D. Blais: Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

Rather Nice: We all listen to a lot of different genres. Joe listens to indie, Jack listens to blues and rap, Max listens to jazz, and Oliver listens to funk and metal. However, Joe makes the rough layout and overall structure of most songs, so we have a lot of indie influence. His main influences are bands like “Hippo Campus” and “Boy Pablo”.  Their fun sounding vibes and chord progressions were intriguing to us and we knew we wanted to make sounds like them.

D. Blais: How did you learn music?

Rather Nice: We learned most of what we know through the internet. We’ve all been in multiple school music programs, so we learned a lot during high school. Although Max learned trombone with a music teacher, we got used to the instruments we play in the band through self discovery. Also, all of us are able to play multiple instruments, whether it be keys, guitar, or drums.

D. Blais: Do you write your own music?

Rather Nice: Yes! In the beginning, we wanted to focus on playing covers and slowly transition into writing songs. However, after the creation of our first single “Waste”, new songs started coming a lot faster and soon we were able to declare ourselves as an originals band. We currently have an EP titled “Quadratic”, and are working on a second EP titled “Turtle Snake” (an old band name of ours).

D. Blais: Can we hear your music on the radio?

Rather Nice: That’d have to be a hard no. Most radio stations require you to have a record label to be aired, and we’re independent. However, we have a distributor called “Distrokid” which allows us to put our music on places like Spotify and Apple Music while obtaining all royalties we earn.

D. Blais: Have you signed a record contract or a publishing deal (if yes, under which label/publisher) or are you an independent artist?

Rather Nice: We’re independent. Our producer, Michael Monteriro, acts as our everything guy. He promotes our music, helps us network, and finds us gig opportunities. We like being independent because it allows us to be in full control of everything we do, and we can keep our all natural kind of sound. We can admit that we’re not perfect musicians, so we like to keep “happy accidents” in the recordings to make it all feel a little more real.

D. Blais: What do you think are the biggest challenges for independent artists?

Rather Nice: One seriously difficult thing about being independent is getting our music to new people. We can really only rely on how engaged our current audience is and if they spread our name via word of mouth. This isn’t such a bad thing for us because we like the personal connection we get to have with our listeners. We’re able to respond to their messages and get to grow relationships with them. That’s not possible with larger bands. 

D. Blais: Do you handle the marketing yourself? How?

Rather Nice: We market by announcements social media and anyone that Mike can get in contact with. We usually will individually text our family and friends, and make posts on the band account.  

D. Blais: Do you believe that social media has a positive financial impact on your career? How?

Rather Nice: Social media is very important to us. Without it, the marketing we do would be impossible. We can’t afford to pay for advertisements, so no one would know about us. The money we have made so far is from selling merch online. So yes, social media has a positive financial impact because we wouldn’t have anything without it.

D. Blais: What is your creative process?

Rather Nice: Joe will usually bring a layout for a song to the table with ideas for how he wants it to sound. Sometimes he writes parts for other people that they will learn. Other times, the song has nothing but rhythm guitar and the whole band writes parts for themselves. The collaboration writing is really fun, but it’s also cool to see what one member can make on their own. The first track on the next EP was written mostly by Jack, and it was interesting to see what’s going on in his head.

D. Blais: What achievement are you most proud of?

Rather Nice: We’re most proud of our EP. It took over 40 hours total to finish in the studio. For 12 minutes of music, it was incredibly challenging and even grueling. It was also interesting to write. We started “Waste” in a hotel room on a band trip.

It’s crazy to believe those two chords led to everything we’ve done so far and everything that’s coming.

D. Blais: Do you have any music videos?

Rather Nice: We planned a video for Waste and even recorded a lot of it, but then we started writing the rest of the EP and we just never had time to finish it. 

D. Blais: What is success for you?  

Rather Nice: Success for us would be to make a comfortable living off of what we do. We want to start playing a lot more shows, write more music, and release more merch. It’s always a musician’s dream to tour the world and all of that, but first we want to see some short term results.

D. Blais: Do you prefer to work in the studio or perform in concert?

Rather Nice: Performance is the best part of what we do! It’s so fun to go out, show people what you got, and make money off of it. When you’re in the studio, you’re working super hard and grinding things out. When you’re live, you’re really able to let loose and have fun.

For right now, this is more of a hobby for us. However, if things start to take off, we’d like to make this our jobs.

D. Blais: What would be your dream gig?

Rather Nice: We’ve always wanted to travel, maybe to Europe. We want people to hear our music and get to see us play live, no matter where they are.

D. Blais: What are your future music business goals?

Rather Nice: We just want to be known. As Max put it, “I want us to be a household name”. We’d love to eventually be a band that people suggest you listen to when they ask for new artists to discover.

D. Blais: What are the next steps for you?

Rather Nice: We’re always working on a new EP. We have a couple lined up, but eventually we want to work up to a debut album. That won’t be for a while though, because we’re all busy with school and work. Seeing as 4 songs took 40 hours, we don’t know how we’d find the time for 10 songs or even 12.


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