Interview: Ayla Ray – Smelter

Ayla Ray is a group formed of Alaskan hometown friends by singer/songwriter Sam Tenhoff and bassist/producer Raven Liss. 


Hey guys! Can you tell me about how you first formed as a band?

Sam and Raven have been playing together since meeting in elementary school in Homer Alaska. After Sam parted ways with his former group Animal Eyes to explore a new sound, he teamed up with a longtime friend and musical compatriot Raven and brought the members together to form Ayla Ray in Portland, Oregon.

Why ‘Ayla Ray’?

The name of the group was inspired by bringing together equal parts of feminine and masculine. Ayla was Sams older sister that died at birth but being the only girl of his three siblings the name was always felt as part of his character. Ray was his grandfather’s name, who was a test pilot for the military in the 60s and invented the rocket powered ejection seat.

Can you tell me a bit about the writing/recording process?

Sam and Raven work side by side in the studio usually writing and recording simultaneously, the duo shares the workload equally but often swap roles. Consistently Sam writes lyrics and melodies and Raven produces beats and basslines but they will change and edit each other’s input often in the course of their creation process.

If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The throne room of a castle in Scotland.

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