by Chris Fox
February 2009

Red - photo by Caleb Kuhl

photo by Caleb Kuhl

The self defined, modern rock band that favors the heavy stuff, RED, heads out on tour in support of their second major label record, “Innocence & Instinct.” This quintet has made their presence known by harnessing the heavy elements of their rock and metal roots while allowing organic elements to make appearances in their music. The use of keyboards and various orchestral instruments are commonly heard throughout their music. It is in the guitar progressions that the true elements of heaviness come out and their influences, ranging from Mozart to the Deftones, start to really surface. As Jasen Rauch (guitar) explains, the new album is congruent with their previous material, but the sound is maturing.

Drawing from their deeper inspirations RED writes songs that are about “things that may be too personal for people… but our music goes far deeper than the first couple layers of skin,” Rauch explains. Their inspiration is based on their “surroundings and environments, but not necessarily on a tangible level,” Rauch continues, “personal integrity becomes one of the most important parts of the music.” The band has a religious element to their music, but they are far from a typical Christian Rock outfit. As Rauch explains, “the only religious element is a universal thing. We are just claimed Christians, but our music is honest, and not preachy.” They strive to make their music connect at a personal angle and enhance that universal feeling, “if we were Buddhists we would let everybody know we were Buddhists” says Rauch. Needless to say you won’t hear these guys inciting praise directly or calling to a savior in their music. As Rauch explains, it becomes about universality. These guys love their music, and strive to simply make good music and remain connected with their audiences. “We are entertainers and that is what we do… but the real job, as a musician, is connecting with people,” and they are truly fan oriented always trying to stay connected and meeting fans at shows.

RED strives to be at the top of their game both onstage and in the studio. They are constantly touring and playing live is always an important aspect, but we always have new ideas flowing, explains Rauch, so much so that they even have a portable studio right on their tour bus. “Not everybody realizes the sacrifice it takes to ‘get there’” explains Rauch, “working hard live and in the studio with little or no pay for years before you are successful, and we aren’t rich by any means.” Realizing that as musicians they have a responsibility to connect with and entertain their audiences.

Brotherly love is a term that hits amazingly close to home with these guys. Randy Armstrong (bass, keyboard, vocals) and Anthony Armstrong (guitar, vocals) are not only brothers, but they are identical twins. As Rauch explains, they not only look the same, they sound the same, “it is great because then we can add an element to the band that almost nobody else can do. We can easily do live layering of vocals and meld such things.” The band has adopted this ideal for the entire band, as they all understand the connection with each other, and attempt to convey that the their audience. Just as Rauch explores the most profound thing he’s seen in all the touring, “being on tour with big bands, like Sevendust, we get to see how human they really are. My idols are all going through the same stuff that we are.” Shrinking the world seems to be a daunting task that RED is succeeding at.

The Nashville based rockers will be in Madison at the Orpheum on February 17, as well as an in store signing at Best Buy on the west side. RED plans on being on the road for at least the next year, and Rauch says that there are things on the horizon, but nothing certain yet. Their thundering live performance will make you realize that they love what they do. Just as Rauch explains in closing our conversation, “that’s the best part, it’s so cliché, but it is being able to look back and realize that I am doing what I have always wanted to do.”

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