The sound of Radianation spans across many genres. When somebody who hasn't heard about the band asks the common question Who do they sound like? we have a hard time answering the question without naming a half-dozen bands and finishing the sentence with something like but really they are just different.
As a band Radianation strives to be unique without being too odd to be appreciated. Founding member Andrew Aebersold explains:
I grew up listening to all kinds of music, as did most people who have a passion for the art. I was most fascinated by the synth pop of the 80's. I remember hearing some of the more obscure remixes and b-sides released by bands like Depeche Mode or the Pet Shop Boys that started to have more of a 4/4 dance beat. That's when Dance Music first caught my attention. I became a fan of techno, house, hardcore, trance, and all the other various genres shortly thereafter. One thing that I always maintained throughout the years as I started to write my own music is that I wanted it to be danceable, but still have musical qualities that allow the song to be appreciated off the dance floor as well. This is perhaps where I consciously blended the songwriting often found in synth pop with the raw energy from dance music.
The debut album Megalomania was really just a collection of songs that were written for fun. This album has been likened in style and phrasing to old tracker mods and definitely has a more synth pop feel than any of the other projects.
The sophomore release Don't Wake up from My Dream is what most people will remember as the sound that defined Radianation in the 90's. The album was a collection of songs from the live shows as performed by Radianation stitched together much as a DJ would to compile non-stop album.
At this point in time the band was still a one man show. There were a few songs that featured vocals, but they were simply samples of friends inserted in the song. There was no vocalist per say, but the song writer in Aebersold felt as though in order to progress musically there needed to be a singer.
Enter vocalist Sarah Dean. Dean called on a flyer that was posted in the Indiana University Southeast music department. After auditioning in the studio, both Aebersold and Dean agreed to work together on some songs. The two recorded several songs over the following years, but schedule conflicts and other various reasons continued to plague their progress. During a break in the musical process Aebersold bumped into another vocalist, Annie Gibson, at random. Here is the story as he recalls:
After getting off to a great start, Sarah and I hadn't worked together for a few months and I wasn't sure if we would ever work on anything again. In order to keep moving forward with my music I was passively pursuing another vocalist. In other words, if somebody came along I wasn't going to turn them away, assuming they were good.
Well, I met some friends one night at a restaurant as they were closing. It just so happened that across the table from me was a very energetic girl that was striking up a conversation with everybody. Apparently she was going through training at the restaurant and when she asked me if I worked there too I politely said no and mentioned that I work for myself running a record label. She inquired what type of music, and as soon as she found out it was electronica she started raving (no pun intended) about how she loves that type of stuff and then it came I'm a singer and would love to sing to that type of music. We exchanged phone numbers and arranged for an audition. When Annie first sang in the studio I was amazed. We started recording almost immediately.
Gibson and Aebersold recorded several songs over two or three years. When she moved about forty-five minutes away, it became more difficult to practice and record on a regular basis. Her classes at the University compounded the problem, and as time passed the two lost touch.
Interestingly enough, Sarah Dean returned to the studio and picked up where she left off. After a few months of rehearsal it was finally time to get back on stage and perform.
It was at this time that Dean explained that she couldn't do the show at nearly the last minute. In a panic, Gibson was contacted to see if she could fill in at the show. She agreed to do so, but then things go complicated. Dean changed her mind and also wanted to do the show. The result was a weird combination of two singers on stage, alternating songs and styles, and in the end a very subtle struggle for the role of lead vocalist ensued.
Three or four shows were performed this way. Attempts were made to get both singers working together, harmonizing, and doubling for each other, but the inability to get both singers in the studio together and the confusion of having two singers on stage would eventually lead Aebersold to make a decision to pick one singer and move forward. Sarah Dean made this an easy choice by volunteering to step back, sighting the purchase of a new home, her recent marriage, a busy work schedule, and most importantly her lack of desire to perform live. At this time Annie Gibson became the lead singer for Radianation. Sarah Dean has since Married, but has expressed interest in working with Aebersold on other musical projects in the future. Fortunately, both the friendship and professional relationship has remained.
It was around this same that the idea of having a live bass player might add an interesting dynamic to the band, both in the studio and on the stage. Bass Player Tom Spalding was contacted using a local community website. He was added to the band with the idea of using some of his bass lines in various songs, and he would also enhance the live show by playing live bass instead of always relying on synthetic basslines. While Tom is still a member of the band, he is used sparingly on the upcoming album Karmony, and it is still up in the air as to what capacity he will be utilized in future live performances.
The new live show that the band is working on will include synchronized custom video playback, lights, fog, and choreographed dancers complementing Gibson as she sings. Look for the new album Karmony in stores on January 17th, 2006.
I used to play live shows in the midwest rave scene in the 90's. Now we play as a band live shows at clubs, bars, and raves all over. Every show we do becomes my new favorite.
Inspired early on by Depeche Mode, New Order, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, KMFDM, Deee-Lite, Nine Inch Nails. Currently inspired by Paul Van Dyk, Armin Van Buuren, ATB, Kylie Minogue.
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