After years of jam sessions and lots of jokes, the self-coined “rattle” band Racehorses are Resources has simultaneously released two full LP’s titled “RRR LP1,” and “RRR LP2.” Comprised of accomplished Detroit musicians Chris Peters, Quelle Chris, Michael Lapp, Nick Cicchetti and Nick Speed, the somewhat unlikely crew has banded together to put forth an experimental, improvisational and curiously intoxicating bouquet of new music.
Interviewed about the band’s origins and the newly released LPs, founding member Chris Peters and drummer, Michael Lapp, give PLAYGROUND DETROIT their individual takes on the innovative group’s cohesion (or lack thereof) and sound.
How would you describe this band’s sound or genre?
Michael Lapp: I think it’s been discussed and described to me as “future blues and rattle,” so I’m going to stick with that
Chris Peters: We started calling what we do rattle. That was a year or so ago. We need to bring back that term for it. The future blues thing was a joke.
How did you come together as a band?
ML: Chris invited me on a coffee date one day never knowing him beforehand but we really hit it off, I was having a nice time until I saw his true intentions…. I sensed it coming and he said, you know mike I heard you were a really good drummer and I was wondering if…maybe. You would consider….. and that’s where I cut him off, I said, you know I usually don’t do this after just one meeting, you seem nice enough, so I’ll play with you and your group and see how it goes.
CP: Coffee date? Is that what that was? Mike’s answer is total bullsh*t. I started Racehorses Are Resources (RRR) a few years back as a way to collaborate with other people and as an excuse to do whatever I wanted, really. I think one of the earliest songs was something I improvised on an acoustic guitar in the back of a taxi cab in Beijing, China recorded it on my phone. You can hear the driver’s car radio in it. Sometimes RRR is just me with a guitar, but most times I lean heavy on the people around me.
What are everyone’s individual strengths that are brought to the table?
CP: I think for us success is measured by the amount of fun we are having putting these songs together, setting aside most of the conventional mumbo-jumbo about what a song is supposed to be. We are obviously not the first band to approach things this way, but we sure do enjoy the liberty that comes with it.
ML: I think it’s due to the fact we are all on the same page when it comes to the process, no overthinking, finding a mutual area in the uncomfortable zone together. There are things that one might not agree on or like, but there’s no true debate- we trust each other enough and move on to the next.
CP: Right. I like to keep ideas that I don’t like at first in the mix. Discomfort in all of its various forms is very often the fuel for this thing.
Describe your creative/recording process in making the wide range of tracks.
ML: there is none, none at all, except just showing up to the studio and letting loose. We do not practice, ever, so we just get to the studio and improvise a ton.
CP: We don’t talk about things much before we start playing and recording. Too much planning and I think things will get too conventional. Songs start at Nick Speed’s place or at Zach Shipp’s place. Lots of musical barfing around and then we take either the best or the worst of it and polish it up into a song or two. It’s a lot of work for Zach and Speed. [There are] hours of recordings.
What is the meaning behind the group’s name, Racehorses are Resources?
ML: Good question…
CP: The women of the band Wild Flag were on a podcast discussing lyrics. One of them thought they heard “racehorses are resources” in a song when that was not the lyric at all. For some reason, I liked that.
What projects is everyone involved with outside of this group?
ML: I’m in a committed relationship, I think Chris hosts bingo with his retirement group, I believe Speed is starting an urban garden and collects fine china, and Nick has the best gig of all being a dad.
CP: Unfortunately Mike thinks he’s funny. There is nothing funny or true about that answer except for the bit about Nick Cicchetti being a father. Speed is heavily involved in that new Jenny Risher exhibit at the DIA. He put together a mixtape of many of the important MCs from Detroit that plays in the room while you browse Jenny’s photos. You can hear Racehorses if you walk in there at the right time. I recommend downloading that mix. I think it’s available this Friday…Nick Cicchetti and I play with the writer Steve Hughes. He does the ‘zine Stupor. Noisey heaven.
How did you release two full-length LP’s at the same time? You guys must be flowing with music!
ML: I think it was quoted just shy of over 300 hours worth of material. They lie to me a lot in the band, so that might be a lie, but there is a good chance it is not. I personally wanted to release three LPs, but I’m just the drummer so what do I know?
CP: There is a ton of material lying around. We will be recording more and putting out things more frequently. It has been too long since our last EP.
Were some of these songs older/ reworked or were you just flowing with that much material?
ML: Between Speed’s studio and Zach’s studio, there are a lot of different things being made all at different times. The band has been together for a handful of years before I joined, they were doing a lot more electronic stuff, which we revisited and I laid down some live drums on top- but I can only imagine that some of these tracks date back to the early 80’s when Chris was in the prime of his mid-twenties.
CP: More jokes. He’s hilarious isn’t he? Some songs on these two new records are brand spankin’; new, others we started a couple years ago and we dusted them off.
Describe the perfect situation for listening to this music.
ML: That’s completely up to the listener, I don’t think anyone in the band can answer that
CP: Yeah, I don’t have an answer for that.
What do you want the readers to know about Racehorses are Resources?
ML: I think our each individual broad backgrounds in music is important, no two paths have crossed until this band was formed. The mutual respect as artists and creators is there and that makes everything a breeze
CP: That you can snag our music for free on our Bandcamp page.
Do you have any upcoming projects or shows?
ML: I’ll be honest, I’m not sure- we discuss it every so often but all the focus has been on putting these albums out. I know that my mind is geared toward making a music video or two to bring in more visualization
CP: Who is paying for this music video, Mike? We just booked a cocktail party event that CCS is throwing for so we are going to have to figure out a way to do RRR as background music. This will be interesting.
LISTEN TO RRR