Interview with Radnor and Lee




Coming from the punk rock and underground music, eliminating that division between audience and performer, the 4th wall so to speak, has always been an interest of mine. Social media fit right into that. I don’t want to be perceived as some unreachable rock star in isolation. If anything, I want to inspire people to create by being relatable and real.Ben Lee of Radnor and Lee

About the song: Honestly the track is beautifully inspiring and honest, it carries a certain child like charm that is refreshing to find not only in music but in life. It understands the constant tribulations of life and invites us to not just accept them to know that even in the bad there’s always a fine tune that surrounds our world and invites to dance. The unavoidable is just that, there are things like that and we need to accept that, but must we bow down and cry and let our lives end or can we smile at the good and the bad and take them head on? I decide to smile and take things head, the choice is yours and Radnor and Lee are just reminding you of it with a beautiful track that if you let it in can touch your heart. Enjoy and now read the interview a bit and get to know these fine pair of human beings.


Interview

What inspired the song? 

Josh:Ben was over one day and we were talking, trying to land on something fun to write and I had come across this poem by the Sufi poet Hafiz. It’s a super short poem: “A thousand times I have ascertained and found it to be true; The affairs of this world are really nothing into nothing. Still, though, we should dance.” 

We just loved this idea, that it might be all meaningless, but you know what? We should still dance. And then it became a song about two people with a lot of wounds and baggage transcending their fears, deciding to take a chance with each other in spite of all that.

Who is the singer that accompanies Josh’s voice in “Still though we dance”? 

Ben:That’s Sam Shelton. She’s an old friend of mine. I produced her album Reservoir a few years back. And interestingly, her sister Marley plays Josh’s wife on his new tv show Rise. She’s awesome.

How is the music making process between the two of you? 

Ben Lee: I can only describe it as ORGANIC. Josh and I are both pretty fearless when it comes to trying new things and jumping into creative projects, but you never know if a collaboration is going to have an authentic and expansive feeling to it. Writing with Josh feels very natural. I remember very early on in our friendship Josh saying it felt like we had known each other since childhood, and even though we actually met as adults, the atmosphere between us does feel very familial and easy. 

Josh Radnor:  I had heard Ben’s music before and he is really great, to be honest, but Josh I have to admit it: you have a voice man – was music always a passion of yours? 
I grew up in a pretty musical household. John Denver, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, Jim Croce, Simon and Garfunkel, Judy Collins were all big in my house growing up. My parents also took us to musicals and loved classical music. I started acting in high school musicals and studied voice for three years at NYU in the grad acting program. Plus I’ve always been a highly obsessive music fan. Melody is really important to me. Same for Ben. So we always try to find a beautiful, hooky melody in whatever song we write. 

So far, most memorable experience as Radnor and Lee? 

Josh: Well, it’s all been kind of trip, to be honest. I’ll never forget a moment from our first show at Hotel Cafe when Ben looked over at me in the middle of our set and said, “Can you believe we’re doing this?” 

That’s kind of been it for us. We’re super excited to be making music together and that people are responding, but also kind of equal parts shocked and thrilled that it’s even happening in the first place. I think the best moments are when Ben is over and we’re sitting on my couch and we’ve got our hooks in something, when the song is being born and you can feel it’s going to be a good one. 

I noticed that you guys have your social media game down, what makes you be so fan-friendly and giving? 

Ben: Coming from the punk rock and underground music, eliminating that division between audience and performer, the 4th wall so to speak, has always been an interest of mine. Social media fit right into that. I don’t want to be perceived as some unreachable rock star in isolation. If anything, I want to inspire people to create by being relatable and real.



Where do you guys go to get the best inspiration or motivation for your music? 

Josh: Poems have inspired a few of our songs. I wrote the lyrics to “Falling Upward” based on a Richard Rohr book of the same title. We draw from a lot of spiritual traditions, a line here or there from various texts that resonates with us. Ben?

Ben: Life! I am inspired by living and facing what happens each day with an open mind and heart.

Having lived in New York, name one place that you just love in the city? Why? 

Ben: The Strand Bookstore. Because it is a monument to the love of books and reading. I believe in the power of a book. That place keeps a certain dream alive.

A piece of advice that you would give young people reading the interview and listening to your music? 

Ben:Whatever you are doing, whatever you want to achieve, don’t stop. Truly, stopping is the main reason people fail. At the same time, be pragmatic and don’t live in a fantasy – an artist is of value if they are paying attention to themselves and the world they live in, not totally self-absorbed.

Josh: I got tired of being instrument-less while I was on stage with Ben so I’ve taken up the guitar pretty seriously. I’ve only really been playing since January but I play all the time and have written a lot of songs and am completely obsessed with it. If nothing else, I hope that can serve to remind people you can pick up an instrument at any age. I think as you get older you tend to lean into things you know you’re good at. It’s no fun to be bad at something as an adult. But if you can brave through those awkward early stages there’s a ton of joy on the other side. It’s fun to commit and really throw your whole self into something. Ben really inspires me as an artist and as a musician and I’m looking forward to Radnor & Lee becoming a two-guitar band. 

A personal mantra or philosophy that drives the both of you as artists and people? 

Ben & Josh: There is more possible than you can imagine. The possibilities are only limited by our capacity to think bigger.

A band/artist you would recommend anyone to listen besides yourselves? One song they have to hear from them?

Josh: I’ve been listening to a lot of early Jackson Browne. He’s such a good songwriter. “From Silver Lake” and “For a Dancer” are two of my favorites.

Ben: Jonathan Richman. My favorite songwriter probably. “Back In Your Life” is a good place to start.

I hope you enjoyed the interview and remember for more of this talented pair check the links below.


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