Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Philadelphia’s Booze Radly. Together we discussed their band name, what bums them out, basketball, their upcoming album “Lose, Badly”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have Booze Radly join them at Music Shelf. How is everyone?
We’re doing well, pretty excited about our upcoming release “Lose, Badly” set to come out Friday March 10th. The tapes that Lonely Ghost Records have made look super cool and we’ll have them available online and in-person at our show, some shows we have lined up, and for Spring to really kick into gear so we can get outdoors and bike and skate more.
2. Mustard wonders if Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” inspired your band name?
So having formed in 2013, the band names that are puns or portmanteaus were in full swing at that time. When we were kicking around goofy name ideas, Tequila Mockingbird came up as an option, but there were other examples of that having been used already. So to stay somewhat on theme, our drummer Pete suggested Booze Radly and it just kinda stuck. We misspelled the last name of the character for the reference initially and then retconned the lore of our band by telling people, no it’s an adverb. It’s like advice, we want you to booze…radly.
3. Humans love origin stories. Can you share when Booze Radly officially became a band?
We all grew up around the same area, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. We’d all played together in various combinations growing up in the same scene. Alex and Dylan (guitarist/vocals and keyboard/vocals respectively) were in a band together in high school called The Manhattan project, a pretty similar almost spiritual predecessor to Booze Radly. Vince (guitarist) and Alex actually bought their first guitars at the same time and learned how to play together over the years. Our drummer Pete went to the same school as Alex and started to jam with Alex in the early 2010s. Alex was at Temple and studying abroad in England and wrote a lot of our early material at that time. When he worked to flesh out the full-band arrangements of songs on our Whitechapel Nights EP and Haunted Mind full length, he asked Vince, Dylan and Pete to join the band to record the songs and then the lineup stuck. Dylan was living in Pittsburgh at that time, so because the distance made it difficult to go to practices and shows, Youssef (bassist) ended up joining on bass. Then, Dylan slid over to keyboard and when they moved back to Eastern PA, could more consistently go to practices and shows, the five-person lineup was really solidified in 2018 or so. It’s been the same since.
4. Booze Radly makes bummer-rock. What are some things that bum Booze Radly out?
What doesn’t bum Booze Radly out? Our own flaws, the knowledge of our own mortality, the many societal ills they feel powerless to remedy, the process of growing old. You know, normal things.
5. What is Booze Radly’s creative process?
When lockdown happened and there weren’t really any shows happening, our guitarists Vince and Alex lived together. They each have had jobs in audio and video production so have a decent amount of recording equipment. We would get together on the weekends and just record riffs to a click and then kind of take turns in a hot seat fashion of layering things on top of riff or progression ideas we had individually. We just knew we were all feeling pent up and disconnected from the world at that time and wanted to come out of lockdown with some fast, energizing tracks. So for this EP we really just picked 6 songs that we felt took a variety of sounds we experimented with and tried to just give a fun burst of high BPM energy the whole way through while playing with a range of different genres.
6. Who (or what) influences Booze Radly?
We all kind of grew up enjoying skate punk and fast pop-punk, and while our musical interests have definitely expanded from there, it’s kind of the middle slice of the venn diagram for all of our musical interests still. So bands like Jawbreaker and Anti-flag serve as influence and then we try to mix in some more post-rock elements as our guitarist Vince really likes Caspian. Dylan and Vince both enjoy a lot of post-hardcore like At-the-Drive-In so Admission of Infirmity (track 5 on the EP) kind of shows that side of the band that we are really only beginning to explore, and there may be some more tracks in that vein from us in the future. For some of the softer more indie rock side, we all like Death Cab for Cutie so we have a range of influences that allow us to cater a set towards a couple different styles which is always nice to be able to tailor our sound depending on what the bill is for any given show.
7. Mustard wonders if Booze Radly is if the playground was were you spent most of your days, Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool and all shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in your neighborhood?
Pete and Dylan both played basketball growing up, so there was some shootin’ of b-ball happening for sure. Pete and Alex still skateboard together pretty often, and when it gets warm out again, I’m sure we’ll get together to play some more basketball together.
8. A human gets the opportunity to visit Philadelphia. Where do you recommend they visit? Does Booze Radly have a favorite spot?
Depends what you’re into, there are always a bunch of great shows to catch at pretty much any size venue, from houses like Lucky Aide, Luigi’s Mansion, and Haus of Yarga to more mid-size venues like Underground Arts. And then of course the city has the touristy historic sites that you could always show people. There are some great museums in the city, Fairmount and Wissahickon park are nice. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, there are some great restaurants like Vedge or All the Way Live Cafe. Plus Philly is known for its sports teams, go birds as they say.
9. In 2014 Booze Radly released “Whitechapel Nights.” Could you share more about what it was like to put this EP together? Can Whitechapel be found in Philadelphia?
Whitechapel is an area in London. When Alex was studying abroad, he wrote a majority of the EP. It was recorded really quickly when he was home from school. The melodies and progressions were mostly written, so the band just had to fill out the songs on drums, second guitar, and bass/backing vox and recorded between Summer and Winter of 2013. Pete made some tapes of it himself and we played some shows off that EP for a while before we started working on Haunted mind, our full-length.
10. What haunts the mind of the members of Booze Radly?
Stupid mistakes we made years ago, bills, maybe some actual ghosts. I’m writing these responses as only of the members so I don’t want to speak for the other 4.
11. How does Booze Radly define “White Guy Emo?” What was the inspiration behind this song?
Alex wanted to write a simple poppy song that took aim at how a lot of emo is just white guys complaining about failed relationships while also doing exactly that. And so, we wrote a really simple four chord progression and added some riffage over that with just a fast pop-punk beat about how it’s cliche and played out for emo music to just be about exes and looking back on mistakes without really taking what led to those mistakes to heart or really working on yourself to be a better person. There was some internal division in the band about the lyrics and title of the song, but we think it gets the point across. We were stoked to have our friend Gabby Relos of Afloat and Tether (also runs Head Above Water Collective) do guest vocals for this song as well, we think it came out pretty great.
12. What can fans expect from your upcoming EP “Lose, Badly?”
The ep is six tracks that has us explore a good amount of different sounds throughout it. Opens with a pop-punk track, then goes to surk rock/garage rock with Hydro-illogical. Crash and Burn has some heavier elements to it with the backing screams and the prog-rock-inspired outro. Unlearning Sadness is a more stripped down/cleaner sound as it has an acoustic guitar lead throughout and piano as well as keyboard layered into it. Admission of Infirmity is a skramzy one, and then the ender Quick Ass Test (or Nothing to Lose? We’re still debating on track 6’s final name) is a straightforward punk song that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on like a Rock Against Bush compilation.
13. A human gets the chance to see Booze Radly perform. How would you describe your live performance?
It can get pretty cacophonous, we speed up our already fast songs and can get really get the effects pedals screaming at you. We generally harshen up the vocals and try to play a good 25-30 minute set to not overstay our welcome.
14. Where can readers listen to your music?
We’re on all the usual online places: Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Youtube, you name it! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, etc too!