“I never was planning on being locked down for the year, and when COVID hit I was out of work and was isolating like everyone else. I was like ‘right I need to be writing, and capturing this moment now, in my voice and reflect what I am seeing’, so I wrote this EP all about COVID and what I’m going through.” Raphael, lead singer and producer of psychedelic doo-op project Raphael & the Sexy Boys, tells Star Observer.
“I started singing at 19 and it was always a secret fantasy of wanting to be a singer and be a rockstar, but it was always a secret because I believed that myth that you have to be born with it and that you either have it or you don’t.”
Drawing inspiration from 60s girl groups, barbershop quartet style vocals, surf and psychedelic rock as well as the king himself, Elvis, the lead single Hiding Away dropped last month and is a spacey, moody anthem dedicated to the feeling of wanting to hide away from the world and the constant barrage of bad news from the media. However, as we delve a little deeper, Raphael reveals there is an inspiration that runs far deeper.
“Part of the reason I sing and want to sing is that as a kid when you’re listening to the radio, you’d never hear a guy singing about another guy. I think representation is so important, I really want to put that romance out there.
“It doesn’t need to be in your face, it just has to be there, so if some young gay boy or whoever listens to it, and hears that it’s not a gimmick, its normalised, and just part of life.”
Hailing from Thornbury in Melbourne’s inner north, Raphael continues our interview by professing his love for his hometown.
“We live in the best city on the planet for live music, and sometimes it can feel a little over saturated, but really there is enough for everyone. When life was normal, you could go out on any night of the week and see great queer art. I think the Melbourne scene is unparalleled, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.
“I’ve got hope this city will be back to what it once was, being the best city in the world.”