Run Rabbit Run
Poised to take the city’s stages by storm, five-piece indie outfit Run Rabbit Run are attracting attention for all the right reasons with their genre-spanning sound and an impressive collection of snare drums.
“Something I think we love about the band is that we all play a few instruments,” says lead guitarist Michael ‘Mouse’ Roberts. Counting backing vocals, banjo and lapsteel guitar among his many credits, Roberts says front man Casey Martin’s habit of writing for instruments they don’t yet own has forced the band to accumulate an impressive amount of equipment over the last year. “We have seven snare drums between us now. Casey collects them like shoes,” adds the group’s sole female member Jess Patterson.
Formed late in 2011, Run Rabbit Run is the creation of Martin and Roberts, who met on MelBands, a forum for independent local musicians. Next to join was Patterson on keys, who studied music alongside Martin at Greensborough NMIT, Michael Palmer on drums and Marcus Jennings on bass, all of whom earned their place in the line up after successful auditions. “From the beginning I thought we could really be something and it was a band I could contribute to,” says Patterson. “It’s like a marriage, we’ve all invested in something we love.”
With a steadily growing fan base following a string of lauded live shows and a demo on Triple J Unearthed that drew the attention of presenter Rosie Beaton, the group has come a long way in their first year together. Citing artists like HUSKY, Elliot Friend and The High Suburban as influences, Run Rabbit Run admit their folk pop inspired sound can however be hard to define for first time listeners. “It’s really hard to put the whole band in one genre,” explains Palmer, “We’re a bit folk, a bit rock, a bit alternative – we have a really broad sound.”
It’s a sound they’re slowly defining as they work their way across Melbourne’s stages and they say the process of performing has given them the opportunity to experiment with what does and doesn’t work away from the rehearsal room. “We were really cautious of putting too much on the demo because we felt we needed to show people something more when they came to see us live. We’ve been working out what that is,” says Martin, who adds that while an EP is definitely on the horizon, consolidating their place in the local music scene is their first priority.
“You learn a lot from performing, it’s really different to practicing. It’s like teething,” says Patterson of the steep learning curve the band faced taking to the stage together for the first time earlier this year. “You have to be able to rock out like you’re in your bedroom at home,” adds Palmer. Roberts agrees, revealing that performing live is where everyone’s strengths and weaknesses can sometimes appear. He says it’s through this experience however that the band has really been able to start molding a show that is a “whole experience rather than just a string of songs.”
Drawing on the diverse skills of his group, Martin has been quick to recognise the capacity for collaboration among the band’s members, a process that will undoubtedly help them shape their sound and perhaps put Run Rabbit Run into a more recognizable genre. Pushing each member to step out of their comfort zone, Martin has encouraged the adoption of new instruments and skills and says getting all of them writing and performing their own material is next on the agenda. “Only three of us have singing experience but I’m making everyone sing five part harmonies,” he says. “As the lead singer I really want to include everyone more. We all have unique voices and I want to show that.”
Where landscaper Roberts feels his weakness lies in a lack of formal training, Martin admits his own pedantic songwriting process which he picked up at school – he has produced just six songs over the last twelve months – is further motivation to get other members involved in the writing process. “Casey has a really set way about how he writes, but if I get an idea I just start writing it down,” says Martin who says he is enjoying his recent foray into songwriting. “Casey’s really methodical, I just have pages and pages of the scribblings of a madman. I’ll write some stuff then bring it to Casey and we’ll work on it together, it’s been good for us both I think.”
While their strengths may vary, the obvious esteem in which they hold each other is evident, and it is this respect as well as the quiet ambition of Run Rabbit Run’s members that suggests they are on the verge of something big. Their commitment to fostering each other’s creativity, stretching the bounds of their abilities as musicians, and their very apparent admiration for each other leave little doubt as to whether they are a group that will last the distance.
“The song Tension Release I wrote in song writing class at NMIT,” says Martin. “People would get really annoyed at me cos the chorus would get stuck in their head for a week. It’s kind of embarrassing but nice at the same time,” he says of the band’s first hit. “The aim is to write catchy music that isn’t dribble.” “Memorable for the right reasons,” adds Patterson. With the ground they’ve made so far, it doesn’t seem like this is something they are likely to struggle with in the future.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsGrace Taylor
Grace Taylor is a Melbourne based writer and journalist. Specialising in features, profiles, interviews and reviews, Grace contributes regularly to several popular lifestyle, arts and culture publications throughout Melbourne.