Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Feb 23rd 2011 4:30PM by Anne T Donahue
"The reason why people call us a pop band is [because] we do that ourselves," singer-guitarist Johan Duncanson tells Spinner.
"Usually people get kind of surprised that we use that term because it's frowned upon by some people or they think rock is more authentic. We're a pop group and we've always considered ourselves to be a pop group," he says. "Everything good is pop and everything bad is rock."
Despite their shocking declaration, the band's stance doesn't come as an attack on individual acts, it's more of a comment on the genre, in general. The Radio Dept. say their allegiance to pop comes from the fact the genre is "so wide" stylistically whereas, rock music, well, that's a whole other story.
"I've had some problems with the authenticity that clings to the word 'rock,'" says Duncanson. "It's authentic if there's a guitar and a bearded man screaming something -- that's kind of my problem with rock music. I'd rather talk about Rick Astley than Bruce Springsteen."
"Although, I like Bruce Springsteen," he adds, "his best songs are pop."
And while they might struggle to explain their country's predilection for pop, the Radio Dept. have no trouble pin-pointing the '90s as the era that had the biggest impact on Sweden's pop-loving countrymen.
"There were a couple of good magazines during the '90s that kind of inspired a new generation of musicians –- and that might be one of the reasons," says Duncanson. "There was especially one called Pop that had a huge impact on me, ideologically and musically."
But the band still encounters fans who've labeled their sound as shoegaze, a label they adamantly deny.
"If you're going to talk about music without listening to it, you've got to make it simple for people to understand," says Duncanson. "If you can mention three bands that are kind of similar, you get the basic picture. But we still get [shoegaze comparisons] in every review, and that's when it becomes a problem, because it's so wrong.
"A lot of people were disappointed when we started releasing singles from this latest album, ['Clinging to a Scheme'], because they were shoegaze fans."
Though the misconception may be frustrating for Duncanson and his bandmates, it also adds fuel to their crusade, summed up with the following band vow: "Let's take pop back."