We announced ourselves for the first time as Soul Radics at an Atlanta ska fest in the summer of 2011. That’s the easiest way to say it I suppose.
As a band we’re unanimously fans of the Jamaican classics of ska, reggae, and rocksteady… Though I’m very favorable to Dekker, Toots, and Derrick Morgan, it is a endless list of inspiration. Opinions obviously differ for the whole band, but I’m a fan of a ridiculous amount of music that mostly came before I was born. It’s hard to break it down without yammering on forever, but it starts somewhere around Django Reinhardt, Charles Mingus, Otis Redding, The Beatles, The Animals, Chuck Berry and ends somewhere around Early punk, Devo, The Stray Cats, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. But above all my heart lies in ska, reggae and soul. I like music with feeling… That’s my thing.
I moved to Nashville, Tennessee from a smaller town in Northwest Indiana that bordered Chicago. I have collectively spent most of my life there after moving young from my home state of Florida, but also lived in New York and oddly enough some obscure places in Nebraska.
I met Jay back in ’09 soon after I’d moved to Nashville. I was looking to play guitar in some kind of punk group, as it’s what I had messed around with prior to, and he said “how about sing in a ska/reggae band?” I immediately got more excited about the idea since the concept of ska thriving in Nashville didn’t even occur to me as a new resident. Jay was from Canada and moved to Nashville specifically for music…. I had never worked with anyone so passionate about it before; it was refreshing. Long story short, and trust me, it’s long…. Jay and I have reformed this group 3 times to get what we have now. We’ve had a great writing relationship since day 1. We picked up our bassist Jamie early on and he’s been with us the longest. Jamie was from Michigan and had played much heavier music before joining up with us, but beyond him it had seemed like a revolving door before we actually became Soul Radics last summer. I think what ailed us the most was our constant drummer situation…. I’m sure most musicians can relate. We had always had a hard time keeping horns on but Nels (Nebraska) came along on sax and held it down for a long time on his own… Rob Hoskins (from Murfreesboro) was in a.k.a: Rudie which is a flawless, long running rocksteady band in Nashville. I had collaborated with them a little bit and was a huge fan, even though in almost 20 years they had never gotten far out of Nashville. Rob and Kevin (also from a.k.a.) came to our show one night, at which point we were basically all leaning to play traditional ska. We played a song for the first time live that night called “Down to the Hall,” which is a more upbeat ska tune, and they wanted to help us track it. Rob then began producing what quickly went from an E.P. to a full album, and also playing organ for us. He opened the floodgate for seasoned musicians. We finally got a professional drummer (Dave from Nashville), and second guitar (Shane from Pittsburgh) that we kinda smuggled in from a.k.a: Rudie. Most recent is Chuck from Cali on trombone, and that’s our current line up. Sorry if that was long winded… big bands are high maintenance, ha.
i read you are in nashville, obviously world famous for music, but how does the soul/ skinhead reggae sound fit in there. i thought the town was very much based around country and western.
Nashville is one of those towns where everyone you bump into is a musician. There’s usually a good show every night but truth be told it’s a small demographic in comparison for what we do. There’s not a lot of pats on the back here for carrying the torch in our town. The people that love us at home base support us dearly… that’s our crew.
listening to ‘hey skavoovie’ it had good production on it. are you signed to a major label.
Cheers! We’ve been recording in a.k.a: Rudie’s studio (which actually happens to be the 2nd floor to their guitar player Kevin’s house). Kevin has engineered the album and the wonderfully talented Brett Tubin is mixing it. As of now and we’re set to release it on both vinyl and cd through Jump Up Records, and our record release show will be with Stranger Cole in Chicago on November 17th. I’m very excited for it! We’ve all poured a lot of blood and sweat into it and I can’t wait for the finished product.
how is the skinhead scene where you are?
Small in Nashville, but they represent. Our buddy Matt Gray DJ’s ‘Sunday Moonstomps’ and the scene brings in some good bands as often as possible. We do a free monthly Nashville gig in the summer and that’s where I see most the crew. Sometimes we’ll get an iconic band through and it’ll draw everyone out of the woodwork.how are your live shows, are you starting to pick up a following?
While Nashville shows are always personal and fun, I live for playing out of town shows. Hell, liveshows in general are my thing, but I love an adventure. I feel like we convert so many people when they see us live… that’s how we’ve gotten our biggest fans up until this point. A good Radics show leaves me high for days. It seems like every time we go back to Atlanta there’s more supporters, and I have to admit I feel a buzz around us right now which makes the record release all the more anticipated. I’m grateful for the shows we’ve been invited to play this year, supporting bands like the Aggrolites and The Toasters as well as a plethora of amazing regional bands. We’ve been fortunate with the opportunities and fans we’ve gotten without yet having an album out. Dani Radic