Q&A — Ramakhandra Stands on Solid Ground With New Single “Minogame”



Denver-based band Ramakhandra makes music that tears cosmic-sized holes in our physical and spiritual reality, tempting us to peer into other, more psychedelic dimensions of sound and space. It’s music for communing with celestial spirits residing in the far reaches of existence, secret truths emanating from them that open one’s eyes to the mysteries that belie all that is.

Their new single, “Minogame,” however, finds the band returning to Earth, solid ground beneath their feet. The band spoke with 303 Magazine ahead of the single’s release party on June 29th at the Fox Theatre about the truth inherent to creation, band cohesion, their creative process and more.

READ: Ramakhandra Release Cosmic Jazz Juggernaut “Andromeda Soup Dumpling”Ramakhandra303 Magazine: Your music confidently defies convention, giving it an earnest and singular feel that’s unlike a lot of what’s out there these days. Can you speak about your commitment to uniqueness and how you achieve such a distinct sound?

Ramakhandra: When we get into writing, we never sit there and straight up think “How can we make this unique or unconventional?” Our thoughts are more focused on experimenting with new techniques and ideas that flow between each of us individually. As that gels into a collective voice, we augment the idea as we go along until the song basically writes itself.

Usually, one of us will start with a single idea and we will all jam on it together for some time until it develops itself more. Our writing process is more akin to writing a composition. We always write the instrumental aspect of the music first. Then, Annastezhaa (lead singer and harp player) adds the vocals and lyrics after the experience of the music comes more into focus. “Minogame” was started from bits and pieces written by Annastezhaa on harp, then we added to it until it took on a life of its own.

It’s easy for people to exoticize us because of our instrumentation and song structures, but the reality is that there are just so many possibilities for writing a song. There is evidence of this in all the great music of the world. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with tapping into those possibilities, which inspires us to enjoy ourselves and try different things. We each have different backgrounds and tastes so a lot of the color in our music comes from giving each member equal power in songwriting.

Creating something true is hard if you are not honoring yourself, your perspectives, your imagination and your dreams. We make an effort to protect this process for ourselves before we put anything into the world so that whatever we end up with feels as natural as possible. The fact that there are people all over the world who find positive experiences in our music for themselves makes us very lucky.


303: I’m interested in the line “You’ll never be the only one,” which is often repeated throughout “Minogame.” Can you elaborate on the meaning of the line as well as some of the deeper meaning of the song as a whole?

Ramakhandra: We don’t usually reveal too much about the meanings of our songs, because we want people to hear whatever they need to hear. Besides that, each song is usually such a collage of feelings, experiences and metaphors. Sometimes there is no deeper meaning at all, and that’s just what we enjoyed playing at the time.

However, the song does touch on ideas of death, whatever is beyond death and experiences in life that open a door to the unexplainable and the metaphysical. It connects us to the idea that there is an innate oneness of existence and all that is, whether or not we are aware of it or behave in accordance with it.

“You should know that I will always be with you” is basically a way to say, “Nothing here lasts forever, but you might as well love fully and courageously as if it does.” That kind of love can connect you to anyone and anything, beyond space or time.

303: Your music has previously been described as “transmissions from another world,” referring to its ethereal quality, yet this one feels a bit more “of the Earth,” if you will. It feels like I hear notes from other artists — not in an emulating way but inspirationally — as well as references to literature, religion and science. Are there any artists or works of any medium you’d say helps inform your music and this song in particular?

Ramakhandra: We are inspired by any and everything creative. We’re hugely into Anime and any kind of visual art. Annastezhaa drew from Taoist and Buddhist concepts and other metaphysical writings as well as astronomical concepts when writing the “Minogame” lyrics.

This song ended up feeling more down to earth as a way to create solid ground for ourselves — especially with the impact it has made online — in the midst of dealing with the music industry and how disconnected we can sometimes feel from it. It’s a very powerful song, conceptually and physically.

303: One thing I’d really like to talk about is how well your rhythm section meshes with each other. This really stands out in this song as the drums drive the track while there are those moments of deep and heavy bass. This is all beautifully tied together by the harp and keys. Can you speak a little about how you achieve such cohesion on an instrumental level?

Ramakhandra: It is always exciting to hear the perspective of our listeners and explore what our approach is. Our writing structure has always had more of a reactive approach. We’ve always viewed all four of us as sharing roles across sections of the band. In traditional terms, we don’t see our roles as having exclusivity and we all have the opportunity to play both rhythmically and melodically. The drums respond heavily to what the harp is doing, mimicking some of what is heard in the moment, while the bass and synth will interpret the idea how they see fit. Everything is collaborative. At times, we find ourselves unintentionally rotating the roles of who leads and where to follow spontaneously. A key reason why we are able to play so locked in is the indestructible amount of trust we put into each other sonically. The bass and drums recorded this specific track together — every take was done together — making each section have a unified, singular sound.


303: Finally, what do you have coming up? Any shows or other releases you’re particularly excited about?

Ramakhandra: We have been working in the shadows, collaborating with some of our favorite brands on exciting new events to complement the rollout of our batch of singles for the year. We’re keeping most of it a surprise for now but will have a big announcement this July.

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