Q&A with RadioBlack
California rockers RadioBlack are taking listeners back to the 90's with their self-titled debut album, which easily blends blend grunge with 90's inspired alternative rock. Led by vocalist TJ Courtney, the band recorded these tracks at the Foo Fighters' private recording facility, Studio 606. With producer John "Lou" Lousteau and a lineup of studio players including Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy), Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction), and Mick Murphy (My Ruin, Chevy Metal), RadioBlack's new release is certainly one you don't want to miss.
With the album available now, the band (rounded out by drummer Derek Gledhill and bassist Hayato Takano) are looking toward the future, with plans to release more music videos and even an acoustic EP on top of touring throughout the rest of the year. Read about the creation of the band's debut album and more below.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about RadioBlack for any readers who might not be familiar?
We are a lyric-driven rock ’n’ roll band influenced by 90’s alt rock & grunge. We’re trying to bring that style back with our own modern twist because we loved that era, and its influence has all but vanished when it comes to emerging bands.
You guys just released your debut album this month! What are you most excited for fans to hear on it?
I think we’re most excited for fans to finally get the full experience. We put out 6 of the songs on the record as singles over the past 9 months or so, and now our fans get to hear them in the context of an album, the way we always intended them to be heard. We wanted this to be a record you could pop in your car and be inspired to take a road trip, and blast the entire thing, start to finish!
It being your debut album, were there any major goals you had in mind?
To make every song strong and unique. We took a long time writing this album and ditched tons of songs along the way that we just didn’t think were strong enough. We could have rushed to put it out as soon as we had 12 songs, but we waited until we felt we had 12 that we could really stand behind.
The songs on the album were recorded at Studio 606 - What was that experience like? How do you feel recording there and being able to work with that team affected the songs?
It was an incredible experience. The Foo Fighters have been one of my favorite bands for as long as I can remember, and recording through the Sound City Neve board at 606 with their team was surreal. The crew over there are all genuinely good and talented people. They definitely changed the songs for the better, and always checked with us along the way to make sure the recordings were still true to our original vision.
You’ve released a few songs from the album so far, most recently “Thread (I Am)” and “Sunny Daze." What inspired these tracks?
‘Thread’ was inspired by experiences with self-destructive friends and family… as a band we all related to that feeling of wanting to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves, and being drawn into their world and their struggle, and even being hurt by it… whether its an addiction, depression, or something else they’re battling. Its hard not to want to turn your back on those people when they start to turn on you - but at the same time you know you can’t and you want so desperately for them to pull out of it.
As for ‘Sunny Daze,’ that was inspired by a new relationship I had started at the time that was healthy and grounded and positive… I began comparing it to my last relationship which was consumed with negativity, fighting, cheating… and that comparison came out in this feel-good summer song.
Back in February, you also released a music video for “Run Away,” which features Taylor Hawkins. What do you feel he was able to bring to the track?
Both Taylor and Dave are two of my favorite drummers, so to have Taylor play on that track in the studio Dave built, and get to jam in a room with him while we went over parts was so surreal. Taylor laid down such an awesome groove on that track… I think my favorite addition was the tom beat he played under the first chorus. We never would have thought of that. It really helped the track build while keeping it really driving through that section. Our producer Lou deserves credit for the way that song builds too… I couldn’t break it out from being almost a soft-rock song, and he and rest of the crew at 606 were able to help us move it away from that.
With the album out now, do you have any plans to hit the road any time soon?
Yes - we’ll be playing around Southern California & Arizona this summer, and be out on more of a national tour in the fall. Looking like about 25 dates working from LA out to the midwest & east coast. They’re going to be a mixture of college shows and club dates. We’re stoked to finally have this record out and be hitting the road!
Do you have any other big plans for 2017?
Yes - we have several music videos coming out through the rest of the year, with videos for ‘Thread’ and ‘Sunny Daze’ up first. We’re also going to be recording an acoustic EP with acoustic versions of 5 or 6 songs from the album and a couple new, acoustic songs. Also be on the lookout for RadioBlack remixes - we’re starting to talk with some awesome producers and mixers who are going to put their spin on a few of our songs.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for having us. Our album is now available at all major digital outlets, but be sure to head over to WeAreRadioBlack.com if you want a physical copy - we’re offering some pretty cool extras like a limited edition poster and even soundcheck passes when you buy the record. Hope to see you out at a show!