Coming from different musical backgrounds and experiences, the four members of the band now called Radio Birds – Colin Dean (drums), Jaz Dixon (guitar), Justin Keller (vocals and guitar), and Chase Lamondo (vocals and bass) – are united by their passion for writing, creating, and performing rock n’ roll music.“Jaz grew up playing bluegrass, Chase had been playing with a hardcore band called Whoremouth when he started with us, I grew up listening to James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkel and was really chasing the singer-songwriter path, and I’m pretty sure Colin has played just about everything under the sun,” said lead singer Justin Keller.
These varied influences helped inspire what fans hear on their newest self-titled EP. It is the first release from Radio Birds, although most of the members had been playing together recently as JK And The Lost Boys.2013 marked a transitory period for the band; they added Colin Dean, changed their name, and went to work in the studio.
“I remember walking into a group with some minor achievements, a small but connected fan base, and a good album that had been out for almost a year. But they were looking for something different–and starting something different, maybe, without even realizing it,” said drummer Colin Dean.
To complete this reinvention, they asked their fans, friends, and community for help in choosing a new name via an online voting system.
“Our fans are our friends, and they’ve always been a big part of everything we do, that’s why we wanted them to join us in this process,” said bassist Chase Lamondo.
The high-energy yet soulful sound of their most recent EP, which will be released on September 3, 2013, is a testament to the band’s musical progression and overall synchronization. Reducing the number of singer/songwriter compilations, the new album will have a full-band sound with the lo-fi purity akin to old rock-n-roll. Tracks such as ‘Uptown Girl’ and ‘Heart Made Of Gold’ incorporate heavy syncopation and tempo changes for a harder sound a la The Raconteurs. It is not an album that sounds the same way throughout; it is a collection of rock n’ roll experiments and a testimony to Radio Birds’ increasing mastery of many sounds.
“The band is coming together and playing as a whole more than we ever have. The creativity is flowing,” said Keller. “JK And The Lost Boys was structured primarily that I would write a song then show it to the guys and they would add their parts. Now, Radio Birds has taken that process to a whole new place. We are all writing together. Someone will bring an idea to the table and we will all, collectively, deconstruct it to make a brand new song. While each song has an original writer, they have been transformed so drastically that the songs clearly belong to Radio Birds as a whole.”
Their lyrics as well as their sound display the way the members are becoming more mature; they sing of making mistakes, reinvention, guilt, and love. Narrative ballads such as ‘I’m To Blame’ and ‘Long Way Down’ are bare-boned and relatable with lyrics like, “Take a look at your troubles, see that you’re the only one to blame. Oh, it’s time for change. Take what you have, and throw it all away.
”Most importantly, Radio Birds will continue to bring the raw energy their fans love to stages all across the Southeast. And their vibes are contagious.
“We do know how to have a good time, always a good time–and we can put on one hell of a live show. Our live presence combined with our new EP, I think, brings us to where we are now–to Radio Birds,” adds guitarist, Dixon.
Dean continued: “I don’t believe a name defines what a band is about, but a band does have every say in what its name comes to mean. I look forward to continuing to create that meaning. The name was born of change, so I hope the next time someone asks me, Radio Birds will mean something completely different than it does today.”