Hopeless Records announce their new signing, Air Dubai, today. AP caught up with JON SHOCKNESS, vocalist of the Denver sextet, to talk about their decision to sign with Hopeless, their hip-hop-meets-rock musical style and future plans, which include a full-length album, Be Calm, which is tentatively slated for a 2013 release.

INTERVIEW: Brittany Hill


So how’d signing to Hopeless come about?
Honestly, I don’t really know how it happened. We had a show in L.A. a couple months ago, and I think one of the people in the audience was a friend of one of the guys at Hopeless, so he was like, “Hey, you guys should check this band out that just played here.” I think they looked us up after that, and I think they had heard a little bit about us before, but, I think, hearing a one-person-away contact say it was really what did it. The indie label thing has always been attractive to our band. We don’t really want to lose who we are as artists, so, when they were like, “We’re an indie label, and we want you to be yourselves,” I think that was what really did it for us.

You’re a really different sound for the Hopeless roster. Do you think that will work for or against you guys?
Honestly, I think it’s a good opportunity because there’s that sound Hopeless usually has, but, with us, we’re a completely different band. Hopefully, we’ll get a little bit more attention, being that different band, and they’ll try to market us to different people. It will be a challenge for them as well as for us, being on a label where we don’t really fit with the rest of our labelmates–which is kind of cool. I think we’re seeing it as a positive.

In the broader scope, how do you distinguish yourselves from similar bands, like Gym Class Heroes, who have emerged with this hip-hop-meets-rock style you are doing? What makes Air Dubai different?
I think we’re different because we don’t really think about it. We don’t really say, “We are a hip-hop band that try to do rock music.” We don’t want to fit into a “This is who we are” thing. It’s like, “We’re going to try to do this on this album and see where it goes.” Instead of being that hip-hop-rock sound, we’re just like, “Let’s do what feels good to us.”

Do you all come from different backgrounds?
Honestly, it’s kind of weird because I feel like if it wasn’t for Air Dubai, we probably would have never met because we’re all such different people. As far as what we listen to musically, we listen to a lot of the same stuff, but a lot of us didn’t even listen to hip-hop until high school. I grew up on it, but I didn’t listen to indie music until I met these guys. Our different backgrounds are making [our music] a melting pot and influencing our sound.

What’s in the future for Air Dubai, and how’s Hopeless going to play into that?
We just want to tour more. That’s one of the biggest things that we’ve been missing in our band, just getting out on the road as much as we can, and seeing new places and meeting new people. We also have an album coming out soon. I don’t know the exact date yet, but it’s finished, and we had to push it back because of the Hopeless signing. It’s probably going to be spring of next year. The reason we pushed it back [was that] we could either release it to our small crowd that knows us, or we’ll release it to the Hopeless crowd, which is tenfold what we have now. It’s just about what’s best for us and our fan base we’re trying to reach, instead of just being like, “We have a fanbase. We know what we’re doing.” It’s like, “Let’s take some help from Hopeless and let’s see what they can do for us.” I think that will be really cool.