Osheaga 2021 | Inside Allan Rayman
Allan Rayman performs on the River Stage Bell this Sunday @ 7:20pm as part of the Osheaga Get Together Fall 2021 edition
I’m going to be honest here, before this article came up, I’d never really heard of Allan Rayman, and the more I looked him up, it’s like, the less I knew. The line between person and persona felt blurred, the line between performer and producer just as much, who was this Allan Rayman? What did he think, feel, represent, I looked forward to speaking with him to find out.
Between navigating the pandy and traveling between Toronto and Los Angeles Allan’s currently obsessing over his newest album that he’s diligently working on with his long time friend, producer and collaborator Moose. They’ve been working together since 2014, and they seem tight.
He describes the process as collaborative with friends hopping in and out of studio sessions, and he’s trying to make a point of not letting the work take over his entire existence so I try and switch gears.
G: So, how would you say you went from playing local pubs for free pints to headlining major stages internationally?
Allan Rayman: (laugh) I guess I did, didn’t I? Um… I guess it was just a combination of luck and determination, and a lot of hard work and just meeting the right people at the right time kind of thing. I was lucky to get that opening show for James Vincent McMorrow way back, I think that was in 2007, and that allowed me to get in front of a larger audience, and acquire my own fanbase and do my own tour and somehow it all worked from there, I don’t know how Europe makes any sense but it happened.
G: You got any plans for the Orient? You tryna be big in Japan?
Allan Rayman: I would Love to. I’ve been trying to get into Australia for a while now and I’m thinking about, if I get there making it a trip and stopping by Japan and maybe going through south east Asia for a little bit on my way to Australia, split the flight up a little bit, experience some things, live a little, maybe swing by Hawaii.
G: That sounds awesome man, that’s crazy… um… Your style is at a crossroads of a lot of like, you got rhythmic pop, a little RnB, you got some blues riffs in there, couple rock influences… How much would you say Michael Jackson’s influenced your singing style?
Allan Rayman: (laughs) Um, quite a bit actually… I actually joke with Moose that, Jackson Grunge is actually how we define our style, I think it’s really more the breathe taken between lines…
G: Jackson grunge!! Yes!!!
Allan Rayman: Yeah, and it’s a little bit the unpredictability that comes with the passion in singing, you know? It’s like, it’s different than just having a pretty voie or something like that…
G: Well, you got a pretty face though.
Allan Rayman: (laughs) Thank you.
G: Passion through singing… would you say you have a large, internal musical catalogue, do you listen to a lot of stuff?
Allan Rayman: I have myriad influences, I get inspired all the time ya know, it’s all about passion from movies to music to other artists- I’m like a spunge, I sometimes feel Bowieish in a way, I just like to get fired up.
G: Who’s a guy fans of yours should be discovering right now, who would you like to shout out?
Allan Rayman: Um… I have a great friend, who’s also a great artist um
G: Ooh, drop the name
Allan Rayman: Tyrel Ross… he’s a friend of mine, he’s a cool guy…
G: So, a lot of comedians back in the day would dream of getting on Carson, and a lot of actors have dreamed of Broadway and a lot of performers would have loved the Apollo, what are some rooms, countries, locations, auditoriums, rooms, halls that you would feel accomplished about performing in?
Allan: I’m thinking about arenas, because I think there’s so much you could do with that space, I feel I’d like to explore a lot of things that I haven’t seen many people pushing that envelope yet, and use the space in ways that haven’t been utilized. I’ve always dreamed of Broadway, I think that would be really crazy to do some kind of Allan Rayman written play because I think beyond many elements there’s this story of duality and masks that I’d really like to explore, and I think there’s a story to be told there…. I feel there’s a lot of things I’d like to do on different stages, if that makes any sense… a lot of platforms I’d like to explore with.
For a while we talk about duality, obsession, creativity and the faces of coins. We explore concepts of simpler living, the tug of wanting to make and the push and pull of vice and reason… The many characters he wants to create and the many directions this thing could take him.
The monster that wants to consume the stage lit in a thousand lights, playing off his darkness and the man who wants to just carve wood and fish and be in nature… Of health, both mental and physical, the need to work hard and the desire to be validated… I get a small sense that he misses construction work, and that the simpler life is calling him. A healthy well rounded life.
I finally come around to asking him about Montreal.
He loves the city, several years ago, he played one of the smaller shows at Osheaga, just him and his guitar and now, he’s got a full band and a small side of him wants to move here. He wants to explore the city and resents the greenroom to greenroom, smash and grab nature of his relationship with this city…
He’s got a special surprise in store for his fans in Toronto on the 23rd of October, the details are still under wraps, but it’s a Halloween special he can only reluctantly describe as “strange” and “an experience” two terms he feels are over used and undermined.
G: One of his albums is called Roadhouse, so naturally I ask him. So how much ass did Roadhouse kick?
Allan: Um…. I mean, yeah it was pretty cool but, it has nothing to do with the name of the album… to be honest, it was a mix of… I’m a massive Amy Whinehouse fan, and I think I was spending a lot of time on the road so, that i think is how that came about…
G: Cool man, Jackson Grunge, Roadhouse, I think whatever your future holds, you got branding on lock. That should be a part of your merch man.
Allan: (laughs) Yeah, maybe, maybe just a couple shirts, like maybe just one.
G: Exactly, just for those who know, ya know? Those who know, know, ya know?
Allan: (laughs) I’ll think about it.
Allan Rayman, it turns out, isn’t just a pretty face, he’s a man in search of something, a feeling, a moment, a story. A soul, wiser than his years, longing for more, looking and often succeeding in expressing his inner being, while constantly subverting expectations…
“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for anyone drops to zero” between here and there, Alan Rayman isn’t going to be found on his knees. He’s going out there and he’s going to fight to carve out a little corner of expression, touching lives along the way.
Catch his ever evolving story at Osheaga Get Together this Sunday! Photo CC: Wes C Photography
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Writer, Director, Camera Op, Editor & Professional "Last Man Standing". Is there anything this guy can't do? Yes. A veritable metric f*ck ton of things, so he sticks to what he knows. Join him on some adventures, here, at Best Kept MTL.