Radio Free Universe – Emerging Artist Spotlight

Radio Free Universe

Radio Free Universe

December 28 2105 – Very few things are as exciting as finding something new you love. Much like archaeologists that dig to find hidden treasures, we here at T-Mak World really enjoy trying to find new bands that we love. Once we find such bands, we approach our favorites to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series where we have featured over 100 artists so far. Today we set our focus on a band from Hamilton named Radio Free Universe. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on their website reads:

The lonely intersection between Highways 61 and 49 is a long way from home. Somehow, the lonesome sounds from those barren crossroads have been channeled into the minds of these four souls from the Hammer. Radio Free Universe is constantly seeking new ways to ensure their sound is relevant today. They have forged together a unity in their hometown of Hamilton Ontario.

 Here is what they had to say to us:

Hey Radio Free Universe, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?

Radio Free Universe:

George Panagopoulos-Vocals

Marcus Starr- Guitar

Ryan Davie-Bass

Ashton Norman-Drums

How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?

Radio Free Universe: Me (George), Marcus and Ryan met at the Corktown Tavern in Hamilton, at a weekly Residency I used to host. I was in King Clancy they were in Bombshell. They played opposite instruments and Ryan sang.  It was raw heavy energy I really liked them and what they did to the stage.  Down the road I jammed with Marcus and we wrote to many songs to quote easily.  So we decided to make a go at RFU.  After a version without the Rhythm section the fantastic reunion occurred.   We got Ryan to Join the band on bass!!  As for the drums well, Ryan, Ashton and Marcus all went to Mohawk College together so that part was easy.  The rest was real magic. When we all started playing we all contributed and wrote songs so it was just an easy fit all the way around.  It was easy to write and arrange songs as a unit.  I happen to have an amazing recording facility at my disposal so developing the sound was a process that we heard back first hand.

Who are some of your musical influences? 

Radio Free Universe: Black Sabbath, The Stones, Jack White, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Beatles, QUOTSA, so many amazing influences. But you get the picture.

So based on the above how would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it? 

Radio Free Universe: Jack White gets hungry and calls up Slash, they go to a chicken and waffle house to eat and jam with Chris Cornell, Paul McCartney and John Bonham. In other words, good music, lots of influences!

Why do you believe that a music fan should come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them on any given night?

Radio Free Universe: We do this out of love and it really shows in the way we perform. We put everything we’ve got into each song, each show. I think it’s clear to the onlooker that we love what we do and we love playing it together. It’s contagious like a good laugh or a feeling of love and compassion. There is no doubt in us about what were doing up there. Every note is a testament to that internal experience we are each having.

What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why? 

Radio Free Universe: “He gave me 6 bottles of beer, 6 glasses of wine, 6 shots of tequila and said now your soul is mine.” From our song ‘Six’.

Radio Free Universe

Radio Free Universe

What does 2016 hold for you ideally as musicians?

Radio Free Universe: Release our new record “Casa Del Diablo” which we recorded with Glen Robinson and promote and support it properly.

Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.  

Radio Free Universe: Black Sabbath. Imagine hanging out with Ozzy? lol

What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?

Radio Free Universe: Fans are awake again. They are buying records again; they are coming to shows and becoming fans of new bands. The key is to get the good music out to the right listeners through the unbelievable list of music that people make in their basement.  In the old days albums took a lot of time and money to create and the reflection of that is still alive today. Those old releases are still outselling new ones. It’s not because of the old fans either. Its kids. They love the stuff. The market just has no way to produce that kind of record these days. We plan on doing just that. Making a great recording that supports the love we put into our shows. I also have noticed a serious resurgence in good rock music lately. So, we’ll have to see what the future holds for new bands. I think the next two years will be amazing for new bands getting their music heard!

Where can people purchase or listen to your music?

Radio Free Universe:

Radio Free Universe

Radio Free Universe

At the end of 2014 we published our picks for top 10 albums of 2014 and are currently finishing up our top 10 albums of 2015. Lists like those are always a reflection of personal tastes but what albums would you have on your top 10 of 2015?

Radio Free Universe: Hmm!  This was a silly year.  Here goes:

Sonic highways Foo Fighters actually late 2014 but hey!

Alabama Shakes

Jekyll and Hyde Zac Brown (heavy is the head with Chris Cornell)

Keith Richards new album Crosseyed Heart was surprising.

I think the rest would take us way too long to figure out Royal Blood had little monster again from 2014 but just breaking big this year.  It takes a while for the newer good music to get out.

Any closing remarks for our readers?

Radio Free Universe: Well thanks for seeing us live and taking the time to get all this down. I would like to close out with a bit of elaboration on your last topic.  Why it was so hard to pic a top 10 of 2015. Music is at a critical point.  The industry is so stuck on what looks good and what they think people will buy for sure that they are hard pressed to take a real risk at something they just might love. What they all seem to forget is that they are people like the rest of us. They listen to stuff because they like it. In the end that’s what makes something really tangible. The industry needs to promote art because they love it, not because they think its might sell.  It’s not a car. It’s an emotion. Emotions are far more contagious than cold hard facts.  The early giants knew this.

Thanks so much to Radio Free Universe. We hope that you can see them live. They are playing Friday Feb. 12 at the Hideout 484 Queen St W – a show we highly recommend.

The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime check out their video below from YouTube.

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