Dutch masters of space rock Radar Men From The Moon have just released their new album, Subversive I, in which they infuse their sound with glorious swathes of dance music. In September they wowed the Liverpool Psych Fest. In short, they are flying high…
Colourhorizon was lucky to catch up with RMFTM to pose them a few questions. Here is what we learnt…
So, tell us abut the new album!
(Glenn) Subversive 1 is the first installment of a triptych of albums. With these releases we try to explore the boundaries within our own RMFTM context in all it’s abstract generality. We named it Subversive because we intend to subvert an established order, the RMFTM order, the RMFTM context. Questioning ourselves as a group is a part of our practice. This first one is played and recorded by the RMFTM core members, but to open up our process we’d like to invite different musicians and artists to contribute to the second and third part of the Subversive triptych, and even to our live-sets. It keeps us fresh. We are very interested and focused on ideas of rhythm, repetition and minimalism. You will hear it on this first part of Subversive and it will evolve in the two parts to come.
Are you fans of 1950s sci-fi B movies or is Radar Men From The Moon just a name? Also, will you start using the vocal samples again?
(Glenn) We’re not specifically fans of sci-fi B Movies per se. We just took the name out of a big list that sounded kinda absurd. Nowadays we like to pronounce the band as RMFTM. Because we think the group/music is more of an entity on its own. We want to refer and relate to ourselves, not to something outside. That’s also why we don’t use samples from movies anymore. Sure you get influenced by the things you see or hear but we try to keep some autonomous space within the band.
How have RMFTM progressed?
(Glenn) In the beginning especially our first releases were more riff-based. But we started to experiment more with sounds and ideas, and now with our recent album Subversive 1 we have a more minimalist approach and definitely more of a noisy/industrial sound.
With so much psych around nowadays, how difficult is it to stand out?
(Glenn) We really don’t think too much about that, we rather focus on our own music or visual aesthetic. We have a DIY-mindset since the beginning of the band, so we always work on our own network. that’s something to us that makes it more personal and sincere.
All your albums are available for free – can you tell us about the reasons behind this and how it affects running the band…
(Tony) Quite frankly, most music is available for free on the internet. Personally I listen to a lot of music on youtube or spotify for instance. Bandcamp specifically is just a great way for us to have a channel that supports free donations really, and we see many people actually paying for our albums via the pay what you want system. You see, it’s all about the perceptional value of music, which can be different per individual. This doesn’t affect us running the band as a company, because we never had the illusion of actually making a living off this. The internet is a great way to get our music out there, and if people like it they will buy it somehow anyway, be it digital or physical.
How do you maintain an album a year release rate?
(Tony) We’d like to do more per year actually, being all prolific and that. We just love to produce new music, that’s our thing. I mean theoretically we could start all kinds of different side projects to cover that up, which would be kind off silly I guess. Anyway, once we’ve released something we get bored with it quite fast. We usually start working on new stuff right after something is released, or even before that. Subversive II is already finished in our minds!
For those interested in the technical side of things; what guitars and pedals do you use?
(Glenn) I use some different Fenders in the studio. Live mostly a Fender Jazzmaster or a Mustang and lot’s of different pedals. I have more of an interest in sounds then playing the guitar very technical. My guitar playing is very much influenced by bands like: Sonic Youth, (early) Swans, Glenn Branca, Killing Joke, Cocteau twins and Throbbing Gristle
Did you enjoy the Liverpool Psych Fest?
(Tony) Yes! We’ve never been there before and we had a blast. Enjoyed some great bands and had a great time hanging out with old and new friends.
Which bands would you recommend to people?
(Tony) Oh man I don’t know, there are a lot of great bands out there. Depends on the mood I guess. Right now I’m listening to ‘Bitchin Bajas’, tomorrow I could be listening to ‘Wolf Eyes’.
A friend of mine caught your set with The Cosmic Dead in Eindhoven. She claimed it was mind-blowing! How did that come about?
(Tony) Well we help curate Eindhoven psych lab every year, and last year we were asked to do something special at the festival. So we invited our friends from The Cosmic Dead over to our studio for a couple of days and worked on a collaborative set; hit,quit,rave,repeat. We ended up creating one ‘song’ of about 40 mins that followed the context of the title, it was a really great time and we had so much fun creating and performing it with TCD. We might just do something like this again in the future 😉
So… what next?
Well, as I said, work has begun on part two of Subversive. I’m going to finish my coffee and head over to RMFTM headquarters with Glenn. We’ll be over in the UK again in a few weeks for two shows. Nov 12th with CAMERA at the Golden Lion in Todmorden and Nov 14th at Fuzz Club festival at London fields brewery.
Listen – and buy! – all 4 RMFTM albums right here…