A singer-songwriter from Canberra, Australia currently living in New York City.
Rafe Morris is an Australian songwriter who shares his positive and unique perspective of life through lyrically rich songs.
Sometimes his songs are poignant and insightful.
Sometimes his songs are funny and offensive.
Sometimes this gets Rafe into trouble but he gets out of it by being really short.
Rafe is currently living in New York working on a new set of songs that will be performed with a string quartet. It should be ready by mid 2017, and it will be fabulous.
Rafe's Musical Past
Rafe’s Musical Past
Like many Australian children, Rafe first fell in love with music through an ABC For Kids song compilation. Intrigued by the mix of simplicity, truth, and musicality, Rafe’s fondness for a well crafted song has rolled through the rest of his life, much like the wheels on the bus that Big Ted sang about.
His musical journey began around the age of 15, upon picking up a bass guitar to join his friend’s band in High School. He quickly learned several things: playing music with friends is really fun, playing at the school assembly is a great excuse to get out of class, and guitarists get more attention than bass guitarists. So he taught himself to play guitar.
His repertoire in those early days consisted of Green Day, Ben Harper, Sublime, Marley, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, and that Nickleback song that everyone pretends to hate but secretly loves. He toured the house parties of Canberra with his friends, stealing everybody’s cask wine (goon) and fire barrels.
During this time Rafe fell in love with three other musicians with the same proclivity for obnoxiously belting out bad songs at inconsiderate hours. Meeting regularly in the suburbs of Belconnen, the four would go on to form the band GoonToast; named after their usual student dinner of cheap red wine and toast. They sounded best when no-one was around to hear them. All band members went on to be amazing songwriters and performers, and the band sometimes reforms when they’re all in the same living room.
Also around this time, some friends from College got together to form the band Dahahoo. An amazing guitarist, bassist, and drummer, Rafe was the singer and sometimes guitarist. Later they were joined by a horn section. Dahahoo were rad. Phat grooves, huge buildups, awesome drops, melodies that takeover your brain. Heaps of gigs. Heaps of jumping. Long lines to get into the Phoenix Bar. Dahahoo found their home at the National Folk Festival, at which Rafe’s pretty sure he was the first performer ever to crowdsurf. Upon listening back to the recordings, Rafe wishes he learned how to sing, but he was pretty good at jumping around on stage. And he was pretty happy with some of the lyrics he wrote, though some he now refuses to listen to. But those guitar, bass, and horn lines! Delicious.
With Dahahoo looking like it was coming to an end and Rafe now having a taste for playing music in front of people, he set out to write some songs to perform solo.
Several months in Darwin and Far North Queensland in 2006 saw Rafe return to Canberra with a set of songs he could perform alone on stage. Though he didn’t intentionally write them to be comedy songs, they all seemed to be kind of funny. These songs formed the album It’s Not As Shit As It Looks, and allowed Rafe to perform solo at a bunch of comedy, folk, and singer-songwriter gigs around Australia. This new found independence allowed him to move around and he subsequently spent two years traveling around Asia and Europe, playing and writing songs along the way.
Playing a few years solo taught Rafe that even though it’s very freeing to perform on stage alone, it’s much more fun to share it with friends. So upon returning to Canberra late 2009, Rafe pulled together the best musicians he knew and formed Rafe And The Well Dressed to perform the songs he had written on his travels. Though short-lived, the band played some interesting gigs, collaborating with story writers and other sorts of performers to produce some unique shows. But with life, work, and people’s busy schedules, the band faded away quietly.
Not too long after, Rafe received a call from his trumpeter friend Cam who wanted to put a band together to play trad ‘dixieland’ jazz with a lineup consisting of sousaphone, drums, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, and asked Rafe to play the banjo. Rafe thought this exciting and went out to purchase a banjo which he donated to Smith’s Alternative having never played. Then he decided to just buy a guitar that slightly sounded like a banjo. After much deliberation the name Moochers Incorporated (Moochers Inc. for short) was agreed upon. This band had a lot of fun. Though none of the band members knew each other before hand, they quickly became good friends and had many fun adventures and many jazz and folk festivals around Australia. With a reputation for making the most out of a bar tab, Moochers Inc. grew to become ok. And charmingly self-deprecating. They would still be together had Rafe not fallen in love with a girl who was moving to New York.
And that brings us to now, 2016, and Rafe feels like he should stop pretending that someone other than he is writing this, so he’s going to switch from third to first person. Ready? I hope it’s not too jolting.
As I write this I’m sitting outside the New York Public Library looking down on Fifth Avenue on a warm Spring afternoon, feeling slightly nostalgic and privileged to have had such fun and to have known such lovely people who are also fantastic musicians.
I’m extremely excited to be working on my next musical adventure which I’m sure will be the best sounding thing I’ve yet created. I’ve learned so much from each project I’ve been a part of and I hope that this project will incorporate it all and result in something I can be truly proud to put my name next to, and something joyful to listen to. It involves a string quartet and many collaborators.
I hope you stick with me for the journey! I plan to blog about it regularly.
Thank you for reading this far. Please poke around the site and listen to things. And join my mailing list so I can let you know when there’s something new and exciting.
Much love and many thanks,
Things People Have Said
“Rafe’s lyrics are endearing, clever, funny, and sweet.” – Emma Gibson, BMA Magazine
“The clever thing here is Rafe’s ability to look at the very darkest corners of the Australian psyche and still find something to joke about. 5 stars” – the-riotact.com
“Definitions be damned – they sound great!” – 666 ABC
“Rafe has musical talent and is a clever lyricist …. Cute and funny.” – hotsource.com
“It’s difficult to understand how Rafe sings so well with his tongue so firmly planted in his cheek” – Culturazi.com
“he is richly lyrical, musical and full of wit, coming at ya with a philosophy of fun.” – loadedog.com
“Love your songs! You’ve got a fine voice on you and your guitar certainly knows who’s boss.” – Mal Webb
“You Stupidly let your red-neck tongue slip. I think this song is offensive and should be removed from the website.” – Triple J unearthed
- Performed a ridiculous number gigs nationally in the ACT, NSW, NT, VIC, SA and QLD, internationally in Germany, France, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Holland, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, England, Italy the USA.
- Written and published 56 songs over five albums both solo and with his old band Dahahoo, including tracks that have been played and promoted on commercial and community radio throughout Australia and internationally, television commercials, numerous compilations and have been featured on various web sites.
- Featured Artist on Triple J unearthed (http://www.triplejunearthed.com/rafemorris).
Festival List (including Solo, Moochers Inc, The Well Dressed, and Dahahoo)
In order of what I can remember
- the National Folk Festival Australia (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015),
- Woodford Festival Qld (2014)
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2011,2012)
- National Multicultural Festival (2005, 2006, 2007, 2011)
- Canberra Fringe Festival (2006, 2007, 2008, 2015)
- Corinbank, ACT (2008, 2010, 2012)
- Summer Rhythm Festival (2010, 2011)
- Dubbo Jazz Festival (2014)
- Merimbula Jazz Festival (2012, 2013)
- Wallaby Creek Festival Qld(2013)
- Major’s Creek Folk Festival (2011, 2014)
- Canberrang Swing Festival (2015)
- Dragon Dreaming Festival (2015)
- Art, Not Apart (2015)
- Enlighten (2011)
- Escape Art (2011)
- Hmong Lai festival, Laos (2008)
- Sun Flower Festival, Germany (2008)
- Folkovy Spiz, Czech Republic (2008, 2009)
- Watts Fest, England (2009)
- Gympel Rock, Slovakia (2009)
Professional Daytime Rafe
In order to supplement his music, and general life expenses, Rafe works in public relations and marketing. Please don’t hate him because of this. He uses his powers for good, working for arts and community service organizations.
Check him out being all professional on LinkedIn.