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A Dirty Dozen with AUSTIN RADFORD from DEAD FRIENDS – March 2021

| 4 March 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “New single “Taos Hum” out now. Song appears on their forthcoming fan-funded album Ultrabysmal. Vocalist / guitarist Austin Radford says, “If Ultrabysmal as a whole is a story of immense struggle and loss, ‘Taos Hum’ is the narrator introducing us to our main character and saying ‘See this complacent, arrogant prick? Let’s see what happens if we destroy his entire identity and introduce him to a brand new level of hell.’” We get Austin to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our new single Taos Hum is the first track from our upcoming album Ultrabysmal. I wrote the lyrics as a kind of message to our past selves in January of 2020. We’d just put out our EP High Wasted Genes on Standby Records, and we’d just started touring on that. We were doing a lot of high fiving and cheersing to a future that we thought was entirely ours! The song is basically saying “you schmucks have no idea what’s coming your way”, and it acts as an introduction to the album, which deals with personal and global events that occurred over the course of the year. We also filmed a music video in the style of a Bond movie intro as another nod to that ‘introduction to the action’ feel.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I think going to shows when we were young is what originally got us all into music. It’s certainly what inspired us to start this band.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I grew up in Dallas and was able to see some of the most amazing shows at a very young age. I think the show that sealed the deal for me was Further Seems Forever and Hot Rod Circuit at The Door Dallas. Spacey Casey from Hot Rod Circuit was jumping from the guitar cabs to the drum riser to other guitar cabs. I don’t think he touched the actual stage once during their entire set. I immediately wanted to do that forever.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Our influences are all over the place, but in terms of the artists that have directly influenced Dead Friends – Every Time I Die, Glassjaw, Underoath, Thrice, and Foo Fighters.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d want to collaborate with someone completely out of left field. Let us write a sludgy rock tune for Andre 3000 to sing on.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We usually just describe ourselves as a rock band and let people make their own comparisons, but up until last year we definitely encouraged people to see us live in our elevator pitch. I don’t remember who it was, but someone compared us to a particular 90’s buttrock band, and that hurt a little bit… especially because they were totally right.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We have some talented dudes in our band. Brian is probably the first to bust out some exquisite vegan cuisine. Dan is a bartender by day, so he’d probably be slingin’ bottles and making cocktails for everyone. I’d say the acoustic guitar makes the rounds evenly, but when we’re hanging as buds, music isn’t at the forefront. We’re lucky enough to be friends first, and bandmates second.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Terry O’Quinn (John Locke from LOST) lives in our hometown. Sometimes we’ll see him around, and that’s always weird. I’ve only spoken with him a couple times. Definitely haven’t ever told him what he can’t do… you never do that.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Collaboration is my favorite part. Creating a thing out of nothing is a crazy phenomenon, and then presenting it to other people who, with no preconceived ideas, transform it into something totally different. No idea what I’d do otherwise. Onlyfans seems like a cool avenue.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

No one seems to care about the formation of a song from demo to master. In my opinion, it’s one of the most interesting things you could ask, but it also leaves a lot of room for long winded, self indulgent answers… Like this – I usually start with a riff, and expand on that idea in ProTools. I use programmed drums to get the general feel. Once the demo is done, I present it to the dudes, and they improve their respective parts, and then once it’s set, I’ll go in and write the lyrics. Then we go to our producer Will Beasley and bring it to life. (yawn… ok I get why it’s not a FAQ). We’re most often asked how the band formed, and the real origin is fairly boring, so we make up new responses every time. I think most recently we met in jail, or in the Marvel microverse or something.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

We’re of the belief that every choice we’ve made has brought us to this point, so we try not to dwell on the past. That being said… we might’ve left that petri dish labeled ‘C-19’ in Wuhan where we found it.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

It’d rule to be a fly on the wall for old Beatles, Led Zeppelin or any classic rock recordings, but I think in terms of witnessing something magical, seeing The Used recording their first album. Knowing that Burt was in a rough spot, and that there’s no way they knew what they had at the time. Seeing that come together would be amazing. That album and Glassjaw Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence were two albums that changed how I viewed melody in heavy music. I think it’s safe to say that they changed the game in the early ‘00s.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Easiest question! Live music. It seems like things are evolving toward live streaming, which is great for getting your music to places that you wouldn’t ordinary tour through, but there’s no substitute for the energy of a live show. Cannot wait to get back in the pit!




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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