Strokes Producer Releases Debut Album

Strokes Producer Releases Debut Album
Meet Gordon Raphael

What do The Strokes, The Libertines and Regina Spektor all have in common?
That’s it. They’ve all been produced by Seattle-born musician and producer, Gordon Raphael. With an extensive contact book and a legendary tag applied to his name, Raphael has turned his creative flare towards releasing his debut album, Sleep On The Radio February 9th.
With twelve tracks designed to reflect a lifetime of listening to music, Raphael has taken inspiration from David Bowie, the incomparable guitar sound of Mick Ronson, and prog rock. Layered over this mash up of styles, his vocals are described as a “beautifully hazy Peter Perrett/Syd Barratt drawl”. Now the twelve hand-picked and beautifully crafted tracks found on Sleep On The Radio are ones Raphael want heard.
“I love producing but playing guitar and writing songs is what I’ve always done” he enthuses. “I wanted to show what I can do on the other side of the desk all the time but producing kept getting in the way”. Raphael formed two bands in Seattle, Mental Mannequin and Colour Twigs; plus, he was the man behind the keys for psychedelic band, Sky Cries Mary. However, the discovering of The Strokes and producing their debut EP The Modern Age as well as their first two albums, Is This It and Room On Fire is arguably his best known work. Both the EP and debut album were recorded entirely in his basement and was the stepping stone for The Strokes’ success. However, producing isn’t a career Raphael intended to venture down.
“I learned to record things out of desperate need to figure out how I could be a composer/songwriter. However, once bands started coming to me, I found it very rewarding and enjoyable being in their intimate process of singing and trying to capture their musical dreams as well. Only after Is This It came out did I become so busy producing bands (that) it occurred to me my time spent working on my own stuff was in serious jeopardy”.
However, the one that slipped away was his involvement with The Libertines. After meeting their manager and initially declining production work, he found himself around the London four-piece almost a year later.
“I skipped around through 15 songs that have been made as part of a recent signing to Rough Trade Records. I didn't really like what I heard, and I noticed how they were really copying The Strokes sound that had been released on The Modern Age EP. Nonetheless, I accepted an invitation to go watch them at a rehearsal studio the next afternoon, and to be completely honest with you, I was bowled over and completely impressed with what I saw in that room”.
“In preparation for recording their album, I went on the road on the very first tour of the UK. (The Libertines) were opening for The Vines and The Strokes and I was their live sound engineer for that tour – whilst collaborating with them during the days on preproduction for upcoming recording sessions. Within a few weeks after we returned from the tour, Pete and Carl came back from a meeting with Rough Trade and announced that the label wasn't going to let them use me as a producer”.
However, Raphael has put that behind and is entirely focused on his upcoming debut. But, with an impressive list of successful artists under his belt, it could be assumed he may have set the bar a little high. Or it could be presumed that retaining a unique identity within his music could prove a challenge after working with so many bands.
In any case, I never put really pressure on myself regarding music. My old bandmates when I was a teenager, my piano teacher and my Dad used to put loads of pressure on me to play well, and practice…I also want to add, that I have found that being known as The Strokes producer does not mean people believe I can make interesting music”.
However, producing isn’t something Raphael is ready to put down yet. “I will be very happy touring and promoting own music for a while, but also recording interesting bands that I meet along the way. Both are creative, and both definitely bring joy”.

Sleep on the Radio is available from February 9th, 2018
(Available on all digital platforms)

(image courtesy of


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