The Los Angeles pop trio Raynes has plenty of material in hand according to the group’s Mat Charley. But it’s “testing the water” a bit right now with one-off single releases — including the new “Second Thought,” premiering exclusively below.
“I want to say right now we have a secret Dropbox or Google Drive that has, like 60 demos that I’ve produced, and we also have in the low hundreds of just other songs we’re kind of constantly working on,” Charley tells Billboard. “At whatever point we decide to pull the trigger we definitely have enough (songs) for an album. But right now we want to build our name and fan base song by song before we dive into some huge project.”
That strategy reflects the way Raynes came together, too.
Charley and Joe Berger, both North Dakota natives, met in college at the University of Mary in Bismarck and moved west to pursue songwriting and production careers rather than forming a band. After playing some showcases, however, they liked the idea of recording their own songs but “realized we need a real lead singer,” according to Charley. Enter Mark Race from the U.K., whom Charley and Berger found via Instagram.
“Out of the blue I messaged him and said, ‘Do you want to be in a band in America and come to L.A. and check it out?'” Charley recalls. “Within a couple hours he got back to me and said, ‘Yeah, I’d love do.’ Within 10 days we had him on a plane to L.A., and the rest is history.”
“Lemon Drop” gave the world its first taste of Raynes in October, while the harmony-laden “Second Thought” — also produced by Mighty Mike (Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, the Neighourhood) and recorded back in March — “came together quickly” and collaboratively. “Mike had some sort of very simple skeleton beat idea and we all started jamming to it,” Charley remembers. “Immediately I was like, ‘I know what this song is called. I know where it’s going!’ I wrote the lyrics for it in an hour and a half, I think, and within five or six hours the song was essentially done.”
Lyrically, “Second Thought” is “literally about having second thoughts, whether in a relationship or kind of anything,” Charley says. “It’s expressing the hesitation that comes with uncertain things and working through that.”
Raynes is hoping to play some shows next year pending Race’s travel schedule to and from England. In the meantime, the trio is continuing to stockpile songs. “We just keep writing; We’re really focused much more on that than playing anywhere real yet,” Charley says. “There’s no set date for anything. We’re hoping (‘Second Thought’ and ‘Lemon Drop’) will get people interested and let us build from there.”