Whether you know how to pronouce it or not, it's highly likely you've heard the name 'Rafn' thrown around town. The Rafn brothers have worked both together and with others on various projects among the years, but their individual efforts prove fruitfully engaging.
Such is especially the case for Daniel Rafn, who has been working his way through artistically distressed and doubtful feelings to produce his newest track "Shalom," along with his fourth album The Hanged Man, due out later this year.
The first track to be released from the new album, "Shalom" offers the best representation of what can be expected on the album, according to Rafn. "I think it stands alone pretty well as just a song, while most everything else on the album seems to make more sense in the context of the album. "Shalom" was a good way to represent the whole, while the others are all extreme in some way," he says.
Its subtle play on phonetics is more personal than they appear at first, holding a double meaning. "I was born and raised in Salem, OR. Salem is an anglicized version of the Hebrew word 'Shalom,' which means peace. I'm saying in reality I'm from Salem, but in a spiritual emotional sense I like to think we come from a place of peace, like a peaceful pre-existence or something," Rafn says.
Yet the peaceful seeds behind the song oppose the effort put into both the song and album's production. Anyone that's delved into the creative arts knows the trials of continual inspiration, motivation and confidence in fabrication and Rafn himself admits how maturity in music comes with an emotional price tag.
"I contrast the peaceful origin with the angst of adulthood and finding your way...and finding out how to do what you wanna do in life," Rafn says. "The more serious I've gotten about making music or, the more committed you could say, the more "angsty" I've noticed I've become."
"It's the frustration of having this great desire to make art and have it go out and effect people for the better versus the very real struggle of actually getting that art heard and accepted. Not to mention the personal struggle of just having to come to terms that you need to work a fuck-ton to even get better so that your art can be accepted in the first place!"
Most of us aren't strangers to this frustration, especially when it comes to forcing yourself to push through a particular hurdle in the project. For Rafn that hurdle happened to be the next single he's releasing from the album in August, "The I and The All," which he says he had the most trouble in writing.
"That one was just more of an arrangement problem. I had the whole thing done for months and when I came back to it, it just seemed too empty. I wanted to add a little more harmonic complexity to it so just took some going over," Rafn says.
No matter the struggles, every element of Daniel Rafn's newest track is emotionally captivating and elevating. He's having a release show for "Shalom" tomorrow at the Liquor Store with Old Grape God. Give "Shalom" and listen below and be on the lookout for The Hanged Man, dropping in October.