November 19, 2009
The Radient Interview
Hey Mobilers, next up is New York-based group The Radiant, and they certainly have a radiance to their sound. Together since 2006 and with two albums under their belt, the group has toured nationwide and internationally. We sat down with keyboardist Mark Mangold and got him to let us in on the band’s themes, influences and love of creating “tapestries” of music.
Check it out and give them a listen.
1. How did the four of you begin playing music together?
We are all living in New York, although we all come from other places (Christian from Orlando, Jonny Cragg from Manchester, Mark from Florida). It started out as Christian and Mark. Jonny and Jordan joined a bit later.
2. Do you think big cities such as New York allow bands to mature faster?
We actually like getting out of New York. It’s a place where music and bands end up, on a tour through, but not sure it’s the best way to hang and mature. So many musicians need to be doing other things here to pay rent — it probably even takes longer and may involve more sacrifices than if we were from a small town somewhere. But we made it work.
3. Any particular venues around New York City you like to play more than others? What do you like about them?
The thing about New York is that few places have a dedicated audience. Here, the band brings their following and the place clears out by the time the next band goes on. A bit difficult. We love playing at Arlene’s Grocery though; a cool place, nice sound. When we played over in Europe there is a music scene and people are at the clubs no matter what, so you can spread your sound and make new friends.
4. Do you ever get silly questions like, “where is the guitarist?”
Well Christian plays guitar on the songs that need it, but no, not really. That’s like asking Keane where’s the bass player, or asking The Verve where’s the Orchestra when they start into Bittersweet Symphony. Happily people seem very tolerant of all that stuff, seem to be used to it and just want to be entertained. Also, a lot of the “guitar” sounds we used are actually keyboards processed in one way or another or put through an amp to sound like guitars. The technical side of this band is a lot of fun.
5. Who are some of your biggest musical influences.
Everyone, from Zep and Purple to all the stuff out there now, anything good and interesting really. Jimmy Smith on Hammond Organ is a hero of mine, Love The Bravery and of course Muse, Verse…everyone who sounds like us.
6. It’s been cool to make fun of all things 80s for a decade or so, but a lot that stuff seems to be coming back around. As a keyboard driven band, do you draw any musical inspiration from 80s acts?
Sure, it’s all gotten in the genres somehow. From the metal stuff to the “Romantics” like Depeche Mode, etc. In some of the new software they actually name the sounds after a song it was used on.
7. Christian’s voice really has that soaring quality. When did you first realize you had something there?
The very first time I ever heard him sing I was totally blown away. Plus he plays every instrument — originally a drummer, a great guitarist, plays keys…and sings his ass off. He is a very deserving human being.
8. What it the songwriting process like? Do you guys usually collaborate?
Songwriting is always happening, no matter what else is going on. When we collaborate we try to stick to our first impressions often, as they always seem to turn out to be cool and without “judgment” or overthinking. Christian likes long notes, so often if I do something, we’ll cut out half the lyrics and extra syllables. And we’re always trying to create tapestries. Many of our songs and chord progressions and “overdubs” should NOT actually work “on paper”, but they sound good and we don’t question. It’s not coming from a mathematical place, it’s very organic and instinctual. Wherever the fingers go on the keyboard usually works, and is a constant source of surprise.
We are pretty much workaholics and LOVE making music. It defines all of our lives, for sure.
9. Are there any particular themes that come up in your writing?
Love and continued existence; for example recovery, suicide, apology, and unconditional love.
10. Where should people go for info about where to see you live?
You can check us out at myspace.com/theradiantband, and jamwave.com/theradiant and jamwave.com/theradiant2.
Thanks guys. We’re completely taken with their harmonic sound, and your tunes are getting lots of play in our playlists.
Posted by A. Sogal at 8:10 am