Raine: “You’ve got to be the most honest you can be”

Published by Brian Ò'Sùilleabhàin on

Listening to the debut EP of Lorraine Hogan, aka Raine, you’d scarcely believe it was the Cork artist’s first foray into the recording world. ‘Raine’ is accomplished and slick, subtle and sweeping in equal measures (for more, see Unity’s full review).

Raine, who conjured up the record whilst in the throes of college work (a Fine Arts degree in Crawford Art College followed by Music, Management and Sound in CSN), says she had a clear idea of what she wanted the music to sound like even before she went to producer Christian Best. Speaking about the album’s expansive sound, she says:

“The songs stand on their own acoustically as well, you know. But there was a long thought process that went into the production, I really had a clear idea of what I wanted ‘Raine’ to be.”

A confessed lover of Radiohead and The xx, Raine clearly delved deep into her own personal experiences when writing the record. What results is a pulsating yet tender compilation of songs dealing with love, lust, loss and growth.

“It’s all from the heart, biographical,” she explains, with no trace of a Leeside accent despite her origins. “The song ‘Wake Up’ is very emotional for me, it’s about someone close to me who was in a coma. Knowing that and listening back to the song I think gives a clear idea of where I was going with the sound. It’s almost like a sound art piece in a way. The flicker of the heartbeat, the struggle. The pleading, and the person struggling for life.”

The EP is decidedly production-heavy, with electronic drum beats and voices slipping in and out of focus, songs swelling before falling away again. ‘Breathe Me In’ is a song she says is about “the tragedy of falling in lust”, while ‘Burnt’ is unabashedly carnal, recalling “the midnight hours, the naked showers” with a presumed past lover.

“‘Burnt’ is quite a sensual one indeed!” she laughs. “I almost feel like the little vocal riff that comes in is a march for anyone that’s ever been burnt in their life… you know, anyone can relate to that in some way.”

Soul-baring stuff indeed. But opening up doesn’t appear to be something Raine is afraid of; in fact, it is unlikely her brand of music would function without it.

“You’ve got to be the most honest you can be,” she assures. “I could be very conscious of who might be in the audience, if I wanted to be. But I’ve got be as real and raw as possible – I don’t have to say who ‘Burnt’ or ‘Wake Up’ are about even though they’re very personal songs about real people, but… You’ve got to open yourself up as an artist, haven’t you? You have to be who you are, let it all out.”

Far from being satisfied, Raine appears unrelenting in her quest to move forward. ‘Honey Babe’ was Song of the Day on Joe.ie while songs from the EP have also received local airplay, and she intends to push even further with her next project:

“I’ll be releasing one of the songs off the EP as a single next year nationally, outside Cork,” she says. “With the EP launch it was more local, so I’ll be going further for the next one. I’ll be touring in early 2018 and I’m supporting Hermitage Green in The White Horse in Cork soon.”

“The plan is to write more music, play around Ireland, do some shows in London maybe, and then look to my album. I have more songs to come.”

Raine supports Hermitage Green in The White Horse, Ballincollig on Saturday 16 December. For more information on Raine go to musicbyraine.com, where you can also keep an eye on upcoming tour dates. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via ‘musicbyraine’.