For his one-man rock project, Radley Lane – which is an awesome name itself – is known as Dirty Hollywood. Lane indeed lives in Wyoming Hollywood so that’s fitting. Debut EP Killed to Death came out yesterday, and is available on iTunes among elsewhere. It brings to mind artists like Foo Fighters and Danko Jones, and Lane chatted with TPS about that and more.
You started as a drummer for artists like J*Davey and Ryan Leslie. When was the moment that you said “I gotta become my own artist”?
I’ve been a drummer since I was about 11 years old and I played in every school band available and started bands with every friend that had an instrument… orchestras, jazz bands, garage bands.. then I got a bachelor’s degree in percussion and played in every performing group available… more orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, salsa bands, steel drum bands, Brazilian baterias, West African dance troops, weird found object experimental music bands, reggae bands, college rock bands.. and then professionally for major label artists.
A lot of great music happened during this time… but it was never balls out rock and roll and I had a hole in my heart that needed to be filled with distorted guitars and bashing drums. When someone would direct me to play quieter or with less energy…. I’d do what they asked.. but think to myself “that seems like a mistake”… and “that’s not how I would do it”… and that was fine for their music.. but I just wanted to rock… and no one was letting me rock up to my potential. At the same time I had already been deep into record producing. In college I had bought a laptop and Pro Tools and watched YouTube videos to learn how to produce and record. I constantly needed material to record so I started singing and songwriting as well as playing guitar and bass… piano was already a school requirement so I had a little of that too… I wrote songs so I would have stuff to record.. and as I got better at all of it I realized that I had songs and records that were actually pretty good. I don’t know that there was a specific moment where I thought “I have to become my own artist” as opposed to “oh. I guess I am my own artist”. After that happened I wanted to put all my focus and energy into pursuing it.
You recorded most instruments yourself for Killed to Death, but did enlist several guests including Michael Vincze of Mowgli’s fame. Why did you pick who you did?
Well that was easy I just asked my friends! HUGE THANKS to Michael Vincze, Andy Tubman, John Armstrong, Terah Gilbertson and Marc Aliana for putting their talents on these recordings. And another HUGE THANKS to Christian James-Hand who co-produced “Killed to Death” with me and mixed everything. All these friends are who I’ve played with live and they had come up with some really cool musical bits that I felt absolutely had to be included on the record. For example, nobody needs or wants to hear me butcher a guitar solo right now.. maybe next year.. but for now I’ll call a friend.
Press for the EP has described Dirty Hollywood’s sound as “radio rock”. Some people use that term negatively, but what makes you embrace it?
Well I’m a sucker for big hooks and catchy tunes… and all of my favorite bands are played on the radio. If Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Royal Blood, Kings of Leon, Twenty One Pilots are “radio rock” bands then I want to be in that club… I don’t think that being “radio friendly” means the art has to suffer or its substance has to be watered down. It just means that a lot of people like it or will like it. If a band only wants a select few snobby music hipsters to like their music, that’s fine… I just have bigger goals, and a wider audience to entertain. I feel strongly that all the songs on “Killed to Death” are “single” worthy and ready for any alt-rock or college radio station. That’s why “Killed to Death” is only 4 songs.. I wanted them all to be able to hold their own on my first release. I wanted to come out swinging… I don’t have a huge immediate fan base or audience so I need to win people over and the only way I know how to do that is to make the best music I can at the moment.
I’d say “My Name Is Love” is my favourite song on Killed to Death, it has so much swagger and is a fun listen. What made you choose “Stay Up All Night” as the first single? (Which is a good song in its own right.)
Thank you so much! Yes I encourage everyone reading this to go listen to “My Name Is Love” right away! Don’t even bother with the rest of this interview.. just go listen to it! (Ed. note: Do both at the same time!) When I first started playing these recordings for friends and mentors they were equally divided between those two songs as the first single… one reason I chose “My Name Is Love” as the second single is because if someone likes “Stay Up All Night” then they’re gonna like “My Name Is Love” as a follow-up… if someone likes “My Name Is Love” they might like “Stay Up All Night” as much but half the people will say “I like that first song better”. They’re different styles from each other.. and I’d say they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum of Dirty Hollywood’s “sound”… it’s like.. Dirty Hollywood’s “sound” fits between those two songs. I hope everyone likes both.
Any touring planned in support of Killed to Death? What else is planned in Dirty Hollywood’s world for 2016?
More music all the time! We’re playing shows in Los Angeles and then some West Coast touring this summer. Hoping to add a lot more shows and get to the East Coast and even break into Canada?! People of Canada!!! Where should we play in your beautiful country???!!! Realistically that may not be until the fall… and I may have to sleep on your couch.. I’m also recording the second EP that should be released later this year. I wanted to get this first one out into the world so that there was music to point people to and then follow it up with another short but solid second EP.
Dirty Hollywood online: