is an American alternative metal band from Los Angeles, California, taking their name from the Egyptian sun god. The band has been around since the 1990s, but did not actually evolve into its current form until 2002. Their music was described as "exotic yet familiar, heavy yet funky, direct yet sophisticated, sensual yet soulful, unrelenting yet cathartic."The band is known for their hit songs "Do You Call My Name", "Fallen Angels", "Don't Turn Away", and "Broken Hearted Soul". To date, Ra has sold approximately 400,000 albums in North America.Origin of band nameFrontman Sahaj Ticotin has commented on the origin of the name Ra in multiple interviews. "...There's an underlying theme where 80 to 90 percent of the songs have the word sun in it. So I have a little sun fetish and I thought that Ra was appropriate." He has also stated that he likes the idea of the name because it's short -- "If your name is Ra you've got two giant letters taking up the same amount of space so it looks like your name is bigger"—melodramatic, and "sort of an odd thing and really unique."
Early years: 1996–1998
Marcus Ticotin, Sahaj's older brother and Abandon Entertainment president, financed Sahaj's first record while Sahaj was living in Greenwich, CT with mentor and friend Rob Jones. They held open auditions in New York City to fill out the lineup with a drummer, guitarist, and bassist. Skoota Warner was chosen as a drummer who fit in well with the blend of funk and hard rock in Sahaj's writing style. R&B bassist Kirk Lyons and guitarist Ben Mauro, the latter of whom would later play with Lionel Richie and Britney Spears, completed the initial configuration of the band. The members' influences did not completely mesh, but the lineup did produce one commercial track in "Crazy Little Voices," which appeared as the end title track for the movie The Rage: Carrie 2.
The moderate success of "Crazy Little Voices" led to the band signing with Edel Music. Ra recorded many tracks including "Rectifier", "Fallen Rock Zone", "Only", "End of Days", "U Need Me", "What I Am", "Sky", "The Foundation" and the first real version of "Do You Call My Name". Edel, unbeknownst to the band, was on its last legs and was weeks away from closing shop upon album completion.
One and From One: 2001-2002
"Do You Call My Name" received significant airplay on WAAF in Boston, Massachusetts. Due to this local success, the band released the EP One
with the guidance of their then manager, Arma Andon. The band sold 7500 CDs in a month and a half, which led to a two-album deal with Universal Records who had otherwise not seen the band perform live.Sahaj's friend, Will Pendarvis (K-rock NYC, Sirius), introduced him to Hip-hop Producer/Engineer Paul Logus (Puffy, Jennifer Lopez, 112, Notorious BIG, Pantera) with whom the band spent over $170,000 redoing "One" and turning it into "From One".The album From One
was released on October 22, 2002. Its' lead single, "Do You Call My Name," reached a peak position of 14 on the Billboard Magazine music charts in early 2003.
Super-engineer Dave Schiffman (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mars Volta) was originally slated to co-produce the next LP with Sahaj, however, due to a close family member's health condition, Schiffman could no longer produce the album. This left Sahaj to produce the record alone. Universal was unhappy with the album the band delivered to them and recommended using Bob Marlette (Saliva, Seether, Shinedown) to record an additional few songs to give the album more radio potential. The band was given a budget of $400,000 to produce new songs. With Marlette, Ra recorded "Got Me Goin'", "Take Me Away" and "Say You Will" and submitted these songs to Universal only to receive yet another lukewarm reception. Desperate and unsure of the right course of action, Ra went to Los Angeles to make one last attempt at a first single for Duality
. The outcome was "Tell Me"; a huge arena rock anthem shouting out to the world for guidance. The song was approved by Universal, but the record was originally left unreleased due to cost.In the winter of 2004, Universal/Republic hired radio promotion director Dave Downey. One of his first activities was to listen to all of Ra's records. After listening to "Duality", he made Universal aware that they may have made a mistake with Ra, and that they were missing out on a potentially great record. By this point, drummer Skoota Warner left the band to find a more stable income. Universal released the album June 21, 2005 with little promotion. However, the album sold 80,000 copies on the strength of tracks like "Fallen Angels" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", a Police cover.
Raw and Black Sun: 2006-2008
The band left Universal Records and signed with Cement Shoes Records. On October 2006, Ra released their third album entitled Raw
, which includes 11 live tracks and one new studio track, "Don't Turn Away". The new song (and single) was meant to be a teaser for their next album, Black Sun
, which was said to be "dynamic."Black Sun
was released September 23, 2008, under Sahaj's new label, Sahaja Music Records. It featured their newest single, "Broken Hearted Soul". The song "Faulty Information" was going to be the album's second single, but due to a lack of funding and time, the song was not released as a single.
Black Sheep: 2009-2012
On June 10, 2009, Ra released a fourth studio album called Black Sheep
. It contained 13 rare tracks including their debut single, "Crazy Little Voices", as well as their new single, "Supernova". The album is only available digitally.Sahaj's solo album is tentatively titled, "Sahaj - Another Minute", named after the first single, "Another Minute".In August 2011, Ra released the single "Running Blind", perhaps the first piece of their next studio album.Frontman Sahaj Ticotin began the "Ra New LP 2012 Fan Drive" on Kickstarter, and wanted the new Ra LP to be "for the fans, by the fans". Beginning with a $7 donation, supporters are offered a plethora of gifts that would excite any Ra fan. Ra New LP 2012 Kickstarter Page The fundraiser expired on July 13, 2012. The band managed to raise $31,465 in support of the new album.As of September 17, 2012, Sahaj Ticotin announced that original drummer Skoota Warner would be tracking drums for the new album.
Critical Mass: 2013-present
In August 2013, Ra released "Supermegadubstep", the debut single from their upcoming album, "Critical Mass".Ra released their fifth studio album Critical Mass
on October 14, 2013.
Ra is generally called "nu metal with an exotic twist". The twist is the Indian or Arabian mode that is used in many songs. Sahaj says, "The great thing about it is that you can play the meanest Meshuggah, heaviest rock riff you could possibly imagine under any scale and you [sic\] if you sing over it in a harmonic minor scale it doesn’t lose its heaviness, but it also doesn’t lose its melody. It still manages to be cool, but also melodic." Notable songs that use this scale are "Do You Call My Name", "Violator", "Skorn", "The Only One", and "Broken Hearted Soul". The band has also been said to use the genres of progressive metal, modern progressive rock, and heavy metal. GarageBand.com says: "Twisted melodies, polyrhythmic beats, and heavy guitar chords fuse together with middle-eastern motifs, hip-hop, and melodic balladry to make a cohesive visionary statement percolating with emotional fervor."