Interview with Star FK Radium
- by Dawn Reed
How did the band start?
Bill: Star FK Radium formed in mid 2008 after i was experimenting and having success with writing instrumental pieces for guitar. Matt wrote a perfect part for "Life in Slow Motion" on drums and Alissa soon followed with an equally impressive violin melody. Our first public appearance as a band was at Politics and Prose, a highly successful open mic run by Maureen Nelson.
Alissa: bill was writing his own music, i'd had my violin in the closet for 8yrs, and matt was in a fellow dc band. when bill started to move towards instrumentals, he suggested i add my violin to the mix and he and matt had the opportunity to play together at a cd release show. we wrote our first song "life in slow motion," after which i was given an ultimatum of 30 days ... join the band, or a violinist would be found to play my part!
Where did the band name come from?
Bill: Alissa and I batted back and forth multiple fast food names and other corporate names that interchanged the first letter (we were on a highway), Kurger Bing, Bar Stucks and then eventually she popped out with Star FK Radium. Instantly i knew it would work.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Bill: STP, Radiohead, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Boards of Canada, Classical
Matt: I was really influenced musically by being in marching band. I listen to some some punk, but mostly classical.
Alissa: My influences come from the classical music i played growing up, as well as probably all of the music i listen to (ranging from reggae to hardcore to classic rock). i couldn't point a finger at distinct expressions of these influences, but they all color how i "feel" music, which is pretty much how i write and create.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Bill: None. I am not really into artists per se. I do really like STP and Boards of Canada. I also enjoy going to local shows and like virtually any type of music from any era if written and performed well.
Matt: Right now I only listen to classical music.
Alissa: joe pug, tim barry, will hoge, the slackers, chuck ragan, the head and the heart, ...
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Bill: Beach Boys at Merriweather Post Pavilion. My dad started a crowd chant that involved 1/3 of the entire attendance before they went on. I was like, gosh, dad you are cool. Album, Eagles Greatest hits.
Matt: Nirvana Nevermind was possibly the first album that I ever bought. I loved it back then. As far as I remember, my first concert was probably a marching band show at Michigan State which I also loved.
Alissa: i don't remember!! i went to see the stones early on with my family, as well as james taylor, elton john ...
What do you love about DC's music scene?
Bill: I like the people and the friendships with local musicians. Being a purely instrumental band, Star FK Radium reaches out internationally and therefore we in ways are not as involved in the local music scene.
Matt: Nothing really, besides our closer DC musician friends. I spend most of my time outside of DC, and I am usually busy, so I don't really pay attention to the scene there.
Alissa: you think you know everybody, and then you realize there's a whole other scene you've never even heard of!
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Bill: More originality please, fewer basic chords on guitar, bring on melodies that really capture you. Shut down all the "coveriginal" bands that are 50% quality reworks of a national grunge band. My comments mainly apply to the general "indie" scene.
Matt: With the exception of our friends, please for the love of God no more singer song writers. Playing chords structures like C - A minor - F - G was really cool and original in the 1600's. Not today.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Bill: To continue to reach out to Europe, a primary audience. To record our second album. To perform live.
Matt: We are recording our second album, and are excited about our new original songs.
Alissa: record our next album!!
What was your most memorable live show?
Bill: When we played TNT, a Detroit heavy rock bar. Upon entering the door with our equipment, the guy checking IDs said we've never seen a violin in here before. I was wearing a flannel shirt and a cowboy hat. I think they had no idea what was going to come from our trio, perhaps break out into acoustic country rock? There were four bands playing that night and every member was dressed in black head to toe with big piercings. I ordered a beer at the bar ahead of the show and tried to stand near a band hopefully to get acquainted. They completely ignored me. Star FK went on first and after our performance, we got a shout out from the front man of one band and had several guys from other bands stop by our table and tell us how much they enjoyed our show. We've subsequently had our debut album reviewed in 6 or 7 metal magazines so there you go.
Matt: I remember and appreciate all of our shows, but among the most memorable might be Athens, OH. We were coming back after a month or two off and ended up putting a lot of energy into the show.
Alissa: i think our best show in my recent memory was out at taffy's in eaton, ohio. it's one of our favorite venues, coffee shop / wine bar / venue, with fantastic people. it's amazing to me that we have fans in a place where we from time to time jump in the car and drive for 12hrs to play for. the sound was hot, we were all in sync, and the crowd was phenomenal. that show kicked off about a month of great great band energy for us.
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
Bill: We are very DIY
Matt: Lots of great people have helped us along the way, such as John from North Woods Coffee House in Michigan, Manfred from Taffy's in Ohio, all the awesome people in the Bananna Convention.
Alissa: we have an amazing group of friends and fans who have supported us over the past 3-4 years. too many to list, and it's that kind of support that encourages you to grow and keep creating.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Bill: my guitar and cali blonde amp
Matt: Unlike Bill, I've never been much of an equipment guy. I could easily replace my drums at a moments notice if I had to.
Alissa: my di. because you'd never hear me otherwise.
Why do you read The Deli?
Matt: it's a great source for news on the DC music scene.