“Des Moines was really cool,” recalls Brian Radin over the phone with a sense of nostalgia in his voice. He and his band, the Maryland-based, folk-punk group The Flat Stanleys have recently completed their first summer tour alongside recent Take This To Heart Records act Swordfish. “New York was even crazier. The crowd was great, someone stole one of our backpacks at the gig.”
There is a saying about how the best jokes often take on a life of their own, and Radin can attest to that being true. He started The Flat Stanleys with fellow member Colin Lagator as a way to parody the popular alternative group The Front Bottoms, but before long, their work took on a life of its own. With undeniably infectious, acoustic-driven songs based on true stories about friendship, loss, and the pains of growing up, the group has developed a dedicated and passionate following after only a year together.
Radin says he’s just returned from a second trip, this one to Philadelphia, so that he and drummer Dustin Magidson could search for apartments. “We’re both going to Drexel in the fall, and we’re really excited about it.” His plan is to study Arts Management, a fall back plan of sorts that Radin believes will also help his band. “We’ve never been too concerned with shopping labels or getting their attention,” he explains. “Most of what they could do for us, we can do ourselves in time.”
Less than a year has passed since The Flat Stanleys released their first EP. The second, Dancing To Dad Rock, was just released in July. “We have about 35 songs written right now for the album,” Radin begins. “And right now, we are trying to figure out what makes the record.” He goes on to admit he’s most confident about a dozen or so songs before later commenting that he may very well write more material before the band enters the studio. It’s safe to say he has no shortage of ideas.
“I’m most curious to see how Joe influences our music.” Radin is referring to Joe Reinhart, the producer hired to help bring the first Flat Stanleys record to life. “He really pushes bands to step outside their comfort zone and try something new in a way that always seems to add to their sound. I love the albums he did with Joyce Manor (2014’s Never Hungover Again) and Modern Baseball (2016’s Holy Ghost).”
When the conversation turns to the future, Radin seems most anxious to hit the road. “Touring is the best and worst thing. You’re traveling with your best friends, but you’re also stuck in a small van with the same people for an extended period of time. You spend almost every night performing for people in new places, but you also tear your throat to shreds each night. We want to do more of it, at least regionally, and hopefully when class is out in the winter, we can go a bit further out.”
*A version of this interview first ran in the current print issue of Substream Magazine, on stands now and available through our online store!