LA based band Rad Horror is the brainchild of New Jersey native, Dylan Jackson Scott. The four-piece new wave act is on the rise, surging with sonic emotion compacted into infectious indie sounds. In a nod to Andy Warhol’s 1964-1966 “Screen Tests,” the band recently dropped some fresh new visuals for their track “Sad Boy.”
GroundSounds recently caught up with Dylan to talk about his latest single, inspirations and more, check out the exclusive interview below.
For those just discovering Rad Horror, what has been the inspiration behind the new band and how did you all meet?
Rad Horror started out as a solo project after leaving my last band. I was listening to bands like The Smiths and Joy Division, as well as earlier stuff like The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. I wanted to find a way to modernize what I had been listening to, so this became my outlet. After a while friends I knew from growing up in other bands would jump in and play and it all became very familiar, which is what I wanted.
What made you decide on the name Rad Horror?
I had an older sister who was big into 90s culture so I was always intrigued by it. During that period of time when I was very young there was the resurgence of slasher films built around teenagers and I was fascinated by it. The horror genre was palatable to me through these films because they were based on cool kids just like my sister and her friends rather than the a 50 foot monster.
We read that forming Rad Horror has also been a good coping mechanism for your extreme panic disorder and agoraphobia, for those struggling with similar disorders, would you mind shedding light about them and how creating music helps you cope?
I mean, I wouldn’t call it a coping mechanism because since the day I was 11 years old I had been writing songs, but I will say it’s extremely cathartic. I think writing music and lyrics that means something to people is a very very lost art. So for me to be able to share stories through song, and not bullshit an audience is why I do it. I will never be cured of what I have, and I live with that struggle everyday. But, I will say doing what I love to do makes it a lot easier. I hope other people can find comfort in something the way I do with writing and performing the truth.
What do you enjoy most about Los Angeles?
Well, I’m from New Jersey and recently moved here full time, I would always travel back and forth. I write and produce for many different artists so it’s nice to be in a cultural hub where you can work with interesting people all the time. I will say that a lot of people are here for the wrong reasons, so I keep a pretty tight knit group of friends who only care about cigarettes, shitty beer, and making good tunes. The rest is a wasteland of people taking pictures with other people to increase their internet following. I don’t get involved. I love the food here though, it’s fucking fantastic.
Can you tell us about the writing and creative process involved with your single “Sad Boy?”
The Sad Boy lyrics came about by feeling like I had nothing to offer the fairer sex. I felt and still feel that I’m not capable of someone loving me for an extended period of time. It’s about me feeling that my mental illness gets in the way of a life of love and true happiness and that maybe there’s a glimmer of hope that someone can make you feel whole again. It is definitely very autobiographical which 95% of my music is.
What is it about new wave that attracts you guys to this sound?
I’m a very emotional person and in the early days of new wave before it became a commercial dance product, there was very much a theme of sadness and disarray. I very much identified with it and I don’t think I ever won’t. My music tastes are ever changing and I’m always looking to push the limits to a new level, the next release may be very shocking to everybody.
What has been a favorite band moment or highlight thus far?
Honestly, I genuinely enjoy meeting people who love and care deeply about what I have to say. Me and them, we’re kindred spirits. The fact that we get 1000s of plays a day on Spotify with not a single playlist, is enough for me to be content. Labels buy too many of those spots, there’s no room for the little guy. But that’s okay, I don’t want the wrong people listening anyway.
What musicians/bands are you currently listening to?
Heavy on Lou Reed. Heavy on Radiohead. As far as newer bands… there’s a band called the Maine who came out with an album recently that I feel is way overlooked by the masses.
What’s next for Rad Horror? What can fans look forward to?
What can fans expect? I feel like they’ve come to expect not knowing what to expect, because the truth is I don’t know what to expect. We’ll just have to wait and see what pours out onto the blank page.