The Refrain Interview: College Radio

Hailing from the Gloomy Emerald City of Seattle, College Radio have made a name for themselves with catchy choruses, hard-charging drums, and soaring harmonies. They combine classic old-school pop punk with an unexpected alternative twist, while making songs that are fresh, but instantly familiar. With the release of their new EP “I Used To Get Messed Up”  on Third String Records and “Growing Pains” College Radio have proven themselves to be one of the premier punk acts of the PNW.

We had a chance to chat with the band as part of our Refrain Interview series:

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new single out now. Tell us about it?

Gordon: Yes we do!!! It’s called “11:59”. 

RMB: What’s the single about? 

Evan: This one’s very near and dear to me, personally. It’s about the extreme anxiety I, and a lot of folks, am experiencing currently, and the strange feeling of guilt that I get from indulging in what few pleasures still exist. Like, the world is falling apart, but I got a new shirt!

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?  

Gordon: So we recorded this one at our friend Danes home studio in Mukilteo, WA. And this one was super easy to record actually. It was mixed and mastered by John Espy of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Evan: Not to undercut everyone’s wonderful, hard work on this one, but I feel like it came together really easily. Every step of the process for this one just felt smooth as silk.

RMB: Is it part of a larger album? If so, tell us about that. 

Gordon: This song is actually one of many songs that will be on our first LP and we really dove into some new vibes for this one. 10/12 tracks!! A couple we really stepped away from our comfort zone and holy heck did we get some of the best work we have done yet!!

Evan: The new stuff is definitely a departure from our older stuff, but I know that the fans will love it.

RMB: When is that album out?

Gordon: Spring/Summer 2022

RMB: Is this your first album?

Gordon: We have 2 EP’s out and a few singles but this will be our first full length.

Evan: Our last EP, “i used to get messed up”, came out at kind of a transitional point for us, which makes it a very diverse set of songs. It’s almost like you can hear our sound evolving over the course of it.

RMB: Tell us a little about the band. Who are the members and what do you each play? 

Gordon: I’m Gordon I play guitar and sing. Also founding member!! Our origin story isn’t like many super hero’s but like the many we’ve had a few changes and this line up is 100% kicking ass!!!

Evan: I’m Evan, I play bass and sometimes I get to sing.

Melvin: My name is Melvin Smith and I am the lead guitarist and I sing in the background a bit!

Mike: I’m Mike Steez and the drums play me.

RMB: How long have you been together? When and how did you form? 

Gordon: The band started summer of 2017. Playing live in 2018 but this new line up came together 2019.

Evan: I joined in 2019, so that’s when we got REALLY good.

Melvin: I’ve been a part of the band for the past 3 months. I’m the newest addition to the madness!

RMB: You mentioned some lineup changes? What happened there and how is everyone feeling about it?

Gordon: We actually have had 2 line up changes since the pandemic happened. We got a brand new drummer Mike! And recently our new lead guitar player Melvin!!! Life happens and we are moving much quicker and doing more so past members had to step down. 

Evan: We’re extremely happy w/our current lineup. Melvin and Mike have slotted in pretty effortlessly, honestly. And technically I’m a replacement member too, so I guess I should be pretty amenable to our turnover.

Melvin:  Since joining the band, I’ve noticed it’s been easy to come together and be on the same page with the direction we want to take our sound. It doesn’t hurt that we all genuinely enjoy our music and have fun making things happen!

Mike: Yea I joined at the start of the pandemic and was looking to get involved in our local music scene and what better way then with some of the most talented hard working working fella’s playing fun energetic pop punk! 

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?

Gordon: For me it was either our first 2 major sold out home shows!!! And the hype we got on our last release “Growing Pains”.

Evan: I think the Crocodile Cafe show, with Assuming We Survive & The Classic Crime. The bartender gave me all the free Diet Coke I wanted, and I got to see a dog crowd surf.

Melvin: Being a part of some amazing shows in Seattle, playing Venues like the Crocodile, El Corozon and seeing my bands name light up the Seattle skyline… That’s always been a dream of mine and it always means a lot to see that

Mike: I’m proud of how we’ve all been able to evolve and mesh musically and the future of this band. The new tune’s are next level! 🙂

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say?

Gordon: Listening to us will save your life……… this is a hard one lol 

Evan: (deep breath) “Heydoyoulikemusicwesoundlikegreendayblink182nofxcheckusoutcollegeradioseattlepoppunkitsprettygood” (was that 10 seconds?)

Melvin: Hey! You have ears? Sick. Listen to this! Followed by 10 seconds of watching them listen to our songs. That’s a tricky one haha.

Mike: We bring a fun positive live show with plenty of energy for for anyone and I’ll hug anyone. 

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you?

Gordon: For me it’s.. don’t lose sight of having fun. And always focus on your hometown before trying to tour build that home following. Your scene means a lot!!

Evan: Like Gypsy says, keep ‘em wanting more.

Melvin : Enjoy what you do. No matter what the situation, you’re best work is done when you find some joy in the process or outcome. 

Mike: Music isn’t a competition so stay true and develop your voice and find your place. You got this! 

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

Gordon: don’t take the blue pill…. I mean, probably just telling myself to try and focus on music as a career earlier. But honest I wouldn’t change a thing!!

Evan: Get glasses. Evan, you need glasses. Why did you wait until you were like 30?! Go get glasses, dude. You’re not safe to drive at night.

Melvin:  I would just say stay on the path you’re on.. I’ve been able to do so much in my life and I don’t regret much of it. Maybe just to never quit playing music because in the end you’ll always find yourself coming back so don’t waste the time!

RMB: What’s coming up next for your musical project? 

Gordon: We have a couple more things to tweak on this new record and we have a tour lined up in the fall!!!

Evan: We have sooooo much! A record, tours, covers, music videos, collabs… we are remarkably busy.

Melvin: We’ve got an album to finish, a few tours in the works, a cover on the way and some really amazing opportunities up ahead! Keep college radio on your radar, we’re gonna be around for a minute!

RMB: Anything we haven’t thought of that you want to talk about? Now is the time!

Gordon: Go follow us on Spotify and all other socials. @collegeradiopnw. Go stream and watch our new single “11:59”.

Evan: Thanks a million for reading, listening, seeing us live, tolerating us, or really perceiving us at all. We appreciate it a lot!

Melvin: Thanks so much for taking the time to read or listen to us. It blows my mind we’re able to share our work with you all! Come see us when you get the chance we won’t disappoint!

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