Porridge Radio: From Lockdown to Opportunity

By: Samantha Eddy
(Clash Magazine / No Copyright Infringement Is Intended)

Formed in 2015 as “a space to be vulnerable and creative, where you could scream or lie on the floor or make music,” Brighton group Porridge Radio speaks up on how the pandemic put a halt to their upcoming breakthrough with music, and how that actually gave them an opportunity to work on themselves individually and as a band, as well as a chance to connect with their fans. 

Porridge Radio were on the brink of making their leap to success when the pandemic hit. Along with playing gigs in Oslo, they were about to release their second album (the first since signing with Secretly Canadian – an American independent indie record label), and they had planned on visiting the United States to perform at the South by Southwest festival, take on their U.S. tour, and then go back home to the United Kingdom for a festival and headline tour there. All was going well, and the four members of the group were pumped for what was to come. It is no surprise that when they heard that places were going on lockdown their hearts dropped to their stomachs and they were devastated. Dana Margolin, frontwoman of Porridge Radio, expressed her thoughts in an interview with the Guardian stating, “I was ready to be on the road full-time, not having a break, not thinking about myself. We’d heard rumors, but we were all swept up in our own worlds. You can’t really plan for the worst – you just have to plan for things to happen.” 

After a lot of preparation and recording time, Porridge Radio’s second album Every Bad was released early on March 13thof 2020. The band was ecstatic about their new release and soon began receiving feedback. According to Pitchfork, Every Bad can be described as “sometimes twisted, often transcendent, always incendiary,” while Paste Magazine labeled the album “an emotional and instrumental triumph. “This whole thing about buzz bands and hype and momentum – I find it quite funny because we were so outside of that world for so long,” says Margolin on how much the band is invested in their own little music world that they are sometimes phased by existence of the real world. She spoke on this new popularity with, “…now I look at it and I’m like: ‘Oh, that’s us – that’s hilarious. Okay, sure, I’ll go along with that’.” And just when the group was receiving all of this popularity, praise, and feedback, the pandemic brought everything to a halt and created this environment Margolin described by saying, “There was this weird dissonance.”

(Pitchfork / No Copyright Infringement Is Intended)

While the pandemic and lockdown certainly weren’t helpful for the band’s uprising, Porridge Radio used this break as an opportunity as it gave them a chance to sit back and relax from all their hard work. “I don’t think I’d ever accepted that I needed to stop, but I needed to look after myself, physically, and also my mental health was quite bad. Part of me was secretly relieved,” says Margolin, elaborating on this unforeseen opportunity. With this free time, the group held multiple livestream events that enabled them to connect with fans. They performed a gig, had an agony-aunt session, and even held a painting class. In addition, Margolin sent out merch and zines to many fans. She even organized a Porridge Radio meme contest. “When you give people a bit of a free pass to take the p*ss out of you, it’s great to see what they do. But also, ouch,” says Margolin with a chuckle. 

The band also used this time to work on their next release – a remix album, which is currently in the works. With life beginning to go back to normal for them, they are hoping that all of their plans for 2020 will follow through either this year or the next. “I have absolutely no idea,” says Margolin on how she will feel about performing live after such a long break. “Maybe I’ll be nervous, because I think it will be quite different. I’ll probably just completely disconnect from reality and not know what I feel until a year later – so ask me in two years’ time. It’s taken me a long time to feel ready to tour actually. But today I’ve woken up and I’m ready to go.”

With the release of Every Bad, Porridge Radio also posted album and song-specific merch on their website, which includes vinyl’s, CD’s, long-sleeves and t-shirts, postcards, and a tote bag. Click here to check out the new merch!

Nominated for the Mercury prize in July, Every Bad is “a fully formed, sweeping roar of an album that dissects the joys and agonies of being young and in love, and then spectacularly not in love. On songs such as Sweet or Born Confused, the deliciously barbed lyrics change meaning with every frenzied repetition, building to a visceral release of pent-up emotion,” describes the Guardian. Check out most popular song ‘Sweet’ below. 

With new plans in action and a clear headspace, Porridge Radio is ready to re-enter the music scene. Having announced new tour dates, an upcoming remix album, and a new connection with fans, they can be deemed as ‘back and better than ever’. Check out the UK tour dates below, and for more information on other tour dates and ticket purchases, check out Porridge Radio’s website here.

November UK Tour List:

  • 3rd-6th – Iceland Airwaves – Reykjavik
  • 9th – The Cluny – Newcastle
  • 10th – The Leadmill (Steel Stage) – Sheffiled
  • 12th – White Hotel – Manchester
  • 13th – White Hotel – Manchester
  • 14th – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds
  • 16th – Norwich Arts Centre – Norwich
  • 17th – The Exchange – Bristol
  • 18th – Chalk – Brighton
  • 20th – West Hill Hall – Brighton
  • 21st – Wedgewood Rooms – Portsmouth
  • 23rd – Village Underground – London
  • 24th – Village Underground – London
  • 26th – The Bodega – Nottingham
  • 27th – Mono – Glasgow
  • 28th – Mash House – Edinburgh
  • 30th – The Bullingdon – Oxford

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