“Hey, what’s that thing with all the letters you’re listening to?”
That’s a question that came my way a lot within the past few weeks, my usual response is something like this…
“Those letters all spell awesome.”
Yes, they actually don’t spell awesome literally, but in this writer’s brain the constant heavy RDGLDGRN, a trio of out Virginia currently signed to Universal/Republic, those letters truly do spell out awesome. This band produces such a fat, infectious, upbeat sound that harkens back to the mid-to-late ’90s when hip-hop, rock and funk enjoyed its most glorious union. Yet, while it may “harken back” to that sound in terms of the fusion of multiple genres, the band is so much more crisper and most importantly, more melodic than the thrash heavy experiments of decades past. And, what better time to discover a unit like this — in the midst of the sandy, sun-soaked days of summer that call for fun (and most importantly) good music to provide the soundtrack for.
Simply put, RDGLDGRN is awesome.
We spoke with RED as the band preps for their upcoming performance with 311 on Sunday July 20 in Pennsylvania, about their unique sound, working with two of the biggest names in music and new music.
Pop-Break: Your sound as has been described as “indie go go” and it’s this absolutely awesome combination of rock, hip-hop and funk. This isn’t a sound that you hear everyday — so talk about how you guys developed the sound of the group.
RED: Thanks for your kind words. We wanted to make music that we enjoyed and that represented us and where we come from. So it was simple really, we mix The Drums, Backyard Band, and Wu-Tang Clan.
PB: Dave Grohl performed with you guys on the majority of the record. Can you talk about the conversation you guys had with him where he went from agreeing to drum on “I Love Lamp” to being the drummer for most of your record? Did he depart any words of wisdom on you guys? Did he elevate your game during the recording?
RED: It was a shot in the dark really. We threw it out there in e-mail form and we were extremely fortunate to have him be a part of our record. He listened to “I Love Lamp” and was excited to drum on the track and when came to Sound City and recorded he asked us if we had any more. We said hell yeah and he banged out the others! When we weren’t recording he was really cool and told us lots of stories about different things and the most important thing we took away from the experience was his work ethic and coolness.
PB: You also had Pharrell Williams come in and co-write and co-produce your song “Doing the Most.” Again, if you could tell the story of how one of the hottest producers and artists in the world came to work with you guys and what you learned from him during the creation of “Doing the Most.”
RED: After hearing our track “I Love Lamp” in a meeting with A&Rs he was hyped to work with us. When we had an e-mail sent his way he was down to work with us as well. It was a dream.
PB: Your record has been out for nearly a year — did you guys feel it achieved what you had hoped for both from a creative and a commercial standpoint?
RED: We wanted to get our music to the masses and while we didn’t break any records, we do have fans all over the country and that’s a start.
PB: Looking back at where you were one year ago, prior to the album’s release, how would you say you guys have evolved as performers and as people?
RED: The live show has grown and become an interactive event.
PB: Any plans for a new record in the near future?
RED: New music is definitely on its way! New songs certainly in July, August, and September.
PB: For someone who sees your name on a bill with one of the big artists you’re working with this summer what song would you tell them to check out in order to understand what RDGLDGRN is all about?
RED: “Doin The Most.”
PB: What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
RED: Watching the World Cup and dropping new material. [Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted before The World Cup ended].
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom