Hard rock power trio Ragdoll have blazed a trail for independent Aussie rock music since releasing their début EP in 2011. Built around the classic trio format and lead by the incredible vocals of singer/bassist Ryan Rafferty, Ragdoll have built a solid fan base at home and abroad by compiling an impressive tally of releases backed by international touring. Drummer Cam Barrett and guitarist Leon Todd round out the trio with a sound that owes as much to the arena rock of the 70's and 80's as it does the grungey sounds of the post 90's musical landscape.
Ragdoll came to life after Leon Todd (guitar) and Cam Barrett (Drums) were introduced by a mutual friend to Ryan Rafferty (bass and vocals), a regular on the Perth pub covers scene.
"After a few years trying to put our dream band together, hearing Ryan sing for the first time was a revelation. There was no way we couldn't be in a band together". - Cam Barrett
Building their sound around powerful vocal hooks and tight, riff driven arrangements, Ragdoll quickly entered the studio to record their first EP, "Ragdoll Rock". Released in September 2011, the EP quickly sold out of it's first pressing and garnered the band a solid home town following and positive reviews. Ragdoll immediately began working on a follow up EP, "Here Today", an altogether more modern and hard hitting release.
"We really hit our stride with Here Today, and in many ways I feel we created a clearly defined and unique Ragdoll sound" - Ryan Rafferty
"Here Today" garnered rave reviews and international attention, culminating in Ragdoll being invited to play Rocklahoma festival in the USA alongside Rob Zombie, Megadeth and Chickenfoot. Merely 9 months after their first release, Ragdoll were living every young band's dream and touring the heartland of the USA. Furthermore, their performance at Rocklahoma earned them an invitation back for the following year.
Another EP "All I Want Is Everything" followed in 2013, backed by a 30 show tour of the USA and another 40 shows in Western Australia to promote the EP. "All I Want" also saw the release of the first official Ragdoll music video, for the title track.
"Touring heavily really pushed us to hone our craft and grow as a band. Being a self funded, independent band from the world's most isolated capital city means we have had to grab any and every opportunity we get with both hands." - Leon Todd
Demand for a full length album lead to the release of "Ragdoll Rewound" in 2014, a compilation of the band's first two EP's remixed and remastered by long time collaborator Troy Nababan. "Ragdoll Rewound" was backed by two successful US tours, including a headlining slot at The Whisky A Go Go in LA, and saw an international release through Retrospect Records (USA) and Lion's Pride Music (EU). Furthermore Ragdoll were nominated for a prestigious WAMI award for the song "Here Today".
After a much needed break from touring at the start of 2015, Ragdoll began writing their first fully fledged album. The first single and video "Rewind Your Mind" was made available in May 2015 and ushered in an expansion to the band's sound, in an attempt to capture more of the energy and power of their live show.
Recorded over 4 months at Crank Recording in WA and produced by Troy Nababan, Ragdoll's debut album "Back to Zero" is tour de force, bringing together influences from over 40 years of rock music into sharp focus. Instead of the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll that is so typical of the genre, "Back to Zero" explores lyrical and emotional themes ranging from technological alienation (Rewind Your Mind), social media addiction (The World You Gave Us), domestic abuse (Letting Go) and the existential (Shine) without sacrificing the raw power of a Ragdoll live show. "Back to Zero" is best described as "Hair Grunge"; hooks reminiscent of the finest 70's and 80's rock with the aggression of the early 90's.
"There has always been such a divide in rock music fans between the pre 90's and post 90's fans. We feel like Ragdoll is a band that happily bridges the divide between old and new school while still staying true to the aesthetics that made rock music so great in the first place." - Ryan Rafferty
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of "Back to Zero" is the way in which it was created. With no label support or financial backing, Ragdoll instead hit the road throughout 2015 playing over 70 shows throughout Australia and the USA in order to fund the recording. In being able to road test new material and have control over the creative process, the result is a consistent and honest expression of the Ragdoll sound. Guitarist Leon Todd adds "We just set out to make music we ourselves love to listen to. We never set out to sound like anyone other than ourselves, and we're astonished and humbled to see our music resonate with people all over the world. We're living out a dream."
"Back to Zero" is slated for release in April/May in Europe by Bad Reputation and in Australia by Firestarter Music and Distribution.