Radio Berlin - Sibling CD Straight from Canada comes Radio Berlin. They're coming to your town to show you that there's still good music out there. I first saw Radio Berlin at a small show here in Olympia , Washington and i really wasn't expecting much from the band at first. But when they started to play i was blown away from the talent these guys have. Power drivin songs that take you back to the 80's and makes you remember what bands were the shit back then. At the same time they throw these songs of punches that i could say are in the reign of Fugazi and Clikitat Ikatowi. There's a good mixture here and if you go see these guys or listen to them at home you'll understand why i was so drawn by this band. And just my luck i came to found that these guys are awesome people as well...Very friendly and very into doing things with music. I find that rare with bands these days...This band is both great as musically and as people so when they hit your town don't be afraid to say hello. Anyway, i got the chance to ask Jack and Chris a few questions and this is what they had to say. Warren and Josh were on tour with Jerk With a Bomb at the time.

Radio Berlin interview notes. JACK = J, CHRIS = C.

STN: Who is Radio Berlin, who does what, how long have you been a band, and why did you guys get together?

J: the band radio berlin consists of myself (Jack Duckworth) on guitar, vocals on half the songs, and keyboards in certain songs. Chris Frey plays bass and does vocals on the other half of songs. Joshua Wells plays (with amazing talent I might add) the drums, and does multi-instrumentation on our recordings. Warren Hill plays keyboards and piano. C: It started in march of 98 when jack and i started to try a new wave project wityh a drum machine as the third member. Eventually, we had a few songs written and started looking to recrute drums and keyboards. Joshes band (ex dead teenager) had just broken up (sadly) wich made him a free agent and i was living with warren at the time who boasted of many tourtous years of piano lessons. J: Yeah, we started with just jamming around with a drum machine and working on songs that I wrote initial parts for and Chris and I arranged them. It wasn't until May of that year that we actually really got into it with Warren (Chris's roomate at the time) and Josh (who was playing in both Ex-Dead Teenager and Jerk With a Bomb at the time).

STN: Where did the name come from and how would you best describe the sound?

J: Well, as unexciting as this sounds, we just had one of those sessions of sitting around after practice and brainstorming band names. we had our first show coming up and we were starting to record our demo at the time and we needed a name. Radio Berlin was the best out of batch of "european" sounding names, well at least better than the runner up names, like Radio Crozat and a mess of uncatchy, stuffy art-rock names. C: Jack had his heart set on having the word "radio" being in the name but "radio" alone wasn't going to cut it. At first we flipped through the phone book (desperately) but then settled on Radio Berlin. J: The sound? Well I always have trouble with that one but people we've talked to always bring up names like old Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Wire, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, XTC, Section 25, Josef K, old 4AD stuff like the Cocteaus, etc. A friend of ours said that we were the Fugazi of 80's new wave which i thought was kind of funny.

STN: What are some of your influences?

C: it,s probably pretty obvious that a lot of our influences are rooted in the music of the 80's. there's not alot of contemperary music that appeals to me personally right now besides that except some other bands that emulate that sound. J: Well, I really enjoy the aforementioned bands alot and music from that era from the dancy new wave stuff to bands like Test Dept., Second Layer, Birthday Party, etc. First of all I find some music from that area very inventive, how they capture feelings of isolation, and the also unique way they produce their albums (i guess effects were starting to be used heavily at that point). Anyways, I've also been a punk kid since way back when so i've absorbed alot of the underground hardcore/emo/post-punk phenomenon that was the decade of the 1990's and I still enjoy a lot of that music. There are also the group relatively recent bands that I like that have an interest in music of past, a couple of examples being bands like Vue, Subpoena the Past, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavours, The Rapture, and myriad of others that have cropped up in the last couple of years or so.

STN: When you guys come up with new songs how do you come about doing them? do you come up with songs together or does someone in the band or outside the band generally come up with them?

J: Lots of the songs are something that I write on my guitar and come to practice with the basis of a bassline, a guitar part and usually a keyboard line (Warren doesn't like writing his own keyboard parts). Chris and I decide who sings the song by a case of who comes up with a vocal line first or who finds the song easier to sing and play at the same time. Sometimes there are some songs were i only have a minor part and then we all collaborate on them and there are also a few songs, like "I Want to Fall Into Your Garden" off of the LP where Josh writes the entire song with the exception of the guitar part and vocals. Josh is an amazing multi-talented musician: one of those "gifted" people i guess. Every instrument he picks up he does really well at and the same goes for writing music.

STN: What records do you have planned to come out soon and how did you hook up with the labels ?

J: Well we've got an LP/CD coming out in November which is split release between loveundromance (from here in Vancouver) doing the CD and reassemblage (formerly fragil) doing the LP. This is kind of a funny question because this whole interview is a big conflict of interest because you are from fragil records! You were originally going to do the LP until you moved back to North Carolina and let Jeremy continue the project under Reassemblage. Anyways, we've also got a split 7" with Sweden's Kid Commando coming out on Australia's Project Icarus label and a track to a compilation on Australia's Phono-Statique records. C: and Jeremy got one of our tapes after we played [in Olympia] and soon after asked us to do a single. Loveundromance asked us to do a full length soon after that but could only afford to release a CD so we approached Reassemblage and they said they'd love to do the vinyl version. J: Unfortunately, with the bad Canadian dollar it would have been too much of an investment to finance the LP for Reasemblage. The Project Icarus label in Australia is operated by Josh, Marcus, and Kody: the former who used to live in Vancouver and then moved over to the land down under in early 1998. He was a good friend of ours so when the project icarus thing took off they asked us if we wanted to something. They also are interested in doing our 2nd album, even though that is far, far from our minds right now.

radio berlin

STN: Do you have any plans on touring? if so where?

J: Yeah, we're going on tour in December with our friends Hot Hot Heat. We're going to San Diego and back over the course of two weeks.

STN: What other bands have you guys been in, and makes Radio Berlin better than the other bands you have been in?

C: Jack and I were previously in the Measure: kind of a cross between early Talking Heads, AC/DC, and the Monorchid. Josh was in Ex-Dead Teenager, who were everything from power violence to new wave. Warren was in We Be Birthin' Cows back in the day which was so traumatic that he quit producing music for years. When we found out he was an expert with the keys we begged him to join the humble unit. After much bribery, he complied. Radio Berlin is better because we are all deeply in love with one another. J: i've played in a number of short term projects before i moved to Vancouver a couple of years ago. I used to live in a small town where no-one shared the same musical interests that i did and therefore it was hard to get a band together that was totally inspiring to play in. Since I've been in vancouver it's basically been Radio Berlin, The Measure and a new project i've started called A Luna Red (which is way less poppy and more aggro and ethereal). Radio Berlin is by far the most rewarding band to play in. I work with really good friends with a good sense of musicality, who are easy to get along with, and energy and this band has encouraged me to stretch my style of guitar playing that has been in a rut for many years and to write music that has wider points of reference (meaning musical references). I've been playing in post-punk/emo type bands for a good portion of my "career" and that can be heard in our sound.

STN: Jack, what is Seven Segment?...give a description of what it's all about and tell why you started it...

J: It's a co-op i'm involved in that are trying to get the all-ages music scene on its feet again by putting on semi-regular all-ages shows. The scene was thriving here somewhat four or five years ago but was until recently quite dead except of the pop-punk and hardcore shows in the suburbs that happened once in a while. We have meetings and such and do shows about once or twice a month for local and touring indie bands for a variety of music, realizing that the scene has kind of dispersed into many different genres or explorations in music from the traditional hardcore/punk band format (even though there are still a lot of bands in vancouver playing that style of music). I don't know, i've always felt the all-ages scene held something of more emotion and dedication than the large and faceless bar scene that is vancouver. Also, the all-ages scene has more networking to other people around north america and the globe as opposed to a scene in vancouver that is basically large to medium-size touring bands playing exclusive venues and then a sea of vancouver bands billing themselves together in different bars around town. It seems like that scene doesn't network outside of the city and therefore isn't exposed to the variety of interesting music that is happening elsewhere.

STN: Is the Canadian Scene, where you live, supportive of what Radio Berlin is doing? Are there any other local bands that you think are going to be heading to the states that are going to be showing some great music like yourselves?

C: The Canadians seem to like us just fine. We play very few shows in Vancouver so as not to burn out the local audience. Hopefully the Automovement can go to the states again soon, they are a really great band. J: I guess this is somewhat related to the last question. When we first started we didn't know what the local showgoers were going to think but it ended up going over quite well. The punk kids in vancouver were into it because it was something different and refreshing and i guess that's the same feeling with everyone at the shows although a lot of them would be surprised of our former musical backgrounds. Julie and Shahera, of loveundromance who put out the CD, work at Zulu Records (an independent record store here in Vancouver) and everyone there has been really cool and helpful for us. As for the rest of Canada, we haven't played shows eastward yet (we usually go south to the states) but i guess we'll find out when the record comes out and we do eventually play shows there. Actually, an employee of Sonic Unyon (a large eastern Canadian label) in doing interested in doing a future release for us so I guess that's the extent of our eastern Canadian popularity! Anyways, as for other bands: bands that seem to be in the same mindset as far as musicality and their general approach on the music and the scene around it would be local bands like The Automovement, Jerk With a Bomb, Hot Hot Heat, Ersatz, and even Submission Hold and Closed Captioned Radio.

STN: What would you like to achieve with Radio Berlin in the future?

C: World peace? We plan to tour North America in it's entirety in the spring. Maybe put out more records and meet nice people. J: Haven't really thought that far ahead. Right now Chris and I are writing new songs while Josh and Warren are on tour with Jerk With a Bomb. I guess we'd probably record in the new year - our new material - for the second album thingy i mentioned earlier.

STN: How do you feel people will react to your music when you go on tour?

C: People are generally pretty receptive to our music on tour. They seem to bob their heads while we play and clap when we finish. J: So far the shows we have booked on tour are really good and mostly are booked with bands that would draw a crowd that would like or at least appreciate the music. It's always nice, or at least more realistic when a play a show with bands that have no musical relation to yourselves whatsoever and you either blow someone away or cause tension in the audience. It's always cool to offer people something new or something they haven't heard before: to broaden their musical horizons abit. Jerk With a Bomb (a country/pop outfit) played with Botch in Atlanta recently and that went over really well. I like playing both kinds of shows: one where the bands a similarity or a theme and the other of complete unrelated billing. It adds variety to shows.

STN: Any final comments? thank you. C: see you in december. J: likewise.

You can get in touch with Radio Berlin at: Radio Berlin: 1682 Frances st., Vancouver BC V5L 1Z4. Canada.

To obtain their CD contact: Love Und Romance: 4576 56A st. Delta BC. V4k 3C6. Canada.

To obtain thier vinyl when they're released: Reassemblage Records: P.O.Box 7445, Olympia, WA 98507.

To see Radio Berlin's Tour dates CLICK HERE.

Visit Seven Segment by clicking HERE.