The Rad Trads started as a way for a group of broke college kids to pay rent in New York City. But since 2012, the band has brought its brand of high-energy indie rock to every corner of the globe from London to Lincoln, Nebraska.
Consisting of Patrick Sargent on saxophone, Michael Fatum on trumpet, Alden Harris-McCoy on guitar, Mike Harlen on bass and John Fatum on drums, the band will play Jazz in June festival on June 27 in front of the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
Nearly a decade ago, in 2008, the band members met at New York University and found they shared a common interest in music. They bonded over a shared love of old jazz artists and by graduation, they decided to make it a full-time project.
The Rad Trads started as a seven-man cover band, performing songs from classic jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong and Allen Toussaint. However, since the band last played in Lincoln in 2015, it has depleted to a quintet.
This lineup change brought a shift in the band’s sound, adding more modern influences outside the jazz realm, like rock groups Tame Impala and The Strokes.
John Fatum, who describes his band’s genre as high-energy rock and roll, said the change in sound was a natural progression.
“We all wanted more substance for ourselves,” Fatum said. “And we all got into writing more music.”
The Rad Trads’ writing process typically consists of any of the members pitching an idea to the group, then everyone writes collaboratively around that single idea.
Fatum said the band’s small size makes it easier to pay attention to all the members ideas without someone getting drowned out.
Fatum said The Rad Trads often draw comparisons to The Band because of their similar sound as well as having all their members sing lead vocals.
According to Harlen, the band’s stability lies in the long-standing friendships of its members.
“We’re a very democratic band,” Harlen. “There’s some personal stuff, but egos don’t really get upset. We’re all really close friends.”
As a constantly touring band, Harlen said one of the best parts of always being on the move is connecting with different audiences and experiencing new places.
“The thing that makes touring fun is that there is no typical day at all,” he said. “One night we’re in a crappy motel, the next night we’re in a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps.”
About a year after dropping their first album, “Must We Call Them Rad Trads,” the band is finishing up its next project, which will debut in the fall.
The upcoming album will feature the same big sound the band is known for, despite the smaller lineup, Fatum said.
Lyrically, the songs will feature personal stories from all of the members about love and breakups, but without the angst commonly found in indie rock.
“It’s nice and sincere without being moody,” Fatum said. “We’re more just driven to fun, but everyone has real stuff going on in their life.”
The last time The Rad Trads were in Lincoln, Fatum wrote a song for his solo project called “Ride On Nebraska,” which is, the project’s most played song on Spotify.
The Rad Trads’ Jazz in June performance is tonight at 6 p.m.