A few clicks around HelloRadio’s web site and you see this four-man band tries not to take itself too seriously. “Lately, the members of HelloRadio have been doing their part to swab the decks of New Jersey/NYC, playing some of the finest music establishments that bribery can get you into,” reads one line. They also promise their music, at the intersection of indie rock and folk, will “eventually have its way with you” as they rise to "cat’s pajamas status."
But last winter, when HelloRadio was gearing up to release it’s first six-song EP “300 Mile Concourse Winner,” things took a decidedly more serious turn. Promoting the EP meant playing live as much as possible, which meant they’d need more songs, which meant they’d need more practice. Before long there was a collective commitment to being a fulltime band that racked up long hours at Pigeon Club, an old pigeon-racing clubhouse turned recording studio in Hoboken, NJ. Here, the band talks about where they’ve been and where they’re heading.
Q: How did the band come together?
A: HelloRadio was a project started by Mike and Alphonse in Hoboken a couple of years ago that featured a collection of original songs that were eventually recorded using a makeshift home studio. Joe and Chris joined soon after to help develop the songs into versions that could be played live. Because of similar musical influences and style, the songs came together rather easily.
All four of us grew up together in Toms River, NJ and have played in bands together in the past, but never at once, and not on the instruments we currently play. Everyone is capable of playing more than one instrument, and that has worked its way into our live shows. We really enjoy switching instruments on stage to keep things fresh and interesting.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: We have such a wide range it’s almost ridiculous. Different artists at different points of ours lives have played such an enormous role in shaping our taste and style. But, if we had to narrow it down to, let’s say 9 or10 artists, I think that list would include U2, Pavement, Explosions in the Sky, Guided By Voices, Spoon, The Beatles, Neil Young, Yo La Tengo, and Coldplay.
We’ve heard people compare us to U2 and Coldplay mostly, and that is fine by us, because they’re excellent bands that have made more than a living doing what they love.
Q: Talk about your marketing strategy and building a fan base. You’ve become known as the band that blankets Hoboken in stickers. Is that part of the tactic?
A: Our marketing strategy is nothing more than advertising our band with what we think fans would be interested in. We keep up with Facebook and Twitter and try to connect with anyone interested in checking out our music. We’ve developed a cool website with pictures and videos of the band, and obviously handed out thousands of stickers at shows. What happens with the stickers beyond that point is out of our hands. We do enjoy seeing them everywhere, however. We hope to surpass Surf Taco one day.
Q: Which of the songs on the EP is most fun to play live?
We’re happy with the way the songs on the EP came out, and since then we have developed several more that will eventually be recorded. We really love playing one of our newer songs called “City Planner” live; it has so much energy, and an ending that seems to sum up the identity of our band.
Q: How much time did you spend in the studio recording the EP?
A: A fair amount; it was a learning process, and Wayne Dorell, our producer, deserves so much of the credit for making it sound the way it does. We think of the Pigeon Club (where the band rehearses and recorded the EP) as a home away from home.
Q: What are your day jobs?
A: We are all Superheroes.
Q: Talk about your song writing.
A: The lyrics are drawn from a variety of personal experiences, obviously. Some songs are more meaningful than others. The inspiration behind “For You” is about waiting on long lines at the DMV.
Q: What was you best live performance?
A: We’re usually happy with our performances at The Saint in Asbury Park and Brighton Bar in Long Branch, and at a couple of festivals we played this past summer/fall.
Q: And your worst?
A: That’s hard to say. Every show has taken on a unique experience in a way, so even the “bad” ones aren’t so bad to us.