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Radiation City graciously took time to answer questions about Cool Nightmare, the joy of sharing their music and the excitement surrounding their current tour dates.
How have the songs from the Cool Nightmare E.P. settled into your live performances?
Most of the songs from the E.P. have become live standards, often the best part of our set. Songs like "Find It Of Use," and" I Would Hide/Hide From The Night "are well received, usually eliciting hoots and hollers from the audience. More importantly though, as a band we've become very fond of playing these particular songs. Others, like "Heart of Mine/Eye of Yours" have played out well, but after a year+ of playing them, we're entertaining the thought of reworking them a bit for the live setting.
What is the most challenging part of the recording process?
When we record we usually write and record simultaneously, so it can be tough to know when to play it fast and loose, and when to let a part ruminate, take shape before it's laid down. The hardest thing with Cool Nightmare, though, was the tight schedule. With SXSW approaching and every record plant in the world gearing up for that and record store day, we had to pull some really long days to get masters off in time. We also used a lot of layering in the recordings, so there was no cutting corners when it came to the mixes, not to mention all the simultaneous hard work in learning the songs for the live setting, realizing that there are only 5 of us and we don't have an orchestra/choir backing us.
What did you learn about yourself as musicians and as a group while writing the songs for the Cool Nightmare E.P.?
We learned a lot about what we're capable of compositionally. Whether we're incorporating new instruments, voices, or production techniques, there really isn't one particular "sound" to our music. Being fond of so many different genres, we were interested in seeing how we could incorporate those influences into our writings. Sometimes it doesn't work, but sometimes you stumble upon something that is original and inspiring.
How did the title Cool Nightmare originate?
Lizzy thought of it. Well, actually when we were talking about our photo shoot with Parker Fitzgerald, he described to us what he thought of the music, and "cool nightmare" were two of the words he used, although I can't remember if they were said together. Anyway, the two words not only described the mood of the EP, but also complimented each other phonetically. It should be noted that the word "cool" is not being used to describe what kind of nightmare it is, but more as a feeling of being okay with the nightmare.
Of the seven songs on Cool Nightmare, which was the most difficult to write?
"Eye of Yours" was just not working for the longest time. I can't remember how many iterations it went through, but the current composition was the result of several revisions. The chorus came together at the very last minute, which was fortunate, because we were on a super tight deadline for the record.
Did you decide there would be seven songs on the E.P. before you began the project? Did any songs not make it on the E.P. that you thought would?
Originally Cool Nightmare was going to be an LP with a split single coming out in the lead up. With the split falling to the wayside, and enough of the songs done from the LP to make an EP of it, we decided to go that route and have something to tour behind. There's a few songs from that original larger group that will see the light of day on our next album, and a few others could perhaps even make the cut for the one after that.
What is the theme of the E.P. and did you know what it would be before you started or did it evolve over time?
One allegory for the EP was found in creating the video for "Find It Of Use". We used an old piano that was decaying in Randy's basement, recording the last sounds it ever made for the song, and then some. The EP itself sort of felt old, paid respects to the past few years of our lives, and ready to move on from them, as we did with the piano. The final scene of the video for "Find It of Use" is us smashing the piano to bits, without a doubt inducing some serious therapeutic results and releasing (perhaps) some tension that had built internally in all of us. Music is made by musicians as an outlet, and I think making the EP did what we wanted it to.
Who are three lyricists or poets that have inspired/influenced you?
Elliot Kozel of Sleeping In The Aviary , Bjork, Yoni Wolf of WHY?
What does being brave mean to you?
Being, at once, bold and moral.
A lot of times artists are asked what’s next, instead, what are you savoring most right now?
Hitting the road.
Where can my readers find you online?