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The Return of The Radio Dept

The Swedish trio talk about soundtracking 'Marie Antoinette' and the new dub-orientated sound on their forthcoming EP

After the recent release of their new LP 'Clinging To A Scheme' in Labrador records this year the band is touring in Europe and U.S and now releases a limited edition vinyl of 1000 copies. It have been three years since their last album release. Now the three of them live in Stockholm. Johan and Daniel move from Malmö in the south of Sweden a couple of years ago and Martin just recently joined. The EP includes “The one”, “Stay off route” and “On your side” plus “Never swallow fruit dub” by young Swedish dance act Pistol Disco.

Dazed Digital: Tell us about this dub-oriented new direction.
The Radio Dept: Well, it's not really a dub record. It's a dub influenced pop EP I guess, although there are other influences in there as well, like disco for instance. It includes a couple of new songs that we are really happy with and a remix by Pistol Disco, a great Swedish band we toured with earlier this year.

DD: How about the new album 'Clinging…'?
The Radio Dept: It was a tough process at times while other periods were really easy and fun. We got bored with what we had done and kept recording new material instead of finishing what we had started. In the end we had 120 songs to choose from. But we did release a couple of EPs during this time and Martin released two kids on our own label Slottet called Slottet007 and Slottet008. They’re adorable.

DD: Was the `Marie Antoinette' involvement profitable?
The Radio Dept: Yes, we were able to live off that money a couple of months which was really nice. We could concentrate on recording new music. We’re always broke so it would be great if more movie-makers wanted to use our music in their films. Apart from the Gucci fall/winter collection of 2007 our music hasn’t been used in any commercials either. The only offers we get are from the likes of Shell and McDonalds and that’s just impossible to say yes to.

DD: I heard you enjoy more studio recordings than performing live?
The Radio Dept: It’s not that I don’t like playing live, it’s just that we’re quite shy people who happen to love making records. And I prefer listening to bands on record to watching them live. Live shows tend to go on forever and I get bored very easily. When I see a band I just want a glimpse, I want them to play for 15 minutes but it never happens. I’d love to do things like that with The Radio Dept. but people would kill us, even now when we play 40 to 50 minutes people complain that it’s too short. I don’t get it. But we’re of course very grateful for people listening to our music and coming to see the shows. Maybe we should go with Andy Warhol’s suggestion and 'always leave them wanting less'? We could play for hours until everyone has left. 

DD: What do you like to talk about in your songs?
The Radio Dept: I usually write them but lately Martin and I have been writing together on a couple of songs which is nice. The lyrics on 'Clinging' are about resistance, they’re about jealousy and insecurity, hate, politics and what else is there? Oh yeah the band, there are quite a few songs on 'Clinging To A Scheme' that are about The Radio Dept in one way or another. I prefer not to be too specific about the lyrics though. It would only ruin them.

DD: We can see in the cover a guy smoking weed, I think?
The Radio Dept: It’s an American soldier in Vietnam smoking weed through a gunpipe. It’s from an old documentary about the Vietnam war. I paused the film where I wanted it and took a picture of the TV with my mobile phone. I’m very fond of the cover, it’s dreamy and also has some strong sexual undertones if you’ve got a little imagination.

DD: You haven't filmed any videos yet for this album, have you? Why not?
The Radio Dept: No, we don’t trust anyone enough. We’ve always wanted to be in control of everything from the music to how we present it, or us, graphically through record covers and videos. I don’t see why we should involve other people really, we need to be more effective and just do it ourselves.

DD: You just started the world tour. How is it going so far?
The Radio Dept: It’s going well I think. Sometimes we mess up, we’re not very confident on stage, but we seem to attract very kind people mostly. People who seem to appreciate that we do this despite the fact that we’re still scared shitless each time.

DD: Will the tour continue in 2011?
The Radio Dept: Yes. Spring will be crazy. Right now we’re not that busy playing live actually. That’s why I wouldn’t call this a world tour, although it sounds great, because we get to go home  in between different mini tours instead of being on the road constantly for half a year or so. I couldn’t handle a tour like that, I’d kill myself for sure.

The new single EP is out Nov 9th - now available for pre-order online at Labrador.