City Rain is what Philadelphia represents; hard work, innovation, and tenacity; mixed with synthesizers, laid back bluesy guitar licks, and an “eff you I'll have my own fun” party mentality. This state of mind, along with a quick and mature evolution has made Philly's City Rain an emerging force in our music scene and beyond. The band is composed of Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer.
City Rain's latest work is the I'm Gone EP, which has featured two singles: “I'm Gone” and “Real Good,” the latter of which premiered on YouTube and various other music sites a few weeks ago. Ben edited the video and developed shots for shot ideas with Jarrett and Sarah Fry, City Rain's occasional photographer.
“We were feelin a little bit loopy from the night before; I know I was hungover,” said Jarrett, revealing that the video was shot right after a show at the North Star Bar.
Anyone listening to or viewing City Rain will notice the contrast between its two performers; Ben's expressive, outspoken, quirky demeanor that combines with Jarrett's mellow cool confidence to form a key element in the band’s music. Ben cites new wave entities Talking Heads and Joy Division as his primary influences (along with David Byrne being his “personal Jesus”) while Jarrett loves classic rock icons such as Led Zeppelin and The Doors. Jarrett explained City Rain's chemistry as a combination of Ben “being in his element” with electronica, while he provides a “free flowing” style of guitar. Those differences are displayed and felt through their energetic live performances.
City Rain aims to put the angst of everyday issues into their music and beckons listeners to feel their sound and release themselves to the dance floor. While the attitude of the music evokes brightness, there are dark undertones that anyone can relate to.
“We're like an electronic band with the soul of a house party punk band,” said Ben, who along with Jarrett views their brand of music as Rock N' Roll in the form of a dance band.
Anyone attending a City Rain show can expect a diverse group of personalities. Hipsters (accompanied by a can of PBR)? Check. Broskis? Check. Friends? Old people? Any and all have showed up appreciating what they have to offer.
“It's all these different types of people, and I love that, that's what we're all about. We just want to get down with all shapes and sizes and shades and have a good time,” said Ben.
Since embarking on their musical journey, City Rain has focused on laying the groundwork and foundation in the east coasts two biggest cities and beyond. Despite having a few “why even bother moments,” any issue with City Rain's will to succeed was solved by the band deciding to “stop whining and bitching and work even harder,” Ben explained.
“We're just starting to really pick up some headway in Philadelphia and New York; we've been grinding here for a while. We are developing our sound and everything to the point where people are really starting to catch on. It's a great feeling and there's a lot more out there that we want to accomplish,” said Jarrett.
The duo's hustle has paid off with a great opportunity. CBS Sports bought the rights of one of City Rain's songs through a company they work with named Downtown Music Services LLC and have the option to play that song during March Madness programming.
City Rain began with Ben Runyan at the helm in 2007. He and Jarrett, who both went to Springfield Township High School together, had always, spoke of collaborating, but different times in each of their lives prevented that from happening. By 2010, they asked themselves where they were going in life and decided to fully pursue their passion.
“Within a couple weeks into us developing the initial stages of how we work together, we knew we were supposed to be working together and that we had something special.”
City Rain's next release will be the Watch Out EP sometime in May. The I'm Gone EP is out now and available on iTunes, Amazon, and City Rain’s page on Bandcamp.com. They plan on appearing at The XpoNential Fest and The PEX Festival this summer, along with plenty of other venues in Philly. Check out City Rain along with Artic Splash and DJ Tommy Up at The Barbary this Thursday, March 15th.
215'ers interested in City Rain can delve deeper into their world at their bandcamp address and www.facebook.com/cityraintunes.
*photo courtesy of Doug Seymour