Spotlight // Radiation City
Start saving up your very best daydreams because we’ve found the soundtrack for them. Portland quintet Radiation City hits the sweet spot: an ethereal balance of vintage synth, stunning vocals, and retro-futurism that feels curiously nostalgic and alien. The band's poppy yet poignant sound glazes the air with a cool intrigue that's impossible to miss.
You have an intense tour schedule. What's it like to be on the road with such a large group?
We're three weeks in and it's been sort of hard. We’ve toured many times before, unscathed. This time we’re headlining the tour and there are markets that we haven’t played before which can be a challenge. Every day is unpredictable with the extreme heat and precarious sleeping situations.
Do you have any crazy road stories?
We got a flat tire while driving at night through the desert in New Mexico. On this particular stretch of the highway, trucks are going 80 mph so it’s best to get out of the car in case of a collision. We stepped out of the car directly into rattlesnakes less than two feet from us so we jumped back in. A local tow truck driver who reminded me of Yosemite Sam came to the rescue. These situations can cause tension, but instead we joked around and smoked cigs in the van until we were up and running.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Keeping cool in every way. Our air conditioning was broken and when we got to San Diego it was hot. We drove from San Diego to Tempe in 103 degree weather--by far the hottest I’ve ever been. It’s been quite a test of our tempers and patience!
What are you looking forward to most this year?
I look forward to focusing our efforts on the next album, taking our time with it, and hopefully enticing more people with our music. I really think we have something special and we've worked hard to get to this point.
Tell us about the release of your latest album.
Animals in the Median was released a few weeks ago through our label Tender Loving Empire. A lot of work went into the preparation of this release and a lot of good people were involved. It feels great to finally have it out in the world. It was technically finished in December of this past year, so for us it's time to start finishing the next one.
Radiation City has received accolades from TIME Magazine, NPR, and Nylon Magazine, and they’re not cooling down anytime soon.
Go. Grab your crush and catch them on tour.
photographs by carlos quinteros jr. words by christi thompson