Interview: Radio Silence | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Psychedelic punks Radio Silence collate all their releases so far and add a couple we haven’t heard yet and release their Isolation EP. With tracks discussing all that’s not-so-great about modern living (alienation, technology, economics) all tied together with the band’s signature sound complete with riotous rhythms, surfs up guitar sounds, fuzzy intensity and brooding The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster-esque vocals. It’s a darkly refreshing and relevant listen.

We catch up with the band to find out more…

How are you? Any musical recommendations from the North-East at the moment?
We are well thanks! As well as we can be in these strange times, like everyone else, counting down the days until we can get back to live music and some semblance of normal life.

There are a few local bands we really like at the moment, Bare Roots, Sing Again Syren, Jango Flash, Holiday In Tokyo, Not Now Norman & Swine Tax, to name a few. Anyone looking for new music and haven’t listened to any of them won’t be disappointed!

Who are Radio Silence? Give us a brief history of the band.
We are a 4 piece swamp punk band based in Newcastle/County Durham. Featuring Jack Burlison (vocals & guitar), Robert Owens (bass), John Gair (guitar & keys/synth) and Andrew McAskell (drums). Formed in late 2019, originally as a three piece, the band formed when Rob & Andrew, who were already long time friends and had been in previous musical projects together, met Jack through mutual taste in music and after exchanging demos we decided to form a band. It’s fairly safe to say we gelled almost instantly and soon began writing and recording. Around the time of the release of our first two singles Crank Bugs & Heads Will Roll in March 2020, coronavirus would lockdown the country and shelve any plans for live shows we had. Our main positive of 2020 was meeting John (also through an online ad) and completing our lineup. Hopefully 2021 will be a much more prosperous year for ourselves and the music scene in general.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
Well we define our sound as “Swamp Punk”, a mix of a few different genres such as punk, surf rock, psychedelic, classic rock & roll and post punk. Our sound certainly draws from lots from our favourite bands from these genres. Punk bands such as Stiff Little fingers, The Clash, The Cramps and The Stooges. Psychedelic artists like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane. Post punk bands like Joy Division, Nick Cave, Talking heads & The Fall. We all have a very wide and expansive taste in music so that’s just naming a brief few. Not forgetting to mention lots of more recent bands as well, Drenge, Fontaines DC, King Gizzard, Hotel Lux, The Murder Capital. We could sit here all day and name bands we love!

Tell us more about your songwriting process.
To say we have one, or any real concrete method of songwriting would be a lie! Every song is written and composed differently, sometimes it’s a case of one of us having an idea/theme & knowing how we want it to go, sometimes one of us has a base idea but needs the others to chip in with any thoughts and finding what feels right. Sometimes it’s simply a case of us sitting in a room and jamming and finding something we like. The only similarity is at the end once the song is all roughly put together we decide whether we like it and want to pursue it.

What are the themes with the EP? What inspired it?
Well these songs were written and recorded in lockdown, so they’re a reflection of time spent in isolation and mainly explore themes of discomfort in routine, debt anxiety, an ode to the long gone weekend pleasures, anger in the government’s handling of the pandemic and alienation during these strange times.

Where did you record the EP?
While we recorded drum tracks at Gateshead based Ginger Music Studios, we mainly recorded everything at our producers house! A good man named Martin Corkhill, it may not sound the most professional but he’s got an excellent set up which makes the process as easy as possible. Can’t recommend him enough.

What does the future hold for Radio Silence?
Well it’s contradictory to say we’re a live band, since we’ve not had the opportunity yet. But we definitely are a band that thrives in that scene and when gigs are back we reckon audiences are gonna go wild, after over a year of being cooped up, we plan to be the raucous soundtrack to the end of the pandemic and play these tunes we’ve been so eager to play live. We also hope to record some new songs that have been brewing throughout this uncertain time, so get yourself down to hear our set!

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