Next month, local resident Kaya Rayner, guitarist for hard-hitting metal/hardcore band Take The Willing, will be putting his days as a part-time artist and professional father on hold to tour the North Island with London-based rock band I Am Giant. Growing up in Raglan, Kaya was introduced to music at a young age, “I grew up playing the drums since I was about seven. I lost interest after a while and then mum got me a guitar,” says Kaya.
The band’s 2007 debut album Fight Music, released through Universal on Deadboy Records, was mixed and mastered by acclaimed Swedish producers Eskil Lovstrom and Pelle Henricsson – responsible for some of the biggest albums in the metal and punk genres. Kaya describes Take The Willing’s success as almost accidental. After spending a decade with previous band, Abstract Thought, Take The Willing started off as a bedroom project that turned into something bigger. “We had one song and off the back of that song we got a tour with Blindspott. We didn’t even have a set to tour with, just a couple of songs,” says Kaya.
Critically acclaimed as one of New Zealand’s ‘next big things’, Take The Willing have performed with local acts Blindspott, The Bleeders and Antagonist AD as well as big-name international acts, Hatebreed, Refused and Poison The Well.
The opportunity to join I Am Giant’s album release tour came about through the band’s connection with Shelton Woolright, ex-Blindspott member, now with I Am Giant.
Take The Willing have been inactive in recent years, taking time off to raise their respective families and Kaya says, “It’s awesome to be asked to come.”
Recently returned to Raglan after some time away pursuing his musical interests, Kaya has also been dabbling in surfboard art, collaborating with Hughes Surfboards.
“Art is something I’ve dropped in and out of my whole life — I was never a serious artist. But this past year I’ve been doing heaps of drawing and painting, doing as much as I can and setting myself up to live a creative life,” says Kaya.
Drawing inspiration from tattoo art and pop culture, Kaya uses POSCA paint pens to apply the eye-catching graphics to the surfboards. “I try not to do anything surf-related, I like doing things like tattoo flash, just clean, solid, simple stuff, if you call it pop art I guess that’s what it is.” One of his designs adorns Billy Stairmand’s surfboard and was gifted to the surfer after he beat ten time World Champion Kelly Slater at Margaret River in Australia. While keeping busy with his surfboard art, Kaya is looking forward to hanging out with his band and hitting the road again. “I love being on the road, I always make new friends and we’ve got our own tour family. I met (partner) Erin on the road, I got my family from touring so it’s given me a lot.”
If you would like a custom surfboard graphic, contact Kaya at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Raglan Surf Co.
Also, visit www.raglan.net.nz and go to the “Free Stuff’ page for your chance to win one of three copies of Take The Willing’s album, Fight Music.