From school jams to sold-out shows, RADICALS have swiftly generated a cult following in Sydney’s alt-rock scene.
Sydney alt-rockers RADICALS have had a jam-packed two years since their debut single stay propelled them into Australia’s live music circuit. Since then, a series of grunge-infused, head-banging hits, as well as countless sold-out shows have quickly transformed them into cult favourites among local rock enthusiasts.
Having kickstarted 2022 with falling faster slowly; a stellar hit that aired on Triple J in February, the boys have now launched their second tune of the year, feel, along with a colourful, trip-inducing music video produced by Level 48 Visuals.
I caught up with RADICALS’ frontman, Brandon, to chat about their latest single, forthcoming EP, crazy gigs, upcoming shows, and exploding guitar amps.
HAPPY: Hey, How’s it going?
BRANDON: I’m good, thanks for asking to chat.
HAPPY: No worries, thanks so much for making the time today, really appreciate it.
BRANDON: Of course!
HAPPY: So first off, congrats on the new single, feel. It’s been stuck in my head since you shared it with me last week. Such a good follow-up to falling faster slowly. That’s actually the first track I ever heard from you guys back in Feb, so I went and had a listen to the rest of your stuff, and honestly, I’m a fan.
BRANDON: Thanks, that means a lot.
HAPPY: Nice work with the music video as well, very cool. The first time I watched it all the way through, I think it was like, 3 o’clock in the morning.
BRANDON: Oh no way!
HAPPY: Yeah, yeah. And honestly, it was tripping me out, but in a good way.
BRANDON: Haha! I think that’s definitely the ideal time to watch it, to be honest.
HAPPY: Yeah definitely! Well, I guess for starters, can you give us a bit of a backstory on how RADICALS came together?
BRANDON: Yes. So, we were originally a three-piece. It was me, Nick and Myles. We all kind of knew each other through music class in school. So I knew Miles, our drummer, in primary school. Then in high school, I had music class with our bass player, Nick. And one day, we kind of just decided to make a band. I think that was like, two-and-a-half, maybe three years ago. So yeah, it’s been pretty crazy how everything’s taken off, and then I guess I kind of got lazy with having to do guitar and singing by myself, so we got Lachie on as well. He’s our newest member. And yeah, he’s just a freak on the guitar and shreds it. So that’s where we’re at now.
HAPPY: Awesome! How did you guys connect with Lachie?
BRANDON: So we’re all from the Shire, and in the music scene here, everyone just kind of knows everyone from playing shows and being such a small community. So we had mates that had played with Lachie before, and we’d met him a couple of times. I think someone told him we were considering having another member in the band, so he hit us up in November and was like, ‘I’m keen to do it if you guys are’. So yeah, it’s been a couple of months, and we definitely sound a lot better with him in the band, and he definitely brings a lot to the table.
HAPPY: Amazing. How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it yet?
BRANDON: Um, it’s kind of all over the shop. I mean, our stuff so far has been more alternative rock, grunge. But we have an EP coming out soon, and there’s some songs on there that are kind of a little bit different. We’re going, like, punky. I guess some of our music is pretty confusing because a lot of it doesn’t really make any sense. It’s just sort of, feel-good, interpret it as you will, kind of music. But at the end of the day, I’d say it’s probably just energetic music to make you move, pretty much.
HAPPY: Yeah for sure!
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BRANDON: As long as it translates well live, we’ll go into the studio and record it. So yeah, I’d say energetic confusion are best two words to describe it.
HAPPY: Haha yeah that makes sense! So let’s talk about your latest track, feel. How did the song come about? What inspired it?
BRANDON: I mean, the whole song’s kind of just about feeling good about yourself, and not really caring what other people think or say about you. Um, I think I was just a bit down and I was trying to pick myself up a bit.
HAPPY: Wow, yeah, that’s a relatable feeling.
BRANDON: I know everyone kind of goes through that feeling of not feeling great about themselves, or has something they don’t like about themselves, in the way they speak, look, act, or whatever. And I was like, a lot of our music doesn’t really make much sense, but maybe I’ll try throw in one that has a more obvious meaning that people can relate to.
HAPPY: Yeah, absolutely.
BRANDON: And I mean, even in that song, there’s lyrics that don’t really make much sense in the verses, and I kind of got lazy, and just repeated the same verse twice, but I feel like the choruses kind of stick out, and that’s what I was hoping for. It’s straightforward, and I think it gets the message across in the way I was hoping.
HAPPY: Yeah, I love that chorus. Super catchy. The lyrics are very relatable as well, but I like that they’re still sort of a little vague at the same time, in the sense that, they’re open to interpretation. So anyone can get whatever they personally interpret out of it.
HAPPY: And I kind of feel like the music video matches that ambiguity a little bit as well. It’s trippy, its constantly changing, there’s a lot going on with the animations. How did you guys come up with the video concept?
BRANDON: Um, well, it was kind of like a last-minute thing. We were all meant to get together and record and music video, but we all work full time, and our drummer Miles works Saturdays, so we have like, technically a day-and-a-half on weekends to try and make any creative stuff happen, and that’s outside of playing shows and practicing through the week.
HAPPY: Oh wow, ok.
BRANDON: So we were meant to film a music video, but we’d been playing shows for like, seven weeks straight. And then we just ran out of time to come up with a video and give it to our PR company and everything. So we weren’t going to do anything, but then our director was like, ‘if you want to come around, we can just shoot in front of a green screen in my garage. Just bring some weird clothes and we can make it all fruity’. We rocked up and we shot the music video in like 45 minutes, in this hot-as-hell garage in Penrith. And yeah, he just did his magic, edited it all, and it turned out pretty good.
HAPPY: Haha that’s great! 45 minutes is pretty impressive when you look at all the footage, animations, costume changes, all that.
BRANDON: Yeah, he’s a wizard with all that kind of stuff. He’s pretty crazy, it was literally just, run through the song in one costume, run through it again in another, and that was the whole process.
HAPPY: That’s awesome. So what’s your songwriting process usually like as a group?
BRANDON: Well, usually, it all starts with like, a riff, or a chorus or something I come up with. And then I just bring it to the boys at practice, and they all just kind of dig straight in and bring their two cents into the song. It’s great having people in your band that are so on par with being able to play their instruments. Like, if I have a riff or melody in my head, instantly, they’ll just be able to come up with something to compliment it or add to it.
HAPPY: Sweet! That’s easy.
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BRANDON: And same with them. Like, if they bring something to practice, we will just sit there, and Miles will just start playing a beat or whatever, and then we will kind of just work off that, and build off that momentum until something happens. And then, after that, just like, iron it out so it’s presentable, I guess.
HAPPY: Yeah that’s so good. It’s great that you guys can work off each other really well like that. So, you mentioned the upcoming EP before, can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from that?
BRANDON: So we’ve been sitting on this EP for about a year, and this is the last single that we’re dropping off it. And then, we’ve got three more songs on there. We’re probably going to release that in May. But after that, we’ve got some new music that we’ve been writing, so we’re going to hopefully get into the studio ASAP and do another single, and then look to release that in maybe June or July.
HAPPY: That’s really exciting, I’m keen to hear the full EP and all your new stuff. Now, aside from shitty COVID cancellations, you guys have done a lot of live shows over the last three years or so. You’ve performed with a bunch of other acts as well like Ruby Fields, The Dead Love, and some other local bands. I guess, in the time you guys have been playing together, can you think of maybe a favourite gig you’ve had, or favourite memory from a live show where something crazier than usual happened?
BRANDON: Yeah, we played this show in Wollongong, at The North Gong Hotel, and we were literally just like, a last-minute add. I think the headline band pulled out five days before, so we were like, ‘yeah, alright, we’ll do it’. And it was free entry, and we’d played in Wollongong once before, but it was only to like, a 50-cap room. But it was a lot of fun, so we were like, ‘alright’. We rocked up, and we were all hungover and sick, and it was the worst. We were just sitting backstage like, ‘this sucks, no one’s going to come’. But it ended up filling out at like, 800 people.
HAPPY: Oh my god!
BRANDON: Yeah, and everyone was just like, pissed as, and insane.
BRANDON: Everything broke, my guitar amp exploded after the second song, and the light fixtures started falling down cause the crowd was just going wild.
HAPPY: Wow that’s crazy.
BRANDON: But it was just one of those things where it was like, so much went wrong, but it was probably the funnest show ever.
HAPPY: Yeah that would’ve been incredible to watch from the audience, to be honest.
BRANDON: So yeah, that was probably like, the most unexpected and exciting time. And we felt great when we were up there, and then we got straight off the stage and instantly felt like shit again, so, it was bittersweet.
HAPPY: Haha yeah, right, that’s hilarious.
HAPPY: So you guys have a headline show coming up at Huxley’s on April 9 to celebrate feel. Are there any other gigs lined up after that?
BRANDON: Um, we’re heading up to Newcastle to play at the The Cambridge Hotel for this Easter weekend event they’re putting on. So we’ve got that, and then I think after that we’re playing with SoSo, this other great Sydney band, at The Factory. So those are our only next two shows, and then I think we’re kind of going to just chill out for a bit, cause I think everyone’s a bit buzzed out, so we’ll see what happens after that I guess.
HAPPY: Sweet, that’s awesome. Well, I guess my last question for you would be, in terms of future music or shows, do you guys have a dream collab in mind? Like, another artist or band you’d love to tour with, or work on a song with at some point?
BRANDON: Um, I’m not really sure. In terms of collabing, we’re pretty open-minded. Like, if anyone was keen to collab with us, then we’d definitely make it happen. But yeah, I mean, there’s the Violent Soho, and the Skeggs, and all that. I’d say those would probably be the acts we’d love to tour with. I just feel like our music isn’t very commercial, in terms of like, heaps of people being involved, but I would probably say Violent Soho would be the core band to collab or play with in the future, for sure.
HAPPY: Yeah totally! that would be really cool. Well, thanks so much again for coming on to chat with me today and best of luck with the new music and your upcoming shows!
BRANDON: No worries at all, thank you. This was great. Really appreciate it. Catch you later.
feel is available on all streaming services now.
Interviewed by Amy Davidson.