The Independent Weekley interview with Wes Edens from Radioset

IW: So how did you come up with the name "Radioset"?

Wes: Well I went through a number of names before that, but I was never completely satisfied with them because the music kept outgrowing the name. Like the early stuff was very experimental, and then it developed into this sloppy garage punk thing, and then it slowly started to open up and branch out more. So then the punk sounding names didn't fit anymore. So I wanted something that would allow for any changes in the direction of the music. I was suprised it hadn't been taken yet.

IW: What were some of the other names you had?

Wes: Back in 2001 or so I think, I had given these little homemade sound experiments out to some friends under the name Amazing! Larry, and that name carried over to the original band in 2003. There was like a period of about a week or so where we were called ourselves Pink Rattle, and gave out some really bad recordings to people with that title on it. And when we started playing shows we were calling ourselves Polymer Bloom or Spayed Yuppie. I donít think anyone really knew what we were called for a long time.

IW: How would you describe your sound?

Wes: I'd say it's from lack of ability. I never really learned how to play any instruments, so everything I know is self-taught. I just fumble through things until I hear something that sounds good to me, and then try to remember how I did it. I don't consider myself a musician.

IW: We were talking earlier about punk music in general, which i want to come back to a bit, and you had mentioned a few bands you liked. What are some of your other influences?

Wes: I like a lot of types of music. The older the better I think.

IW: For example?

Wes:Well, I love early jazz from around the 1920ís and 30's, and old blues and things. And I like early rock and roll from the 50ís and 60's like Fats Domino. And while I usually cite punk and new wave from the late 70ís to the late 80ís as probably my biggest influnece, I think music really gets worse from generation to generation. It's gotten less about the force behind the music and more about people stroking their own ego, or trying to strike it rich without having to work. And nowadays almost everything I hear is either some super-ego crap, or sounds like it was written by some over-hormoned twelve year old. While I love rock music, I think it's also contributed to the decline of music and why the music industry sucks, because of that rockstar lifestyle that's associated with it. I really don't like anything that trys too hard to be edgy, or cool, or show-off. To me it's just garbage. And also, all those people a century ago that said that jazz, and decades later rock music, was contributing to the downfall of society - they were right.

IW: So, what are some of your personal favorite bands?

Wes: Hmm, well this might sound weird considering what I just said, but I guess Iíd say my all time top favorites would be the Beatles, Devo, and uh, probably the Pixies. I think they were all pioneers in their own ways, and the people in them don't seem like total morons, so that's pretty cool. Oh, and early Black Sabbath. Pretty much anyone who plays heavier rock music has to have been influenced by them, of course. Iím also a big fan of a lot of older girlpunk bands like the Dishrags, and The Red Aunts, and that sort of thing. They don't seem as obnoxious as some girlbands now can be. What else... I really like a lot of new wave from the late 70's and post-punk and stuff. Joy Division is one of my favorites. Artsy-fartsy stuff like Half Japanese and early Sonic Youth is pretty cool too. And weirder bands like the Butthole Surfers. Some old-school punk stuff like the Germs, and the Bags, and the Screamers. A lot of the old L.A. punk scene was kind of cheesy I think, but those 3 bands seemed pretty awesome though.

IW: You do the guitar and vocals in the band, but you play some of the other things occasionally as well, correct?

Wes: Well on almost all the demos, I play everything.

IW: And you also write all of the songs. What sort of things are they about?

Wes: Most of the time they start out about nothing and then just turn into something. It's usually really simple stuff and things people don't usually spend a lot of time thinking about...plants and animals, aliens and robots, eating and sleeping - that sort of thing. A lot of times itís just a string of words that I think paint an interesting picture. I don't usually don't have anything in mind if I'm writing. It usually starts off as random lines and then I'll try to figure out where the songís headed, and sometimes itís all just left as randomness. I do have a few songs that were actually written about something right from the start though, like Galaxian.

IW: What's that one about?

Wes: It's based off an old arcade video game, but from the invader's perspective. It's kind of about being an alien in another aliens world and then getting blasted by the people that live there.

IW: Well, getting back to what we were talking about earlier again, you were explaining your views on punk music and the way it is today.

Wes: Yeah. Well, I was saying, I think a little bit of what I consider to be punk has always been around. Iíve always looked at it as being a very open do-it-yourself approach to music, or art, or whatever you're doing. It's the ultimate freedom in a way. It can be made up of any style of music, even country or opera music, as long as it has this innocent freedom about it. As far as what makes up todayís ďpunk sceneĒ goes, I think that openness that originally fueled the spirit of it, and set it apart from the mainstream, has been lost. Now it all sounds too pre-defined and generic.

IW: Do you still think punk is alive today?

Wes: No. Itís sort of like Elvis, I guess. Thereís a lot of impersonators, and people claiming to be it, but itís not the real deal. Anything that labels itself as punk today is full of crap. Iím also baffled by what exactly "pop-punk" is supposed to be too. By the early ninties it had pretty much lost any meaning it had. And I'm not saying there aren't any bands today that play what would have been called punk thirty years ago, I'm referring to punk as a movement, by the way.

IW: I have to ask about the kitten you have pictured on your first album cover. Is that yours or does it belong to someone you know?

Wes: Haha, no. I like cats a lot, and I just came across the picture somewhere and decided I just had to use it for something, because it was just too cute and I thought it would be great as an album cover.

IW: Who did the artwork inside the album cover?

Wes: That was all stuff that I drew. Most of them were just doodles in notebooks from way back when I was in school.

IW: I know you just released some new stuff, but are you currently working on anything else in particular?

Wes: We still have a bunch of old songs that havenít properly been recorded yet, and weíve got some completely new things too. I've started experimenting with some electronic stuff. But not that fake techno crap that people do on computers now. I don't consider that real music. It's more like something Kraftwerk would do. And, I've been working on videos recently too, sort of.

IW: Cool. Well, that sounds very exiciting. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing more from Radioset!

Wes: Oh, thank you.