Interview: Ralph Castelli

By Anjali DasSarma

Hailing all the way from Alaska, 22-year-old Ralph Castelli first began making music in the woods of his native state. At 18 he moved to Australia to study composition and production before finally finding a home in LA.

That new home is where Castelli cultivates his uniquely blended bedroom pop, which influences range widely from Sufjan Stevens to Radiohead. Most recently, he released his EP, Long Distance, following the heartache and difficulty of being 8000 miles apart from his lover. The songs follow and breathe fresh air into familiar feelings and glowing melodies.

How did you get your start in music?

My parents were musicians so I grew up constantly around music!

What has been your inspiration for your music?

I’m a big fan of Sufjan Stevens and Radiohead. I’ve been listening to them almost my whole life. They are my biggest two influences, however I am constantly influenced by my friends, lovers and environment.

‘Moving to LA’ is very different from ‘Haunted’. Can you talk a little bit about how your music has evolved?

Yeah that’s a good point. Moving to LA I made alone with not as nice of gear but I wanted I made with a buddy and he has very nice gear. Not that haunted is a better song but that’s probably how they got such different sounds.

You have great style. What’s your favourite place to shop?

Honestly, I do most of my shopping online but I do like Scotch and Soda also Twisted Tailor and thrifting.

You’ve commented in the past about the flaws of the music industry. Could you speak a little to that?

I don’t know, I hate sounding like a snob but I guess I don’t really understand why things take so long in the industry. I just want to make music and give it directly to the people that want it. But there’s so many little things to think about. And people involved.

Many of your songs seem to take on a kind of narrative (like I Hate Swimming). Lyrically, where do you find inspiration?

I think growing up listening to Sufjan Stevens taught me how to write stories songs. Those are some of my favorite types of songs, where you get lost in it sort of like a movie.

By the way, do you hate swimming?

Yeah, I kinda do hate swimming.

What’s your favourite track you’ve released? Why?

My favorite songs are constantly changing. But the one that is always true to me is ‘Better Things.’

Can you walk me through a typical day for you? What does your musical process look like?

 I don’t have much of a typical day. I’m either hanging out with friends working on music, practicing for a show, helping someone else with music or spending time with my girl.

What time of day do you love the most for writing music?

I love making music in the morning after I’ve had a really strong coffee haha.

Do you like living in Alaska? What was your experience like living in LA?

I love Alaska but it’s really hard on me just climate-wise and sometimes it can really drag me down but it can also be very inspiring. LA is cool because the people are so talented here however it’s a very difficult place.

Who are you listening to right now?

I’ve been really enjoying Beach Fossils and Johnny Goth and Swaine Delagado.

What are you working on and what can fans expect to see in the next year from you?

Right now I just released an EP about doing long-distance relationships. But I’m working on an album with Daywave. You can probably expect to see a lot of shows and a whole album after this EP. I’m really excited about the future

Long Distance is out now

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