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A Magazine for Sheffield
Three brothers from St Joseph, Missouri recently chose Sheffield to record their debut album, Dark Black Makeup. I had a chat with garage rock trio Radkey ahead of their gig at the Leadmill on 29 October about the city, what spawned their sudden change in sound and what it’s like to have your dad as your manager. What made you want to record your album in Sheffield? Ross [Orton, producer for Drenge, Arctic Monkeys, Roots Manuva] came down to San Francisco back in April and we did four tracks, 'Love Spills', 'Le Song', 'Evil Doer' and a song called 'Innocents Tonight'. And after that session, we agreed that we'd head over to his place for the next session. Did the city influence your album? Absolutely. It's the fucking Steel City. I feel like if you make a record in Sheffield it's automatically gonna have some kind of badass manliness to it. We really dug our time there and it was actually the longest amount of time that we'd ever spent in a UK city. How did making your first full-length compare to your two previous EPs? It was definitely a lot more relaxed. We had about two weeks and it went by so fast. We were having so much fun. We didn't even take any days off, because every day pretty much felt like a day off. It was really cool to spend every day working on our music and hearing it come through his killer studio speakers. With our EPs it was definitely a lot more of a rush. Devil Fruit was tracked in two days and we had shows booked in between the Cat & Mouse session, so we never really had the true studio experience until Sheffield and San Francisco. The album definitely shows a more mature sound. Was this a conscious decision? Definitely. We really wanted to show what we were capable of doing with this record. We've been at this for five years now and we have a lot more life experience, which really helped with writing some stories that people could relate to. We were serious about not repeating ourselves. How does having your dad as your manager affect your life as musicians? It makes everything much, much easier. Dad does all of the hard stuff, like paying attention to things, knowing when to cross the street, and making sure that we wake up on time. It's really cool to have him around. What were your favourite things about Sheffield? Going to the Kelham Island Tavern almost every night, ordering tons of pork scratchings and drinking Deception. Also we were staying at The Don Valley Hotel, which had tons of character and super nice people. Nice walk to the studio every day. Good times. We honestly had so many pork scratchings. The people were so friendly. I had a nice conversation with this random dude on the street, and it was really refreshing to feel such a good vibe from someone who didn't know who I was. There was no reason to go out of your way to be pleasant to me, and you did. Really cool. It looks cool, and the pizza at Picture House Social was insanely good. Highly recommended. You probably know that though. If you look at the back of our record, we actually took a picture of the giant drop hammer [in Brightside] and added it to the artwork. We're stoked to have so much Sheffield on our record. Radkey play the Leadmill on 29 October. )

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