ISSUE #5 // DECEMBER 2015
3 Hiatus Kaiyote 7 To Kill A King 17 MUNA 23 HOLYCHILD 39 Drenge 45 Wolf Alice 55 CHILDCARE
15 My Brother’s Music Taste and Me 37 My Very First Show 51 The Evolution of the Fangirl
23 FOUNDER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF April Salud
c e d 15 20
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rochelle Shipman LAYOUT Robert Jackson April Salud Adam Holmes CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Boldt Joyce Jude Lee
“It’s been a crazy year.” I feel like everyone says that at the end of every year but sometimes, there’s really nothing else to say. It truly has been a crazy year with THE RADICAL. And here it is. We’ve made it. The one year anniversary issue. I never thought this little side project of mine would have turned into this. I’ve made some great friends through it, whether it was from people wanting to help or some professional relationships turning into personal ones. We’ve grown up so much in the last year. With each issue, we’ve gotten better. So that’s what we’re exploring this time around: GROWING UP. There are infinite amount of ways that music has shaped our development as people. From being subjected to what our parents listen to finding your own fangirl (or boy) voice to having an endless catalogue of music at your fingertips. Music is literally there for every definitive moment of your life. All the features were done in person with exclusive photos and we really got to know each artist intimately. What I learned from each person while putting this together reminded me why I started THE RADICAL in the first place. We want to shed light on what we feel is important and give other people a platform they wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s been a crazy year and I can’t wait for the next one to be even crazier. Thank you for being a part of it. APRIL SALUD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF THE RADICAL, ONLY THE FUNDEMENTALS @THERADICALZINE @APRILSALUD
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n the surface, music and sports don’t exactly go hand in hand. Music is intentional, carefully mapped, and logical; sports are chaotic and despite even the most detailed plays, unquestionably erratic. When it comes to Australian “future soul” outfit Hiatus Kaiyote, the line between music and sports disappears. Their jazz/R&B fusion sound envelops chaos, with the rhythms and beats jumping comfortably from one extreme to the next, accompanied closely by Nai Palm’s warm voice that spews scales we thought only Ella Fitzgerald could hit. Although the link between music and sports within Hiatus Kaiyote might be a coincidence, it likely goes back to drummer Perrin Moss’s childhood. The 29-year-old confessed that, while growing up, “there was definitely a point where I wanted to play for the NBA. I loved basketball so much. Eventually I realized I’m not actually as good as I need to be to get into the NBA. And then I got older and got interested in different things, like music.” “And meth,” Nai jokingly interjected. The striking singer of the four-piece, wearing gold cat ears on top of her jet black hair and absentmindedly stroking a fox tail hanging from her belt loop, didn’t share Moss’s athletic aspirations as a child. “I’ve never wanted to be something other than what I am. I guess I’ve just always wanted to be a greater version of myself, so it wasn’t like, I want to be an astronaut or make ice cream. I want to continue to just do what I do and overcome hurdles and get better at that. Luckily, somehow I’ve found a career where I just get to be that. Be who I am. And share that with the world.”
It’s not surprising that Nai didn’t have a typical “when I grow up” vision as a child. Between being separated from her siblings at a young age and becoming an orphan, she didn’t lead a typical childhood. In some ways, this forced her to grow up faster; in others, it stunted her experiences. “There are certain aspects that you have to be mature about, independence and such, but when your childhood is taken from you, you tend to hang onto it more and try to keep your imagination intact. When you’re denied those elements of yourself, you appreciate them more...this is why people like Michael Jackson, who grew up as a child star, have this naïveté and juvenile appreciation about them -- because they were denied that. So they harbor it and celebrate those aspects of their life because it is sincere and beautiful, and your imagination is the most intact, and you’re less cynical.” Despite going through more by the age of 26 than most people go through their entire lives (and often feeling older because of it), Nai has finally reached a point in her life where she actually feels the age she truly is. Moss, on the other hand, feels older. “Because of how much we tour, it ages you quicker. Your bones start hurting and stuff, and your muscles are sore, and it’s like oh my god I’m getting old. Sometimes when I play music though, I still feel like I’m 21, 22.” Regardless of how old Nai and Moss are now, both have had a deep connection with music since they were young. Nai recalls a memory from when she was about four, riding her “awesome yellow truck” in an endless loop around the house while her mom played a Stevie Wonder record in the background. Follow Hiatus Kaiyote: twitter.com/HiatusKaiyote facebook.com/HiatusKaiyote hiatuskaiyote.com
KAIYOTE WORDS BY ROCHELLE SHIPMAN // PHOTOS BY APRIL SALUD
Moss’s first mark of a future musician occurred when he was still a baby. “My mom used to tell me that anytime music played, she would wink at me before I could speak, and I would wink back the same eye that she winked. And then she would do the other eye and I would do it back. So it’s like I’ve always had this weird thing inside me, like this rhythm or something, ya know?” After he grew a bit older and his rhythm became apparent, so did the notion that music defined a lot about him as a person.
“There was a song, ‘Boogie On Reggae Woman,’ and I would do laps listening to it. I remember having to harass her to keep playing that song particularly. It wasn’t like I’m going to be a singer when I grow up but it was like, this is a great joy that I’m experiencing and I want to continue to experience it over and over again.”
“Just being in the moment, when I’m by myself and producing or getting into sounds...I used to do it all night and it wouldn’t matter. I would sleep during the day and I’d be making beats when everyone’s sleeping and I would be grabbing all their dreams and putting them into the tracks. At that moment I was like fuck, this is the best feeling in the world and no one else can experience [it] with me and ever will. It’s only about your personal self just being in that moment.” So with two albums under their belts, a historic Grammy nomination, and approving nods from exemplary musicians such as Prince, Lauryn Hill, and Animal Collective, does this mean Hiatus Kaiyote has finally entered adulthood? Not so fast. Moss gives hope to the rest of us 27-going-on-12-year-olds, claiming, “I feel like I still haven’t grown up fully.”
CONVERSATIONS WITH TO KILL 7
WORDS + PHOTOS BY APRIL SALUD
A KING 8
he weather is crazily mild for this time of year,” Ralph Pelleymounter said to me while the rest of To Kill A King (Ben Jackson, Josh Taffel, Grant McNeill, and James Ball) were packing up the studio as we prepared to head out to the pub. “Wow, that’s an incredibly British phrase. ‘It’s fucking insane how mild it is outside!’” In a weird (and best possible) way, that’s essentially how you would describe To Kill A King. A group of friends turned band during the university days, they were never intended to be a buzz band. “We played shitty venues. Then we played slightly less shittier venues,” Pellymounter explained. “It’s been slow and steady.” Through constant touring and word of mouth (also appropriately the title of their 2012 EP), To Kill A King have built their fan base the old fashion way: organically. While they’ve never been on the front page of the trendy music blogs or considered the “It” band of the moment, To Kill A King has staying power without the fake validation of a “best of” list. When I first met To Kill A King, they played my apartment in Los Angeles as part of their Balcony Sessions series. I took them to In N Out, they took me to their sound check, and within a few hours, a bond was formed. Nearly a year and half later, I traveled to London and had to pay my old friends a visit. A lot has changed since we last saw each other. I went through two jobs, they went through two bass players before landing on Ball. Relationships ended and started, albums were released, and you know...life happened. As we chatted in the pub for hours, it was interesting how a group of people who spent literally one day together over a year ago could have say much to say to one another.
MAKING FRIENDS AS AN ADULT
Ralph: We meet people through touring. Staying at people’s houses, the people we work with. We do spend a lot of time together so we get comfortable with each other very quickly. Meeting friends in normal situations is a bit different. If you’re single and you exchange numbers with a person, there’s an end game. You’re both on the same page. But if you’re just wanting to hang out with some, do you just ask them for a beer? Grant: Maybe it goes: group hang out, smaller hang out, one on one. Ralph: As an adult though, you do get lazy and comfortable with your friend group. If you all go out, you end up sitting with the same people talking about the same things you would if you had all just went to the pub together instead. Occasionally, you’ll get the odd person who can join but there’s a point where you’re just like, “I’m fine.” Ben: I think it’s different too, when you’re single. You find yourself wanting to be around more people and you go out more. A night in with the Mrs. is different than a night in with yourself.
Ralph: When I left uni, I taught music at a primary school but pursued music in the evenings. I don’t think there will ever be a time as hard as that, well at least I hope not in terms of hours you spend in the day doing stuff. It was doing a job and then spending every evening writing and doing gigs. Grant: I can’t speak to the older days of music but now, you have to have a more level head on you in order to make it because there’s not as much money floating around. There’s not a label that’s going to throw money at you, which I think enables that perpetual adolescence. It’s still fun but you have to work a lot harder to get to a certain point. James: I feel really lucky to not have to be career-minded. A lot of people my age are thinking about where they’re going to be in five years and putting a deposit down on a house because that’s what they’re “suppose” to be doing. Because I essentially have this “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, I’m happy to work these random jobs -- I’m temping at a call center and it’s crappy -but it’s just money to fund what I love, which is this. Ralph: It’s not that you’re not being career-minded, or we’re not being career-minded. It’s the separation between career and money. It’s accepting that something else is going to be funding you but it’s not your identity. I’m not this guy who serves drinks at a bar, I’m a musician. We’re at the age of the second career. Grant: It’s more common now to ask what someone’s hobbies are instead of what they do as a job because that’s where their real passions lie. A job is a job but those passions are long term.
Ralph: Hype is bad for bands and you see it a lot in London. You’ll see loads of bands who you’ve never heard of, and I’m sure they’ve been working away, but then they’re playing Shepherd’s Bush or Brixton one year and then the next, they’re playing a shitty venue! It’s because what they have isn’t a fan base. What they have is fans that are looking for the next big thing and maybe they’ll have one song that they’ll remember from them but they’ll never have a fan base, which is a real shame. Even though we’re on our second album, I think it’s still early days for us because we’re not a hype band. We’re growing and it’s slow and steady. And in a way, it’s bad for bands to get that push especially when they’re not ready. Josh: When I joined the band, we just toured a lot and I know if I didn’t have that experience and we just had a number one album right off the bat, I wouldn’t know what to do. I learned how to handle all of this by doing it for a long period of time. The Radical: I do feel like it’s harder than before to move on to a second album. If your first album didn’t do what people wanted it to do, they’ll give up on you and move onto the next
iteration of you. Grant: But that’s the difference between fans of music and fans of celebrity. Are you willing to track the progress of someone or are you just looking for what’s being talked about? Ralph: I feel like what I’m sharing right now, in terms of what I’m listening to, is more trendy. When I was growing up, everything I listened to was more alternative. Do you think it’s because what’s considered alternative has now become mainstream? But then again, I wonder how many of those people are actual music fans or if it was something to do that weekend vouched for by magazines like you. [laughs]
The Importance of Change
Ralph: When we released our second album, we reached a wider audience. People who had never written about us before were now writing about us and saying positive things. But then the smaller blogs who wrote about us previously, didn’t like it so much. Because it was more rock than folk, they accused us for changing our style for money. If they knew how much we made, they wouldn’t make those assumptions. Josh: But we’re not writing for an audience. We’re writing for ourselves. Grant: For the last album, when we went into the studio, we didn’t know what we were going to make. It’s just like, here’s the song we have to work on, and here we go.
Ralph: I’ve always liked sci-fi and fantasy but when I was around 17 is when I didn’t necessarily mention it at parties but it was really just to get with girls. Now, I say it to girls almost immediately to see if they like it too so I know if we’re gonna get on really well. My 17-year-old self didn’t know that and was more concerned about getting with the girl than actually connecting with someone. Grant: My dad tried to get me to be cool by making me play guitar but all I really wanted to do was talk about Lord of the Rings. The Radical: But Lord of the Rings is the greatest thing ever. Grant: I KNOW. Ralph: I feel like we were just ahead of the times because everything we liked as kids is cool now. Grant: And now we can be total hipsters and say we liked it before it was cool.
Getting Into Music
Grant: When you’re a kid, parents use development strategies and when I was seven, one of those was to play an instrument. I was slow to take up on it and wasn’t very keen so when I was at school, my dad would take the guitar and learn stuff on it and then it turned into a competition between the two of us. I’d come home and he’d be like, “I just learned how to play ‘Smoke On The Water’.” Then I’d be like, “Fuck you! I want to learn how to play ‘Smoke On The Water’.” Ralph: How old were you? Grant: Around seven. Ralph: You swore very early, mate. Josh: My brother was playing electric guitar and I wanted to play electric guitar but I knew he’d think I was just copying him. So I looked at the drums and thought, “That’s violent enough.” James: I used to play violin when I was really little but then I saw School of Rock and I was like, “I want to do that.” My two mates, one played the guitar and the other played the drums, told me to play bass and we could have a band. I was also really small when I was younger so I was never going to make the football or rugby team so fuck it, let’s practice playing music. Josh: It’s really all about praise. If someone tells you you’re good at something, you’ll probably keep doing it. The Radical: Who did you want to be when you grew up? Ralph: Nick Cave. Josh: John Bonham. Grant: Johnny Greenwood. James: Beck. Guero was the first album I ever bought. The Radical: Wait, the first album you ever bought was Guero? Ralph: He’s really young, we’ve covered this. The Radical: What was the first album the rest of you bought? Josh: Kill Them All by Metallica. I was like seven years old. Ralph: Mine was a double whammy. Dookie and Nimrod from Green Day. Grant: Silver Side Up by Nickelback The Radical: Please put that on your tombstone. That’s amazing.
Follow To Kill A King: twitter.com/tokillaking facebook.com/tokillaking tokillaking.co.uk
MY BROTHER’S MUSIC TASTE
E M D N A . . . O S BY R
E SH CHELL
f it hadn’t been for AIM, I wouldn’t have spent so much time sitting in my family’s computer room, talking to my friends. We were definitely talking about music, but it was more along the lines of “which song lyrics look better on my Xanga profile?” than anything else. Most afternoons I sat ten feet away from my older brother, who was watching every skateboarding DVD he could get his hands on—over and over again. Some days I was pissed because I had just created a brand new playlist in WinAmp and I didn’t want to listen to his weird music. Other days, despite my best attempts to hold my Resting Bitch Face in place, I realized some of the music in those skate videos was actually awesome. I was about thirteen when I heard the first doomful notes of HIM’s “Right Here in My Arms” blare through the TV speakers. Those intro chords were so perfectly demanding they tore me away from my Kazaa trove and forced me to look up from my rolly chair. I remember the sun streaming through the skylight on to the TV as Bam Margera probably kickflipped a stair set or something. When Ville Valo’s deep voice came in, I knew shit was about to get real. At that point I was teenager-tits deep in my pop punk phase, so with the exception of the classic rock I was raised on, I hadn’t really heard a song sung by a man who had already gone through puberty. Once I tracked down the video, my transformation was complete. I was never remotely into metal but for some reason, HIM’s tragic, unrequited love lyrics grabbed me, and that was it. I began to leave my pop punk days behind me. Instead of diving deep into metal, I went down the screamo track and took interest in everyone from the Used to Thursday to From Autumn to Ashes. There’s a reason they call it screamo, and at some point I started to find myself more attuned to the emo aspect than the screaming part. As high school came to an end, I started drowning my so-sad, typical white girl problems in the sounds of Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional, Tim Kasher, and of course, The Cure. After going from lyrics like, “Listen up ‘cause there ain’t nothing funny / I want a hot girl and a little bit of money,” to lyrics like, “Life is a series of callouses, this is just another layer / so build ‘em up, tough it out,
yeah that’s your skin; don’t let anyone under there,” I was pretty sure I had found my niche. I couldn’t really play music, I wasn’t a natural poet; yet I had all these emotions I couldn’t figure out how to lay out and here were these new friends doing it for me, and doing it more beautifully and satisfactorily than I ever could. As I went through college I became fully engrossed in indie music before it became so big that the term itself became irrelevant. From guitars to pianos to synths, I became less focused on what was making the music and more enamored with the feelings born from those sounds. During my constant taste transitions, there were two genres that remained pillars of my musical foundation: classic rock (duh) due to my parents (and kick-ass grandparents), and hip hop due to my older brother. I remember dancing along to the video for “Waterfalls” in our family room and having no idea what it meant to chase a waterfall, but even chasing a river or a lake sounded like too much work. The second my brother left for college, I raided his closet and pulled out CDs by Juvenile, the Notorious B.I.G., and Dr. Dre and claimed them for my own. I even bought my best friend an uncensored copy of The Eminem Show in seventh grade, back when Parental Advisory stickers were relevant. We used to walk around our block reciting “Without Me” from start to finish, competing to see who could remember every single lyric without tripping up. I distinctly remember driving to dinner on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach later that year, headphones on and wondering what Chandra must have done for Eminem to call her “so Levy.” At 26 years old, my music tastes are as widespread as they’ve ever been. I dabble in nearly everything and I’m thrilled with the idea that genres themselves are disappearing. Two of my favorite bands today, Spoon and Islands, were both on loop on the other side of that wall back in 2002 while I sat on the computer talking to friends who aren’t even in my life 13 years later. Of course my brother was directly influencing my tastes, although neither of us even noticed at the time. I still get the warm fuzzies when Placebo’s “Every Me Every You” keys up.
HOW TO BE LOUD
WORDS + PHOTOS BY APRIL SALUD
s women, we’ve been taught to suppress our thoughts, feelings, and any evidence of being a complicated human in order to appease society for some unknown reason. People have been conditioned to think women should be silent and women, to a certain point, accepted it. With time comes progression and now deep within the digital age, social issues such as gender, sexuality, and racial equality are not only been discussed but are being talked about often and loudly. MUNA are propelling that conversation forward. Comprised of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson, MUNA are fully independent. They play, write, and produce their own music not just out of necessity but because they have the skill set to do so. Identifying themselves as “dark pop,” the trio have come together to form an 80s tinged sound that courageously touches upon complex emotional states and important issues. Despite that melancholy vibe at the core of their songwriting, you always feel empowered and a sense of release when you listen to a MUNA track. MUNA doesn’t want you to bottle up anything, they want you to be heard. Their single “Loudspeaker” is the anthem for everything MUNA stands for. It’s cool to be a girl. It’s cool to be a girl with thoughts and opinions and emotions. It’s cool to want to express those said feelings because communication is something we all need to survive. Having a voice as a female is so vital. That is why a band like MUNA is so important to have around.
Follow MUNA: twitter.com/whereisMUNA facebook.com/whereisMUNA
Katie: People feel like you have to wait until you know what your message is and how to say it in the perfect way and to make sure you know exactly who you are before you say anything...and that’s just not true. Josette: I was taking this class at USC and they were saying sometimes you just have to unleash stuff onto the world. That’s what we did with our first EP. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t polished but we got it out there. There’s no wrong way to do anything so it’s better to at least try something. Naomi: It might be an oversimplification but it’s essentially not waiting for permission. That’s not giving you free license to be an asshole and inconsiderate. But if you feel hindered in anyway, it’s usually because you’re waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay. Sometimes you just have to be honest and do it regardless and then figure it out along the way. I don’t think any of us are stand alone confident enough to do this alone. I don’t think that demonstrates any sort of weakness. The three of us understand that our project as a band isn’t self-serving.
Katie: You have the greatest power when you’re serving a mission that’s bigger than yourself. Josette: We’re using this medium of pop, which is relatable and undeniable, to say something so important. Especially for teenage girls, you might not be aware you’re getting the message of “speak up for yourself” but as long as you’re digesting it somehow then that’s making a difference. Katie: I feel like if there are people trying to silence you -- you’re doing something right. If there are people who are made uncomfortable by your existence -- you’re doing something right. So just do it more. Disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.
Disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.
Katie: You canâ€™t be afraid to let your anger motivate you. If someone has wronged you, your anger can be justified and be turned into a positive thing to motivate you to do better. Josette: When someone makes you feel small, just take it and let it make you better. Itâ€™s fuel to the fire. Naomi: There are people who just indulge in every negative situation and you canâ€™t let that eat you alive.
Katie: If you’re someone who spouts off at every given moment, you’re devaluing your voice. Listen, we’re women and we’re queer but at the same time, I’m white and I come from wealth. I have this background so I don’t understand, and will never understand, what minorities have gone through. You have to recognize when someone else’s voice is more important than yours. But then, you’re also giving power to your own voice because people will trust you. We want to be responsible with the narrative we’re creating and give light to other people’s stories as well. Naomi: You know what? Not a lot of people know who we are right now...but they will. I wish I had a band like us when I was 12. In middle school, I was curvy and not white and I remember hating myself. And that’s shitty. I wish I had someone I could look up to and feel like they were advocating for me. The moment you realize the coolest thing you can be is yourself is the greatest. When you realize that nothing is real because nothing is static, you’ll feel so much freer to be your nasty, dirty self.
“Being yourself can be isolating. But just keep doing it. Don’t let anyone fuck up your story.”
Follow HOLYCHILD: twitter.com/holychild facebook.com/holychildmusic holychildmusic.com
WELCOME TO BRAT NATION HOLYCHILD are on the brink of a revolution. With their movement in the form of their self-created genre “brat pop,” Liz Nistico and Louie Diller are challenging social norms and calling for change. WORDS + PHOTOS BY LIZ NISTICO
This is a pretty accurate depiction of tour life. These were all taken while we were touring the US with Walk the Moon. We love them, and the tour was pretty up and down, as life usually is I suppose. In between long drives and packed shows we took these photos. Most of them are from our hotel room or backstage or outside of the van at a gas station.
MY VERY FIRST SHOW WORDS BY JESSICA BOLDT
t was my freshmen year of high school. I had to see my current obsession - The Rocket Summer live. They were playing at The Myth, this little venue outside of Minneapolis. I somehow convinced two of my friends who had never even heard of the band to join me for this show. Now remember, I was fourteen and living in the suburbs of Minneapolis. I honestly wish this story was about to unfold in a lot more badass way, like I snuck on the bus or something, and pretended to be eighteen, and partied with the band. But no - my mom and my friend’s mom escorted us to this concert. I have such a vivid memory of driving to the concert. Sitting in my mom’s car, stoked out of my little mind to see the oh so ~dreamy~ Rocket Summer in person. I had listened to that CD over and over, I probably stalked them on MySpace or whatever the hell I was doing in 2007. We got to the venue, the bouncer drew some X’s on our hands and the moms headed to the bar. I remember walking in it was dark, the music was loud, there was a group of people huddled around the stage. I had never seen anything like it. The people were so close to the stage? My parents had taken us to a few “big” stadium shows growing up, but nothing like this. I was overwhelmed with this compelling desire to get closer. I wanted to get closer to the people, closer to the stage, and see what was going on. Everything happening down by that stage was absolutely captivating. I can’t remember anything before that in my life that I had been so intrigued by. Ever since that day, I’ve felt that same pull - to get as close to the music as possible. I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be as close as I could be without being up on that stage myself. And as I sit reflecting on that experience, I think that is what I fell in love with about live music. That sense that I am somehow a part of this bigger experience - simply by standing there and taking it in. Now the irony in my little story is we got to the show late, I didn’t even get to see The Rocket Summer. The only band on the ticket I knew, the one I dragged my friends and our moms to see, we missed. But somehow in that moment I didn’t even care. I was so enraptured with what was happening around me. The band on stage, the people huddled below them, the cool people sipping drinks at the bar. I sometimes replay this moment after a particularly great concert. All my concert experiences still harken back to that first moment, walking into the venue, completely overwhelmed and enthralled with what was happening around me. So it turns out this other band on stage was The Academy Is and I thought they were so “hardcore” (lol, they were not). The lead singer strutted around on stage like Mick Jagger (or so my mom said). Skinny jeans, twirling the microphone around his finger. People’s hands in the air, singing along to every word. It was electrifying to watch. I don’t remember the details of the rest of that night but obviously something stuck with me and something in me changed. I became obsessed, always bugging my parents to take me to shows, stalking MySpace to see who was coming to town. I would use money from my after-school job to buy me and my friends tickets to shows at iconic Minneapolis venues like The Turf Club, 7th St. Entry and First Avenue. Not even realizing the greats like Prince or The Ramones had played there. A few weeks after that first concert my friend’s dad took us to see Cartel. A few weeks after that maybe The Maine or All Time Low. And that summer our parents dropped us off at Warped Tour. And eventually we got older and started going to shows without our parents. And eventually our X’s turned to fake IDs and flasks. And eventually our fake IDs and flasks turned to real IDs. Jumping around in the mosh pit turned to sipping gin and tonics and cheap beer at the bar (and still jumping around in the front of the stage but slightly more inebriated). But the magic didn’t change. That electric, sometime inexplicable magic of watching a band you love perform your favorite song live never changed.
DRENGE WORDS + PHOTOS BY JOYCE JUDE LEE
ime and time again, people have proclaimed guitar music “dead.” In reality, it’s never been dead; it’s just that mainstream radio hesitates to take on guitar music that isn’t completely tinged in pop. Many bands will tend to grow towards the trend, and perhaps compromise the core of what the band truly was along the way. These were the ones that came and went, those that toured successfully briefly but never had true staying power. Drenge are quite the opposite. Aged 24 and 22, Eoin and Rory Loveless can hardly be con sidered industry veterans, though they have been in the band since their teens. But growing up in England, the brothers are very much a product of the internet age. They know that interacting with their audience has value, and they enjoy doing so because music forms community, which should be free from pretense. Speaking with Eoin, I could tell he was wise beyond his years--his insight into the industry drips with candor, and his constant, thoughtful pauses about growing up in and with music revealed worlds to me, an avid music fan who grew up in America, where dwindling funding for music programs dissuade kids from going into the arts. For Eoin and Rory, however, it was different. From an early age, they were encouraged to take on instruments for purposes of self-exploration rather than a resume touchstone. Because they’ve been able to carve out their musical identity in their hometown of Sheffield with no pressures, their music conveys honesty, grit, and power -- elements that characterize the true rock bands we have come to know and love. Eoin seemed very comfortable in his own skin. His blunt nails flaunt fading, neon-pink nail polish, subtly giving the finger to societal norms. Their sophomore record, Undertow, does the exact same. The record’s tone is bold and brash, and by no means commercial. Their intention, apparent from chatting Eoin and watching their live set, is to incite mosh pits, selfepiphanies and headbanging. Drenge are forging the way for Brit Rock, demanding that anyone and everyone who likes music give them a listen. Even at their young age, Eoin and Rory have sacrificed a lot to be able to do this for a living, and their music echoes those sacrifices.
“I’m just kind of enjoying the necessity of music.” -Eoin Loveless
How is being in a band with your brother? Has your upbringing influenced you in life or in your musical endeavors? Eoin: Well, my parents were very committed to making sure that we did stuff outside of school and that school wasn’t the end of our learning. They took us to music lessons, which I think we [Rory and I] found very dull; they weren’t the sort of lessons that enhanced creativity or anything. We both played piano, got a bit older, got sick of piano, moved onto drums and guitar, and just because that was what we were listening to at the time, like Nirvana and Blink-182, and all these other bands...they were very integral to us. They had a huge impact on us and were an early introduction for us to guitar based rock.
Eoin: We had never toured before the first record, after we put it out, we toured for like two years. A lot of stuff happened, we grew up quite quickly, and that is the scenario for most bands. Like record, tour...stop, and then record again. The issue is, with touring, it’s like you’re given doses of adrenaline every night at 9 pm. Tonight I’ve got adrenaline, tomorrow night I won’t, though I might come back to see a show, then the day after, I’ll get another dose in San Francisco. Then we’re not playing a show for a month, and when I get home, and it’s 9 o’ clock in the evening, my body is like,”...what’s gonna happen?” There’s no one going “Yeah! This is amazing!” You’re just sat in a room, and it’s just weird. The withdrawal of expecting adrenaline is just a very bizarre feeling.
How has growing up in the UK influenced your music? Eoin: I feel like in the States, it’s a lot harder to start a band when you’re younger. In the UK, when we were 17, we had to give them fake IDs to shows and stuff. Over here, the whole plus 21 thing is really damaging to the whole grassroots music scene and I really struggle to come to terms with it. We live in the middle of nowhere, we don’t live in a city, we’d have to travel quite a way to go and see any shows. I feel like we’re the beginning of a generation of bands or artists that are super influenced by YouTube and listening to music online through MySpace. It was a great music influence, it was like a separate course I was taking where there were no grades, but I just learned so much from the vast amount of stuff that is online.
What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned in life when it comes to music and/or life? Eoin: Ooof, I don’t know really. For me, I’m trying to work out who I am, what I like, and how I deal with stuff. I consider music to be as important to human beings as food and water. I feel like it’s a super necessary thing we need to survive. It’s the first cultural thing, more than art, more than film or TV or literature. I feel like it’s a super important part of what we do as human beings. But I’m in a very odd position from where, 100 years ago, they started printing sheet music, and try to make an industry out of it. I’m in this very bizarre place where it’s something people need because there is a monetary thing attached to it, as there is food. So I feel very privileged to be in a bizarre position to be able to make music for a living but I also...I don’t know. At home, I just set up a little studio in my room. I started writing songs, and it was the first time I had ever recorded anything, first time I had written things on my computer, I usually write things on bits of paper and take it to Rory, which is very stone age. But some of the songs I write will have use for the band, some of them will have monetary value attached. There are also songs that are not that, they’re just songs. I’m just kind of enjoying the necessity of music.
From reading your Tumblr posts, it seemed like you guys had a very romantic view of America travelling through places like the Southwest. Has that influenced you guys at all? Eoin: It definitely did something. One of the main reasons I’ve enjoyed writing the blogs is just being able to describe nature, and write about nature. Places, the scenery. There’s a whole, great, use of words, and words exclusive to nature that makes it very interesting to write about. Between Denver and Arizona, we were just driving through the desert. For the first time, I felt like I was in the States; and I wasn’t being advertised at constantly. It felt like someone had gone, “Right, you know what, let’s not build a Hillton right in the middle of Monument Valley.” I was very surprised. How has the band evolved from the debut to Undertow?
Right, with the whole monetary thing, it seems to put new artists to a disadvantage don’t you think? When most label’s attentions are focused on the big players? Eoin: It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot in my head. But for new artists, I think it’s very important to be internet savvy. You need to understand the internet. You need to be able, not to sell yourself, but be able to communicate to people
online, and not say anything stupid or upset anyone, which lots of people do everyday online. Me and Rory have never sat down and gone, right, this is how we are going to run our social media. But it is a super important part of a band’s existence. I don’t know how much 50,000 Facebook likes, or 26,000 Twitter followers is, but there is money attached to that. That stuff confuses me. A lot of artists can forget about that. Is “indie” real? What is it? Eoin: The word “indie.” Early indie bands. Independent labels. Independent finance for bands. Like Fugazi, are the most independent band in the history of music. They’ll always be used as a touchstone when people start to talk about credibility and hard work and commitment and not selling out. But what happened is that those bands, because of that scenario, develop their own sound, and then that sound became popular, and then money could be ascribed to those songs, and then major labels were interested. And from that point, indie is just a style, it’s a sound, it’s not commercial enough to be described as pop but it’s not rocky enough to be described as rock. Alternative seems wonderfully vague and useless. I don’t know...like Jamie xx would release music and because he’s associated with The xx, his work will be described as indie. But if you listen to his record, he’s made a dance record! It’s bizarre. Do you think it’s possible for bands to overstay their welcome? Eoin: I don’t think so, I don’t think bands should split up unless they hate each other. I’ve been talking to someone the past couple days about his experiences in a band. For example, it’s not a good idea for Kings of Leon to split up because they have so many fans, and people will always want to hear those tunes played live, and they have a great career ahead of them. They will always sell out stadiums and they will always be popular. What is in the future for Drenge? Eoin: We’re going on tour with The Maccabees, and they’re really lovely guys. And that’s kind of it for this year. Hopefully we’ll have a bit of time writing some new stuff, work on another record soon. A bit of touring in the new year. The calendar is starting to look a bit more bare than it did six months ago, which is a good thing.
Follow Drenge: twitter.com/drenge facebook.com/drengeboys drenge.co.uk
CATCHING UP WITH
WORDS + PHOTOS BY APRIL SALUD
olf Alice have had a tremendous year. Our June cover artist released one of the best albums of the year with My Love Is Cool that went on to debut at number two on the charts. They’ve played every festival from Reading and Leeds to Glastonbury, sold out venues in the UK, and headlined a tour in the States. Starting out as a folk duo, Wolf Alice have evolved into a full on grunge rock band that growls and howls through their meticulously crafted catalogue. They began the year as part of the long list of BBC Sound Of and are ending it with a Mercury Prize and GRAMMY nomination. Wolf Alice are comprised of four very different musicians. Lead singer Ellie Rowsell is meek and quiet off stage but flails with shrieking confidence, manic guitar riffs, and sweet but gritty vocals. Joff Oddie is a more traditional rock band member, too cool for school (almost) with an effortless presence about him. Theo Ellis is punk personified and one of the most interesting performers to ever grace a stage. And finally, Joel Amey is the everyman. Someone who could you see welcomed into any band because he’s just having a good time doing whatever they let him. Despite, or rather because of their differences, Wolf Alice as a unit have a clear and focused vision on what they are as a band. It’s that synergy that have made the one of the most exciting acts of the year. Backstage on their Los Angeles (apparently their favorite city) tour stop at The Fonda Theater, we caught up with the band who are changing the direction of music by simply being themselves. No filter, no frills, just straightforward good music.
Follow Wolf Alice: twitter.com/wolfalicemusic facebook.com/wolfalicemusic wolfalice.co.uk
THE EVOLUTION OF THE
WORDS BY JESSICA BOLDT
angirl” is a phrase that has been thrown around for decades. The phrase calls to mind screaming girls in matching t-shirts holding glittery signs with some variation of “I Heart [insert boy band name here].” Fangirls can be the screaming girls on Good Morning America waiting for Justin Bieber, but fansgirls can also be the die hard fans of some smaller, perhaps lesser known band. The fangirl has remained an inescapable part of pop culture. And sometimes an inexplicable one. “As long as God keeps making little girls, there will always be boy bands” said Lou Pearlman, the creator of Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
Elvis’ self-titled debut was released in 1956 and was widely well received by the public. As Elvis’ popularity grew so did the intensity of the fans. One article published in the San Antonio Express News talks about how 3000 fans once trapped Elvis in an auditorium, refusing to let him leave. The public was absolutely enamored with this dark-haired, shy, coy-smiling boy from Mississippi. Scotty Moore, one of Elvis’ guitarists, recalled shows from the height of Elvis’ popularity. “He’d start out, ‘You ain’t nothin’ but a Hound Dog,’ and they’d just go to pieces. They’d always react the same way. There’d be a riot every time.” Article after article talks about police and guardsmen being called in to help with crowd control, fainting fans, and riots. The Beatles were received in the States in a similar fashion. Everyone who doesn’t live under a rock is familiar with the iconic photos and videos of screaming girls waiting at the airport for The Beatles. Though there is often a level of “insanity” that comes with fangirls, they can also be credited with helping put that spotlight on The Beatles so early in their career. These girls screaming at shows helped to throw The Beatles into an unmatched level of success. The birth of Beatlemania is arguably the birth of the fangirl.
Beatlemania of course carried over into the 70s, post breakup. With Paul McCartney’s solo album and various other side projects. However, the 1970s also gave us a slew of boy bands and their crazed fans. The Monkees, The Bee Gees, The Jackson 5. Google “Donny Osmond and Justin Bieber” or “Mick Jagger and Harry Styles,” the resemblance is striking. Each generation is graced with another stunningly attractive and talented young male singer - and often, the fangirls are the first one to take note.
The 80s gave us bands like New Edition and New Kids on the Block and also gave us Run DMC and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. New Kids on the Block are infamously known for their fan base. Recently NKOTB had a reunion and fans flocked out in numbers. Again, like Elvis and The Beatles - they withstood the test of time with their fans.
The Golden Age of the boy band. Ok, maybe I am biased since I myself am a child of the 90s. Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees. I remember judging my friends based on the simple “Backstreet Boys or NSYNC?” NSYNC’s first album came out when I was five. FIVE. Yet I so clearly remember popping that CD into my parents sick sound system and dancing around the basement. I remember thinking Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake and his ramen hair were so dreamy. My mom had Donny Osmond, I had Justin Timberlake.
Today the we have One Direction, 5 Seconds Of Summer, and Justin Bieber. There is really nothing different about these boy bands and pop stars of today - except they’re maybe a little more autotuned. Sure, Harry Styles is no Mick Jagger - but they do make teenage girls feel the same way. However, the presence and power of technology and social media has also changed the face of the fangirls. The accessibility to these bands and artists has heightened the intensity of this fandom. Harry Styles is one tweet away. Justin Bieber is one Snapchat away. It allows fans to peer into intimate moments of these people’s lives in a way fangirls have never been able to before. Social media makes these artists seem like people we actually know - and what else do fangirls want than to have these people really feel like (boy)friends. I sometimes look around at the youth of today and am surprised to see them singing along to Justin Bieber or One Direction in the grocery stone, the salon, whenever it is. Just a few days ago I saw these two little girls singing along to some “boy band” song in the salon as they were waiting for their mom. But then it hit me - I was the same way, you were the same way, my mom was the same way. There has always been the boy band, there has always been the fangirl.
A DAY IN THE LI
IFE OF ED CARES
WORDS BY APRIL SALUD // PHOTOS BY APRIL SALUD + ED CARES
ast time we spoke to Ed Cares of CHILDCARE, it was right before the release of their debut EP Flush. The character of Ed was built from the frontman’s imagination and determination to bring back the flashy lead singer ala Freddie Mercury or David Bowie. A year later, there have been some lineup changes, a refining of their sound and direction, and now they’ve taken full control by moving forward on their own. In London, I met up with Ed after a day in the studio. “We’re doing everything live this time, so everything’s in one-take -- the drums, guitar. Going to lay down the vocals tomorrow.” He was animated but had a very cool demeanor, like nothing could really phase him but yet everything about life excited him. He had just broken his elbow after falling off his bike, his gigantic cast with padding that was “a bit overkill” and he kept assuring me it wasn’t that bad and showed me his X-ray of one of the biggest breaks I’d ever seen. After a bit of small talk about what I was doing in London and how the new tracks were sounding, we started to discuss a collaboration that jokingly started out on Twitter. A couple of beers in, this is what we came up with. For his day job, Ed works as a nanny for two kids. He drives them to school, waits for them to come home, plays games, teaches them about music, and cooks meals for them. Because of his elbow, he was out of a commission for two weeks and on his first day back after his accident, the routine was a bit different. Instead of driving them to school, he accompanied them on the tube. His days usually go until the late evening for dinner but for the meantime, he was only needed to pick them up from school. The kids play a big part of his life and act as inspiration for his musical passions. I mean, he did name the band CHILDCARE.
At night, Ed sort of...transforms.
Continuing to work with producer Ben Jackson, CHILDCARE were in the middle of recording a slew of new singles. Ben mentioned once again their approach as the “purist way of recording” with one-takes, meaning that if there was a change needed, they would need to start from the very beginning. Ed is very efficient in the studio. Having a time limit helps but knowing what he wants from the start is biggest contributor of that, along with Ben’s understanding of that vision. There’s a DIY charm to CHILDCARE that stems from their lack of need for perfection. It’s alright if something is out of tune or if a note isn’t quite reached. That added bit of playfulness folded in with the adult content parallels itself to the working environment in the studio. These are just a bunch of friends having fun creating something great but it’s the seriousness that pushes them to be actualized. Ed’s daily routine differs between caring for these two kids, writing and recording music, and also just simply hanging out. With Ed, there’s never a dull moment. He was unexpectedly, the person I spent the most time with during my stay in London. We’ve known each other for nearly a year now and even though we’ve only technically just met, it genuinely feels like that year wasn’t in vain. When he met me at the tube station to say goodbye while the kids were at school, he had me snap the final photo on the disposable camera. “The rest of them are probably crap,” he said of the photos he took. It didn’t matter though, knowing that Ed’s spirit was too big capture in a series of pictures anyway. Follow CHILDCARE: twitter.com/CHILDCAREBAND facebook.com/CHILDCAREBAND
the-radical.com ÂŠ 2015
Issue #5 ft HOLYCHILD