|by Ashley Graham|
|"There's no time like the present/so face the facts and skip the legend," belts lead singer Anthony Roman on the track "Transmission" of New York band Radio 4's third album Stealing of a Nation.
And Radio 4 seem to practice what they preach. They have built a reputation around their political and thought-provoking brand of dance music. They sing songs about "alarmists all around you" and "selling souls at cost." And as drummer Greg Collins told The Wig via e-mail in the midst of their tour with The Libertines, the emphasis has always been on the music.
"We're a rock band regardless of what our lyrical content is. The music always comes first... Politics plays as much of a role in our creative process as it does in any other politically minded person's life. The difference for us is that we write songs about it."
Those songs and that blend of politics and pop are what Radio 4 has come to be known for. Part punk, part dance, part pop, Radio 4 has always maintained a sound all their own.
"When we started the band in 1998 no one was really playing this kind of stuff," Collins explained, "It was all pop punk emo stuff and tired indie rock. Our draw to it was kind of a reactionary thing. Maybe boredom drew us to it."
|After the release of their first album, The New Song and Dance, in 2000, the members of Radio 4, currently Roman (bass, lead vocals), Collins (drums), Tommy Williams (guitar, vocals), P.J. O'Connor (percussion) and Gerard Garone (keyboards), immersed themselves in the New York music scene. Their involvement provided ample songwriting material and inspired their next release, an EP entitled Dance to the Underground, with an explosive title track that was just waiting to be released to dance clubs the world over.
Their second full-length, Gotham!, arrived in 2001 and served as their entry into the New York scene, receiving accolades from the city and abroad. New York City was busy producing some of what would become the biggest bands of the next few years, and Radio 4's sound fit securely into that group.
Later signed to Astralwerks in the U.S., at the onset of creating their third album Radio 4 refocused their attention on a nation in crisis. Stealing of a Nation, released in 2004, serves as a fascinating collection of lyrics that grab attention and stun with their honest and integrity.
In fall 2004, Radio 4 joined forces with UK act The Libertines to take the country's smaller venues by storm, hoping to draw in new fans and get their name out to more people.
"It's been fun," Collins said two-thirds of the way through the tour, "The crowds for the most part have been really receptive and we've played some really awesome rooms like the Fillmore, the Henry Fonda Theatre, Neumos and the Metro."
Now done with their opening spot on the tour, Radio 4 plans to announce more dates soon on their website, www.r4ny.com.
As far as Collins is concerned though, Radio 4 has accomplished quite a lot already.
"I feel like I've personally succeeded with this band in a far greater capacity than I ever thought I would with any band," he said. "I make a living at this. I haven't worked a real day job in two years. I've travelled all over the place. I've made three albums with the same band. I've played headlining shows at venues I'd be psyched to be the first opener at. So, from my perspective, everything beyond this is, in a way, gravy."