RIFAS
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RIFAS

Miami, Florida, United States | INDIE

Miami, Florida, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Acoustic

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"Five Questions with Evan Rifas"

Evan Rifas has been active in South Florida's music community since the early '90s and he has maintained a relatively quiet presence that has allowed him to fine-tune his astute and articulate sensibilities.

Aside from being a great poetic lyricist, he seamlessly weaves personal experience with observation and quirky pop culture subject matter. He is also a multi-instrumentalist with a fine ear for composition.

With a debut effort for Rifas finally under his belt, Evan and his band performed at Bardot last night. We had a chance to pick his brain.

Crossfade: Who are you? Where do you come from? And where are you going?

Evan Rifas: The first part is the only thing I can know for sure.

- In my humble opinion, you've always been a very keen observer of the environment and that has translated well into your lyrical content. Can you describe your approach to lyricism and musical composition?

- Creation is definitely a mystery. A lot of people try to chase after it. But for me, it's always been the other way around. Everyone is different and there's no right or wrong method. I have a friend who will intentionally sit down to write a song and he'll pore over a verse or lyric. That works for him and I love his songs, whether they took two minutes or two years. But it's not at all how it is for me.

Music just hits me from out of nowhere and not necessarily at the most convenient times either. I'll be driving, taking a shower, in a plane at thirty thousand feet. You name it.

Here's a classic example: "West Bay," the last song on Is Here A Sense, came to me when I was right in the middle of a loud/bustling bar in San Francisco a few years ago. One minute I'm in the middle of a conversation and then this idea pops into my brain. Luckily, the person I was with that night had a camera, so without any explanation I grabbed it and ran into the men's room, straight into the stall, and shut myself in, as if this would isolate me somehow! I hit the red button on the camera and began singing out this melody with all kinds of emotion!

And these words just flew out of my mouth... "I'm not stickin' round with my hands on the reigns." It was pretty intense in that stall for a second there! As I was leaving, I saw a couple of guys standing there by the sinks staring at me with facial expressions that words can't describe. It cracks me up when I think about what it must have been like from their point of view! I think I just gave a nod and a smile and proceeded back to my regularly scheduled programming. I never even heard the idea again or gave it a second thought until weeks later when I was back home.

- Since I've known you, going on 20 years now, you've managed to make some incredibly astute pop tunes without ever sacrificing your integrity, how have you managed to stay under the radar for so long? Where are you headed right now?

- When you're truly enjoying what you're doing, I think people can tell. It's genuine and sometimes even contagious. I'm just lucky that the music I happen to make is perceived the way it is.

As for staying under the radar, although I've been heavily involved in music for quite some time, Rifas only recently released our debut album, so it really hasn't been that long. That being said, maintaining anonymity certainly isn't an objective of ours. We definitely want our music to be heard. You start out like a tree that falls in a vacant forest. Breaking through is another story. For us, for now, I think it's little by little.

- Some people might think that Rifas is a pet project. But I know that you've surrounded yourself with like-minded individuals. Can you give us some insight into the makings of the recording? The players?

- If I'm the heart of this thing, then Ron is certainly the brain. Is Here A Sense is a collection of songs that I wrote. But the finished product you hear is really Ron's handiwork. Beyond his guitar talents, he's also the engineer and a bit of a mad scientist. Dave and Taylor have their creative stamp all over it as well. Taylor is a really mellow guy, so his ideas and bass playing can come off as understated at times. You might even miss it. But there's almost always a hidden melody going on down there. Conversely, Dave is pure energy! There's a layer of excitement that he adds to everything.

Non-traditional moments... There are a few that really stand out to me. For "Ten Ton Shoes," we gave Dave a mallet and a microphone and had him beat the hell out of his washing machine. We affectionately refer to this as the "washer boom." There are even all kinds of kitchenware we ended up recording -- pots, pans, baking sheets, bar stools, olive cans, and even a little tin mint box.

?Later in the song, there's a fizzing sound effect that pushes the verse into the bridge. For that, we miked a cup full of ice and poured warm soda into it to achieve that 'pushing' effect. It's actually an idea I'd had on the back burner since I wa - Miami New Times


"Five Questions with Evan Rifas"

Evan Rifas has been active in South Florida's music community since the early '90s and he has maintained a relatively quiet presence that has allowed him to fine-tune his astute and articulate sensibilities.

Aside from being a great poetic lyricist, he seamlessly weaves personal experience with observation and quirky pop culture subject matter. He is also a multi-instrumentalist with a fine ear for composition.

With a debut effort for Rifas finally under his belt, Evan and his band performed at Bardot last night. We had a chance to pick his brain.

Crossfade: Who are you? Where do you come from? And where are you going?

Evan Rifas: The first part is the only thing I can know for sure.

- In my humble opinion, you've always been a very keen observer of the environment and that has translated well into your lyrical content. Can you describe your approach to lyricism and musical composition?

- Creation is definitely a mystery. A lot of people try to chase after it. But for me, it's always been the other way around. Everyone is different and there's no right or wrong method. I have a friend who will intentionally sit down to write a song and he'll pore over a verse or lyric. That works for him and I love his songs, whether they took two minutes or two years. But it's not at all how it is for me.

Music just hits me from out of nowhere and not necessarily at the most convenient times either. I'll be driving, taking a shower, in a plane at thirty thousand feet. You name it.

Here's a classic example: "West Bay," the last song on Is Here A Sense, came to me when I was right in the middle of a loud/bustling bar in San Francisco a few years ago. One minute I'm in the middle of a conversation and then this idea pops into my brain. Luckily, the person I was with that night had a camera, so without any explanation I grabbed it and ran into the men's room, straight into the stall, and shut myself in, as if this would isolate me somehow! I hit the red button on the camera and began singing out this melody with all kinds of emotion!

And these words just flew out of my mouth... "I'm not stickin' round with my hands on the reigns." It was pretty intense in that stall for a second there! As I was leaving, I saw a couple of guys standing there by the sinks staring at me with facial expressions that words can't describe. It cracks me up when I think about what it must have been like from their point of view! I think I just gave a nod and a smile and proceeded back to my regularly scheduled programming. I never even heard the idea again or gave it a second thought until weeks later when I was back home.

- Since I've known you, going on 20 years now, you've managed to make some incredibly astute pop tunes without ever sacrificing your integrity, how have you managed to stay under the radar for so long? Where are you headed right now?

- When you're truly enjoying what you're doing, I think people can tell. It's genuine and sometimes even contagious. I'm just lucky that the music I happen to make is perceived the way it is.

As for staying under the radar, although I've been heavily involved in music for quite some time, Rifas only recently released our debut album, so it really hasn't been that long. That being said, maintaining anonymity certainly isn't an objective of ours. We definitely want our music to be heard. You start out like a tree that falls in a vacant forest. Breaking through is another story. For us, for now, I think it's little by little.

- Some people might think that Rifas is a pet project. But I know that you've surrounded yourself with like-minded individuals. Can you give us some insight into the makings of the recording? The players?

- If I'm the heart of this thing, then Ron is certainly the brain. Is Here A Sense is a collection of songs that I wrote. But the finished product you hear is really Ron's handiwork. Beyond his guitar talents, he's also the engineer and a bit of a mad scientist. Dave and Taylor have their creative stamp all over it as well. Taylor is a really mellow guy, so his ideas and bass playing can come off as understated at times. You might even miss it. But there's almost always a hidden melody going on down there. Conversely, Dave is pure energy! There's a layer of excitement that he adds to everything.

Non-traditional moments... There are a few that really stand out to me. For "Ten Ton Shoes," we gave Dave a mallet and a microphone and had him beat the hell out of his washing machine. We affectionately refer to this as the "washer boom." There are even all kinds of kitchenware we ended up recording -- pots, pans, baking sheets, bar stools, olive cans, and even a little tin mint box.

?Later in the song, there's a fizzing sound effect that pushes the verse into the bridge. For that, we miked a cup full of ice and poured warm soda into it to achieve that 'pushing' effect. It's actually an idea I'd had on the back burner since I wa - Miami New Times


"Album Review... RIFAS - Is Here A Sense"

New band originating from Miami, their debut album “Is Here A Sense” came out recently and Joel Williams gave it a thorough review.

Lift:
The vocals come straight in with just a little bit of guitar. A little pause in that verse then it all kicks in with some funky drumming, strong bass line and more guitars. I absolutely love the chorus to this song, powerful, distortion driven chords. What a great song to kick off the album.
Out of 10: 10/10

Ten Ton Shoes:
This track starts with some neat drumming, using the rim shot with some snare and bass drum. Then some guitar comes with some tidy picking, then all the rest kicks in. Some nice effects in the background. A fairly long, but good, intro to the song. Some really nice, powerful vocals filled with harmonies.
Out of 10: 9/10

Bottomless Pit:
Track kicks off with some lovely acoustic picking, and then vocals come in. This song is the first quiet song on the album. It takes a while for the song to really kick in but once it does, it’s some real good stuff. Has some mesmerising harmonies once again.
Out of 10: 6/10.

Pathways:
This track starts off with synchronising guitar and drums. That’s the same for the first verse when the vocals kick in. After each verse though, there is some real powerful, driven chords once again. This band loves their powerful chords! Nice song with some nice guitar parts.
Out of 10: 7/10

Escalator:
Everything kicks in straight away in this track. First verse is pretty cool, has some real smooth bass lines with drums and vocals. The song has a very strong bass line right the way through. Add to that some well thought out guitar parts, simple drumming and lyrics, you’ve got yourself a really good song and this one deserves a respectable...
Out of 10: 10/10

Said The Wolf:
Awesome start to the song, great guitar sound to kick off, with the rest of the band coming in a bar or two afterwards. A great song if you just want to chill out after a long, hard day’s work. Listen to the lyrics to this song and you can tell that they are passionately sung and from the heart. A truly great song
Out of 10: 10/10

Out To The Lions:
Close your eyes at the start of this song and you feel like there is a tornado nearby. The shortest song on the album. A different song with different instruments used. Nice echo effects on the vocals.
Out of 10: 5/10

Ammunition:
This track has a sort of Nirvana feel to it. A gentle song with lovely lyrics. A well thought out solo in the middle of the song. Another song you could chill out to.
Out of 10: 7/10

Ditrul:
This track has a more heavy sound compared to the gentler sounds of the 2 previous songs. Again, driven by powerful guitar chords and strong bass lines. I do like the effects that Evan has put on his voice in this song, a very cool song. A well deserved...
Out of 10: 9/10.

Underdog:
Another gentle song. Lovely start to the song with a great guitar sound packed with great harmonies and powerful vocals from Evan and co, this is a well thought out song, with a wonderful chorus and excellent verses.
Out of 10: 8/10

West Bay:
Last song on the album. The song kicks off with just bass and vocals, keyboard kicks in on the 2nd verse. The song consists of 2 pretty awesome build ups. A repetitive but decent song to finish the album.
Out of 10: 6/10

Rifas - Is Here A Sense
Out of 10: 7.9/10

Words by - Joel Williams
Links by - Fred Bambridge - Joel Williams, It's All Indie


"Album Review... RIFAS - Is Here A Sense"

New band originating from Miami, their debut album “Is Here A Sense” came out recently and Joel Williams gave it a thorough review.

Lift:
The vocals come straight in with just a little bit of guitar. A little pause in that verse then it all kicks in with some funky drumming, strong bass line and more guitars. I absolutely love the chorus to this song, powerful, distortion driven chords. What a great song to kick off the album.
Out of 10: 10/10

Ten Ton Shoes:
This track starts with some neat drumming, using the rim shot with some snare and bass drum. Then some guitar comes with some tidy picking, then all the rest kicks in. Some nice effects in the background. A fairly long, but good, intro to the song. Some really nice, powerful vocals filled with harmonies.
Out of 10: 9/10

Bottomless Pit:
Track kicks off with some lovely acoustic picking, and then vocals come in. This song is the first quiet song on the album. It takes a while for the song to really kick in but once it does, it’s some real good stuff. Has some mesmerising harmonies once again.
Out of 10: 6/10.

Pathways:
This track starts off with synchronising guitar and drums. That’s the same for the first verse when the vocals kick in. After each verse though, there is some real powerful, driven chords once again. This band loves their powerful chords! Nice song with some nice guitar parts.
Out of 10: 7/10

Escalator:
Everything kicks in straight away in this track. First verse is pretty cool, has some real smooth bass lines with drums and vocals. The song has a very strong bass line right the way through. Add to that some well thought out guitar parts, simple drumming and lyrics, you’ve got yourself a really good song and this one deserves a respectable...
Out of 10: 10/10

Said The Wolf:
Awesome start to the song, great guitar sound to kick off, with the rest of the band coming in a bar or two afterwards. A great song if you just want to chill out after a long, hard day’s work. Listen to the lyrics to this song and you can tell that they are passionately sung and from the heart. A truly great song
Out of 10: 10/10

Out To The Lions:
Close your eyes at the start of this song and you feel like there is a tornado nearby. The shortest song on the album. A different song with different instruments used. Nice echo effects on the vocals.
Out of 10: 5/10

Ammunition:
This track has a sort of Nirvana feel to it. A gentle song with lovely lyrics. A well thought out solo in the middle of the song. Another song you could chill out to.
Out of 10: 7/10

Ditrul:
This track has a more heavy sound compared to the gentler sounds of the 2 previous songs. Again, driven by powerful guitar chords and strong bass lines. I do like the effects that Evan has put on his voice in this song, a very cool song. A well deserved...
Out of 10: 9/10.

Underdog:
Another gentle song. Lovely start to the song with a great guitar sound packed with great harmonies and powerful vocals from Evan and co, this is a well thought out song, with a wonderful chorus and excellent verses.
Out of 10: 8/10

West Bay:
Last song on the album. The song kicks off with just bass and vocals, keyboard kicks in on the 2nd verse. The song consists of 2 pretty awesome build ups. A repetitive but decent song to finish the album.
Out of 10: 6/10

Rifas - Is Here A Sense
Out of 10: 7.9/10

Words by - Joel Williams
Links by - Fred Bambridge - Joel Williams, It's All Indie


"Homegrown: Modern rock for the contemplative by Beth Feinstein-Bartl"

It has been three years, but Evan Rifas is still getting used to fronting a rock band that also bears his last name.

"It feels awkward," said Rifas, the Miami-based group's lead vocalist and guitarist. "It's a strange thing."

Rifas had no plans to go eponymous when he co-founded the quartet with fellow guitarist Ron Huneycutt. But the guys, including bassist Taylor Bryd and drummer Dave Parente, wanted to bill themselves as RIFAS (using all caps). Rifas eventually came around to the idea.

"The name is transparent. It's not a concrete word, so it defines whatever people feel about our music," Rifas said. "I feel very fortunate to have such talented individuals around me. I'm the songwriter, but it's these guys who help me bring the music to life."

Rifas describes their sound as "modern rock for the contemplative natured."

Until recently, the band's textured guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics were confined to live performances. That changed with a debut CD, "Is Here a Sense," that dropped Dec. 7. A message on each disc asks listeners to share the tracks using whatever method they want.

"We're promoting the concept of community music," Rifas said. "Compensation is nice, but exposure is number one. If you get your music heard and people feel at least halfway as passionate about it as you do, everything else should fall into place."

RIFAS will be trekking across the county line to appear Feb. 4 at the Bottega Wine Bar, Promenade at Coconut Creek, 4455 Lyons Road. Call 954-969-1744.

For more information, go to RIFASband.com - Sun Sentinel


"Homegrown: Modern rock for the contemplative by Beth Feinstein-Bartl"

It has been three years, but Evan Rifas is still getting used to fronting a rock band that also bears his last name.

"It feels awkward," said Rifas, the Miami-based group's lead vocalist and guitarist. "It's a strange thing."

Rifas had no plans to go eponymous when he co-founded the quartet with fellow guitarist Ron Huneycutt. But the guys, including bassist Taylor Bryd and drummer Dave Parente, wanted to bill themselves as RIFAS (using all caps). Rifas eventually came around to the idea.

"The name is transparent. It's not a concrete word, so it defines whatever people feel about our music," Rifas said. "I feel very fortunate to have such talented individuals around me. I'm the songwriter, but it's these guys who help me bring the music to life."

Rifas describes their sound as "modern rock for the contemplative natured."

Until recently, the band's textured guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics were confined to live performances. That changed with a debut CD, "Is Here a Sense," that dropped Dec. 7. A message on each disc asks listeners to share the tracks using whatever method they want.

"We're promoting the concept of community music," Rifas said. "Compensation is nice, but exposure is number one. If you get your music heard and people feel at least halfway as passionate about it as you do, everything else should fall into place."

RIFAS will be trekking across the county line to appear Feb. 4 at the Bottega Wine Bar, Promenade at Coconut Creek, 4455 Lyons Road. Call 954-969-1744.

For more information, go to RIFASband.com - Sun Sentinel


"RIFAS Releases Is Here a Sense - by Abel Folgar"

The last time I encountered the music of Evan Rifas and Ron Huneycutt was well over a decade ago when, under the name Laptripper, the pair put forth some of the best and most heartfelt pop-punk tunes you've probably never heard.

In other words, it has taken a really freaking long time, but finally these cats have struck again with their latest eleven-track offering, Is Here a Sense.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Rifas is one of the most honest men on South Florida's music scene. I can't stress enough how blown away I am by the subtleties and genuine goodness of this release. These are carefully crafted songs that never sacrifice simplicity for excess.

Lyrically, his work is both lived-in and dreamy: "This don't look right/They just need some time/Unconscious to this upheaval I'm sure/As I'm tellin' you/It's hard to imagine holding her there/It's been hard enough waiting right here/Sheddin' like a vintage Cadillac/She reads that it's her holding back."

And providing balance, the solid musicianship of Huneycutt's guitars and electronic tweaks, alongside the extremely well-gelled rhythm of Dave Parente (drums) and Taylor Byrd (drums), ground Is Here a Sense in a very real place we can all relate to.

Easy standouts on this satisfying disc are "Lift," "Ten Ton Shoes," West Bay" and "Escalator." Catch these guys live tomorrow night at Bar 721 on the Beach. And let's just hope we don't have to wait another decade for the follow-up. - Miami New Times


""In the Red Room / Out of the Blue" EP Review"

Conduction
by Tim Den

(Ed. Note: The band changed their name to RIFAS shortly after publication of this review)


Rarely do I give two shits about an unsigned band, but Conduction are no ordinary unsigned band. Okay, they're some of the best musicians/people I know, but seriously: You've never felt songs until you've felt theirs. I say "felt" because Conduction's songs surpass a pedestrian auditory experience: They are sounds of the human experience staring at itself in the face. The chord changes feel like they've always been in your subconscious, the melodies like the language of your brain's electric impulses.

Whether it's the encouragement of "Altitude" of the breakbeat roar of "Listen", the songs play out like a slide show of your fondest memories. Warm, uplifting, somber, intimate, sincere, well-crafted, not to mention just plain beautiful. Conduction write the songs that make us all sing.

And it comes together on "Perfect Attempt," a loop of two sets of verses with an angelic bridge. It's the soundtrack to the most heartbreaking film you ever saw: the morning after sunrise of your post-prom party: the first time you moved away from your hometown. it's pure musical bliss at it's most transcendental. It resonates your brightest loves and your most hidden regrets.

Come bear witness to Conduction. These songs are about you. - LolliPop Online Magazine


""In the Red Room / Out of the Blue" EP Review"

Conduction
by Tim Den

(Ed. Note: The band changed their name to RIFAS shortly after publication of this review)


Rarely do I give two shits about an unsigned band, but Conduction are no ordinary unsigned band. Okay, they're some of the best musicians/people I know, but seriously: You've never felt songs until you've felt theirs. I say "felt" because Conduction's songs surpass a pedestrian auditory experience: They are sounds of the human experience staring at itself in the face. The chord changes feel like they've always been in your subconscious, the melodies like the language of your brain's electric impulses.

Whether it's the encouragement of "Altitude" of the breakbeat roar of "Listen", the songs play out like a slide show of your fondest memories. Warm, uplifting, somber, intimate, sincere, well-crafted, not to mention just plain beautiful. Conduction write the songs that make us all sing.

And it comes together on "Perfect Attempt," a loop of two sets of verses with an angelic bridge. It's the soundtrack to the most heartbreaking film you ever saw: the morning after sunrise of your post-prom party: the first time you moved away from your hometown. it's pure musical bliss at it's most transcendental. It resonates your brightest loves and your most hidden regrets.

Come bear witness to Conduction. These songs are about you. - LolliPop Online Magazine


Discography

RIFAS - "Live in the Corner" (3 live acoustic singles)

RIFAS - "Is Here A Sense" (debut studio album)

Photos

Bio

Four individuals with one common purpose converged to become RIFAS. Their heart-felt songs mix natural tones with vibrant electric textures, presenting rock music from a modern perspective. Prolific singer/songwriter Evan Rifas etches out his own distinct take on modern rock and vintage folk, weaving thought provoking lyrics through melodies in his own vernacular. Whether by walls of chords, intricate guitar voicings, or even live loop layering, Ron Huneycutt carves his mark on the soundscape as the poignant counter-punch. With polished chops and deceptively smooth bass lines, drummer Dave Parente and bassist Taylor Byrd form a rhythm section capable of driving the band’s dynamics over the edge or into the skies.

About "Is Here A Sense"...

The whole thing started out with a microphone in a closet, but it quickly became apparent that we were going to have to reinvent ourselves and our entire creative process in order to fully realize this album. We had to become studio engineers, music producers, graphic designers and even product distributors... essentially all of the parts of the machine. But at the core of it all, it was the transformation from musician to artist that made it possible for us to take a group of songs and turn them into a cohesive work.