Hailing from the Dutch city of Eindhoven, Radar Men From The Moon play a spacious style of psychedelic rock that brings to mind Spacemen 3 jamming on a bunch of Kyuss tunes with heads full of hallucinogens – and yes, it’s even better than that sounds! Their sophomore album ‘Echo Forever’ is a juicy great slab of deep, blissed-out heavy psych that’s guaranteed to fry your mind to the point of oblivion, and the band have been kind enough to release it as a free download. M3 got in touch with drummer Tony Lathouwers to discuss the band’s influences, how the free music approach is working for them, and what kind of glorious jams we can expect from them in the future…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself and what it is that you do?
Tony – I am Tony Lathouwers. I play the drums in Radar Men From The Moon and besides that I follow a study in Tilburg called “International event, music & entertainment studies”. I also manage all the bookings and PR for the band.
What inspired you to start Radar Men from the Moon? What are your own musical backgrounds?
There wasn’t really anything that inspired us to start Radar men from the Moon, it just kind of happened. Strangely enough, when we started jamming it just worked itself out and songs came rolling down the press. But I guess the three of us do have different musical backgrounds. Glenn (guitar), used to play in different hardcore punk, crust and even grindcore bands back in the day. We (Titus and me) asked him to play with our old stoner rock band “Boners inc”, and after that when our singer left, we started Radar men from the Moon.
Personally we love to listen to bands like Captain Beefheart, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Sonic Youth, Motorpsycho, Can, Neu!, the Melvins, 35007, The Heads etc. This list just goes on and on since we “geek out” on music too! A lot of these bands do kind of form an inspiration for our sound, but not directly.
What was the reasoning behind making your music available for free of ‘pay-as-you-please’ download?
We simply want to share our music with everybody who has an interest in our band. And if there are people out there that are willing to pay for it and therefore support us, then that’s cool as well. So far we found out that people will support our music if it is good enough for them, and we totally dig that. We even sold more digital downloads then CDs at the moment, which is not that strange considering we are in a digital age right now. I personally see this as the perfect promo for a new released album. If we didn’t do this, I know for sure that a lot of people wouldn’t even know Radar men from the Moon existed.
What benefits and/or disadvantages have arisen from this distribution method?
I’d like to think there is no disadvantage to this digital distribution method. Bandcamp really is a great platform for underground artists. People who download the album without paying are welcome to do that, if we hadn’t used Bandcamp they would have ripped it off the internet elsewhere, it’s better they get good sound quality directly from us. Obviously the benefits are great. We can raise money for the album and eventually put it out on vinyl, which is something we really want to do given we are collectors of vinyl ourselves and are constantly getting questions about ‘Echo Forever’ on vinyl.
On average, how many people would you say still pay for a release when given the option to download for free?
I don’t really have the numbers right here, but I’d say it is about 50/50.
Personally I think there are people out there that just want to support good music. Digitally or physically. If I see a band playing a good show and I dig the music, then I am off to the merchandise table to fetch me some records. This probably applies to online distribution as well. Some customers pay much for a download, some pay little. It really depends on the customer, and we like it that way, though we do have a fixed price for physical media haha.
Would you say this method is a realistic possibility for the future of music distribution?
Yes, we can see that business models are drastically changing in the music industry, and also in the gaming industry. We haven’t figured out a stable one yet, but I do believe that digital music distribution is the future for artists. If you take a closer look to platforms as Kickstarter and Indie GoGo, you can see that a lot of artists are making use of crowd funding/crowd sourcing. Bands should use that too and explore the possibilities of the internet!
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Vinyl, hands down. It’s not something I can pinpoint, I also own some CD’s. But vinyl just has this romantic feeling all over it. It just feels nice to put on a record and listen to music and have this huge record with great artwork from the artist.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
That is a good question. We definitely think that an album is a piece of art and should be listened to in its entity. But then again, with the digital age it is so easy to skip songs. Or just shuffle songs on Spotify, iTunes or whatever. We understand that, and it really is no big deal as long as people keep listening. I usually listen to a whole album myself.
What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
I don’t really know how to say it. But heck I am a rabid digital pirate myself. And I like to share my own works on the internet. So yeah, basically I don’t like the way the government is going with this. Even how big entertainment corporations used to promote downloading via Napster, Kazaa, Download.com etc, and now they are trying to sue them all and scrape in all the money, that’s just not fair and I think this whole SOPA thing is bigger than people think it is (Lobbyists etc.).
But luckily, we still live in the Netherlands and not the USA, so to hell with them. The internet is free and should stay free, there is no way governments can hold a censure over it. It just won’t happen (pirateproxy anyone? :D).
Finally, what does the future have in store for Radar Men From The Moon?
Well we just released our new album called “Echo Forever” you should check it out on our Bandcamp. It is also available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and on All That Is Heavy, Ozium Records and Sulatron Records. Or directly via our mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, you heard the man! Head on over to the band’s social media sites for more information, and drop whatever you’re doing and go listen to ‘Echo Forever’ now. Right now!