Although it isn’t ideal, the power of social media is able to connect us all right from our living rooms. Billy Raffoul used his platform to live stream shows from the comfort of his own home, he took it to the next level and had a show from a different spot in his house every night and named it “The Social Distancing Tour.” He played songs off his new EP A Few More Hours at YYZ. We had the opportunity to chat with Billy from a safe distance of course about his Instagram live tour, his EP and more!
BTS: Introduce yourself & tell us about you and your music.
BILLY RAFFOUL: My name is Billy Raffoul, I’m from a small town in southern Ontario called Leamington. I grew up with a father who is a working class musician for about 35 years. So I grew up around music. I’ve been playing in public and out since I was about 16, so for 10 years now. I just put out a new EP. I’m heavily influenced by Rock & Roll and British Invasion.
BTS: Was your father and growing up around music the reason you wanted to start making music yourself?
BR: Totally, 100%. It’s like getting into the family business.
BTS: Could you describe your music to someone who may have not heard it before?
BR: It’s like singer-songwriter mixed with rock & roll.
BTS: You just released an EP, A Few More Hours at YYZ. What was the inspiration behind that? Tell us a little more about it.
BR: The title track A Few More Hours at YYZ is a song I wrote at the international airport in Toronto. The area code is YYZ. I wrote the song after the Mandalay Bay shooting. That’s what inspired it. The next song is called Without Falling in Love, it’s an older song, about 6 years old now. I wrote that in Los Angeles. Swimming in the Deep End is also about 6 or 7 years old. I wrote that in New York. Kingston Ontario, is one of the newer ones about a small town in Ontario called Kingston. In the Name of Love, I got to write with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. Two incredible writers. The last track is called It’s a Beautiful Life. I wrote that for my cousin who died of heart complications suddenly about two years ago.
BTS: How did you pick the songs for the EP?
BR: The record label said we’re putting out six so I just chose the ones that were special to me at the time and a couple older ones that I wanted out there.
BTS: Which was the easiest song and hardest song to write?
BR: The easiest to write was probably It’s a Beautiful Life just cause it came from a personal spot with my cousin. It was done in maybe 20 minutes. I mean honestly, I didn’t pine over the writing too much on any of these songs. The writing was done rather quickly. The title track was done at the airport during a delay so it was done in like 45 minutes. Production is what took longer. The first song was a piano ballad for a long time, but it didn’t feel right so I ended up adding the production afterwards like the drums, bass and guitar.
BTS: Is there a message you’d like to convey with your music, or do you just put out music that you think sounds good?
BR: I don’t try and force any messages upon anyone. I just put out songs that I have a personal attachment to and stories. Hopefully people create their own stories from them. If not, it’s alright.
BTS: What was your social distancing tour like via Instagram Live?
BR: It was good! It was cool to see the same people tuning in, show after show. People from all over the world. We are planning another one right now. It was a lot of fun.
BTS: How was the live in person shows you were doing right before this pandemic?
BR: They were good! They were a lot of fun. It was cut short unfortunately but it was still a lot of fun.
BTS: What was your favorite part about the live shows?
BR: Getting to play recreations of these songs, like I played a lot of these songs in a way I’ve never played them before so that was a lot of fun.
BTS: What was it like playing all those sold out shows?
BR: It was a good feeling, definitely the most sold out shows we have had in America. We have had some in Europe. It was really cool to have people come out and know the music and sing along with us.
BTS: Since you started playing shows at 16 to now, what’s been something that’s changed?
BR: Nothing really. I still do it for all the same reasons. I like connecting with people and being in front of people. The numbers haven’t changed, it’s honestly just new music and new songs.
BTS: What’s next for the rest of 2020?
BR: Hopefully once everything goes back to the way it was, I want to get back out on the road and visit a lot of the places we had to postpone. And re visit a lot of the places we already stopped in. More music, a lot more music!
BTS: Anything else you’d like us to know?
BR: Just keep watching for more music and stay safe.
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