MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of The Rad Trads’ “Wishing Well” Video

Hot off an extensive U.S. tour this summer, including dates opening for Lake Street Dive, the Rad Trads are readying the release of sophomore album On Tap, out September 14. Of course, the NYC-based fivesome—known for its genre-defying, entertaining-for-everyone live performances—will immediately hit the road again for many more dates supporting the nine-track LP.

We’ve been racking our brains since we first encountered the Rad Trads, trying to think of another band that has five leader singers, but we couldn’t come up with any. That not one of these transplants from Portland, Chicago and Maryland had ever sung a note when they met at NYU’s Steinhardt music school is even more amazing. But given how the band deftly tackles (alphabetically) Americana, blues, folk, jazz, psych, punk, soul and more, it’s not surprising these guys seem like they can do whatever they put their minds to.

We’re premiering the video for On Tap track “Wishing Well” today on magnetmagazine.com, so we asked the song’s writer and singer, saxophonist/vocalist Patrick Sargent, for some insight into the track. Let’s just say he was as ambitious with his response as the band is with its music. “Truth be told, ‘Wishing Well’ was the first song I ever wrote, so the process of writing it was more like fumbling in the dark than chiseling marble,” says Sargent. “I think I was listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes at the time and was trying to write something that had the quality I was enamored of in their work: a hushed verse, an unhinged, raging chorus and kind of a soul-collides-with-rock thing, like Nirvana with Otis singing lead. In reality, my voice is closer to Randy Newman than Brittany Howard, so it came out a little different—but that’s the song I had in my mind’s eye. We played the song live for almost a year before recording it, so it had a chance to evolve organically before being put to tape. Both the drum solo and the background vocals were, like many great musical ideas, initially proposed in jest but quickly became integral to the song.

“Lyrically, it’s a pretty straight forward blues ballad with the narrator lamenting his loneliness and heartbreak at length before breaking down and begging his lost love, ‘I don’t wantcha, babe/But I think I need ya, babe/Now I’m pleading, babe/Tell me why did you leave my, babe,'” Sargent continues. “Live, it tends to feel less like a story song and more like an excuse for us all to play our instruments extra loud and for me to scream into the microphone. In the studio, we went for a pretty maximal psychedelic vibe, a big wall of sound with many layers of vocals and, of course, our signature soaring horns. We also added a second track of low, sludgy, horns on the chorus, so in addition to filling out the high range, we have a a big thick horn section filling out the bottom end of the track, kicking around in the mud where there’s normally only bass and guitar. We definitely had fun with this one and left plenty of mistakes and odd sounds in, so it feels very messy and live—as a song like this should.”

Not satisfied with learning more about “Wishing Well” (the song) than we have about any other song in history, we pressed Sargent for some info about “Wishing Well” (the video). And he didn’t disappoint, saying of the quirky clip, “We were all holed up in a house in Duck, N.C., that a local music festival had generously provided for us as lodging while we were performing there. Our friend/photographer John Carges was with us, and we were shooting a bunch of promo material when someone had the inspired idea that footage of us wailing on each other with pool noodles would go perfectly with the chorus of ‘Wishing Well.’ We made some margaritas, shotgunned a few beers and had ourselves a fun little video shoot. Months later, we decided to complete the video by shooting some footage of me wandering my neighborhood in the cold, bleak shittiness of New York winter, dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. We enlisted our good friend Kelly Teacher to shoot and edit the footage, and the rest is history.”

Well, there you have it, dear MAGNET reader. Sargent is definitely proud of his first-ever songwriting credit and its accompanying video, as he should be. It’s the perfect end-of-summer jam, tailor made for margaritas, shotgunning beers and living it up before the cold weather comes and you’re stuck dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. Check out “Wishing Well” now, and catch the Rad Trads when they come to your city.

Tour Dates
8/15 Lake George Arts Summer Concert Series, Lake George, NY
9/14 Mercury Lounge, New York City
9/18 Rose Music Hall, Columbia, MO
9/19 Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, MO
9/20 Lincoln Calling Festival, Lincoln, NE
9/21 The Temple Theatre, Des Moines, IA
9/23 SPACE, Evanston, IL
9/26 Motr Pub, Cincinnati
9/27 Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
9/28 Levitt Pavilion, Dayton Dayton
9/30 Beachland Tavern, Cleveland
10/2 Racoon Motel, Davenport, IA
10/3 Icehouse, Minneapolis
10/4 The Mill, Iowa City
10/5 The Grand Theatre, Wausau, WI
10/11 Loco Club, Valencia, ES
10/12 Louie Louie, Estepona, ES
10/13 El Pelicano, Cadiz, ES
10/14 Sala X, Sevilla, ES
10/15 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/16 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/17 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/18 El Amacen De Little Bobby, Santander, ES
10/20 AMC Boganegra Culturual Club, Valles Pilloña, ES
10/21 Sidreria El Zagal, Aldeamayor de San Martin, ES
11/6 Granada (Sundown), Dallas
11/7 Mohawk, Austin
11/8 McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston
12/9 City Winery, Boston