Reston, Virginia-based rockers RDGLDGRN (pronounced ‘red, gold, green’) are recognized the world over for their unique, up-tempo sound, drawing inspiration from elements of indie rock and a Washington, DC sound, called ‘go-go’. The result? A fluent infusion of rock and hip-hop, with a touch of island exoticism.
The band gained a popular following after their track “I Love Lamp” became a breakout hit on YouTube in 2011.
Since then, the tri-color troupe has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, had their music released by Rolling Stone and NME, and made music with two other Virginian natives, Pharrell Williams and Dave Grohl.
Prior to setting off on their Fall tour, with Dirty Heads, we quizzed band member RD (Marcus Parham) about the band’s story, their creative process and influences, crowdfunding their own work, and what it was like to work with two industry legends.
Tell us a bit about yourselves – how’d you all get together and start making music?
We were all born in very different places and met in high school. I was born in San Jose, CA, GLD is from Bucharest, Romania, and GRN is Haitian and comes from Boston, MA. We all met through mutual friends in Reston, VA.
What words would you describe your sound, and how has your style changed over time?
Energetic. Hip-hop. Multicultural. Our first record had a more prevalent rock/indie-rock influence, and for the following EP, we dialed back the rock and turned up the hip-hop. Now, for the upcoming LP, we are maintaining the hip-hop influence while increasing the world music vibes.
Who, or what, have been profound influences in your creative process?
The musicality of A Tribe Called Quest, and Pharrell’s music; the essence of M.I.A.’s Kala album, genre blending acts like Outkast and Gorillaz, as well as a general sense of exploration and celebration.
Speaking of creative process, can you describe your workflow? How do you put music together?
Here’s the thing, we play our shows as a band, but we put the music together as hip-hop producers.
What was it like creating “Doing the Most” with Pharrell?
It was one of the most humbling and refreshing moments in our lives. To meet the person whose music you’ve learned from, and to have him be excited about working with you? An insane moment.
And Dave Grohl, what’s he like to work and hang out with?
Best dude ever. He’s from Northern Virginia just like we are, and we vibed in a major way.
What is RDGLDGRN keeping busy with at the moment?
There is a new music video being finalized as we speak, a single release coming soon, a crowdfunding campaign through Pledge (which you all need to participate in), and an album will follow.
What can we expect from you guys in the near future?
You can expect more people to be talking about us all around the world, but you will be among those who knew us first!
Tell us about your home, Reston, VA. For folks stopping in, what are some of your personal recommendations?
Reston is the first planned community in the United States, and its founder, Robert E. Simon, recently passed away at the age of 101. You can visit a statue of him sitting on a bench at Lake Anne Plaza. There are many lakes and parks to come visit, so if any of you are in the area, hit us up!
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The band will be on tour from early October, opening for Dirty Heads. Details can be found on their website.