Next in the series of looking at artists that stood out for us over the naughties we have the band that took out the 4th and 27th places in the Tomatrax top albums of the naughties. This interview was done just after the Primitive Radio Gods released studio album number three Still electric.
It has been close to a decade now since the Primitive Radio Gods came onto the music scene via the cable guy sound track with their hit Standing outside a broken phone booth with money in my hand. Since then the band have continued to evolve their sound creating some of the most interesting and original music around. The I-Rails’ Chris O’Connor founded the band after this group split up. “Chris, Tim and Jeff were this cool power-trio/pop monster band with great songs and strong shows,” said Luke McAuliffe, lead guitarist of the Primitive Radio Gods. The name Primitive Radio Gods came from a song written by the I-Rails, “when the band broke up, Chris took the song name for the project he was hatching on his 8-track, which later became the album, Rocket,” explained Luke.
Following the success of their debut album, the Primitive Radio Gods recorded the album Meltonon On, however the album was sadly never properly released. “It was a sad cliche of the music business. Our record sat around in some guy’s desk drawer because it didn’t have a ‘phone booth formula’track on it.” The majority of the tracks were released a fair few years later as the album White Hot Peach. “They are the identical tracks… By the time we sat through a merger at Sire Records (who were supposed to release Mellotron-On) the album had changed into White Hot Peach…which, by the way, is a sweet remembrance of a lovely Irish girl (oye, me why-haw- paech!).”
The album also featured a fair amount of samples throughout its duration. “These samples were taken from a variety of sources such as the Ink Coyotes sound-track by Rudy Cox, Nina Simone, and a documentary on the human orgasm. A company is hired to track down rights and a bunch of money is paid until the samples clear.” Luke then went on to note that, “The Rudy Cox samples were donated, fair-play to ye Rudy.”
The Primitive Radio Gods latest album is the amazing Still Electric. “I forget now which one of us came up with the name, but it really fit the album once we found it. I’d take the meaning of “still” to be ‘motionless’.” The album itself works as a continuous long player rather than a collection of individual tracks. “The songs were all written within the same time frame and we spent a lot of time assembling the order of the tracks until it felt more like one continuous piece. Songs evolved and even got turned upside-down in the mix so there was more experimenting and collaboration than composing. We all agreed on what sounded right in the end.
In achieving this style of record the band picked out songs that best fitted the vibes rather than necessarily picking out the best songs. “Those Songs were picked for the album because they belong. It’s not always the “best of” what the band is doing. The record starts to form from a few really strong ideas that seem to be headed a certain way. And that begins to set up a feeling or mood. It gets more obvious from there which new demos fit into the album. Some just don’t.”
A curious companion to the latest record is the special DVD featuring a video clip for each song on the album. “We split them up, and each focused on a key few… the rest are kind of fodder.” There were only 100 copies produced which were only available for a limited time on the band’s website so it may be tricky to find a copy now, however there is talk of the band doing it again when they release their next album. “We may do a few for the next record. We were talking over some ideas for a mini dvd thing.”
The band have recently been working on their next studio album which is expected to be released later this year. “It is finished and the 3 of us are listening to it and settling on an order for the tracks to fit in.” When asked how the album will compare to the past three Luke said that “the new album is heavier, bigger, and more soul-searching.”
Despite now releasing three albums in which they have explored an extraordinary level of diversity and creativity, the band are often known only for their hit ‘Standing outside a broken phone booth with money in my hand’. The band, however, do not see this as a problem. “It’s hard to be annoyed by positive feedback. People connected with that song and kind of made it their own. Pretty nice for us.” When asked how the song ended up with such a long title Luke said to “Blame Bruce Cockburn.”
Check out the Primitive Radio Gods’ website to find out more!