Artist Name: Radikal Rat
Song Title: Friends With Benefits
Release Date: 28.9.18
Radikal Rat ft Kes Kross – Friends With Benefits
A neon dream of synth-heavy retro wave ear candy, Radikal Rat is performed, produced, and mixed by Lukas Nathanson and John Hårleman, with David Placer on visuals and animation. With the 80s as their lifeblood, the project pulls in elements of vaporwave, pop, electro, R&B, and more to create a world that is both modern and nostalgic, imbued with cinematic sensibility and a keen sense of the futuristic visual landscape that accompanies each track. Though much of their work is instrumental, Radikal Rat have worked on several collaborations with other artists, pushing the boundaries of their multidimensional approach in a way that makes space for new influences, directions, and possibilities. With Lukas and John based in Sweden, David in Spain, and vocalists like KES filtering in LA sunset hooks, theirs is a kaleidoscopic prism of sound that never loses sight of the analog feeling at its heart. Synthwave connoisseurs Radikal Rat release their new single ‘Friends With Benefits’ on the 28th of September, featuring R&B-tinged vocals from LA artist KES in an artfully blended neon haze of emotive electro. This is 80s nostalgia for the post-genre generation.
Brief us on how to impress fans during a live performance.
I feel like going to a live show is 50% of what the fans already know, the music, and the other 50% need to be an introduction to something new, either killer visuals and alternative versions of the tracks that work better live, or a surprise element. Energy is everything so your fans will feel what you feel.
List the names of your biggest supporters.
We’re still in such an early stage where our family is our biggest supporter, but it’s fun to see that people like it, appreciate it, and even buy it from places like Bandcamp.
Explain what has motivated you so far in your music career.
We both come from working with music in different forms, John has been writing songs and also been touring with his own band, while I was in L.A. and produced music for the mainstream market and really got to see the “industry”. I think what led us to this project is doing something where no-one tells you it is right or wrong, not trying to please others but just doing songs and tracks that we like and put them out without too many expectations.
Discuss your experience as an artist.
To be honest our experience as artists is been really short BUT so far it has been great. It’s like getting likes on Instagram, it’s an ego boost and it feels good when someone likes it and we cry when people don’t haha.
Tell us the biggest mistake you have ever made in your music career.
To listen and take other’s words as how it is. Don’t let one person’s bad day change the direction of your career.
Discuss the story behind the song.
This song was written originally in Los Angeles with an amazing writer and singer who goes by Kes Kross. We did the song and nothing happened with it, I think we pitched it to a few artists but it was just sitting in iTunes for a long time. My wife always had a thing for the song and when we got married Kes Kross actually flew out to Sweden to perform it at our wedding. A few years later I and John started Radikal Rat and went through some older songs that would be fun to work on and this was one of them.
Tell us how to fund a music project.
At least in Sweden, we have scholarships for music projects so that’s a great way to fund the project. To make music is fairly cheap and easy today but the marketing is the tricky part. I think it’s good to see yourself as a business and treat it like one, make a business plan to make sure that you’re not spending money without thinking of a way to get it back. A good rule is to not spend much money before you start making money and then start using the money you’re making to re-invest in the project.
Discuss your opinion on the safety of fans during shows and live performances.
Several big festivals in Sweden have closed down because of rape cases and that is so sad that women can’t go to a show without risking some sexual harassment or rape. It should be about music and it’s the same thing as with sports and some supporters that go out just to fight, it ruins it for everyone else.
Tell us the greatest piece of advice someone has given you as an artist.
“It’s not life or death, have fun”.
Tell us what you will improve or change in your music.
We keep changing and improving ourselves and the sound constantly, trying new things and blending more genres. That’s what we like the most, to change.
Discuss vocal training and how you protect your vocal.
Since I don’t sing I never protect my voice but a lot of singers I’ve worked with have their own tricks and I’ve seen everything from standing over a boiling pot to massaging the tongue.
Discuss your best mood during a performance.
The best mood during a show would be when there are just enough nervosity and a room that packs the crowd to make it intimate but high-level energy. Like I said earlier, I really believe in energy being everything. So what we feel is what the crowd will feel, so it’s important to not worry about how others will feel but just make sure you have fun and do your best.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Radikal Rat was John’s idea and we both liked it so much we didn’t think too much and just went with it. It comes from teenage mutant ninja turtles; they have a song called “He’s a Radical Rat”. Name is one of those things that you can get very caught up with but it won’t change your career or sound. Obviously naming your band “Apple” will be hard cause you won’t be very far up on a google search but change it to APL and voila haha.
List your best artists with reasons.
The Midnight – They really stand out within the synth-wave/ retro wave scene.
Kavinsky – He’s the father of the sound. 🙂
Zedd – Has incredible productions and you can really hear how good of a musician he is.
Discuss your existence as an artist.
We started the project less than a year ago and we started by releasing instrumental tracks before putting out this new track which is the first one with vocals but we definitely will continue to put out more tracks with vocals. We have some internal goals for the first year but most importantly we want to have fun and do some live gigs. We have worked with this incredible talent that has done all our visuals, artwork, and animated videos, his name is David Placer and he goes by Everything Studios, make sure you follow him!
Tell us the greatest problem you think is facing society and the solution.
I think there are two problems, climate, which needs to be taken way more seriously, and even if we do we might be doomed. The second problem is mental health and I think social media and our phones are the biggest reason. We would need to go back in time, who knows maybe the ’80s was the best time to live. 😉
Discuss your songwriting and recording.
It’s honestly different every time we do it. Sometimes we start with a track and sometimes we start with the song and then do the production. We use some analog synths and Logic Pro X as our main DAW. There are so many tools today to make music and to make it sound good fairly easy. One thing we have gotten better at lately is mixing and mastering. It’s because I’m really interested in the process and think it’s fun to do.