DiRTY RADiO began as a glorified solo pop project for multi-instrumentalist singer Shadi, who released the album Debut in 2010. As the project evolved, it quickly took the shape of a three-piece live band, including Waspy (drums/keyboards/production) and Tonez (keyboards/mixing). Together, the three members split songwriting duties democratically, resulting in a glittering, futuristic R&B sound that mixes soulful hooks with widescreen synth swells and thudding dance beats.
On the strength of the 2012 full-length Cassette, the trio has garnered airplay on BBC Radio 1 Extra, and shared stages with the likes of Dragonette, Miami Horror, k-os, Lights and more.
Since 2015, DiRTY RADiO have continued to build momentum by releasing a series of stand-alone digital singles as well as a series of collaborations. “Numbers” is a cool club banger that has earned almost 3.5 million plays on Spotify, the addictive “Drop Your Love” is a danceable Young Franco collaboration that has topped a million plays on Spotify, and “Distant Future” is a Sleepy Tom team-up for Diplo’s Mad Decent label.
Read our interview with the trio as we discuss their eclectic producing approach, and creative influences ranging from Michael Jackson to Neon Indian.
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Hi !!!! Today we’re in our Vancouver B.C. studio working on new tracks! We’ll be recording Shadi’s vocals on two collaborations we have in progress. Later we’ll be working on our live show.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
Put RnB into a blender with House and sprinkle some Pop on top.
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
TOO HARD A QUESTION – but some that come to mind are….
N.E.R.D. – In Search Of…
Basement Jaxx – Remedy
Keane – Hope and Fears
Michael Jackson – Dangerous/Thriller (equal tie)
Daft Punk – Discovery
Honorable Mention: D’angelo – Voodoo
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
Niko the Kid
Always good times with these peeps.
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?
We produce in Ableton, so we’re always looking for ways to get “outside” of the box sounding, although we have some plugins we love. Real musicianship always gives a song character. Gear wise, we love keyboards and drums machines. For vocals we use a UA 6176 with Apogee converters.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
Getting people to give a fuck who you are.
Where do you gather song writing inspiration?
Although places, people and experiences can contribute to what you make, Inspiration is overrated. Think about making music like going to the gym. If you do it every day, you build your skill, reflexes and begin to push your creative boundaries.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when put music together?
It depends on what we’re making and the results we want to get. Waspy is always producing all kinds of beats so there’s a good chance one of them may inspire Shadi to start free styling vocal melodies. Tonez will usually add some chords and we’ll throw around ideas for a concept. In other cases Shadi will have melodies on his phone and we’ll build a beat specifically around that, or we may just all jam out and see what happens.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
Our last show in Victoria for Rifflandia Festival was one of our favourites. Great production value and the crowd was soooo hype singing along.
And the worst?
We once played a show in a small town we’d never been to and the promoter didn’t advertise the show. When we arrived the bar staff weren’t aware we were even playing :/ We then performed to an empty room just to get paid.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Assuming we had another life
Tonez: Pro hockey player
Waspy: Videogame Designer.
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
Coachella! (hit us up;)
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, who would it be?
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Lots of amazing collaborations we’re excited to announce, and working on our new record. Come see us live – it’s where we shine 🙂 “We’re always in our studio,” says DiRTY RADiO member Waspy. “We’re here every day, non-stop. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Listen to new single ‘True Love’ out now below (limited free download):
DiRTY RADiO – True Love