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Aug. 10, 2020

Interview with The Rad Trads

Interview with The Rad Trads

We had the pleasure of interviewing The Rad Trads over the phone!
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​​Please share while we are #togetherathome ​​
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​​The Rad Trads are a 5-piece band from NYC. All 5 members of the band write and share lead vocals (most frequently, singing lead...


We had the pleasure of interviewing The Rad Trads over the phone!
​​
​​Please share while we are #togetherathome ​​
​​
​​The Rad Trads are a 5-piece band from NYC. All 5 members of the band write and share lead vocals (most frequently, singing lead vocals on the songs they write). They just released a 5-song EP called 99 in October on May 1, 2020. Prior to that, they had released two cover videos in February -- Alabama Shakes' "Hold On" and Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City." The band can be followed on Patreon, where they release exclusive new content weekly such as live performances, explanations of how or why songs were written, acoustic performances, and more. The band has been direct support for the likes of Lake Street Dive, Dr. Dog, Modest Mouse, They Might Be Giants, Bailen, The Motet, and Brandon "Taz" Niederauer.

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​​Brooklyn-based five-piece The Rad Trads are known for their eclectic take on rock n’ roll, which mixes punk rock energy, horn drenched soul, and precise musicianship with a lighthearted but sincere delivery. It’s a sound and approach that has come sharply into focus on the band’s latest release, 99 in October, out now on Wombat Squad Records.
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​​The band recorded the EP while touring in support of their sophomore release On Tap — a world tour which totaled over 80,000 miles and included shows in support of Lake Street Dive, Dr. Dog, Modest Mouse, BAILEN, and The Motet, with dates in Asia, Europe, and across the USA. Along the way, they began writing and performing new material, and the folkiness of their last release began to morph into the hard-edged, anthemic, and frequently poppy sound of 99 In October.
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​​“The indie influence was definitely starting to emerge in On Tap,” mused saxophonist/keyboardist/vocalist Patrick Sargent. “We were rooted in this Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Bob Dylan, bluesy folk-rock thing, but bands like Wilco and Spoon were sort of whispering in our ears - In fact, we were once hilariously described as ‘Wilco at the circus.’ 99 In October marks the moment where we fully modernized our sound, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve left our previous selves entirely behind. Maybe it’s because horns are the centerpiece of our instrumentation, but it’s always been more of a ‘yes and’ kind of a thing, where instead of choosing between ‘modern’ and ‘retro’ we’ve just thrown it all together. If Rivers Cuomo hired Sam Buttera from the Louis Prima band to record a saxophone solo, it might sound something like the ending of ‘99 in October.’ Or if Courtney Barnett collaborated with the Hi Records horns, they’d come up with ‘Spanish Radio.’”
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​​Another key factor in the band’s evolution is producer Chris Peck, who mixed On Tap and handled both production and mixing duties on 99 in October. “Chris’s sonic palette is very contemporary, and when he shared the On Tap mixes, everyone’s ears perked up. So with ‘99 In October’ we fully leaned in,” said guitarist Alden Harris McCoy.
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​​At times, Peck’s role became almost like an invisible 6th member of the band. On “Shouldn’t Have To Ask Me Why” he ran the song's bluesy guitar riff through a Roland Space Echo, sending the sound into the echo chamber and back out again in real-time as Harris McCoy played next to him. The final result was described by Bandcamp as “a tense & coiled bit of brass-ornamented rock that snaps & lunges without warning.” “Let’s Go Walking in the Moonlight” was infused with reverb-laden falsetto harmonies and chiming piano, lending an unexpected backdrop to a song that’s eager to unseat “Moondance” as the first dance at your cousin’s wedding. Peck also encouraged the band to take big risks, like taking “The Good Stuff” from an up-tempo party anthem straight out of the Springsteen playbook and turning it into a meditative campfire sing along. The resulting rendition became the band’s acoustic encore and a moment of intimate connection that fans fondly reminisced about on social media upon the song’s release.
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