Some things just make you feel instantly happy.
Be it receiving a random but welcome compliment, or catching something funny from the corner of your eye. Whether it’s a text message that arrives at just the right time or the first bite of a meal, an item of clothing that makes you feel a million dollars, or seeing a familiar face.
For RAFFER (it’s Callum Rafferty to his mum), that feeling of happiness can be found in dipping popcorn into tea, and in music itself.
“It’s going to sound horrendously cheesy, but music is the thing that makes me instantly happy… Whenever I’m not making music, I’m listening to music and it just instantly uplifts me.” he tells me. RAFFER first picked up a guitar at the age of 7, and instantly fell in love, “My biggest motivation at the time were Busted, I can vividly remember myself jumping about in front of the TV playing air guitar to their tunes.”
Now, it isn’t hard to imagine a kid or two playing air guitar to his massive pop tunes, or teens jumping around their bedrooms with hairspray microphones. His songs have that sensibility to them. They possess a tireless energy that makes them demand to be played with the volume high and with feet moving. The hooks are like giant jawbreakers; sugary sweet and addictive, his beats fizz and swirl fully embracing their distinctive quirks whilst the lyrics fully wear their hearts on their sleeve.
“Writing tunes has always been away for me to tell stories and to express my mind on certain topics.” RAFFER explains, “As a young writer, the general topic of my songs tend to be based around nights out with my mates or love. My tracks give listeners an insight into my point of view on young romance and the ‘youth of today.’”
Latest single, ‘Together’, is an absolute whirlwind of a track. Full of life, the rhythm bounces like a bouncing ball and the melody is as sweet as a bubble of gum, just waiting to be popped in the rocketing chorus. Fuelled by lust, it recreates that rush of hormone that floods your veins. “I tend to mainly write happy, upbeat tracks because I’m a happy person.” he says, “I love the energy I am able to capture and it really draws in listeners. There’s nothing better than a crowd jumping around, feeling happy to your songs and I don’t think that would be possible if I were to just write down-beat emotional songs.
“On the odd occasion I do write an emotional, meaningful song I still try to put an upbeat groove behind it just to make it slightly happier. I just adore happiness.”
RAFFER writes celebrations of the human touch and human interaction, and humanity itself. He believes that our generation has a lot to celebrate. “I’d say the best thing about being young in this generation is time.” he starts, “We never stop learning new things every day and I think the most beneficial thing about being young is we have a lot of time to find faults within ourselves and put them right.” The problem however, is that we are so invested in education but barely consider how it may in fact kill the creativity that makes us, well… us.
“Studying music at university may indeed give you a degree and it does teach you skills you probably wouldn’t have picked up before, but you are constantly told ‘You must do this, this way’ and ‘you can’t do that, like that.’
“Personally I believe that creativity comes from working outside of those guidelines and doing things in a way that they weren’t meant to be done.”
His songs are limitless. The vocal flutters and flies, as harmonies show no sign of faltering. They are undoubtedly his own too, accompanied by small, sun-kissed electronic elements, they all tie together and trademark stamp a RAFFER song. It’s a perfect representation of the whole “image”. Telling how he is a big fan of Elaine Sturtevant’s work, RAFFER explains; “I also have a real eye for the whole 80’s retro aesthetic, where everything was ‘bright’ and ‘in your face’.” From his videos to his artwork, RAFFER expresses this in bold strokes and contrasting colours that simply can’t be ignored.
“Every music video, artwork and photo shoot is done in-house, which really gives everything a personal touch. For my music videos, instead of paying a big company thousands of pounds to make us a stunning video, we’d just nip up to hobby craft and create our own video set and film it in my house.”
RAFFER might just be the remedy for winter nights. What, with his warm vocal and affectionate lyrics, it’d be pretty much impossible to deny the instant comfort that a RAFFER song gives. Everybody needs a reminder that they are loved for who they are, and deserve to be happy – don’t they?
Words by Tanyel Gumushan