Interview w/ North Shore Native Punkster Radiator King
Check out my interview with Brooklyn based and native New Englander Radiator King in my exclusive chat with him. Originally going by the name of Adam Silvestri, he has a punk based musical aesthetic to him that really cuts to the emotional essence of what music is all about, and speaks to bring out a certain elegance and grace that is equal parts eye-opening and musically informative. Recently, Adam took some time out to talk about his musical beginnings, his experiences growing up on the North Shore and his move to Brooklyn, plus his creative process and how the recording of his new album took shape. Here is the full transcript from our chat:
Give us your name and what instrument you regularly play?
Adam Silvestri. Guitar and singer.
When did you first become interested in music?
From as early as I can remember. I first became interested in playing music around 8 when my mother bought me a guitar. After that I was pretty much obsessed with the instrument.
What were some artists you listened to when you were younger, and how have they influenced or shaped you to this date?
There’s been so many. I would say real early on it was stuff like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and the Doors. Mostly classic rock stuff that was pretty accessible to me at the time. Then I got really into punk and hardcore music. I’m fortunate that I had an older brother who introduced me to so many great bands at a young age. When I was in Jr. High I was listening to bands like Fugazi, Bane, In My Eyes, and American Nightmare. These bands were really important because they taught me that music can have meaning beyond just stardom and drugs and all that stuff. It can have a moral component. That was really transformative. Some point around early high school I found the Clash and they were crucial in my evolution as a musician. They proved that songs didn't have to exist in boxes. You could combine all types of music into your sound. There were no rules and that was huge for me; It was as if they set me free. At some point in my late teens I get really into old school American blues. Guys like Skip James, Blind Willie McTell, Reverend Gary Davis, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters just blew my mind. I totally connected with the raw emotion and urgency with which they played and sang. That stuff is some of the greatest music ever made.
Take us behind your upbringing in Boston and what life was like for you growing up?
I grew up in an area called the North Shore. It was pretty much a normal upbringing. I come from a working class background and spent a lot of time working construction and these type of jobs. My family and the people I was surrounded by were very influential on who I am today. I’m fortunate to have had them in my life. They taught me about hard work and loyalty.
Why did you decide you move to Brooklyn, and how has that changed your career path musically?
At some point in Boston my previous band, Margin Walker, had broken up and a lot of my friends in bands were moving on in life, starting families andante what not. I felt that I was at a different place in life and just didn’t really want that for myself so I packed my bags and headed to New York City. I had played there many times before and the city intrigued me but also scared the shit out of me. I was curious and wanted to see what it was all about. The reason why I chose Brooklyn as an area to live was because it was cheap. When I first moved to New York, I was splitting a single room with a buddy of mine. We each had our mattress on opposite sides of the room. Believe it or not we are still friends today.
I’d say the move had a tremendous effect on my career path as a musician. In one respect, it was crucial because in essence I was committing to a new chapter in my life. I left behind a lot in Boston; my girl, family and friends. It was not easy but I knew I had to leave the safety of home to really spread my wings so to say. From all I have seen, it’s the guy who risks the most that gets to where he’s going. And of course New York is a great place to be as a musician because there’s such so much music and art all around therefore there are much more opportunities.
Let's go behind the recording process for your latest LP "A Hollow Triumph After All", and what the whole process was like?
Most of the album was recorded live at Vibromonk studios in Brooklyn. Vibromonk is this huge, open warehouse space and it is just an awesome place to record an album. I made demos of the songs prior to the sessions and then my producer, Jesse Cannon, and I put together a band for the sessions. It took a good amount of time to find the right musicians but it was well worth the search. With the songs I had written it was very important that we captured the right vibe for each tune. A lot of work went into nailing down what the essence of each song was because the songs were all quite different from one another as far as the emotion I sought to convey. We chose to record live because thats really how you capture the magic. When you all play together in the same room, the music becomes a sort of dialogue, where you are following your intuition and interweaving with one another.
How has the punk scene evolved over the years, and where do you see it headed?
With punk I always tended to focus more on the ethos than a particular sound. For me it’s always been about getting out there and doing things that you believe in despite the fact that it may not be so popular or easy. At it’s core it’s embodies youth, energy and action. So in this sense I think the punk scene will always be around. There will always being kids doing cool things like putting on shows in their basement or publishing zines. There will always be kids seeing something they want changed or done differently and making it happen.
Besides music, what do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
I fish on occasion. I also like to build all sorts of things out of scrap wood. I am no pro by any means, but there is something wonderful about taking a bunch of trash and making something useful out of it.
What's on tap in the coming months, any upcoming shows or new material coming down the pipe?
I have a bunch of new songs written that I am really excited about. In the next few months I’ll be heading into the studio to record them. I also plan to go back on tour in Spring time.
Lastly, where do you see yourself moving forward?
I imagine I will still be writing song and playing shows! I do not intend to stop anytime soon. Thanks for the interview!
Thanks once again to Adam for taking some time out to do this interview! He has a really fascinating and interesting backstory as you can tell, and really has a charismatic charm about him that can't be ignored and denied when listening to his music. An immense talent that is worthy of discovering, and you can find out more about him via his Facebook page located here, and by checking out his official website for more in depth info surrounding him over here.