An Interview with Kelly Green, Kody Lee, Jace Cadle, and Violet Lea of Madam Radar

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Madam Radar @ ONE-2-ONE BAR Austin, TX - January 3rd 2020 11:00 pm

Madam Radar are an American Country/Blues band out of Austin, Texas with an interesting story. First, they met their bassist on Craigslist. Second, they used to be called Texas K.G.B., but more on that later. In 2020, they’ve released their latest record which happens to be self-titled and it is some of the most honest and raw music I’ve heard in some time. It’s awesome to see that the indie scene is a vibrant as ever. In regards to their latest album, I believe in time it will be looked back upon as yet another classic within the genre. Today, I’ve got Kelly Green with us I truly enjoyed getting to know her a bit better, as well as learning more about Madam Radar. Toward the end of the interview, Kody Lee, Jace Cadle and Violet Lea all tap in for a few questions as well. If you would like to learn more, you can head over to the band’s website here. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Hello, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been rough, right? How are you holding up during this seemingly ever-raging dumpster fire?

Kelly:
Thanks for having us! This last year has truly been insane. Like so many people, we’ve stayed isolated inside since March. But in a strange way, we are really grateful for the time we’ve had to really focus on our music and art. That and the band has been working out 5 or 6 days every week, so in a way, this is the healthiest we have all been in years.

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway so to speak?

Kelly:
We are a family band. Our drummer, Kody, is my brother so we have played music together since we were six years old. Jace, our rhythm guitarist, was a childhood friend that I ended up marrying in 2015 after years of touring together. We were a band for a few years as a trio and were searching for a full time member. We put an ad on Craigslist, a little over four years ago, and I don’t think any of us expected to find such a perfect match, but Violet, our bass player, saw the ad and reached out. She is hands down one of the most talented people I’ve ever met and I can’t believe we found her online.

Andrew:
This band released its self-titled album early in 2020, right? Tell us about the recording and inspiration for the record. How big of a role did Gordy Quist play in its overall sound and vibe? Where can we get your new album, and what formats will it be on?

Kelly:
Yes, this was our third album we created but the first under the name Madam Radar. We were nominated for a second time with Black Fret, an organization that gives up and coming bands grants, and one of the advisors mentioned getting us together with Gordy. We met for lunch and instantly became friends. Gordy was really hands on. We did a lot of pre production for this album. We sat around his house drinking coffee and old fashions as we went through every song. Some songs were left alone but others we completely flipped inside out to really make them the best they could be. Honestly, we wouldn’t be the band we are now without Gordy Quist. We love that man. Check out our album on Spotify, iTunes, or just about any streaming service. And of course we encourage you to head over to our website and grab a physical copy! www.madamradar.com

MADAM RADAR Tour Dates, Concert Tickets, & Live Streams

Andrew:
The group used to be called Texas K.G.B. What went into changing the name of the group and why did you choose Madam Radar?

Kelly:
While we were in the studio, Gordy casually mentioned if we had ever considered a name change. I won’t lie. It was a slightly heated discussion between the band initially. We had that band name since 2011. But Gordy was right. In a world that is so sensitive and politically charged, our name was holding us back. But even past that, the band’s sound had changed so much over the years especially after adding Violet. It was no longer the “Kelly Green Band.” We became a band where everyone plays a lead role.

Andrew:
When COVID-19 hit, my understanding is all of your touring plans were derailed. How did you handle that? What is it like having to come to grips with being unable to tour for your new record?

Kelly:
It was crushing at first. We were riding high from a very successful CD release and we had multiple tours planned. Then everything cancelled. We play music full time so we all got together and decided online streaming would have to be our next route. We are what you call “lifers.” Music and art are everything to us. We were not going to give it up.

Andrew:
My understanding is the entire group actually lives in the same apartment complex, so you guys, unlike other bands, have been able to collaborate together. Could be worse! Tell us about what you’ve been doing during the downtime caused by COVID-19. Tell us about Madam Radar FB Live Extravaganza.

Kelly:
Yes, we had decided around January that It would be great to all live closer so we could get serious about rehearsing and writing. Two days before Austin went into lockdown, in March, we all moved into the same Apartment complex. Turns out that was the best decision we could have made. We started a live stream called the “Madam Radar FB Live Extravaganza” which is basically a two hour variety show every Saturday night at 7PM (CT). We play original and cover songs, play games, drink tons of Iron Wolf and show behind the scenes footage from years of touring, being in the studio, and our life in quarantine. Also, we are all artists so we created a unique auction where each band member rotates and features a new art project every week. The show has been our saving grace. We want to give a quick shoutout to our fans for tuning in every week and supporting us through these crazy times. WE LOVE YOU ALL!

Texas KGB/Madam Radar - Carolina - YouTube

Andrew:
This band has several excellent singers and songwriters within it. How do you all share the load, and the spotlight?

Kelly:
We have created something special. We all champion each other and love sharing the spotlight. We honestly believe that if we all shine then our stage is just illuminated that much more. Plus we love variety and we all come from such different musical backgrounds, that it keeps every night exciting for us and the audience.

Andrew:
Sometimes when it comes to songwriting, artists’ lyrics can be intensely personal. Other times, they are merely telling stories. Which is it for Madam Radar?

Kelly:
We do a lot of both! We have no rules when it comes to writing or what songs we bring to the table. We let the song decide if it wants a home with our band. Sometimes, we bring songs to each other and they just don’t stick but we are always willing to give them a try.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the state of the music industry a bit. What are a few things you would like to see change for the betterment of both the fans and artists alike?

Kelly:
Well, with COVID, the music industry feels almost non-existent right now. We just wish to be able to safely return to playing live shows. We miss performing more than anything.

Andrew:
Opinion question. In a world dominated by capitalism and social media, can indie artists really, truly get ahead? How do we keep the playing field level, so that everyone has a chance to succeed?

Kelly:
We are an Indie band and I actually like it that way. We make the rules. We share all the money and we decide our own schedule. It is kind of awesome. But I guess to better answer your question…hard work. Practice. Patience. Kindness. Hard work. You’ll find a level of success.

Andrew:
These days, it feels like the likes of Ticketmaster and the like have a stranglehold on things. How do indie venues survive and thrive?

Kelly:
That is a good question!? If you know or find the answer, please let us know.

Andrew:
I’ve learned that royalties via Spotify and Apple Music are a huge issue that indie artists face. What are your thoughts on that? How do we close the gap and make things more fair?

Kelly:
This is a tough one. But the artist shouldn’t depend on streaming services for income, and Spotify should find ways to have independent artists thrown into more playlists to give them a fighting chance. Also, Spotify could have a user’s subscription fee paying out to the artists that the user listens to rather than covering all of the royalties for all the artists on Spotify. So, the money of the fans actually goes to who they are streaming instead of a giant pool of royalties that is spread across the board.

About — The Texas K.G.B.

Andrew:
Are you into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music? How big is your collection these days?

Kelly:
We listen to a lot of vinyl! Before COVID, we would go to Waterloo Records in Austin, TX all the time. There’s also a sweet spot called Feels So Good Records.

Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most you and why?

Kelly:
Derek and The Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and The Band The Last Waltz are both albums I’ll always go back to. The Layla album is amazing because Eric Clapton and Duane Allman together just blow my mind. And The Last Waltz is just a rotating cast of some of my favorite musicians. I love seeing friends get together and share a stage. I literally live for it.

Jace:
I really like Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny. The songs are amazing and the lyrics always make me laugh. Also Eminem’s The Eminem Show; he’s one of the best rappers of all time and it’s him at his grittiest.

Violet:
System of a Down Toxicity and Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP. They Just never get old for me. I love the lyrics and vocals.

Kody:
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars from David Bowie because it is a lush Rock ‘N’ Roll soundscape filled with raw energy, every track is perfect. And Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, because it is the album I’ve listened to the most times in my life and it will always be essential. The album is playful and absurd, all while being insightful and emotional.

Andrew:
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ones that mean the most to you.

 Kelly:
I’m forever a fan of Grand Funk Rail Road and KISS.

 Jace:
I really like The Rolling Stones and The Band of Heathens.

Violet:
Patty Griffin and Richard Buckner.

Kody:
Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

Andrew:
Last question. You’ve maintained a strong DIY approach thus far in your career, which is never a bad thing. That being said, what advice would you have for artists just getting started?

Kelly:
Be yourself! Give it your all and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. The music community is the most giving. Please give us a like or follow online

FB @madamradarmusic
IG @madamradarmusic
TW @madamradarmusic
YT @madamradar

The Texas K.G.B. Premiere "Frangela" Music Video | Guitar World
Image Credit: Mark Bickham

Interested in diving deeper into the work of Madam Radar? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. After losing his life-long vinyl collection in 2014, Andrew began his vinyl collection from scratch again when he met his future wife Angela in 2015. Andrew’s love of music only further blossomed as his collection spanned all genres possible. After amassing 5,000 albums, Andrew knew it was time to finally follow his dream, and thus, Vinyl Writer Music was born. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict, for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island with his wife Angela and their four cats, Oliver, Patrick, Charlie, and Kevin. Andrew works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night. Andrew is also the admin of several Facebook groups dedicated to music.

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