Friday, October 18, 2013

Radical Dads! Japan/CMJ/Songwriting... They are awesome. Just listen to them.

Last night's showcase went off without a hitch... Everyone had fun... I had fun, which is all that really matters. Tomorrow's showcase (10/19) is going to be incredible. I really can't wait to share all these bands with you. Radical Dads has been one of my favorite local acts since I first saw them play about two years ago. The trio of Lindsay Baker (guitar vox), Chris Diken (Guitar), and Robbie Guertin (drums) play bombastic indie rock that is very representative of the genre, without being generic. If you don't know these guys, check them out. You're going to love them. I did a little email interview with Robbie and Chris.

Here's the exchange:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Robbie, when I was talking to you last, after one of your Northside shows, you said you absolutely had to play with Lindsay and Chris when you heard they were getting something going. What about them makes them so special?

Robbie: Well first off, I wanted to play with them because they're my best friends! That makes them super special in my book. On top of that, though, they are also two of the best musicians and songwriters that I know, so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being involved! So, as I told you before, they were both playing guitar, and they needed a drummer, so I decided it was time for me to learn how to play the drums.

HBR: How do you guys compose? If I had to guess I’d say it would seem like a group effort?

Robbie: Yep, usually it ends up being a group effort. The general Rad Dads songwriting formula is that Chris or Lindsay will come in with some guitar parts. Sometimes it's just one part, sometimes 2 or 3 parts that fit together, and other times, it's 7 or 8 parts that fit together (that's usually what Chris does). So whoever brings in the new parts plays them while the other two play along and figure out our own parts to fit with it. It is very scientific. Sometimes new parts are added, or parts are taken away. Then we usually try it in a bunch of different configurations, usually with me being very bossy about it, until we find the right combination/length that works. Vocals and lyrics usually come last, but sometimes they are figured out somewhere along the way. Now you know our secret.

Rad Dads are going to make you as happy as a bear with a watermelon. 

HBR: How have you evolved in the period between Mega Rama and Rapid Reality? Has your approach changed?

Robbie: I think in a lot of ways we've stayed the same, but overall we've just become more confident in playing together, and we've started to figure out what works and what doesn't work.

Chris: The approach hasn't changed much. I think our single criterium for writing songs is: Do we like this? And if we do, we go with it. If not, change it or scrap it.

HBR: Chris, How do you go about producing bass frequencies? Tell us about your rig.

Chris: I use the classic "more amps" technique. I have a guitar amp and then I add a bass amp on top of it! I split the signal through a chorus pedal so I can play through both amps at the same time and apply different effects to the individual signals. I also use a bass EQ pedal on the bass signal to achieve those bowel-disrupting subsonic tones.

HBR: You went to Japan this summer. Any interesting stories? Is the food as good as I think it is?

Robbie: The food is DEFINITELY as good as you think it is. Maybe better. Japan is my favorite place to play in the world for sure, and I feel really lucky to have played there and to be able to say that.

Chris: Japan was the coolest. Cool architecture, cool trains, cool people. We felt extremely welcome there, and maybe the most interesting aspect was how at home I felt in Japan, especially in Tokyo. Also one time we ate raw horse meat in a restaurant and a little while afterwards the server chased us down the street to give us our tip money back. Apparently there is no tipping in Japan.

The band in action.
HBR: What do you guys think of CMJ? I’m 50/50 on it, give me your honest assessment.

Robbie: Yeah, 50/50 sounds about right. It's sort of ridiculous a lot of times, there's maybe a bit too much going on. We're playing 3 times this week — is that really necessary? That said, it's awesome when you play for someone who has come just for the festival and who has made time in their schedule to search you out and watch you play.

Chris: As someone who went to CMJ when I was in college, it has a special vibe for me, so I'm maybe 51/49 on it. I remember going to see specific bands play, and if we can be that specific band for someone, that is amazing.

HBR: Any advice for the first time festival-goer or performer?

Chris: For the festival-goer: there's a lot to experience in NYC besides CMJ — diversify. For the performer: Just remember, your whole career is riding on this.

I must say I detect a slight amount of sarcasm in that last statement. But one thing's for sure, there's a lot of wide-eyed kids roaming around Manhattan this week who think they are going to get super famous. It's kinda cute to watch, and I guess you never really know...

You can catch Radical Dads on 10/19 at Matchless. RSVP ---> here.

Like Rad Dads on Facebook ---> here.

And Like Hearts Bleed Radio on Facebook ---> here.

See you at the show!

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