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Stephen Kent Talks DIY Venues, The Radio Reds’ New EP

Mar 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Feature, Sounds
Stephen Kent

Stephen Kent of Radio Reds poses in front of the Green Bean's origami crane installation

Once again, Keith and I talked with a Greensboro bred musician, Stephen Kent of the Radio Reds, for Avant Greensboro. We met up at The Green Bean (where we learned that an awesome show would be happening – Paint Fumes, The Piedmontsmen, and The Flying Eyes) and talked about Stephen’s band and their recent EP, as well as future plans for the band.

Who all is in your band? What do they play?

There is me, singing and guitar. Then there’s Michael Kent on bass. Patrick Boyd plays lead guitar. Aaron Schimmel plays drums and comedy.

What’s it like to play with your brother? Do you guys get along?

It’s the best thing in the world. I was always intensely jealous of The Fuss because they were always a fun cool band. Michael got me into music. I would have gotten into other things with my life, but weening him out of hardcore and into more alternative punk was a chore. Sharing a stage with him and writing songs with him is probably one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done besides bringing a child in the world. Michael is really talented and makes everything I do feel sub-par. We were kind of a boring band before Michael joined. He brought chaos and confusion into it because he’s a lunatic. It’s a little more fun.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?

We go for alternative punk rock. It usually ends up falling into the 90s college rock thing. That’s not something we went for, but every review and opinion comes out the same way. Superchunk, Jawbreaker, Replacements, REM. We don’t sound like those bands but it does sound like early 90s alternative radio and college stuff. It’s very hectic music. I write structured calm songs and my band amps them up. I write them all acoustic but they give them the electric edge it needs.

How was the split with the Nondenoms? What’s your favorite part about that?

Stephen Kent

Stephen Kent discusses his experiences playing with Radio Reds

We recorded with Chris Hilbert at Legit Biz in February. Their songs are done and our songs are done, mixed and mastered. We’re ready to move onto pressing. We’re expecting it to be out by late May. Working with Chris Hilbert was so much fun. He facilitates every bands’ art. He doesn’t overproduce. Some places will guide you with what they think you should do but he captures your live sound and transfers it into a well mastered piece of music. Without him, we have a tendency to overdo things. Overproduce, overwrite. He brings us back into simplicity, which is where our good stuff lies. Always like working with Chris. That’s the third release we’ve done with him. We recorded with someone else last week and that was weird.

What’s your favorite part about playing in Greensboro?

I think Lee from Casual Curious hit the nail on the head. Playing outside of town is a blast and we enjoy doing that right now. One thing we love is bringing live music to GSO. We like playing CFBG. The most fun thing about playing in Greensboro is that you always see the same faces. I like that. Greensboro has a unique community where you see the same faces. It has a small town feel for the music community. It’s fun to bring music to the different venues. The unfortunate thing is that the DIY venues close so quickly. CFBG has revived themselves as the record co-op and I’m so happy they did that. Legit Biz was an unfortunate loss. That was my favorite venue in town and it’s a real shame that they got shut down.

Favorite venue in Greensboro?

CFBG is my favorite as of now. New York Pizza is really cool too. Both are run by Max in terms of music. He’s a real credit to the Greensboro music community. It helps it keep moving. He’s done a lot for Greensboro’s music. You take all the joy from CFBG which is the art and the beer and you add pizza. So overall it’s awesome. And there’s a little bit more room at New York Pizza.

Favorite Greensboro bands?

My favorite Greensboro band is Justin Beaver. Nova and BraveYoung. I haven’t played with them but they’re incredible. We’d been looking forward to playing with the Nondenoms because I grew up in high school watching them play. Doing a split with them is kind of a dream for me.

Why do you think touring bands should come to Greensboro?

Because it’s pretty. Because there’s choices of where to go. It’s hard to get people out to shows and it takes a lot of muscle to get a good turnout and you have to get the right local band. That’s kind of the worst problem because you have to get a good local band to fill the venue. It’s hard to get people to come out. The best show that’s come through in a while was the Queers show. Glenwood is not the most accommodating venue because they charge you to play there. They were able to fill that place up so hardcore. I’ve never seen a Greensboro show just ruckus like that. That’s the best one I’ve seen in a long time. We need more enthusiasm. The thing about Greensboro is that when there’s a weird show these people crawl out of the gutters and just appear. You wonder where they’ve been.

What are your future plans?

We did just record a new EP and we’ve signed to Baby Moon records in Columbia, SC. We’re excited about that. It’s run by this guy named Travis Bland of Sons of Young, a cool garage punk band. Their label had us down to do two days of free recording and we finished a new four song EP. That’s going to be out in the next 2 weeks. The EP is called Let It Show.

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