New Music

Interview with Radclyffe Hall

  • October 17, 2014
  • 5 min read


radclyffe hall

Radclyffe Hall


“Our hopes, our dreams, and aspirations are under arrest. Resist.”

Radclyffe Hall believes in the power of pop music to move hearts, minds, and bodies. On their debut EP, Extended Play due out this September, the dark-pop quartet wrestles with fear and loss before arriving at a rousing sense of empowerment. Boasting tracks as introspective as they are anthemic, Radclyffe Hall’s bold debut makes the case that real inspiration is borne out of real adversity.

With their moniker both a literary reference and an affectionate nod to Beantown academic culture, Radclyffe Hall began in Boston as an experiment in analog and digital production. Steeped in rock ‘n’ roll, funk, and R&B, founding member Dhy Berry started developing groove-heavy demos before developing them into fully fledged pop songs. The band — with Berry on keys and voice, Jaqui Rae Stewart on vocals and keys, Carl Harkness and Sean Camargo both on drums – coalesced around these compositions, adorning Berry’s rigorous song-craft with radio-ready dance-pop aesthetics. In both their recordings and live shows, the group has solidified an indelible sonic signature of pulsating live and programmed beats, ethereal vocals, and fuzzy bass lines. They count Meshell Ndegeocello, Santigold, and Metric as enduring influences.

Radclyffe Hall is garnering blog buzz and a burgeoning fan-base with a robust web presence and a batch of shows in the Northeast to promote Extended Play. Their live act has a strong symmetrical motif with a setup of parallel keyboards and parallel drums that capture the band’s dualities: digital vs. analog; light vs. dark; classic vs. innovative. The dynamic group’s multi-faceted artistic interests also extend to their music videos, which includes “OMG” – an intimate and kinetic travelogue of Berry confronting the darkness of the cityscape on her motor-bike. Videos for Extended Play cuts, “Stars” and “Dare to Dream” are forthcoming.

Turning fear into agency and loss into catharsis, Radclyffe Hall makes moody anthems for the bedroom and the dance floor alike. Lyrically and musically, they are as individualistic as they are decidedly for the masses. In their ethos of finding the light by embracing the dark, Radclyffe Hall is a band that dares you to dream.

1.  How did you meet and when did you start playing together?  What was it that made you guys click?

 RH:  Dhy and Sean met while working an event earlier this year for Berklee. They started talking and Dhy was like “do you play an instrument” and Sean said “yeah I play drums” and then she was like “oh you should play in my band”. At first he was hesitant but, she let him hear “Stars” and he was sold. Jaqui and Dhy met through a mutual friend, Zoya, who is actually now our manager. Jaqui and Dhy both share a love for Metric and really connected over that. Carl and Dhy met in college and recently reconnected when he moved back to Boston from Austin earlier this year. Jaqui was planning on moving back to Seattle but decided to stay for many reasons, and this band was one of them. Carl met Jaqui and Sean through Dhy at the beginning of this project.  We all made it a point to not only play together but to spend time together outside of the band right from the start since we were all brought in independently.

2.  I love the band a lot.  Why the name Radclyffe Hall?  She has always been one of my favorite writers.  A very courageous and talented woman.  I am a HUGE admirer of her work.

RH: Radclyffe Hall is one of Dhy’s favorite writers as well. She thought the name was very striking and sharp, and always thought “wow, that would be a cool band name.”

3.  Do you feel you have an agenda to your music?  Do you think music should have an agenda?

RH: There isn’t a set agenda to the music, just writing and performing songs that we like. If people like them, that is a plus too!

4.  Who are some of your main influences?  Who else out there today do you listen to a lot?

RH: Our personal influences vary, Sean was influenced by the Beatles, Jaqui grew up listening to Bluegrass and fiddle tunes. Dhy grew up listening to R&B and funk music, while Carl is influenced by Pop/Rock music. Collectively our influences for this project are Metric, Santigold, Goldfrapp and more recently St. Lucia and Phantogram. We have been listening to Lorde, Lights, Phantogram, St. Lucia, and The 1975.

5.  What do you prefer:  playing live or doing studio work?  When are you playing Pittsburgh (hint, hint)?

RH: There is something about playing live, the energy is different in that setting. Feeling the energy of the audience definitely effects how you perform. Studio work is fun too! The vibe is different because you have the time to make sure everything is correct, and if it isn’t you can redo it. Once you play/sing a note in a live setting, it is there forever. Pittsburgh is definitely on our list hopefully we can get out there soon!

6.  Anything else you would want our audience to know?  Any deep dark secrets?  I’ll share one:  I LOVE “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.  

RH: Come to our next show and we’ll reveal all our secrets…






Radclyffe Hall – OMG

Share Button
About Author

Phil King

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.