Friday, May 04, 2012

10 Questions with Radio Reds

Radio Reds is a band that melds elements of post punk, post hardcore, indie rock, and just about everything in-between.  The band recently released the stellar EP Let It Show which is an extremely satisfying listen for those who take the time to get to know it (check out my review here). 

For more information on Radio Reds check out their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, BandCamp, and ReverbNation pages.

This interview was conducted via email May 1-4, 2012.

Dave:  How did the band get together? 

Patrick:  My old band broke up. I had met Stephen at one of his gigs and I talked to him about being a second guitarist at his acoustic shows. After a few months, we decided that we wanted to form an electric group and asked Patrick Robertson and his friend Aaron Schimmel to join the band. Following some commitment complications, Patrick Robertson left the band and Michael, Stephen's brother, joined the band, solidifying the band's lineup.

Stephen:  I knew of Patrick from high school, knew he played real well. Even though I hated his current taste in music I wanted to perk his interest in my music and get him on board. I also had an evil plan to get my brother to join the band, that happened later in the year. 

Dave:  You recently released the Let It Show EP.  What’s the story behind the record? 

Stephen:  We got picked up by Baby Moon Records a DIY from South Carolina. I was really unhappy with our performance on our first EP from 2011, and wanted to redo some of the songs. So that's what we did on Let it Show. The title came from something I was going through at the time, where I was fixated on self expression and being ones self. So "Let it Show" was just my way of saying to folks, don't hide. 

Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your sound?

Michael:  All the members of this band have a wide range of influences, but I think that when we come together, our sound can be described as a mix of bands 80s/90s Post Hardcore/Post Punk (The Replacements, REM, Fugazi, Dag Nasty), 90s Emo (Jawbreaker, Texas is the Reason, Farside), and a bunch of the modern "Orgcore bands" (Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, etc).   I think of us as bringing together some of the best sounds in rock music from the last 30 years. We frequently are described as a "Nineties" band, meaning that we take after Nineties punk/emo/alternative bands, which I agree with to a certain extent, but I do think we have a little bit more going on in our sound.

Stephen:  I was going for folk-punk when this whole thing started, somewhere it became more of what Michael just described.

Dave:  You are a band that is obviously well versed in the history of underground music.  How did you first discover things like punk, indie rock, college rock, etc.?  What made you want to learn about more than just the newer artists on the peripheries and delve into the past (the fact that you listed bands like Dag Nasty, Youth of Today, and Negative Approach on the band’s blog impressed the heck out of me)? 

Stephen:  I have my own story to tell, but I'm gonna let Michael field this question.

Michael:  Prior to my introduction to Rock music, I was a massive fan of 80s and 90s Hip Hop. I spent hours on end memorizing Public Enemy lyrics, and really trying to rap my head around what exactly Chuck D was talking about when he talked about racial inequalities.. But like so many other kids, my first introduction to Punk music was through bands like Green Day and Nirvana. Thankfully, Green Day is a band that likes to cite their influences, and they introduced me to classic '77 punk bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, etc. After obsessing over those bands, I got my first taste of hardcore through Black Flag, which turned me on to Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, etc... For me, I never understood why someone would exclusively listen to whatever bands are new and upcoming. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of a ton of new bands, but there is such a rich history of music over the last century, I can't imagine why one would be so arrogant as to think that the only music of worth is stuff that is brand new. As long as I can remember, I've always wanted to know what influenced the artists that I love. The early 80s American Hardcore bands are, in my opinion, the rawest and purest example of rock music. They are essentially protest folk bands that are sped up and distorted. Its so cool to me that in the 80s punk scene, you had only one large underground punk scene, with bands that are all incredibly diverse. Bands like Black Flag, Minutemen, The Dicks, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, Articles of Faith, Void, etc, all have their own unique sound, but they are brought together by their ethical and political perceptions...  At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think I just kind of consider myself an unofficial student of music. Whether its Bebop Jazz, British Invasion, Delta Blues, Thrash Metal, Psychedelia, Punk Rock, or whatever else, I think that there is just so much for people to learn from all types of music. Right when I think I have heard all the good music in the world, the rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry? 

Stephen:  Well, its broken...but its wounds are healing I think. I mean, have you read this thing about the co-opting of Hiphop in 1991 by Music Executives to perpetuate the prison system? It came out of It may be a big fluke, but I have no trouble believing it. That sum's up my feelings. It’s dirty business. Luckily, the punk scene has this very unique labels and communities that are full of legit, good people who want to spread positive music.

Dave:  Does the band have any specific type of songwriting process? 

Stephen:  In the past I have written our songs. They were all born of acoustic folk songs I played on the streets of Greensboro, busking. As of late, Patrick has brought forth writing (Wallpaper) and so has Michael (Bedroom Noise, Lucky Strike). Our songs are constructed acoustically between Patrick and I, then it goes to the band and is worked into an electric tune.

Dave:  How is the music scene in North Carolina?

Michael:  Its pretty feast or famine at times. But we have some fantastic bands who are KILLING it right now. Bands like Double Negative, Braveyoung, Just Die, Oddczar, Torch Runner, and Old Flings make me really proud to be from NC. 

Stephen:  North Carolina has a lot going on; I can't say the same for our hometown. Greensboro doesn't often celebrate music that goes outward. One of the biggest successes from Greensboro in the past few years has been Jonas Sees in Color. They are on the same label now with Mumford &Sons and Two Door Cinema Club.

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top 5 favorite artists/bands, albums, movies, television shows, books/authors? 

Michael:  Bands: 1. Minor Threat , 2. Green Day, 3. Husker Du, 4. The Beatles, 5. Descendents                                                                                                                    Albums: 1. Pet Sounds (Beach Boys), 2. Let It Be (The Replacements), 3. Dookie (Green Day), 4. 36 Chambers (Wu Tang Clan), 5. Damaged/My War (Black Flag)  
Movies: 1. Star War saga, 2. American Beauty, 3. Clerks, 4. Into The Wild, 5. American History X        

Stephen:  Bands: 1. The Cure 2. Against Me! 3. Alkaline Trio  4. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals 5. Jimmy Eat World
Albums: 1. Hybrid Theory (Linkin Park) 2. Hot Fuss (The Killers)  3. Disintegration (The Cure) 4. Jar of Flies (Alice In Chains) 5. Tim (The Replacements)
Movies:  1. Star Wars Saga   2. American History X  3. American Beauty  4. Halloween  5. SLC Punk

Patrick:  Bands: 1. Spill Canvas  2. Cloud Cult 3. The Gaslight Anthem  4. Blink 182  5. Brand New
Albums: 1. Sunsets/Crashes (Spill Canvas) 2. Mark-Tom-Travis Show (Blink) 3. No Really I'm Fine (Spill)  4. Agony/Irony (Alkaline Trio) 5. Put Up/Shut Up (ATL)

Aaron: (resident metal head) Bands: 1. Saosin  2. Senses Fail  3. Incubus  4. Mastodon  5. Gojira
Albums: 1. Black Sails in the Sunset (AFI) 2. Colors (BTBAM) 3. Sci Fi Crimes (Chevelle) 4. Chuck (Sum 41) 5. Make Yourself (Incubus)

Dave:  What’s next for the band?

Stephen:  We are going to do two mini tours of the South this Summer and expand our base. We just released "Let it Show" on a limited CD run, so we are going to be mailing those out to labels and such. Hoping any friends or fans we have who may "know people who know people" will help us out along the way. 

Dave:  Any final thoughts? 

Stephen:  May the Force be with you.

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