How did you guys become a band?
John – Short answer: We’re each other’s high school sweethearts.
Longer answer: Matt and I enrolled in our school’s guitar program in 7th grade, and would spend hours at each other’s houses jamming and honing our newly-learned skills. After we had spent a few years playing in that sort of format, Matt decided it was time to realize his long-held dream of starting a band; during our sophomore year of high school, he reached out first to Mike P., then Adam, and Barry and Mike C. shortly after (most of whom were also members of the same guitar program.) We all entered this band as friends, and have stayed that way since. I think that sense of camaraderie is what has kept us together for so long.
How did you guys come up with the band name Sub-Radio?
Michael – It’s a funny story, the short version is it came out of a Best Buy ad. Matt and Mike were the originators of the name, and one day in high school they were looking for inspiration for a band name, and decided to flip to random pages in a Best Buy ad and close their eyes and point. They wrote down the words that were closest to their fingers, and something close to “Sub-Radio” popped out of the mix, and over time it morphed into the band name we use today.
What do you guys like about being part of a band?
John – My favorite aspect of being in this band is the experience of playing live shows. In general, we see every live show as an opportunity to give the audience an experience they’ve never had before, and hopefully even something to remember and think about after the show is finished. Plus, playing music is fun, and playing music that you love is even better!
Can you tell us a little bit about each of you?
Michael – There are six guys in the group, something you might not know about each: Adam (lead singer) also sings in an acapella group in DC called Word of Mouth, Matt (guitarist) is the most influential musical writer in the band, Barry (bassist) works as a phlebotomist for his day job, John (keyboardist) could play every part of every song on every instrument in the band, Mike Chinen (guitarist) never misses a day at the gym, and I (Michael, drummer) am a travel junkie.
How would you describe your musical style?
John – Youthful synth-pop. In fact, I would call back to the thing I said earlier about our friendship; we take our music seriously, but we’re a close group of friends who hasn’t lost sight of why we started the band in the first place. That sort of youthful and playful energy is what we strive to bring onstage with us, and it’s simultaneously exciting and challenging to figure out how to best achieve that and how to keep pushing our aesthetic forward.
What artists do you look up to right now?
Michael – WALK THE MOON is one of my all-time favorites, I’ve been hooked on their new album What If Nothing. It’s a catchy and accessible album with a really nice blend of artsy, weird decisions that make it super fun to listen to.
Your latest release “What Are We” has gotten a great reaction from your supporters, How did the song get created?
John – It started the way most of our songs do—a guitar lick from Matt’s infinitely creative mind, followed shortly by Adam writing the catchy melody that ended up as the hook in the chorus. Set that to 350o and let it bake for a few practice sessions, and voila!
Are there any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
Michael – Yes! What Are We came out in January, we have a music video for What Are We coming out in February, in March we have another single coming out, and toward the end of April we are releasing a 5 song EP called Headfirst that we’re SUPER stoked about. It’s a very exciting time for us!
What’s the process of writing one of your songs?
John -Our songs frequently (but not always) start with a guitar lick from Matt or a vocal melody from Adam. Usually they’ll bring their idea forward at practice, and we’ll jam on it over the course of a few sessions until we’re happy with the product. That said, one of the things we pride ourselves on is how collaborative and conversational we try to keep the songwriting process. We all write our own parts, and new ideas are always welcome. Sure, we occasionally butt heads the same way any group would, and we don’t implement every idea we come up with, but again we try our best to stay open-minded.
You guys also are heading out on tour. Whats your guys favorite song to perform live?
Michael – My personal favorite is Better Than That, the key change just gets me every time. It’s so fun for me to play I literally bounce up and down when I play it.
What does it feel like to perform your own music live in front of your fans?
John – It’s always a blast to play live for anyone and everyone, and to instill positive vibes in the audience. I listed it above as my favorite thing about being in the band, and I think at least a few of my bandmates would agree.
Whats been your favorite show so far in your career?
Michael – This past summer we played at Firefly at one of the campground stages, we started with a tiny group of people at the start of our set and by the end we had hundreds of people we’ve never seen dancing along to our groove! It was such an incredible experience.
Does your fanbase have a name?
John – Our fanbase does not have a name, at least not that we’re aware of. We’re open to ideas, though 😉 Please submit suggestions by coming to any given show and yelling them loudly.
How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?
Michael – I want it to feel personal. We are self-managed, self-produced, self-funded, and for that reason, every type of interaction we have with a fan is made directly to the band members, whether it be through social media, our music, the merchandise or at our shows. I hope it comes across that way.
What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?
John – I’d call this one awesome, rather than crazy: we were given the amazing opportunity to play at Firefly 2017 in Delaware, and were lucky enough to make a few fans there. One of those fans purchased our then-newest record and listened to it (exclusively) on repeat for his entire 7-hour drive back home after the festival. We weren’t aware of this until six whole months later, when he made the weekend drive AGAIN just to come see us in D.C. for a show. Fans like that are what make our band experience as fulfilling as it is. J., if you’re reading this, you’re the man!
What social media platform do you guys use most to stay connected to your fans?
Michael – We’ve divvyed up the social media roles. Adam runs our Twitter, I run our Instagram, and Matt and Mike run our Facebook. I recommend all three, and if you have them open all at once it’s like having the whole band right in front of you! 😀
What goals have you guys set out for the band?
John – Our most immediate goal is to get a larger fanbase and spread our music as far as we possibly can. Other than that, the idea of going on tour is a close second, hopefully with a larger-scale musical act. We look up to groups like Misterwives and Smallpools and, if given the chance, would tour with them in a heartbeat.
Do you guys have any last things you want to tell your supporters?
Michael – I’d just like to say thanks for listening! We’ve got lots of new stuff coming out soon so be on the lookout!
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us.