A Q&A With Talkradio

A Q&A with Talkradio

One man grunge machine, from Oz…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
While I was writing the latest album, I kept thinking about the choices I’d made throughout the years that got me to this point. The thing is, I was forced to make some pretty horrible choices over the previous 15 years or so. Choices most people shouldn’t have to make. Choices that meant I had to put myself in difficult positions for some time (positions I’d rather not have been in) to eventually get to a good position. Still, the fact that I was finally happy with how things had turned out meant that I couldn’t really stay angry at things that had happened in the past. Ok, not everything is perfect. For that to be the case, I would have to be able to quit my day job and support myself with my music, which is not possible. Everything else, though, is as good as it can be, so my positives far outweigh that one negative. In the end, it’s about choices. We all have to make them. Choose seemed to be an obvious title to me, as I consider this album my greatest achievement.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The fact that I have to do everything makes it all hard. I have to come up with the concept for the album artwork and booklets as well as write everything and record a demo I can take to the studio. Still, that stuff I can do at my own pace. I think the studio recording is the most demanding thing I do, both mentally and physically. The longer I take, the more expensive it gets. That’s why by the time I get there, I have to know how to play every drum track, guitar lick and keyboard line like the back of my hand. I do three or four takes of each instrument and the producer picks the best stuff. The biggest problem with this approach is fatigue. It is pretty hard playing an instrument non-stop all day as perfectly as you possibly can, with only a lunch break in the middle.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
This album was produced by Ben Hense from Beat Tank Productions. Ben has been in the industry most of his life and has been running a studio for a very long time. He has also recorded some big names. When I was shopping around for a studio to record this album, I was giving them a Dropbox link with my demo in it. After hearing it, Ben was so keen to record this album, he called me while he was away on holiday. It was very flattering. He comes from a similar musical background to me so we tend to agree on how things should sound. It’s a very easy working relationship. So easy that he has actually become a good friend. I myself am not a producer and have never pretended to know what I’m doing. I’m happy to offer an opinion if I’m asked but as I always say in the studio, I’m not the expert when it comes to that stuff. I prefer someone else lead in that space and just offer my opinions from the sidelines.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I try to write stuff that I hope will put a smile on people’s faces and get feet tapping, as well as encourage sing-alongs. I still sing along to stuff in the car. It would be pretty mindblowing if, somewhere in the world, someone is doing the same to one of my songs.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
I have to be in a certain mood/mindset to write, which is hard to describe. The first thing that happens is a melody turns up in my head. I start by humming it into my phone’s voice recorder. If I listen to it the next day and I still think it has potential, I go to my little studio here at home, record it on a track in Pro Tools, then work on the instrumental tracks, starting with the guitars. Although I work the drums out last, they obviously get recorded first when I’m ready to do the proper demo. Lyrically, I’ve always written about some experience, whether it was recent or from the past. I can easily spend an entire day working on a song without noticing. Sadly, I don’t often get whole days because I have a day job. Once I’ve finished the demo, I call my studio contact and upload all the finished songs so they can have a listen. I’ve always given the studio the songs ahead of time because I think it allows the producer to fully understand what we’re going to be recording, so we both know exactly what we need to do before we even start. When I get in there and start recording, everything is played as it was on my demo. I don’t hand my demo in until I am 100% confident that it’s what I will be recording. The only things that may vary are drum fills and guitar solos. Sometimes, in the moment, what I improvise can turn out better than what I had previously.

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
From a vocal perspective, it’s Chris Cornell. I’ve been listening to everything he has done for years, and I’m still in awe of his ability. I actually didn’t feel well for a week when he passed away. From a songwriting perspective, it’s Dave Grohl. I’m amazed at how he constantly churns out memorable tunes. I would say I’ve mostly been influenced by Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam when it comes to writing. Most of what they release always sticks in my head very quickly. I think that writing a memorable melody is a skill that can’t be taught. My mind is always blown by artists who can do it over and over again.

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
If I were successful, I think most South American countries would be a blast for the kind of stuff I play. The UK and Germany would also be fun.

A Q&A with Talkradio

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I would probably pick ‘No Replay’. Songs like that one, as well as ‘Golden’ from my previous album Something From Nothing, are my idea of the kind of songs that get me going. The upbeat tempo with that hint of aggression is what I love most. That’s probably why my favourite song of all time is ‘Spoonman’ by Soundgarden.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I’m under no delusion that this will ever be something I can live off. Given the state of the music world, it’s too late for that. I’d be happy just getting a healthy number of monthly listeners. Just knowing I’m having a positive effect on people’s lives would be awesome. I will just keep writing and recording as long as ideas keep coming. I’ve already started writing the next couple of songs. Hopefully I will be back in the studio next year.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Only that you can’t really sum up my sound from one song. You’d have to listen to an entire album to understand it. Each song can sound quite different from the last. I’d also like to thank you for the opportunity and thank everyone who actually took the time to read through this. It means a lot.

Follow Talkradio on Facebook


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.