Josh Cocktail Hallbauer Interview
An interview with Radical Something’s frontman
When this talented California band ripped through Orlando a few weeks ago, we cornered vocalist Josh Hallbauer who is more commonly known as Josh Cocktail for an interview. He shared his thoughts on their unique brand of rock, what drives their performances, and what to expect at their entertaining shows.
Cretin: This will be my first time seeing the band, have you played Orlando previously?
Josh: We’ve played Orlando once before and the last one was a good show. It’s always interesting when you’re a support act (they were opening for Matisyahu) to see how the crowd receives you. Sometimes you have a lot of fans there and sometimes you don’t have a lot of fans there. It’s almost more fun when you don’t.
Cretin: Every night you have a chance to indoctrinate some new fans.
Josh: Well, yeah, it’s like, let’s get them into what we preach and into the vibe of the music, and the whole tour has been like that. It’s been great. It’s funny going to different cities and seeing how people perceive you and either get into you or don’t get into you.
Cretin: So, your music is described as having a clear California vibe to it, but you’re from Florida, right?
Josh: I’m not from Florida, but I did live here for my undergraduate (Florida Atlantic). I grew up in L.A. and the other two boys grew up in the Bay Area.
Cretin: So you all are California kids?
Josh: (agrees) We all met in New York actually, but we all grew up in California and we all live there now.
Cretin: So does the whole California thing tie you together? Is it important or more inconsequential?
Josh: A lot of what we write is culture we grew up with. So, it’s heavily inundated by California. I think Billboard put it best when they couldn’t fit us in one genre, they said “It’s decidedly California music.” And, that’s exactly what it is. A lot of the stories and things we tie in are the things we grew up with in California.
Cretin: Do you have any musical influences who are California-based?
Josh: Definitely. We all grew up listening to this new age reggae scene like Slightly Stoopid, Sublime and SoJa. They’re not all from California but the music has the same energy. Ours has a little more hip hop involved in it, but it’s kind of the same thing. Like the Dirty Heads. Are you familiar with them?
Cretin: Sure, I saw them a few months ago. They always put on a good show.
Josh: On this tour, in Austin, Matis is friends with them and he took us to meet them. They’re the greatest guys and we’re fans so it was good to sit and talk to them.
Cretin: I notice that your videos have had a ton of hits. It seemed that videos weren’t important for a long time, but it seems as if they are now and they work for you.
Josh: I think our on-line content is lifestyle, and it’s kind of putting people into our shoes, a day in the life. And, a lot of our videos, whether it’s us hiking or in the mountains or just having a party, it’s our lives. There’s nothing in our videos that’s not us. It’s important because fans get to know you by that. When you see a music video you see what we’re about, our energy. That’s why it’s important, it lets a fan see what we’re about.
Cretin: It sounds like they’re not over-produced.
Josh: Nothing we do is ever over-produced. It’s our lives. We’re an independent act, and we’ve prided ourselves in staying independent as long as we can and building a concrete core fan base that will support us forever. When we started we had zero dollars, and kind of got in a closet, recorded our first album and took it from there.
Cretin: Do you produce your own music?
Josh: That first album we did. On the new project, we’re working with David Klein who did the first Sublime album and Matt Wallace who did Songs About Jane by Maroon 5, the last OAR project, the last Pepper project. We’re working with people in the industry, but we start stuff by ourselves. We always try to remember that when we first started, it was just an acoustic guitar, a drum machine and us rapping and singing. A lot of times we start with that and see who can develop it into something maybe we wouldn’t have thought of.
Cretin: It sounds like you’re still being true to yourselves? If you can do that and survive, that’s great.
Josh: Yeah man, that’s what we’ve always wanted to do. I want to be happy doing this. On the outside, It’s a beautiful thing, you get to make music, perform and tour. When you get inside the music industry and see how much work there is and the grind of it, you need to be make sure that you’re happy. If you’re not happy, you’re just going to end up hating it, and yourself.
Cretin: That’s great advice. A lot of new bands don’t know what’s in store for them
Josh: You don’t understand what it’s like to do 58 shows in 64 days. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, It literally fills a void and makes it all worth it, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it.
Cretin: So, let me leave you with one last question. For someone like me who has never seen you guys play live, how would you describe your shows?
Josh: It’s crazy. The music is like California-reggae, laid back kind of thing. But, we are into connecting with the crowd; having everybody get their hands up and dancing. We feed off of the crowd. You’ll see a lot of running around and stuff. It’s energetic.
Ten minutes later, Josh and his bandmates were on stage, preaching their gospel to some new dancing, swaying disciples of California-reggae. See our review of the concert here.
See our photos from the show on our Facebook page.
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