Interview by Daniel Coston
From the April 2017 issue of Tangents Magazine
- Tangents Magazine: How did Radio Lola come together?
Radio Lola: We had at one point or another collaborated through various shows in the past. I had just experienced my second band breakup which served as a double whammy because my band mate was also my boyfriend (awkward and lesson learned there!) Going through the motion of a breakup, I had completely forgotten about a show we had booked way out. I received a message a couple weeks prior to the show to start talking through the details and this is when the panic set in that I would either have to cancel the show (which I absolutely hate doing) or I would have to figure a way to perform. The idea had been brewing on forming a new band with a style I had always wanted to explore and I thought well, this was going to be the opportunity to just get up and do it. I contacted Sean and Chris and proposed this idea of spending the next week to a week and a half doing nothing but songwriting and spitting out a full in a very short amount of time. We met shortly after and basically made an unofficial pact that if we could pull this off in such a short amount of time, we would form a band with this project. They had us on the bill as Danielle Engle because we didn't even have a name yet! Fortunately, we did come up with a name right before the show and even more fortunately, we had instant chemistry and bonded through this first show very quickly. We've basically become a family and never looked back.
Tangents Magazine: What did you hear growing up that made you want to write and perform music?
Radio Lola: I was and still am a huge Otis Redding fangirl. When I was 16, I would sit in my boyfriend's car with his sunroof open and I would just stare at the night sky to old Otis Redding tunes. I mean we didn't even make out to it! I just wanted to get lost in the music. Otis deeply influenced me and my thirst for soul infused genres. Naturally, singers like Etta James and Aretha Franklin empowered my want to belt out and sing with grit. I would say in my 20's, my life as an artist was utterly changed by Brandi Carlile. She was playing here in Charlotte and a friend had bought me tickets to her show for my Birthday. I remember walking out from that show and realizing I had not really dipped into any courage for my songwriting, content wise and vocally. That was the moment I really chose to become an artist rather than just a singer.
Tangents Magazine: Describe the sound of Radio Lola.
Radio Lola: I feel like I give a different answer every single time I attempt to capture the description our sound. We definitely fall under the broad umbrella of Rock n Roll, but with an intentionality towards soulful dynamic and swells. We like taking a song to a whisper breath and then raging into a tsunami of crushing guitar, drums, bass and roaring vocals. When we first met, we agreed we wanted our songs to have what we call the "Fuck Factor.) At some point during our set, we want someone in the audience to be so overwhelmed by a moment, that they can't help but to say, "Fuck!"
Tangents Magazine: Soul and Rock are two genres that don’t always get to interact with each other. How does Radio Lola infuse the two?
Radio Lola: I think it doesn't hurt that we all have an affinity for bluesy riffs and soulful melodies. It seems to permeate our pores at times, like it just is a part of us and how we emote musically. Don't get me wrong, there are moments we break away for a palette cleanser, which is usually something closer to Americana or Indie-esque rock. For me, melancholy melodies and soulful crooning is a natural mechanism when creating a song, it's just like breathing air for me.
Tangents Magazine: Talk about the new EP.
Radio Lola: Um, it's awesome? Ha! It's been our baby for the last couple of years, a compilation of songs that went through us so quickly and efficiently in the beginning that we had to go back through them and understand them on a deeper level...musically and lyrically. We had such an immediate forward motion as a band, forming these songs over a matter of a few years through countless shows, we were able to woodshed these down to their most honest and pure form. The Burden in Our Bones is about experiencing the honesty of emotion whether it is mournful, fucking pissed or in happier more appreciative times. The burden in our bones really is what we feel. Keeping the authenticity of this album's message, we really challenged ourselves to record each song with as much honesty as possible. Some of us even went as far to strip down to skivvies or skin when recording the song, Birthday Suit. Which, you can imagine, is about getting naked.
Tangents Magazine: What is in the future for Radio Lola?
Radio Lola: Evolution. Any relationship you enter into at some point will need to change and become better to stand the test of time. Radio Lola wants to get better, braver, broader. (Alliteration!) We want to broaden our horizon and start with smaller tours regionally. We also plan on following up with a shorter EP with our new songs. We have had a lot of support over the years and want to give back with more of us and new content.
Tangents Magazine: Dani, what vocalists influenced you? And what other vocalists in the Charlotte area that are your favorites?
Radio Lola: Woops! My answer for this can be read under question #2. I'll let the guys expound on what they listened to through the years as well. To add to this question, I love me some Deirdre Kroener from Grown Up Avenger Stuff! I've girl-crushed on her since the day I met her and have loved every moment her and I have had the pleasure of collaborating. I fell quickly for Drea Atkins of Farwell Albatross and definitely need to duet with that woman! Dylan Gilbert of Hectorina, Albert Strawn from Bless These Sounds Under the City, I don't see these dudes enough, but they inspire me vocally and are incredible showmen. Jonny Boswell from The Menders, I have always wanted to groan out a guttural tune with him. I could really go on too long in this.
Tangents Magazine: What are some of your favorite bands in Charlotte to play with?
Radio Lola: That's hard, we have loved so many experiences with so many different bands. I guess the ones that stand out in my memories are The Sammies, we love them boys! We are also so excited to play with the debuting band Party Battleship which has John Morris who has made us cooler whenever he joins us on keys for a show and also contributed to our EP. The Menders are a BLAST, I always sweat a little more when I am playing with them.
Tangents Magazine: What has been some of your most memorable gigs to date?
Radio Lola: I will always attribute so much appreciation towards our first show because of how it happened and how it brought me close to some of best men I have known. That night was such a thrill. We shared the stage at The Visulite with Shot Silk, which is no longer, but Hayley Moran is now really crushing it in The Waves. I remember at one point I just stood there while the guys were playing and felt so confirmed in how right this band felt.
I closeness in proximity between band and audience when we play at Hattie’s Tap & Tavern. Our EP release was here and we left everything on stage...and maybe took more shots than we planned to. The evening ended in confetti canons and cheers. I will remember that one fondly.
Playing the same stage and evening of St. Paul and the Broken Bones was such an honor. To top it off, this was at The Chop Shop during its hay day. It was a Halloween show and packed from wall to wall. And get this, after we hustled on stage, I got to dance to the tunes of Otis Redding B-sides, performed by St. Paul and the Broken Bones. I was in heaven.
Tangents Magazine: Finish this sentence. Radio Lola is…..
Radio Lola: Here to stay.