Catch up with lead singer, Frankie Divis, of Los Angeles hard rock band, Radionaut, and look for their debut self-titled LP to be released this April.
What brought Radionaut together?
Frankie: We kind of unofficially met in 2009. I had just moved out to LA and we all migrated out here for the same reason. Diego and Aaron and Anthony had been playing together underneath a different name but they were just a three piece at the time and it just so happened, through social media - nothing too exciting, I guess [laughs] - but through social media and musician networking, we met up with each other and just hit it off right away. And although we come from vastly different backgrounds, we all have the same mindset, and the combination of all of it comes together in the music.
Where does your name, Radionaut, come from?
It took a while. You don't think your name would be the hard part; the music came a lot easier than the name [laughs]. We were struggling for a little while and we played under another name actually and this finally came to us. Having all grown up with the radio as such a primary influence, we were wrestling around with 'radio' and Diego actually, I got to give him a little credit, he brought the other side of it, the 'naut', which means 'to sail'; so the literal meaning is to sail on radio waves, which we thought was cool. It's pretty literal to the ambition of the band to get on the radio, right? So, yeah, travelor of the radio kind of fit.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
As a group it's more diverse. Aaron and Anthony come from a little more of a metal background, Slayer, Metallica, Tool - not that Tool's necessarily metal, but I know they pull from there - and Diego and myself have more of that blues rock background; I can pull from anything from Roy Orbison to probably Pink Floyd who was and is my favorite personal influence. But, all the big ones; The Stones for sure, I know that's a big one for Diego. The Doors, especially moving out here to LA I felt like you had to immerse yourself a little bit in The Doors and learn about the Sunset Strip in the late '60s, early '70s and what a cool time that was out here.
Who's in your playlist now?
Black Keys. Alabama Shakes, getting into them, a few tracks here and there. A little bit of everything. I like to have a diverse set of artists I listen to. There's a lot of old school stuff still streaming through there though.
How would you describe your sound, as a whole?
Hard rock. But there's a groove and almost a familiarity to it. It's a combination, having that edge of the metal sound from (drummer) Aaron and (bassist) Anthony, and Diego bringing a lot of blues and emotion with his riffs. One of the things that drives me with music is the changes from one riff to the next and how it can just capture you. I'm starting to hear, especially in the live scene out here, a lot of bands coming back around with more of that sound, which is encouraging.
What was the inspiration behind your latest single "The Dark Side"?
We were jamming on this real heavy, driving beat and it had a little bit of that darkness to it. It was definitely a heavy groove, and at the time I happened to be reading Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde and, thematically, it just kind of fit together. It pulls from the literature, but in a lot of ways through the struggles we face, be it failure, addiction, loss, or whatever it may be, we relate to it on a personal level as well.
Could you sum up your upcoming album, Radionaut?
This is really the essence of Radionaut as a band, as four individuals coming together. It's the culmination of our first four years out here in LA, finding our way, sometimes scraping along, making wrong turns but, ultimately, refining and creating the Radionaut sound. It's a good collection of those first formative years together where, you know, we've found our way and our sweet spot as we've kind of made our own path out here. Hopefully that makes sense [laughs]. We're excited about it.
Is there a track from the album you're most excited for your fans to hear?
Oh, boy. If you asked each of us we'd probably have a different answer [laughs]. I think "Be Mine" is a track that I feel really shows the dynamics of this band and it's gotta groove to it, it's got the transitions, the heavy side, but it's but it's also got a beat that gets people moving. We've played it live a few times and it's quickly becoming a fan favorite. Both lyrically and musically - it just kind of pulls on you and creates movement. A fun one to play live for sure.
What do you hope your listeners and fans can take away from your music?
We hope people have fun with it. We play the music that we feel and we have a blast doing it, so we just want to bring that hard rock, let loose, and that atmosphere where you get caught up in the moment and get people back out to live shows, I think that's something. A few years ago, when we first started, it was a bit discouraging and we've had some rough times along the way, but LA's always been known as a rock and roll city and we're trying to inject some of that back into the community and we're starting to see it out there, people are coming out. Just come out, have fun, rock out with us and there are plenty of other bands, like I said, that are starting to pop up here, that's encouraging to see.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Come check us out. We've got some exciting stuff coming up; some shows this Summer on Sunset Strip and our website is the best place to go to get all those updates. We encourage people to get out there and get in their local scenes, because there's nothing else like it. Being in a local band and living independent music can be a rough road, so get out there and support your local artists.