Disorder made the short walk from the office to The Old Blue Last earlier this month to catch up with garage rock trio Radkey, ahead of their show.
There are very few people out there who can legitimately claim to be living the dream, but the three brothers Dee, Isaiah and Solomon Radke whose ages range from 18 to 22 are undoubtedly the envy of many of their peers. Sure, you might have jammed with your siblings from time to time, but were you selling out shows across the world? Didn’t think so. Well, Radkey have been doing it for years since forming in 2010 and playing their first UK gig in 2013. “The first time we left to go tour abroad was Download Festival 2013. It was really cool, really scary, it was our first UK show ever, it was pretty intense. Iron Maiden were playing that year!” Isaiah recalled. It is clear that the band are relishing every moment of their tour, especially judging by their performance at this years Reading and Leeds festival. “It was so cool. Got the first crowd-surf of the tour in, they almost got my earplugs but I kept them! It was a good turnout, a good tent full of people having a good time,” Isaiah grinned.
The band, it seems, are keen to really let loose when they arrive in Europe and this is down to a different reception to their music. When asked about their favourite aspect of touring the UK Isaiah replied, “The people who come to our shows, I feel like they appreciate American rock music a lot more here. They have the capacity to freak out at shows and it’s much appreciated.” Solomon agreed but didn’t forget to praise the famous British cuisine – “We love Monster Munch as well!” So there you have it, not only do us Europeans appreciate heavy garage rock, but we also produce a mean corn snack.
Listen to Radkey’s stuff and you are bound to come across comparisons to the likes of Misfits and Danzig, and the boys are happy with these comparisons but don’t necessarily agree with them. “It’s a really big compliment man. You can be compared to worse bands than Misfits you know. I don’t think we sound that much like Misfit though, our recording quality is much better haha!” Isaiah told us.
Despite being a roaring success and living the dream of most young men, we wanted to know if there was anything the boys from Radkey envied about a “normal” guys their age. We miss stuff like girlfriends. It is what it is, I wouldn’t change anything. There’s still plenty of time for that now,” Isaiah admitted. “Yeah, it’s probably good that we missed out on all that when you think about it, because there is still time,” Sol concurred. Something tells us that the three brothers won’t struggle to find girlfriends when the time comes.
As three young black men from Missouri, USA we were keen to find out if the recent social unrest and turmoil in their home state had found it’s way into their music. “Not really, we generally stay away from that kind of stuff because it gets so depressing if you dig into it! I’m an ignorance is bliss kind of guy, I like to just be happy,” Isaiah advised. For Sol this was just another reason he loved being in Europe – “It’s nice to get out of that vibe, not be so scared to be a black dude haha! We feel safe in Germany and the UK and it feels good man!” At this point we wished we’d asked which Sol prefers, a lack of institutionalised racism or monster munch...? I guess we will never know.
The boys were understandably excited about the launch of their debut album Dark Black Makeup. Their enthusiasm found its way into their performance as the three brothers from St. Joseph, MO rocked The Old Blue Last with their gargantuan riffs and demonic, booming vocals. Their album is jam-packed with catchy rock songs produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, Drenge, The Fall) and is a noticeably confident debut. When asked where this confidence comes from, Isaiah revealed, “I guess it comes from being able to learn how to do it and tour, before your first album. We kind of knew the game before our first record was released”. Indeed, the band had amassed vast experience by touring prior to the release of Dark Black Makeup and it seems this has allowed them to produce an album that sounds more like a greatest hits record than a debut album.
Dark Black Makeup is out now and you can catch Radkey performing in cities across the UK this October.
Facebook – www.facebook.com/radkeyband
Twitter – @Radkey
Instagram – radkeyrock