Radolescent On Their Sophomore EP: 'Excellent People'
Gold Coast five-piece, Radolescent have unleashed their new EP Excellent People, a smorgasbord of fast and furious punk rock tracks that showcase their own musical influences, as well as providing a look at the group’s dynamic and unique sound that has been fine-tuned from playing sold out shows supporting Dune Rats and Beddy Rays.
Excellent People is just what Aussies need to hear during times like these and their sound is perfect for people who are into massive punk-rock party anthems to sink tins with your mates while listening to it. Radolescent’s new EP features current single ‘Home’ which premiered on Triple j Unearthed Tops program, and previous Triple j Unearthed favourites ‘Couch’ and ‘Calling Out’.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Radolescent’s lead singer Isaac Atkinson and discuss their new EP, the development of the band and their music, the “Beddy Rads” collaboration, and the Shrek 2 soundtrack, because why not.
The Creative Issue: How did Radolescent come to be? What’s the story?
Isaac Atkinson: It started a fair few years ago now, I had just turned nineteen and got a taste of my first live shows and really liked it, so I was keen to play music and I had a couple of friends – Lachie (Lachlan Barker) and Kurt. Lachie’s the bass player and Kurt was the drummer, but he’s since left the band. So, we all just started getting together at my dad’s shed down in Burleigh playing music, and then we went from playing at house parties to venues within about a year and we cruised along as a three-piece for a while. We put out our debut album three years ago now and then Kerrod (Kerrod Chant) joined the band and took over the role as lead guitarist and made the guitar sound way better. And then last year we took on a new drummer, ‘Schoobs’ (Michael Schrubel), and female vocalist, Rachel (Rachel Gilligan).
TCI: Who are your biggest influences for your music?
IA: The biggest influence in our early days was definitely FIDLAR – Lachie, Kurt and I were really into them, and we always wanted to make music like them – we probably still haven’t quite gotten there yet but we were so into their music and the whole SoCal punk scene like Together Pangea, The Frights, a lot of bands over in America we really liked. Australia at the time was gnarly punk-rock or pub-rock, but we were living at the beach on a coastal city and kind of resonated more with the LA scene and what they were talking about and doing, so that was our biggest influence back then. Over the years, we were influenced by bands like Violent Soho who were huge, DZ Deathrays – all those Aussie rock bands that brought a really polished sound are who I really aspired to sound like and play like.
TCI: How would you describe you and your band as artists?
IA: As artists, I think the punk ethos is there for us, you know, in terms of saying exactly what we see and do and sometimes we’re a bit rough around the edges. But I’d say that’s kind of where we are with writing lyrics and music. When it comes to the sound, I guess it ranges from surf-rock to sometimes a little bit different – like there’s a song on the EP called ‘Money’ which is kind of a little bit country/blues. So, we don’t really stick to one sound, we like to experiment with all types of different guitar tones and stuff like that, but we definitely always want to stay punk and keep the ideas of being punk artists.
TCI: Where do you guys get the inspiration for most of your lyrics? What’s the general vibe you want to give out through your music?
IA: For me, it’s just about always being true, so everything I’ve sung about is exactly what I get up to in my day-to-day life. In the early years for the band all the songs were very, like, party and drug infused and now we’re moving forward a bit more with songs like ‘BlinkT’ and ‘Money’ for me is reflective on my life as I’m growing up. I’ve always tried to sing about what I’m seeing or doing – I’ve never really been a third-person musician and I’d say the same for Lachie who writes lyrics and songs in the band as well. We’ve always just tried to relate to people like us and around us.
TCI: You guys have already toured with some really cool people like Dune Rats and Beddy Rays – who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
IA: Definitely Beddy Rays. We’ve been pushing a collab with them called the ‘Beddy Rads’. Lachie’s actually already got that tattooed on his legs. We’ve been mates with them for years, we played our very first Brisbane show with them on a Thursday night, that’s when we met, and we just got along like a house on fire, and we’ve tried to play as many shows together and support each other as much as we can over the past few years. So that’s definitely our goal and I’m hoping we can get that collaboration across the line in the next year or so.
TCI: What’s your favourite thing about touring with other Aussie bands and artists?
IA: I just love meeting other artists because everyone’s genuinely pretty passionate about music and super supportive of each other. You get to meet some pretty cool people and as well as that, you get to meet awesome punters who come out to watch you – they’re always shouting you beers and getting you drunker than you need to be. But yeah, it’s pretty cool to be a part of the community. I would say the music community is pretty open and accepting and tries to be inclusive of everyone. I think in the past years you can really see that at shows like when things are getting a bit over the top in the mosh pit and people are happy to stand up and say to give everyone space on the dance floor so everyone can have fun. I love that community vibe.
TCI: Do you believe your sound and style has changed much since your 2019 Pre-hab album?
IA: Yeah, I would say so. When we made that album, all those songs were written as a three-piece band. So, I would say our style has gotten a bit more complex, we’ve added a few more elements. That album was a proper studio album, so it has a different sound to the EP we just put out. In terms of the band itself, we’ve definitely developed a lot over the last couple of years – especially in the last year adding Rachel’s vocals, having a female vocalist there has really changed the dynamic. I guess you could say it’s softened the band up a bit in a good way. We’re still keeping it heavy but having a female vocal there is really cool and fun for me to work off as well.
TCI: ‘BlinkT’ sounds like one of the more sentimental songs on the EP. What were the ideas behind the lyrics there?
IA: That one was cool, two years before I wrote that song, I bought a small business – a little coffee shop – and I had just paid it off so I went away for a couple of weeks on my own with my guitar and I had a bit of time to look over the past three years that led up to that how so much has happened in my life, but it just felt like I’d blinked and it had just gone like that. It definitely has a lot to do with old parties as well and how everything starts to muddle together, all the crazy weekends. Being in the band as well, I’ve always been lucky to get to experience a lot of cool things and go on tours and stuff that I would have never has the chance to do if I wasn’t in the band, so I was just looking back and trying to appreciate everything and how quick it can all go by.
TCI: And how about the name of your EP, Excellent People. Is there a story behind that or a reason you chose this name for the EP?
IA: Yes! It’s just classic us – there’s a story but it’s a pretty stupid story. Me and Lachie were coming up with different abbreviations for ‘EP’ and he said, “Excellent People” and we were all laughing at that, but the name just kept getting thrown around, and then one day we were at Kerrod and Rachel’s house and Rachel pulled out this box of old polaroid photos. So, we’re going through this box of photos and there’s these times when we were all at the same parties and doing stuff when we were in our late teens/early 20s and we just thought it was cool how we’ve all been connected for so long. The name Excellent People made sense at that time and the artwork for the three singles as well as the EP is all those old polaroids put together. We also chucked in a few photos of our parents when we were little kids just to add a bit of sentimental value in there.
TCI: What does your typical writing style look like? How do you guys go about coming up with tunes together?
IA: A few of the songs from the EP were recorded at home. Generally, we like to write at practice while we’re jamming. Someone will sometimes come to practice with an idea whether it’s Lachie with a bass line or Kerrod with a guitar riff and we kind of just work on them at practice, because once you’re playing together with the energy of the band, it tends to come out a bit different, I find. I wrote ‘Money’ and ‘BlinkT’ while I was away and Lachie and Rachel wrote ‘Couch’, so those three songs were written on their own just on an acoustic guitar, and then we recorded them bit-by-bit to find what we liked and how it worked together. And then ‘Calling Out’ and ‘Home’ were pretty much written at practice. Everyone’s got freedom to do what they want in the band.
TCI: Has it changed over time?
IA: I guess so, I would say I’ve always been pretty literal with my words. When I was younger, I was really into hip-hop and rap and massively into freestyle, so I’ve always enjoyed rhyming stuff together and making it sound really neat. I’d say my writing style now is more melodic and I’m trying to work in singing the words with a bit more range so it’s not kind of monotone the whole way through which is kind of how I used to sing everything, so that would be the biggest change for me.
TCI: Would the younger version of you ever expect that you’d be in a band like Radolescent today?
IA: No way! I think thirteen-year-old me was listening to the Shrek 2 soundtrack on his mp3 player as well. There’s so many bangers on there though.
TCI: How did you go creating and recording new music during COVID? Were there any ups or downs?
IA: It was pretty fun for me. I had a lot of time at home because I couldn’t be working with all the restrictions. I bought all this equipment to record on, so I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to do all the music ourselves which was the highlight of it. The downside of it was that it was all really slow, I could only have one person at my house at a time which made the process draw out – we thought that we had so much time to record there’s no real rush but then it just dragged out without even meaning to. But we really enjoyed the whole thing and it made a pretty shitty year more special I guess.
TCI: What song were you most excited for people to hear from Excellent People?
IA: For me, it was ‘Calling Out’ – when Greg, the guy who mixed the song for us sent it back, I just couldn’t believe that I recorded it in my bedroom and how good it came out, so, for me that was the most exciting one. I really like ‘Home’ as well, I’m a bit of a sucker for heavier music. So those two songs definitely stand out for me as my favourites off the EP.
TCI: What are your plans for the next year? I’m hoping to hear some live music from you guys!
IA: We’ve got a couple of festivals this year and a few more shows. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a tour at the end of the year with a friend of ours which will be awesome, but we’ll see what happens there. Also, with having Rachel and Schoobs in the band, we’ve been writing heaps of new music which I’m super excited about. We’re really encompassing everyone in the band now so, although we’ve only just released the EP, we’re pretty keen to go in and record the next lump of music. Now that we have a bit of an idea of the COVID restrictions, we’re hoping to book in some studio time within the next month or two and have some more music to put out at the end of the year.
Listen to Radolescent’s new EP, Excellent People here.