By Kennedy Pawluk
R.Ariel is a multi faceted artist.
After exploring her creativity through photography for many years, she recognized herself lacking the same satisfaction that her art-form once provided. So she looked to a new platform for creative expression. Already surrounded by musicians and filled with a love for music, she began writing songs and producing. Eventually these songs formed her first full-length album Histories. The album has a solemn tone and largely features guitar while heavily leaning on vocal melodies to focus the tracks. There’s a crucial lo-fi experimental theme throughout the album that has become an R.Ariel signature.
Since Histories, R.Ariel’s albums have leaned heavier on electronics progressively more and more through each album.
“I feel pretty flexible when it comes to my musical choices and I don’t really feel stuck to any one thing but this next album is definitely more electronic. Electronics for the win.” Despite infusing electronics into her upcoming album Oh, independently released on November 1, the lead single “Told” maintains familiar aspects of past works. The vocals hold a lo-fi tone, but on this track in particular, it sounds more purposeful than in the past. This is chiefly a result of the improved production from her last album Identified Demon, which was released in 2016.
Unlike many artists who have gone through this progression, R.Ariel has not lost the rawness that is key to her discography. The beats glide through the track parallel to trip hop beats, maintaining dynamics and not getting carried away or distracting in the low-key vibe of the rest of the song.
In the past R.ariel has attributed much of her inspiration to her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. However, her upcoming release will be the first instance where the city no longer holds primary sway over the artist.
“I don’t actually feel as closely connected to Phoenix as I have with past albums. It’s the first album that is definitely not Phoenix based and I didn’t even notice that that had really changed,” she considers.
“I think with this album I wrote a lot more inwards than I normally do, rather than writing about external experiences. This album is a lot more about myself and so I guess it’s a reflection of a positive thing. I think it’s more about fiercely loving myself.”
Since releasing her first album in 2014, R.Ariel has been known for expansive touring. It’s rare to see independent artists at her level put such an emphasis on touring internationally, especially when they originate from the U.S.A. where there’s such a large market to be tapped.
“I really just wanted to see what other music communities are doing and I really like sharing with an international community. My huge goal would be to tour Japan or Mexico, but financially this shit is insane a lot of the time and I’m always running off such low finances that I’ve kind of stopped the dreams for a little bit. I feel like being from the U.S., you can get stuck in this little bubble rather than trying to see outwards and what other people are getting into.”
This upcoming tour includes 37 dates over a six-week span.
“There are so many good bands on this tour and I’m really excited to perform again,” she says of the trek.
“I haven’t really performed for a year so I’m excited to get into that and just share my shit with people”
R.Ariel’s new album Oh is out independently on November 1. She will perform November 12 at the Sewing Machine Factory (Edmonton), November 14 at the Nite Owl (Calgary) and at a location TBA on November 15 (Lethbridge). Hear her at https://rariel.bandcamp.com/Nite Owl, Oh, Phoenix, R.ariel, Sewing Machine Factory