Formed in March 2008, Tape The Radio is the combination of San Francisco native Ben Caruso on bass, Canadian drummer Brian McLellan and Londoner Malcolm on vocals and guitar. They recently released their debut offering Heartache And Fear, produced by Jim Lowe, who has previously worked with heavyweights Foo Fighters and Stereophonics, and mixed by the legendary Alan Moulder, who is known for his work with U2, The Killers and Depeche Mode. Gutter Magazine caught up with Brian to get the lowdown on the band.

What initially inspired you to form a band?

We’ve all been in many bands before Tape The Radio. Malcolm had just finished with one incarnation and had posted an advert for a bass player to which Ben responded. Ben had just stepped off the plane from Italy and happened to be staying 10 minutes [away] from the studio. It was an immediate meeting of minds for those two and they were just left with the task of finding a drummer. I had just left a band so the timing was pretty good for me. The chemistry was instant and we started writing that night. It was great to write with mates with no agenda – no management, no record company, etc to think about – pretty liberating, actually.

Your recently released debut album was a long time coming – how does it feel to finally get your music out to the masses?

It feels great to finally have the songs that we crafted in our little studio by the creek be heard by people from all over the world. Some of the original demos have made their way to NYC where it’s been picking up some steam over the last year or so. Our focus now is to play to as many people as possible over the next year. Of course, we’ll be writing the next one as we go…

Working with Alan Moulder is an exciting prospect for any band. What did you learn from it?

Working with Alan was a classic case of “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. I’ve been a fan of Alan’s for a long time and the prospect of having him work with us was a little hard to imagine. Malcolm isn’t one to take no for an answer so he just found out where his studio is and walked over there with a demo and letter in hand. He took time out from a session to sit down and talk with Malc, and it all started from there. We’re well aware of how lucky we are to have worked with such a legend.

What inspires the music that you create?

The three of us have quite different musical backgrounds so the final product of a Tape The Radio writing session is a mix of all our individual influences. Malcolm likes The Cure and Ben is really into The Ramones and AC/DC, and we meet up on some American classic rock like The Eagles and Tom Petty.

What does Tape The Radio bring to a live performance?

People are surprised by how much energy and sound comes off the stage given that it’s just the three of us up there. We’ve done a lot of support tours so we’re pretty well versed in turning up in front of a crowd and earning our stripes from nothing. We enjoy the challenge.

What part of “band life” would you happily omit?

Sharing a stained, pull-out cot in a budget hotel with drunken bandmates isn’t exactly what I signed up for, but at least it’s a hotel and I’m not sleeping in the car…yet!

What has been your highlight so far? And what would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?

Working in the studio with Alan Moulder was an absolute highlight of mine! Just to watch him work was pretty amazing and I couldn’t be happier with how he made us sound. The next 12 months will be all about touring and travelling. I just want to build a fanbase all over the world so we can keep doing this. We have plenty of good albums left in us…

Heartache And Fear is available now on Hi Tone. Download the title track for free here.

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