Friday, 21 June 2013

4Q Interview with Gabriel Malenfant of Radio Radio

Gabriel Louis Bernard Malenfant is one third of the popular Hip Hop/ Electro group Radio Radio. The band has been garnishing awards on a continual basis with the latest from the ECMA (East Coast Music Awards) in 2013. They have toured extensively throughout Europe, Mexico, USA and Canada bringing a unique flavour to their music. Working on their fourth album to be released in 2014, Gabriel has taken a few moments to answer a few questions for us here at 4Q

4Q: Along with the other members, Arthur Comeau and Jacques Alphonse Doucet, how did the concept of the band come together? Why Hip Hop?

GM: In around the year 2001, we met in show in Moncton organized by Radio-Canada and a visionary called Léo Thériault, who organized a show to reunite all Acadians who played electronic music. I was turntablist at the time and Arthur and Jacques had another hip hop band called Jacobus et Maleco. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing Acadian rappers perform in front of me. They were the first. I was so envious I ended-up joining the band. Few years later we started Radio Radio.  The main difference with the prior band was that we didn't want to ride the Acadian wave too much since the way we rapped was kind of culturally and linguistically self explanatory. We wanted to think ''Grous'' (big)!

Arthur, the producer was more rooted in techno and dance music when he met Jacques, who was actually called Jacques the Rapper, back home. We all listened to different types of music, but maybe hip hop music seemed more fun and obtainable, since none of us could actually sing, in the choir sense of the word. Hip-hop is interesting as a culture in the fact that you can have different personas, personalities and identities. For an artist this is interesting because you can flirt with many different themes compared to say like country maybe, that I also like, which has more sappy themes such as break-ups and having tears in your beer. In my hip record collection, I have artists that are partyers, some more intellectual, some more spiritual and some that are all of the above. What's fun with Radio Radio is that all three of the members are on their own trip. The common thread is that we all want to communicate a positive vibe and joie de vivre, while doing music that we love and do passionately.

4Q: Radio Radio is a song released by Elvis Costello in 1978. Did this have any influence on naming the band? What music do you listen to?

GM: Elvis Costello's song was not really an inspiration, maybe subconsciously, that's it. When trying to figure out the name, one prerogative was to have a name that could be easily understood, since Jacobus et Maleco wasn't. At the beginning we even thought of calling ourselves Les Acadiens, since when we we're travelling in France and in Quebec, that's how people called us, so we thought it be natural, but at the same we wanted something more universal. At the time Arthur was really into Marshall McLuhan, who coined the expression '' Medium is the Message'' and also the term ''global village''. These expressions we're in line with where we wanted to go! Radio Radio was born. It was a universal term; everywhere you went in the world the term '' radio'' was understood. We said it twice; since everybody always asks us to repeat ourselves, plus it sound like a cool loop in itself.

I've listened to most types of music, Latin jazz, afro beat, folk, country, soul, blues, everything except I haven't dove into classical music yet! I really like psychedelic stuff and I also like artists that give good interviews, such as Dali and Russell Brand. Check out Devendra Banhart, he does both very well.

4Q; Tell us a favourite childhood memory or anecdote.

GM: To this day I really like cabins, tree houses, yurts and what they now call nano houses.
Oddly enough just lately, I've linked this passion to my childhood. I remember when I was probably around 10 years old, my friends and I wanted to build a little cabin in my backyard behind my garage. So we built a small framed cube in my garage, just the frame. We brought it behind the garage and tarp-ed it all up with clear plastic for a temporary shelter. We were so excited, that later that night we ordered pizza, but the best part was that we asked the delivery guy to deliver it to us in our new pad behind the garage. He brought it directly to us, at our new ''address''. Needless to say we were happy campers! I'll definitely never forget that!

4Q: A new album in the works, shows in Quebec and a big show in Moncton for “15 Aout”, which we are all looking forward to, what else is in store for you personally and the band in general.

GM: Personally, I'm also working on my own material to keep creative. I was producing music before I was rapping, so I miss that part a lot and we're on the road often so it's not easy to find studio time for myself. Besides that I'm really into Qi Gong, which is like Tai Chi but more chill.

The band has just launched a new website  which is special because it's been redesigned to complement our new model for sharing music. On top of having a regular cd being put out every 2 years, from now on we will be selling yearly memberships to our fans for $10, which gives them every month at least 2 songs of unreleased material. We create allot and we had to find a way to get it out there! Our first release is called French Forever; the video can be seen here.

Besides that we are starting to work on an English album this autumn. Can't wait! I've looking forward to doing this for years. It's time to open the gates...


Thank you so much Gabriel for taking the time to share your thoughts. We wish you and your band mates continued success and many smiles along the way.


Next month 4Q Interview will be talking to multiple award nominee Mark Young of Manchu Studios, designer of the dynamic posters for “2013 Acadie Rock” which was featured lately in the Times Transcript. His work has been featured by many popular artists such as Dominique Dupuis, Roland Gauvin, 1755, etc. The most gigantic project to date for Mark Young Designs is the grand mural that adorns the Arts and Cultural Centre’s entrance for the City of Dieppe.