Brandon Jordon – singer, guitar
Dirty – bass
Jasten King – guitar
Duke – drums
For some curious reason, big-label bosses are rolling the dice every chance they get on a formula that, in all honesty, ran its course a long time ago. Stop me if you’ve heard it before – four young punks from southern California sign on to bring their high-energy and “unique blend” of punk rock to anyone who will listen. In exchange, the label will light a match under the group and see if it catches fire. Problem is, sometimes it will, and occasionally the end result is severe burns.
Yet, in the midst of the pop-punk flood, something even more curious is happening—the labels are actually signing talent. And they seem to be doing it with zero regard for the fact that said talent will never crack the MTV code and, hence, the multi-platinum bar. How did they ever get such moves passed the finance guys?
In the spirit of veterans like Rancid and fellow newcomers Against Me!, KillRadio is out to prove that fresh faces don’t always mean bad suburban punk. In fact, with its Columbia Records debut Raised on Whipped Cream set to hit stores in the coming weeks, KillRadio might even rewrite what we’ve come to expect from the modern SoCal punk scene.
In a word (okay, three), KillRadio is ugly, angry and political, just like punk is supposed to be. Yet, the group also possesses the one intangible thing that all promising acts require – a vibe that is all its own. It’s a street-level, lo-fi grind that’s accessible yet far from acceptable, thanks in part to Brandon Jordan’s coarse vocal work and anti-establishment lyrics.
With its stint on this summer’s Warped Tour now just a memory, KillRadio is wasting no time and is continuing to pound the road in hopes of catching that elusive fire. In advance of its August 30th show at the Bluebird Theatre, Jordan spoke with Kaffeine Buzz about the new album, the upcoming presidential elections and the message in KillRadio’s music.
Kaffeine Buzz: You guys have been fairly active politically, especially considering it’s an election year. And maybe it’s not the whole story, but a good portion of what KillRadio is about is bringing the message back to the music. Talk about what you guys are seeing this year on the political front.
Brandon Jordan: I wish we could be more active, honestly. But we’re still tourists to the way things are done. I kind of feel like I’m sitting on the outside trying to look into it and figure out more about it. I don’t think where we’re at right now as musicians is in a place where we can really create action. I mean, that’s obviously why we create music—so people can hear it, and then we can start to move people in many directions. And it’s not just about defeating the president. It’s bigger than all of that. In January, we’ll either have a new president or we won’t, but the same questions will come up. So I just want us to not be short-sighted.
KB: Your debut album Raised on Whipped Cream comes out on September 7th. It’s a clever title that seems to mimic your message. How do you view the general theme of this album?
BJ: It’s about going through the process of finding out that the opposite is true in many cases and the emptiness that comes along with that. But it just takes self-education to come to your own conclusions and not make too many assumptions.
KB: From a political point of view, it’s fairly easy to become jaded. Do you view KillRadio as your vehicle for moving beyond being jaded and actually doing something?
BJ: Yeah, on a personal level, it makes us more comfortable with the world, because we’re able to express ourselves. And that’s something I can’t put a value on.
KB: Are there specific issues, either political or music industry-based, that get you more riled or interested than others?
BJ: Well, there are certain issues that I think can be won, and I think that’s important. Take the redefining of marriage. I think that’s a really interesting debate and a really interesting push that our president has put forward to our nation. I’m not necessarily upset at him for doing that. I would just like to see people come to their own conclusions of what they think marriage is, and do it for their own reasons and not because somebody is calling everybody out to think his way. We should all be encouraged to think, but let’s all think for ourselves.
KB: Some would say that there’s a culture of fear in America and that our nation has become one that is run by fear. That goes back to some regimes in Europe that I know we don’t want to mimic.
BJ: Yeah, exactly. And if you go back to the title of our album Raised on Whipped Cream, a good example of this is TV. We think it’s a form of information and that if we stayed tuned and we look for what’s coming up next, then we’re going to be informed about what’s going on the world. And we’re given a pat on the back for doing it. Not only are you watching something, but then they pat you on the back and tell you ‘It’s really great that you are watching it.’ So we think it’s a form of information, but really it’s a form of distraction. Even the war itself, where we’re going to be distracted by what’s going on within the borders of Iraq, as opposed to focusing on what’s going on back home, whether it be something to do with city council or local school boards. There’s a lot of important things we can do within our own country, but we’re so distracted by this global threat, this global fear.
KB: If you had one message you would hope to communicate through your music, how would you summarize it?
BJ: “Welcome to the 21st century.” It’s a departure from the past. And that’s why KillRadio, in its name, is deconstructive. In turn, though, it’s like an ushering in of the 21st century. So let’s start it up and get the engines going. We need to recreate ourselves.