Keeping one foot on the beach and stepping the other into the street, Orange County-based band Aloha Radio has crafted a unique sound that, via heavy grooves and catchy melodies, definitively captures the soul of Southern California. Featuring guitarist Alex Barnett, bassist Andrew Russell, and drummer Chris Hori and, along with the lush, seductive vocals of Lauren Mulderrig, Aloha Radio seamlessly blends elements of surf rock and modern pop into a bold, infectious musical concoction.
In July of 2015, the band released a pair of albums — Stoked and Broke and California Scheming — on independent label iSeed Records. Featuring a total of 30 new songs that explore a variety of genres including surf rock, reggae and indie rock with hints of hip hop and electronic elements, the albums complement one another like an ice cold beer and sand between one’s toes.
To learn more about Aloha Radio and their music, visit www.aloharadioband.com.
What was your childhood like? How did you first become interested in music and performing?
Lauren: I started singing as soon as I was able to talk. It’s something I have always loved. I got serious about becoming a musician when I started high school. I got my first guitar when I was 15 and started writing songs as soon as I had two chords readily available at my fingertips.
When did you first pick up the ukelele? How did that come about?
Lauren: The ukulele came about when I was 17. I picked one up during a family vacation on the island of Maui. I wrote a song called “Deep Blue Ocean” during that trip. I fell in love with the ukulele and it’s presence has been a staple in my music ever since. That song became the main inspiration in forming Aloha Radio.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
Lauren: I love Pasty Cline’s voice. There is something so pure and haunting about it. I love all types of music, and honestly any great live show experience is very influential. You can learn so much from watching other bands.
How did you and the other members of Aloha Radio meet?
Lauren: I met Alex Barnett, our guitarist, through his old recording studio. We made a few records together for my solo project and eventually needed a drummer. Chris Hori, our drummer, and Alex have been in a few other bands together and he was our first call. Andrew Russell, our bassist, joined the band a couple years ago. I think both Chris and Andrew thought they might be temporary fill-ins when they first joined. Now we’ve been together for few years and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else.
How have you evolved as a singer over the years? And how has the band’s sound evolved over that period as well?
Lauren: I’m not really sure how I have evolved as a singer but I certainly hope I have. The band has definitely evolved or at least matured. We have all grown so much in past couple of years and I think it shows in the songwriting and live performances. It will only continue to evolve as we continue to work.
What is your songwriting process?
Lauren: Our songwriting process seems to be different song to song. Alex and I both write lyrics and the most common process is when we write together. It’s nice to be able to throw ideas around with someone and see how one line can spark the rest of a song. After we’re close with the lyrics we finish up the song as a band, we all chime in about structure, melody and progressions.
What was the recording process like for Stoked and Broke and California Scheming? Did you envision releasing two albums from the start, or was than an idea that took shape as you were recording?
Lauren: We recorded California Scheming ourselves. At first it started with a song, then we wanted to record an EP and before we knew it, we had 12 songs that we loved and wanted to release. The two album idea came about because we had a collection of older songs that we felt people should here. They had been released previously but not on an album. An album makes a statement and two albums now, I don’t know what that says, but releasing 30 tracks all at once that allows people to explore our sound, where we came from and where we may be headed.
What has been your most memorable live performance?
Lauren: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I would say any sold out show has been the most memorable. The energy of a packed house is hard to beat.
Have you always been comfortable on stage, performing for others?
Lauren: Yeah, I was always the attention seeker as a kid. Sometimes I feel more comfortable on stage than in a regular one on one conversation.
What do you do when you’re looking to relax or unwind?
Lauren: I love going to the beach, working out, hanging out with friends and going to shows.
What current bands or musicians do you think will still be most fondly remembered in fifty years?
Lauren: Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Adele, Jenny Lewis, RX Bandits, Florence and the Machine, Paramore, Twenty One Pilots. Of course, the classics like The Beatles, The Stones, Patsy Cline… There’s so many more but I’ll stop there.
What is your favorite tropical drink?
Lauren: Pina Colada!
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received?
Lauren: Work hard and have no fear.