Nashville might not be the kind of place that you would expect to hear Ska, Reggae or Rocksteady but there is one band that is challenging that preconception, Soul Radics. Soul Radics are an 8 piece band comprising of Jay, Shane , Jamie , Nels, Will, Rob, Dave and fronted by Dani Casler. We were lucky enough to throw a few questions Dani’s way so here is what she had to say.
Q: How did Soul Radics get started and who were your influences?
Long story short, I met the guitar player Jay in 2009, and we spent a couple years trying to learn the genre and find musicians that were talented and willing to work for passion rather than pay. Jamie the bass player stuck it out when everyone else ran off… Then Nels on sax. Then we found Rob Rudie who was very seasoned in ska and with him came Drummy Dave and Shane. Our newest edition we’ve had for about a year is Will on trombone.
Influences vary wildly, but I think one thing that is unanimous is our love for traditional ska, reggae, and rocksteady.
Q: I am sure I once saw an interview with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones saying the reason they had 8 members was because they thought Madness were the best band in the world so if they had more they would be better, do the Soul Radics go by the same theory?
I don’t think that was so much in mind… It was just the natural progression. If we met someone who was down to earth and into the sound (that happened to be a badass at wielding an instrument) we added them in. Having so many members gives us a very full sound, which I love!
Also, we’ve played with the Bosstones several times and they are the nicest band we have ever met. They were definitely on to something with that idea.
Q: Do the band try to follow a certain style or is it all individual tastes?
Good question. Jay and I talk about writing songs that have so and so parts or that sound a certain way, but when we write a song, it’s hard to predict where it will go. Soul Radics do have something that is unique and raw and I think stuffing ourselves in a mold would stifle that, but sometimes we just want to write a wicked skinhead reggae song. So I would say it’s a mix… at times we really do try for a certain thing, and fail. Yet often we still get a brilliant sound that’s completely unexpected and that’s magic
Q: What is the scene like in Nashville and the US as a whole, how have you been received?
Nashville is a bit rough, but it’s getting better. So much music in one city, and when it’s notorious for country music it’s hard to stand out as a bunch of weirdos. We have some cozy shows, but I find the scene is better in a lot of other places. The best places to play in the US are usually very far from us, and we’re yet to reach California or even Florida!
Q: You recently toured Europe, how was that for you?
Amazing!!! Killer!!! Eye opening!!! Did I mention AMAZING? I had never been out of the States before so the adventure alone was a pleasure. Plus, it was the dream; a huge goal in life we are proud to have accomplished. Can’t wait to do it all again!
Q: Did you see any differences in the skinhead scene between the US and Europe?
Skins are more proper in Europe. Some people here throw on an oversized band shirt and camo shorts for a show and call it a day… but wow, did they dress to impress there! I know fashion isn’t everything, but it was a joy to see. I also feel like reggae is embraced more there, and I enjoyed that appreciation. Politics are a bit different too, and I find the US scene can be more accepting of ideals I don’t always agree with… but I know loads of great well dressed people with great character here as well. I think I fell in love with Europe so maybe it’s not a fair analysis, but that’s how I see it.
Q: Are there plans for a follow up to ‘Down The Hall’?
Yes! We have a 7″ blue vinyl single available at Jump Up Records with 2 songs that will be on the upcoming record. The tentative time frame for the next LP is the beginning of 2015.
Q: Has there been any particular stand out moments for you personally or as a band that made you glad you started?
Oh yes, definitely. Playing Boston, singing with the Aggrolites, the whole Euro tour- all notable highlights. I have so many hilarious stories I don’t know where to start. But it’s been humbling in general to see so many people from so many countries across the world embrace us. I am very glad we started.
Q: Will you be coming to the UK anytime soon?
Ha! I really want to say “yes, we are doing a whole UK tour and hitting every major city along the way!” Unfortunately the promoters there aren’t as welcoming as the others on the continent. It’s a total shame, because we have such a large fanbase there… We’re just waiting for a grand opportunity really! Hope to have good news soon on that.
Finally we asked Dani to recommend 5 songs for you to check out so here they are, huge thanks to Dani and all the Soul Radics band for doing what you are doing and we can’t wait to see you in the UK soon hopefully!
Love me Forever by Carlton and the Shoes- Flawless rocksteady tune
Surfin’ by Ernest Ranglin- one of my favorite instrumentals
Israel by Bus by Calypso Rose- the most joyous ska song in history!
Moving Along by The Expanders- I just can’t get this tune out of my head lately.
The Harder they Come- the whole damn soundtrack is life changing for people just getting into good reggae. I still love that record very much to this day.