RFA Brings the Sounds Of Summer to Philly

Local Philly act RFA is carving out a niche for themselves through some great live performances around the City of Philadelphia. As they gear up for more local shows along with an upcoming tour of the Mid-West, RFA’s Dan Cousart sat down with Rock On Philly to talk about their music and growing popularity among concert-goers.

Rock On Philly: You guys are at the heart of a wave of young and emerging acts in Philly at an exciting time here in the City for new acts and new music. Tell us about your background as to how RFA formed and your story as far of the beginning of your music so far?

Dan Cousart: We formed sophomore year of high school at the lunch table when we all found out we liked some of the same bands. We were originally a three-piece until we added our friend Steve to the group on bass the following year. We then started playing shows around the suburbs and began playing some original songs. Things started to change for us when we put out our first EP. People started to look at us as more than just a crappy high school cover band. We then started to play more and more frequently, recorded another EP then entered in a WXPN competition last August. We ended up winning some recording time so we used that to make our most recent EP. Our friend Steve moved up to Boston for college so we added Brendan to the group. Since we’ve moved in to Philly, things have been really cool. We have really taken to the house show scene and love meeting people involved in the whole D.I.Y. thing. People seem to like us too for the most part, so that makes the shows even more fun.

ROP: You guys have an EP out and a great live show to go along with it that is catching the attention of many people at different levels of the local music scene from concert-goers to fixtures of local radio, what has your experience been like as a new band in Philadelphia been like and what have been some of the highlights of that experience?

DC: We’re glad that people are starting to pay attention to what we’re doing. It’s been a gradual process, but we’re definitely happy with the progress we’ve made. One of the biggest highlights was definitely getting to work with John Vettese from XPN. He’s really helped us out, and we all really love XPN so it was super cool to meet the guy we listen to on the radio. The XPN session we did with him was really a great experience. We even got to sign the artist’s wall across from Sonic Youth, so that was most definitely a highlight. The Live at Five thing for 104.5 was really cool as well. We had never done an acoustic show before, so it was a nice change of pace. We’ve made two music videos in the past few months, both were extremely fun to make. We also got to talk with some of the guys in The Districts for a bit at a party through our friend Caitlin McCann who made our “Freaking Out” video. That was also really cool ‘cause they’re a band who we really look up to in a lot of ways.

ROP: Your guy’s music carries a really cool vibe that really registers with your audience, especially in your live performances. It has a bit of an early Weezer-esque sound to it and strongly resonates of many of the great indie/garage rock noises around the national music scene right now, what are some of the biggest influences to RFA’s sound?

DC: It really varies. We’re all into many different kinds of music. We all listen to Ray Charles and we all love The Orwells. I guess the music that has had the biggest impact on our sound would be punk rock, early Rock n’ Roll and more melodic forms of music, stuff like the Beatles. We all bring something different to the table.

ROP: You have been making a name for yourselves and have a great buzz surrounding your band having been very much on the local scene-radar including your entry in the Beta Hi-Fi Competition and The Key Studio Session performance with WXPN, as well as your ranking by Radio 104.5 in their Top 25 Local Bands list and a performance at one of their “Live At Five” Friday streaming studio sessions. What do you guys have coming up next?

DC: We have a Midwest tour coming up in July, and we’re finishing up the tour with a Daytrotter session. Besides that, we’re playing as much as we can around the city and the suburbs.

ROP: As you have begun to really establish yourselves locally, where regionally might you be looking to start to expand your reach to next in terms of building RFA’s audience?

DC: We really want to try to create a big fan base here, and then I guess the dream would be in places like Chicago, Nashville, Brooklyn or wherever else. We take it one step at a time, but Philly’s definitely the place that matters most to us.

ROP: What have been some of the unique things about Philadelphia that you have noticed or experienced that you see as components that comprise the identity of our music scene that is yet again establishing itself nationally as a music city?

DC: It’s really a big yet incredibly small city simultaneously. We’ve experienced both the West Philly and North Philly scenes, and the more shows you play or go to, the more and more people you begin to recognize. The communities are pretty tightly knit, and everyone is pretty cool for the most part. I guess a lot of cities don’t have that, and we’re really thankful that we are beginning to become a part of it.

ROP: What do you love the most about music and, ultimately, what is your long term vision as far as where do you want to go with it?

DC: The best is playing live and seeing people enjoying what we’re doing. It means a lot when people tell us they like our stuff. We’re music fans too, so we really appreciate people’s positive responses. We ultimately want to take it as far as we can. If we could make a good living doing this, that’d be awesome. If we could play big tours, that’d be incredible.

Be sure to check out RFA’s music and come out for one of their upcoming shows here in Philly!

Featured Image by Stephanie Defeo /Solidstares Photography

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