|The ultimate dream - interview with Dani Casler from Soul Radics
'...It's great to have such great support. Trust me, we never had a clue people would like it as much as they do. It helps to keep going when times get hard.'
Hot Shot Wear: Hallo Dani, first of all I'd like to thank you that you agreed to be interviewed. In this connection, that Soul Radics is going to play in December first time in Poland I thought it's great idea to tell people the Soul Radics' story. At the beginning I want to ask you about history of Soul Radics. How it happend that you created ska reggae band?
Dani: Well, I'll try to make a long story short. I'd moved from the Chicagoland area and met Jay Moore (guitar) back in late 2009 and we started writing and putting together a ska band. We didn't really know what we were doing at first, just trying to write some decent songs. We couldn't keep anyone in the band at first... it was really discouraging. We finally got a group of people together (Jamie Danish being the bass player we would stay with) and played some shows around Nashville. After our first show out of town, just about everyone quit on us. So the only thing Jay and I could do is rebuild... We found Nels (Saxophone) and some other people that would again quit on us. We threw out all of our old songs and started working on playing a more classic version of ska/reggae. Rob Hoskins is in an amazing band called a.k.a: Rudie that has now been around for 20 years. He jumped in to help produce and fill in on keys till we found someone else... but LUCKILY was able to make him love us enough to stay. It's about this time we had changed our name to Soul Radics. Our drummer unexpectedly quit on us, so through Rob we were able to get Dave "Drummy" DePriest, who is the best drummer I could ever dream of working with. He also is in a.k.a: Rudie. Then came Shane Callahan wielding a second guitar (ANOTHER from Rob's rocksteady band). We started playing some killer shows and really getting it together. We just recently got Will Carter on trombone, and things are sounding really good. It took us a long time to get a lineup that satisfied us!
Hot Shot Wear: You mentioned of a.k.a Rudie band. I gotta tell you, that I've never heard about them befor. Could You tell something more about a.k.a Rudie. Do they still play?
Dani: Well, not so much. They're doing a 20th anniversary show in October that we're opening for so I'm excited to see them again. They never really traveled out of Nashville much so people don't know about them like they should, but they are flawless... An absolutely fantastic band. Rob sings/plays organ and valve trombone. Definitely worth checking out.
Basically they're the best kept secret in rocksteady!
Hot Shot Wear: It's possible to view their recordings on the Web?
Dani: Sure, but probably mostly through youtube and reverbnation. They got a couple albums that may be hard to get a hold of. I'll pass one on to you when we visit Poland!
Hot Shot Wear: Definitely! But now I think we shall go back to You and Soul Radics. Is this Your first band? Or did you play in other bands before? What is the 'music story' of Dani Radic?
Dani: When I lived up north I played casually in punk bands. I grew up with a lot of talented musicians, and more often than not would get in a practice space and trade off instruments just having fun. I may still have some lo-fi recordings somewhere. It's not very impressive but was a great time with some of my best friends.
Hot Shot Wear: Maybe someday You gonna release album Dani Radic "Rarities"
Dani: Ha! That's funny to think about. Honestly I don't know if anyone would even believe it's me.... I sounded so different.
Hot Shot Wear: As a ska reggae band,Soul Radics consists of seven members: You (main vocal), Jay (guitar), Shane (guitar), Jamie (bass), Nels (saxophone), Will (trombone), Rob (organ) and Dave (drums). I wonder who of You is responsible for the music and lyrics?
Dani: Jay and I write the songs. I don't pick up my guitar for much besides writing anymore, but we'll write on our own time and have sessions (just him and I) to get the lyrics/arrangements exactly where we want them before we introduce it to the band. It's seemed to work for us well.
'The Worst Thing' is my baby, I'm so proud of writing and arranging it start to finish. I really like that song. Jay writes amazing tunes too, he's good with writing the hooks especially. I can be too wordy sometimes.
Most importantly, Soul Radics couldn't be Soul Radics without everyone in the band giving each track it's own flare. The skeleton of a song is brought in and they give it life... I'm so lucky to be working with this caliber of musicians, without which this endeavor would simply not be possible.
Hot Shot Wear: Yes, of course, all You guys do a good job..we can imagine how each of you put a lot of effort into your music.. I know I should ask all of you about your music influences but I don't have possibility, so could You tell me something about your inspiration and musical tastes. I guess it won't be only ska and reggae.
Dani: Oh definitely not. We all have different inspirations... My dad has always been obsessed with music and it's probably why I am too. I listened to The Beatles and other 60's rock when I was very young. Listened to a lot of punk in my early teens. I love a kinds of music... swing, new wave, rockabilly, did I mention SOUL??? Otis Redding is my favorite singer. I could really go on for days. Of course early ska/reggae is what's in my heart, but I I love all kinds of music.
Hot Shot Wear: I think we all can hear it on Soul Radics album called "Down in The Hall". I'm talking about Your way of singing.
Dani: Thanks! That's definitely a compliment. I personally don't feel like there's a lot of females that get mean on the mic and I pride myself on being one of them.
Hot Shot Wear: The music you play attracts many people and that's the reason that You play a lot of concerts in United States. Can You tell us something more about your gigs? Which Was the most memorable? Does your city has a big ska / reggae scene?
Dani: There's big gigs and there's gigs that are big to me. We played a sold out show at The House Of Blues in Boston with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. That was massive! We've played with a lot of amazing bands, but one of the greatest moments for me was doing the encore with The Aggolites in Atlanta. I absolutely LOVE that band and it was such an honor, even if the crowd was smaller and personal. It completely blew my mind.
Nashville has it's ska lovers, but overall it's kind of sad. It's slowly growing, but it's definitely hard playing ska in the Country music capital.
We do better in just about everywhere else we play, and I hope we can change that and make Nashville a place every ska band wants to play.
Hot Shot Wear: I wanted to ask about it in the end, but now when you mention this. Why don't You play country? Sorry I had to ask about it.
Dani: Haha, the nicest way to put it is it's not my style. AT ALL.
Hot Shot Wear: I suppose all of Soul Radics funs are glad that it's not Your style!
Dani: I think so too! It's great to have such great support. Trust me, we never had a clue people would like it as much as they do. It helps to keep going when times get hard.
Hot Shot Wear: Yes, I noticed that Soul Radics have fans around the world. It makes people stronger to know that there is someone who count on You.
I know also that You gonna be first time as a band in Europe. When and where You gonna play? And tell me how much are You excited?
Dani: There's no way I can tell you how excited I am!!! I mean, this is the ultimate dream. It's what I've always worked for and never thought we'd get here. So far we start in Belgium and do some shows through Germany to get to you in Lodz on New Years (I CAN'T WAIT) and back through Germany to Switzerland. Probably 8 or so more dates will be booked. I've never been out of the USA so this is huge for me!
Hot Shot Wear: I'm more than sure It's gonna be perfect time for you and the rest of the band especially this special gig in Łódź.
Dani: We're all counting the days till we're there.... I'm sure it will definitely be one of the highlights of the tour.
Hot Shot Wear: If I'm not mistaken, it'll be first Ska New Years Eve in our city so we are excited as well. Notably that Soul Radics gonna play. It sounds incredible, but it's true!
Dani: Indeed! Can't wait to party with the Hot Shot crew and see your city. Try to make sure it's not too cold when I get there! haha.
Hot Shot Wear: For sure, outside of club will be probably colder than You can imagine but inside it's gonna be Hotter than Hot!
Dani: That's what I'm talking about!
Hot Shot Wear: I have last question or maybe request at the end. Can You suggest me some interesting bands from Nashville and the surrounding area?
Dani: In the way of ska, not so many in this area.... but a couple up and coming bands I can suggest to check out are The Dropsteppers and The Prizefighters (both from Minneapolis). Great people as well. I know there's a lot but I'm too afraid of missing any to start a list!
Hot Shot Wear: Well, for sure we check these bands out.
Dani I'd like to thank You for time you spent with me answering the questions. I wish You and Soul Radics all the best and finally see you in Poland in few months!
Dani: Thank you so much for everything, it's been a pleasure.
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