Some compare Rapture Ruckus as the Christian version of alternative rock band, Linkin Park. Yes, there are similarities. But, ultimately, Rapture Ruckus has their own sound. A press release described their music as "a beat-driven blur between four on the floor dance grooves, explosive hip-hop and electronic pop, all wrapped around alternative rock attitude."
The Rapture Ruckus sound has also been compared to The Killers and the Black Eyed Peas. But, lead vocalist and band founder Brad Dring says Rapture Ruckus has created a sound all its own. In a press release, he says, "If you listen to our older material, we started out as a straight up hip-hop group, but slowly evolved into more of the rock and pop side with a real British, electro glam aspect to what we do. It's not rap and it's not rock; it's definitely its own thing. This is a full band with big '80s synths backed by big production both on the stage and in the recording studio."
While you most likely wouldn't find Rapture Ruckus music at your nearby church, they definitely sing the gospel. Brad says Rapture Ruckus wants to draw people closer to God, relate to them in their current circumstances. "We're just guys who are going through the same stuff as anybody else and we just want people to know that God loves [them] so much that He saved a bunch of screw ups like us."
Sound. Message. Everything about Rapture Ruckus has evolved over the years. 20 years in fact. But, all good things must--and do--come to the end. The band has officially announced that their recording and touring days are over. I connected with Brad to get more details.
Rapture Ruckus has rocked it out since the early 2000s. And, now, after a long and successful career, Rapture Ruckus is coming to an end. What brought you all to the decision to disband?
It's been a crazy ride for sure. It's like we jumped on a train and had no idea where it was going or how long the ride would be. I think I knew about a year ago that this chapter was coming to an end. And it was time to look to what's next. It was obviously a difficult decision to make after 20 years of Rapture Ruckus being my main thing. I always knew that when it was time to stop, God would give me peace about it.
I finally made the decision a couple months ago that we would play our final show at Festival One in January 2020, at our home in New Zealand. I felt this is the right way to end it and go out with a bang.
Seasons change and life happens. In this season I'm in right now, I really want to be present, at home with my family. My sons are 4 and 6. And it's important to me that I'm present and there for them. I know I've still got a lot to give and contribute to the world. It just feels like it's time for a new method and vehicle.
How's everyone adjusting to this life-changing decision?
Everyone in the band, crew and management have all been on the journey with me. So, it was definitely not a shock to anyone. I've always been blessed to be surrounded by the most talented people. And, I have no doubt that everyone is going to continue to crush it at what comes next.
Tell us about Rapture Ruckus' final single, "Don't Let Go". I think it's the perfect farewell song. What's the inspiration behind it?
I actually wrote "Don't Let Go" with our guitarist, collaborator, and big brother, Geoff Duncan in 2014. But, it just never saw the light of day. When we made the decision to wrap things up, I knew that "Don't Let Go" was the song to end with. So, we wrote a new bridge, 'You're the only one/No one like you' and finished recording it. It's just 100% on point with what the Rapture Ruckus messaging has always been; celebrating diversity and encouraging people to keep getting up and going.
Your website talks about a forthcoming EP. When can we expect it?
As of now, we won't be recording any new Rapture Ruckus music. I'd like to record a live album of our final show, but we'll see what happens there.
What does life look like after Rapture Ruckus? Can we expect any solo music?
A lot of surfing and fishing. I'll obviously still be working, but I'm sure there will still be songs being written and beats being made. I wouldn't rule it out that music could be released in the future in some shape or form. But, for now, I'm not really thinking about that. I'm excited to explore other creative outlets I've dabbled in, but never really had the time to apply myself to.
"No Matter What" is one of my favorite songs to listen to while working out. From the band's first album, to hits like "No Matter What," to now, how do you feel the band's sound has evolved? And the messages?
What's funny is that, prior to "No Matter What," all the songs had straight rap choruses. And, after "No Matter What," they nearly all had singing choruses. I remember the first time we performed that song live. By the end, the whole audience was singing along. I was like, "Yup, let's do more of those." The musical inspiration for Rapture Ruckus was always Dr. Dre, Rage Against The Machine and AC/DC: simple, catchy, punchy, and stadium.
When I look back over the Rapture Ruckus catalog, I can definitely hear different influences we were feeling at different times. Music and culture have been through many different waves over the last 20 years.
Before we moved to the U.S. in 2010, the music we were making had to work well live and sound good on my car stereo. That was the criteria. On the messaging front: in the early songs, I definitely hear a young man, new to faith, finding his voice and trying to make sense of it all. As time went on, I think I often wrote songs for that young, confused version of myself. Then, as more time went on, I wrote for people we met and the stories they shared.
What have been some of your greatest moments in the studio, recording hits like "Keep Running" and "Yet to Come"?
So many great moments. So many not-so-great moments, too. The best moments were when we've been working on an idea that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. And then, just before we give up, something happens that sends the whole thing in another exciting direction. And boom. We know we've got something special.
As a band, what have been some of your greatest memories performing live?
It's funny. When we're all together having a laugh and reminiscing, we usually only remember and laugh about the worst memories: times when everything went wrong, someone fell off a stage, no one showed up for the show, or the power went out. One time someone in the front row kept farting, making me gag while I was trying to rap. Stuff like that. There are also amazing memories: performing songs and being aware that God's spirit was present and moving in people or moving in us. It's this weird feeling of awareness that something is happening that has nothing to do with you, but you're there a part of it. The best.
For sure, Rapture Ruckus leaves behind a legacy for future rock and hip hop bands. What advice do you give to these bands and artists?
Be unique, be brave, write from your heart, and fight the pressure to conform. Always remember what success looks like to you and don't get caught chasing shiny things. Enjoy the journey because the journey is the gift.
What's next? How can we be praying for you?
Well, for now, we're focused on making this final show in January the best ever. And looking forward to spending more time back at home in New Zealand with friends and family. I'm looking forward to teaching my sons how to surf and how to play music. I'm also excited and terrified about starting a new chapter that hasn't been written yet. Pray for wisdom, pray for peace, pray for provision, and pray for waves.
You will be missed. Any last words you'd like to give our readers in closing as a band?
I'd like to thank every person reading this that came to a Rapture Ruckus show, bought a record, streamed our music, or watched a video. Thank you for letting us be part of your lives and thank you for being part of ours. Never believe for a second you're anything other than amazing, wonderful, and one of a kind. Special thanks to the NewReleaseToday crew for your support and encouragement over the years and for sharing our music and creating a platform to inspire and encourage young people in faith and spreading the positive vibes. Love well and be kind to one another.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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