Radio Days – Rave On! (Q&A)

Radio Days’ new record Rave On! contains 10 pure Power Pop songs.

Very, very good.

Very, very catchy.

Dario Persi explains to Sweet Sweet Music that he, Mattia Baretta and Paco Orsi are always looking for the ultimate Power Pop song. They succeeded 10 times.

How did this record come together?

We stopped playing live shows at the end of 2018 and focused on writing new songs in 2019. We spent all the year writing songs and recording demos in our rehearsal room. I wrote all the songs at home with my acoustic guitar and we arranged them altogether during the rehearsal.

We care a lot about the melody and the quality of the songwriting. We are not a band that writes songs during rehearsals. Our songs do not arise from improvisations or during jam sessions.

We are very happy with the results and I think “Rave On!” is our best album! The goal was to release the album in May 2020 but we all know what happened and we postponed it to May 2021.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

I’d say I would love to write a song with Paul McCartney cause he is the best living songwriter in the world.

It would be great to write a song with Elvis Costello too so he could sing it and I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the melody simple enough for my vocal range!

As third, I would say, Paul Collins. I love his music, we are good friends and we toured together many times but we never had the chance to write something together.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

There are a few that comes to my mind.

One in Osaka, Japan, in a small crowded club full of enthusiastic fans. It was unbelievable to be so far from home and play such a great show to people who loved our songs.

Our first sold-out show in Madrid, Spain too, and our first time at Purple Weekend Festival in Leon, Spain were amazing.

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

I think about it nearly every time I write a new song and I keep asking myself, why am I not rich and famous?

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

1. Paul Collins Beat – Rock’n’Roll Girl

2. The Rubinoos – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

3. The Keys – I Don’t Wanna Cry

4. Badfinger – No Matter What

5. Bram Tchaikovsky – Girl Of My Dreams

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

Recording can be difficult and frustrating but I love it.

We have been working with our good friend Marco Matti at his Casemate Recording Studio, a vintage-oriented home studio where we were able to work in a relaxed way. It allowed us to spend a lot of time trying different sounds and different instruments.

I think “Rave On!” has got the perfect Power Pop sound, especially “I Got a Love”.

I’m really proud of how it turned out!

Mean Streaks – Bad Behaviour

Mean Streaks is the moniker of Canadian songwriter Omar Saab. His “Bad Behaviour” EP is a collection of homemade garage rock and synth pop singles, written and recorded during 2020 and early 2021.

Omar told Sweet Sweet Music how Bad Behaviour came about.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

Considering the time of year, I’m going with a summer mixtape:

Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
Burning Love – Elvis Presley
Ridin’ in My Car – NRBQ
Too Late to Turn Back Now – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Telstar – Tornados 
I Love L.A. – Randy Newman

How did this record come together?

We all know the gigging situation and suddenly it was all taken away. I was about to go into a studio to work on an EP one before all the madness happened. After lots of self-doubt and uncertainty, I wrote a bunch of new songs and decided to record them from home. Once I finished the first song I kept going and fortunately there was some continuity between those songs. Hopefully, for the next record, I can get in a studio and not just rely on myself.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Partnerships count as one, right?

Bjorn & Benny from ABBA – so I can learn all their tricks
Debbie Harry & Chris Stein from Blondie – they are the perfect blend of garage rock, pop, surf, and disco. One of my favorite bands.
Rodrigo Amarante – I’m obsessed with his solo work as well as his old group, Los Hermanos. 

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

I can tell I’m on to something strong if I get excited by the initial voice memo on my phone; it’s either chords on guitar or keyboard and a mumbled melody. For example, on “I Always Knew” I came up with the chorus in a grocery store and I had to rush home to get it down in some way (and I still managed to buy the groceries). 

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

I had played a club show on a Friday in Toronto which happened to be on my birthday so there were a few drinks involved. We played until the club closed and we had booked a morning gig the next day that required a very early call time. Turns out the show was like a car wash for something (it paid the bills). It was in a big mechanic garage, there were children screaming and there was a clown at the side of the stage making balloon animals and dancing to our songs. I can’t describe how that felt and I don’t have time to unpack that visual.

Fortunately, it was such an absurd situation that we laughed through the majority of the performance. Not the best gig we ever played, but I definitely can’t forget this show…and I’ve tried.

They expect ‘the roaring 20s v2.0’. What kind of party are you looking for?

I really hope so! I want to be a part of someone’s night and hopefully provide some memories for the crowd and for myself. The feeling of seeing sweaty crowds dancing and singing along is such a privilege and you only value it more when it all disappears. I want the rowdy, sweaty dance parties – and since my songs haven’t been performed live yet, I’m hoping to provide a soundtrack to one or two of those nights.

The Cudas – Alien Vacation (Q&A, and more)

Alien Vacation is the new EP from The Cudas and features four brand new songs. Power Pop in its purest form. Add The Cudas to the list that also includes Radio Days, The Reflectors, and The Speedways

Sweet Sweet Music spoke with Reinhard van Biljon about the all-time hall of fame fantasy camp, the Boss BR-600 digital recorder, and Tommy Lee.

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Wow, that’s a big ask. I’ll go ahead and cheat here. Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, Ric Ocasek from The Cars (RIP), Andy Sturmer from Jellyfish, Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne (RIP), Mike Viola, and throw Brian Wilson in there as well since we’re dreaming. Those would be my all-time hall of fame fantasy camp. But there are so many guys I would love to brain milk in the independent scene at the moment. Guys like Kurt Baker, Dario Persi from Radio Days…okay this is getting ridiculous, but can I get Tom-Lord Alge to mix the thing?

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

Fountains of Wayne – Maureen

Redd Kross – Get Out of Myself

Teen Machine – Bitchin’ Camaro

Mike Viola – It Does A Number On My Brain

Weezer – Since You Came Around

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

I’ve been writing little snippets of music for the longest time, but they never went beyond a little melody over a guitar part until quite recently. I always put it off, but then one day about two years ago I just got a little Boss BR-600 digital recorder and finally finished one little demo. That was “Kids Want Hits.” I might have posted it in a group somewhere, but when a few people started playing it on podcasts and a couple of radio shows, I thought I might be able to do something here.

How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?

It’s huge. I have way more little ideas for songs than I have time to actually finish them. I tend to come up with loads of little 20 second songs, usually just a hummed melody over guitar strumming, and then I move on to something else. I’ll come back to it at some point to turn it into a song, but sometimes I browse my files and I have no memory of the little tune.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

Might sound like a strange choice, but Steel Panther in Los Angeles. I went to the States to visit my brother and we flew to California so I could see the holy land for all things skateboarding-related from my teen days. We’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for 80s hair bands, so we went to see them on the Sunset Strip. The guy at the door was so happy with how far we came that he handed us these armbands for an after-show party at the top of the venue.

While watching them play, my brother and I stood right next to Tommy Lee and Gilby Clarke, which was kind of hilarious. But really the highlight of the memory for me was when we went to the little party thing they had with band members later on and I saw Rivers Cuomo there…I couldn’t muster up the courage to say anything, but hey. If I did, maybe some butterfly effect would have sent him on a collision course and we would have Raditude III now.