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10 Quick Ones with DOUG RAUSCH of RAUSCH – January 2018

According to a recent press release: “After devoting the better part of his early years to the piano, namesake frontman Doug Rausch earned his Ithaca College music degree & plunged straight into self-imposed exile. Disillusioned by how mainstream music had all but completely plateaued by the early 2000’s – culminating in an eye-opening stint at Sony Music Studios – he found himself in a decade-long campaign chasing a long-held musical vision of his own. Aside from select live engagements – including an invitation from Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess to perform at the first KEYFEST – all else was sacrificed.”  We get Doug to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

First off, thanks for this question, let alone the opportunity to speak with you today! One of the core principles of RAUSCH music has always been to reward the repeat listener. Pre-existing fans already know to give several listens (in headphones, with two [2] frozen burritos, candles, a warm bath, and one [1] giant CAKE) before even thinking about formulating any conclusions. There’s a lot going on at any given moment, nothing that a well-meaning listener can’t handle, but it’s certainly not background music! There’s a very dark Pink Floyd-inspired piece on here – well much of the album is dark, but I’m referring to the most wrist-slitting-of-all – called “The End.” It will never be on the radio; I think of it more as a painting – a musical tapestry of sorts – than an outright “song.” At any given point, there are up to 32 atmospheric soundscape elements weaving in and out across the spectrum, cumulatively coming together out of thin air to imply a recurring – and quite haunting – M7#5 harmonic backbone (for all the theory buffs!). In fact, this entire album owes much of its identity to that peculiar, often over-looked chord. Sometimes you catch it, sometimes you have to look a little harder; it’s like a “Where’s Waldo” for the augmented major 7!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I can & I can’t. I was 12 years old – so a little on the late side – but something did really hit me from out of nowhere, and just like that I knew my purpose on the planet. From that moment forward it was like, “ok, let’s get on with it then.” I was quick to catch up; foregoing any semblance of a life, I practiced my a** off during my teenage years and ultimately found myself accepted into quite the reputable conservatory (Ithaca College School of Music), where I really honed my craft (both at the piano & in the studio). So, my story involves about as hardcore of a ‘180’ as imaginable; I hated piano lessons early on – like 90% of everyone else – and it was only via the realization that I could learn & perform my own interpretations of some of my favorite music at the time (Queen, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses) on piano that I was eventually inspired to evade becoming another statistic… at least in that sense [laughs]! Finally I circled back and become a classical nerd as well. As my exposure to different musical styles diversified, so did my resulting output as a writer.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I often find this question becomes controversial & taken out of context, so for now how about we compromise and surrender 3: Queen, Dream Theater, and Beethoven. Those are fair, accurate & true.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Freddie Mercury (not possible), therefore I offer a 2nd: Steven Wilson (never say never).

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

“All birds one stone,” my best answer. “Queen on steroids,” someone once said. “Queen & Pink Floyd & Muse somehow all managed to have a baby together,” yet another person offered (doing my best to avoid the cliché “let the music speak for itself,” which I really want to say)…

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Knowing that you’re devoting yourself to one of the most meaningful pursuits that exists to us humans here on this planet. We need doctors, nurses, law enforcement, trash collectors – the list goes on, of course – too, but music saves lives and offers a kind of therapy that nothing else can. I simply wouldn’t be here without music or the ability to create it. Even with such a small fraction of all “music” meeting the [admittedly subjective] criteria of “quality,” there is so much more quality music out there (if one looks hard enough for it, the one catch about the current state of the industry) than we have hours on this earth. Then, try having to juggle musical creation time with listening time! That alone is enough to keep me stressed out 24/7… so from a glass-half-full perspective, I suppose the other best thing about being a musician is never having to experience boredom.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I wish we had more time to hang out and be a band. In some ways, it can indeed enhance the musical chemistry, and I’m all for it. But again, so little time on this earth; “fun” is not really in the vocabulary, I’m afraid.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Music is Life; there is nothing else. Well maybe psychologist.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

I’m going to say “no;” “you’re doing everything right,” my perpetual consolation prize…

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Use Your Illusion II – although that’d inherently mean I’m learning how “November Rain” got tracked as well, so hey, added value. I was born in the wrong generation. I’m too young for the “Appetite is Bible” demographic, and nor did I worship Nirvana as was required by law of those with whom I was forced at gunpoint to go to school. I was on some other planet, marveling at how such (what I considered) an epic, sprawling body of work could be so masterfully executed within even the few years & massive budget that [the UYI albums] did take, and yet (again in my view) have such staying power. It’s my Dark Side of the Moon (which I also love – in fact I almost chose The Wall sessions for similar reasons) – but teaching myself UYI II top-to-bottom finally put me in love with 1) the piano & 2) the idea of producing an artistic body of work on such a grand scale, along with the feeling that comes with realizing the finished product. I really do need a time machine to understand exactly how “Estranged” actually came to be. That might solve a lot of life’s mysteries for me.

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10 Quick Ones with DOUG RAUSCH of RAUSCH - January 2018

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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