Retro Active: Vintage talk with The Radio Rhythm Makers’ Ashlie and The Soul Terminators’ Kate LeDeuce. 

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Salt Lake City’s Radio Rhythm Makers and Kate LeDeuce & The Soul Terminators have more in common (attention-grabbing front women, killer musicians, head-scratching band names) than not (RRM specialize in neo-rockabilly country swing, KL&ST in funky R&B soul). They’re also playing a show together at Burt’s Tiki Lounge Friday night, and both are currently laying down tracks at the west side’s Salt Lake Recording Service. City Weekly sat down with the Radio Rhythm Makers’ Ashlie (just Ashlie) and LeDeuce at the SLRS studio last week to talk music, retro vs. vintage and a potential lifetime supply of Del Taco. n

City Weekly: Let’s get it out of the way first: Are you retro, or is retro too retro of a term to even be considered cool in a retro way?

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Kate LeDeuce: The only reason I dress the way I do is because it’s the clothing I fit into. I like clothing that fits me, and music that suits my voice. I hate that you can walk into Hot Topic now and instantly be, “Oh, I’m Dita Von Teese.”

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Ashlie: You’re not retro; you’re more vintage. Retro is fake. You’re not fake.

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CW: You’re not dressed up now as you usually are onstage—does that make you a fake?

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A: [Laughs] I don’t go too retro. I don’t want to be the girl who’s “trying to be rockabilly” and offend someone who’s doing certain styles authentically and takes it seriously.

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KL: If you’re offended by someone who’s more rockabilly-ed out than you are, there’s something wrong with you.

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A: Yeah, but I’ve heard some people call us posers.

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KL: Then you say, “Well, I’m in a band and you’re not. Thanks for the ticket money.”

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CW: Are you accepted by Salt Lake City’s rockabilly crowd?

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A: People just want to go out, have drinks and dance. We make music you can dance to; your foot is tapping and you know a lot of the songs. It’s fun, good music by musicians who can play well. So, no—no one’s thrown a can of pomade at me.

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KL: There’s a resurgence of these styles of music. People are tired of rap, Nickelback, corporate bands singing about sad things. That’s why I love old hip-hop; it’s all about going out and having fun and dancing, about what they really feel.

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A: Yeah, I love to see normal people just singing about their day, their lives.

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CW: So you both must be huge fans of High School Musical, then.

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A: I just know there’s some girl named Sharpay.

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KL: I’ve only seen half-naked pictures of Zac Efron on PerezHilton.com.

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CW: How did you decide to start having your bands do shows together?

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A: It seemed like we had mostly the same audience, so we decided to just start playing together rather than split them. We both like to interact with crowds, talk to people.

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KL: And the drunks—like when I’m yelling at you [laughs]. Our audiences are rockabilly kids, punks, goths, everybody. But you guys get more swing dancers; we get people who want to shake their bums.

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CW: The Soul Terminators are on the funky R&B side, playing a lot of covers from James Brown and The Meters, while the Radio Rhythm Makers are more identified with ’50s rock & roll and country swing covers. Does the music you write reflect that?

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A: We don’t know what it is right now. There’s some country swing, some rockabilly. Now that we’re doing more originals, they’re going to come out differently—we’re sooo over cover songs, it’s ridiculous. We have punk rockers, ‘80s guys, dancehall fans, a jazz player, so many styles and tastes in the band. It’s going to be a swingy, jazzy funky … thing.

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KL: [Laughs] Yeah, a swingy, jazzy, funky thing! That’s a style.

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A: These guys can play anything; they have their own language. It’s all gibberish to me. I say “Just tell me what to sing and when.”

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CW: You have the moves, but singing James Brown songs with the Soul Terminators doesn’t seem like a natural fit for a woman.

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KL: [Smiles] I’m not a natural woman. I just like music that makes me dance—and not many people knew I could dance before they saw a Soul Terminators show.

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CW: Do your bands have plans beyond recording and playing shows in State Street dives?

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A: Tour, play new places and meet new people. We all have day jobs; we’re just workin’ the grind until we hit it big, make a million dollars and get on the tour bus outta here! [Laughs]

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KL: I want the key to the city, that’s my goal. I think we’ll have to write a cool song about Salt Lake City to get it. Maybe it comes with free Del Taco for all time, I don’t know.

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THE RADIO RHYTHM MAKERS, KATE LEDEUCE & THE SOUL TERMINATORS
nBurt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, Friday, Nov. 21, 9 p.m.

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