Radkey previews raw Midwestern rock

Tonight, Friday, Feb. 19, Gardner Lounge will be filled with rock music that is raw, real… and inspired by anime. Radkey, formed by brothers Dee, Isaiah and Solomon Radkey of St. Joseph, Mo., has toured the United States and Europe. The S&B’s Emma Roszkowski recently spoke with Isaiah Radkey about the brothers’ inspiration and performances.

The S&B: Where do you find inspiration, musically and non-musically? How has that inspiration changed over time?

Isiah Radkey: Well, in the beginning, we did a lot of anime [music]. We loved anime, so we wrote mostly about that and movies. We didn’t really have a whole lot of life experience because we were homeschooled. As we got older, we got more life experience. While we’re still writing about the nerdy shit, which is fun to write about, we have more experience to write songs that more people can relate to. You know, personal shit. Dark things like Stanley Kubrick movies, like anime and shit like that. Pretty much as we got older, we got out of the house and learned more.

How do you feel about being represented as the voice of Black rock musicians? Are you accepting this label or trying to avoid it?

We don’t really think about that. It’s nice to be able to show people that, and be another band that decided to make rock music and is in a small Black band instead of doing rap. Just to let people know that you can do whatever you want, it’s not just one thing—so I accept that. But we don’t go all like, “We’re going to be the voice.”

You were fifteen years old during your first tour. What effect has success at a young age had on you and your brothers’ perspective?

Well, it’s been so amazing because we started off in fucking St. Joe. Just, you know, shitty, hot green room for a jam room with no songs. Just shitty musicians, except for Dee. And then you go and you play and then you get to keep going. It’s pretty excellent. I feel like being homeschooled, like getting out to see the world … it’s been a lot. It’s basically our entire lives. Our adult lives and our main teen lives are just in this, so it’s pretty intense.

What are you anticipating for Friday’s show at Grinnell?

We’re pretty excited. We’ve been jamming a lot leading up to it because, you know, it’s longer than your average set, so we’re pretty stoked to play more songs and shit.