11 July, 2016

[INTERVIEW] with... Rationale

Soul singer-songwriter Rationale (formerly known as Tinashé) has been consistently thriving in the new music scene throughout the past year. Now signed to a Major label and releasing incredible singles such as 'Fast Lane' and 'The Mire', the hype surrounding Rationale is immense. His highly anticipated début album is due for release on 23rd September, and he will embark on an extensive headline tour after its release. We chatted to Rationale at Barn on the Farm, talking about the new album, touring and the US. Have a read of the interview below:

How are you doing?

I'm not too bad thank you, we are all in festival mode at the moment, so I'm somewhere between sleepy and mildly excited. This is perfect though, it's such a lovely place to be. This is my second time coming back to Barn On The Farm so it's awesome.

What's it like coming back as Rationale when you played a few years back as yourself, Tinashé?

Yes I played under my own name, but yes it's really cool coming back. It's a bit weird coming back under a new moniker with a totally different sound and stuff. This is one of those festivals that you never want to see die down and it gets bigger and bigger every year, it's awesome. I played the wooden barn stage last time, it was me, my drummer. My drummer didn't even use a kick, he used a cardboard box and then me and my guitar and that was it. Now I've got a massive band behind me so it's going to be very loud today and playing the main stage.

So you've just got to Barn On the Farm today (Sunday)?

Yes, we played another festival last night called Blissfields which isn't too far away from here. Last night was my tour manager's birthday event, so we had a good time.

How's festival season going?

I'm trying to finish the album at the moment so there are a couple I had to miss out on, but we are doing Reading and Leeds, Latitude, loads, every weekend is busy this summer which will be great and then the album is out on the 23rd September.

Let's talk about the process behind your début LP. How did it all come together?

The process of writing it was and still is going. It's quite hard sometimes, in an un-appraising way, I play all the instruments on it so that's hard and then writing it and not trying to go mad at the same time. It's been a bit difficult sometimes and I'm rubbish writing fictitious songs, so the subject matters are always about me and about my interesting life. That makes it interesting writing it by myself. So it's been a process of about two years putting everything together. The first release being 'Fast Lane', it's been cool. There are some surprises as well.

What was the transition point from Tinashé to Rationale?

The transition as it were was probably by accident. I think I stepped out for a while to try and continue my craft as a songwriter and worked with many different people. I worked with a guy called Rag'N'Bone Man, I've written a couple of songs for him and took some time doing that. By working with him and other people I figured out that I had a couple of songs of my own that I wanted to do something with. I played here actually and that's where I met Dan from Bastille, and we were working in the same room on something different. Long story short, they helped me to put out some music, just as a test to see if people would like it. This lead to 'Fast Lane' and all the album songs I've got now were already in the making. It's been a nice natural transition.

Why the name Rationale?

At one point I was working a rubbish job, this job was so awful I remember I used to have to call people and ask them to donate extra money to this charity. I worked there for a week and couldn't handle it. They'd give me a speech and it would say stuff to encourage people to give you extra money. One of the parts in the speech was a rationale, which is the basis or medium caused by something - the reason why you should give me more money. That speech was awful, it was so awful, guilt tripping you into trying to do something. I got to about sentence 4 and then dropped it and then walked out. When I was making music I was like 'why is it I keep coming back to this? Why can't I get a normal job like everyone else?' And it's because music is the meaning for my existence I believe, I can't do anything else.

Let's talk about your album artwork.

Someone had the bright idea that we need to have lots of glass broken over my head and I said yes. Apparently when something shatters, there are so many movements in between, so as it does, the shockwave produces an orbit around the object it's shattering over. We thought it's a really cool thing to try. So we did that. We did lots of shots where I'm like rushing through it or something. It was a really fun day with minimal injury. It was really cool. We used sugar glass, we had lots of different sheets, lots of sheets of A4, some the size of a wall. So depending on where we were and what shot we were shooting, we used different sheets. We would have like 17 different cameras trying to capture each piece breaking so it was a really fun day. That's the fun stuff really! I've got lovely cut marks to prove it happened, but it was so worth it as we got some really good shots out of it.

You've recently been to America, how was that?

It was amazing! We did a tour that covered LA, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Toronto and we sold out every one of them apart from Toronto which was a festival, it was Bestival. It was amazing, the energy is different out there but equally as good. I really enjoyed it. We are heading back there soon as well, I'm going to be on an American chat show called 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' which will be good. We are going to do another gig out there in Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Hall in New York which will be lovely. New York was definitely one of the most relatable cities when we were out there as it's metropolitan. It's really a great time for me to be making music right now and getting lots of love which is a really nice thing.

Any surprises for your set later on today?

I think what will be a surprise for lots of people if you haven't seen me live before, it's A) a sweaty affair and B) it's very much an extended performance. I've got a great band who bring the songs up to a bigger level, so expect them to be really big.

Talking about TV appearances, you were on Jools Holland, how was that?

It was a massive experience for me. As a kid, I grew up sitting on the carpet watching Jools Holland and going like 'wow, one day one day'. We got the call through that it was going to happen and I freaked out. It was strange getting into that moment, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as you're on, there's nowhere to hide, it's live and that's that really. It was a wicked experience and the TV stuff is something I'm learning to do at the moment. It's interesting. It feels like you're reaching out to more people and that's all that anyone wants really when they're making music. I feel like it's a gig and I try to perform just like a gig.

You've got an extensive UK tour coming up soon?

Yes, as soon as the album comes out we embark on tour which is good. I'll be going other places too in autumn too. I have lots planned for the future.

Describe Rationale in three words, how would you describe yourself?

I would say, introverted, soulful and considered.

Rationale's debut album is due for release on the 23rd September and he's embarking on a UK tour in the autumn.