Formed in March of 2012 for a charity event, Volcano and the New Radio Standard have been performing high energy, “in your face” shows opening up for rock, hip-hop, and even country bands in Detroit and the surrounding communities. This is no surprise, considering their ability to get a crowd hyped up with a hybrid brand of jazz, blues, hip-hop, soul, rock, funk, and techno. MC Chris Volcano wanted to enhance his live performance (rather than use backing tracks), so he enlisted Deejay Mr No, Bass Player Dr Ray, Drummer Ray7 and hype man TDG to create a powerful “from the heart” show that will make you move and shake. The band is working hard on perfecting their live performance while constantly experimenting with different sounds and styles to keep things fresh – a tribute all music.
To paint the full picture of the band it is necessary to list the range of artists that have affected the music. The band pulls influences from Motown, The Beatles, Eric B. and Rakim, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311, Tool, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, E-40, Twista, George Gershwin, Miles Davis, Tom Waits, System of a Down, George Clinton, Scarface, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Rick James and Kraftwerk. Volcano and the New Radio Standard blends everything together by using live instruments and samples to keep pace with the fast-moving Volcano and TDG. Drummer Ray7’s longtime involvement with Submerge and the label Underground Resistance has no doubt helped shape the Detroit sound that exists in the band’s catalog of songs.
We need to see more artists unite in some way and build off of it; there needs to be strength in numbers, strength in unity, together it’s a movement.-Volcano
Volcano describes his process of writing as a self-analysis of the “man” and not the “performer.” “Usually my lyrics are me speaking about myself through other people so you can see there is a battle going on inside me, just like everyone else. For a while there I didn’t listen to any music, I just focused on me so I could get out what is going on.” Volcano is a modest, soft-spoken gentleman with vivid insight into the realities around him. He is straightforward, introspective and creative. His great orator-like qualities allow the band to rally around his ideas and bond together with a diversity and fearlessness as they fuse together the elements of all of their influences. It seems as though the band has embraced Volcano’s “alter ego” approach to writing music and have even created their own personalities on stage to compliment him. The band is confident but understands that true change can only come through constant learning, openness and understanding.
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The band has had some success in their short time together. Recently Volcano has been nominated for Outstanding Hip-Hop MC through the Detroit music awards and he was surprised at the nomination. “When I saw the names came out for the voting I looked at the website and didn’t see our name, but as time progressed I realized I was! I didn’t find out until there were eight days left to vote, so we tried to get it out there. If we don’t win, no worries – we aren’t going anywhere – there is always next year. I was just glad the name was in the running”! Volcano laughs as he tells the story and says, “you know if we win that should tell you something, everyone else had seventeen more days of voting.”
Volcano Underground is a radio show hosted by Volcano and TDG (and others) that appears on tapdetroit.com every Wednesday from 7-10 P.M. The show is self-described “barbershop talk” and features the outspoken TDG segment “teach ’em how to hate.” “Things you wouldn’t normally say, WE SAY IT, and we say it LOUD” says TDG. The show covers sports, relationships, and chooses to focus on the underground aspect of music, not popular culture. “It is definitely from a guys’ point of view and we don’t hold back” adds TDG. Audience participation is a huge element of the show and Volcano says “we have people call from all over the world and have developed a cult following. It’s a lot of fun and you never know what to expect.” The band had a good laugh when Mr. No refers to TDG’s on-air antics as a “blind wolverine.”
Volcano and the band are realistic but hungry. They know that the Detroit music scene is competitive in all genres and try to position themselves with as many bands as they can to get their message out there. “You have to have show them something to make them come out, you’ve got to be good, you’ve got to have quality. You just can’t come in here with some fluff, it’s got to be real,” says TDG. Volcano goes on to explain that Detroit has the recognition globally and there is a spotlight on it, historically and currently. “There are so many people that deal with music in the city, there is so much competition but no majors. Everyone is trying to get up to the front. Everyone has a thirst on how to make something out of themselves. The past few years I have seen the level of support go up for people who have followed the music from the start, but we are in the middle of a battleground of sorts because we are all trying to reach out and be heard by the masses.” Volcano’s words are powerful as he faces up to the struggles in front of him. “We need to see more artists unite in some way and build off it; there needs to be strength in numbers, strength in unity, together it’s a movement.” I love Ray7’s no bullshit approach when asked about Detroit. “It’s Detroit period. There is always going to be good music, because it’s Detroit.”
Check out Volcano and the New Radio Standard at their website here
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