In The Studio: Go Radio
(Photo by: Matt Burke)
After a successful 2011, GO RADIO are “right in the beginning stages of the recording process” for full-length No. 2, says frontman Jason Lancaster. With 25 songs in contention for the still-untitled album, the Florida pop-rockers have the luxury to cherrypick what makes the cut. But that’s not the only way the quartet are being judicious with their music: They’re choosing to focus on recording and polishing one song at a time—and are only moving on to the next tune after they’re satisfied the previous one is finished. “It’s a lot more time-exhausting, but it’s turning out really good,” he says of the process. “I’m really excited about it.” Last week, Lancaster took a break from recording to fill AP in on what else fans can expect from Go Radio's sophomore effort.
What made you decide to record the album the way you guys are doing it?
We watched a lot of documentaries, like on U2 and Foo Fighters, and the way they used to record back in the day when records were always amazing, they always did it like that. We talked with Bob [Becker, Fearless Records president] and James [Paul Wisner], our producer, and they were both really excited about it, too, so we just kind of went with it.
Is it going to take you longer to do since you are focusing on one song at a time?
It’ll take longer, but it still fits within our schedule. I feel like it’s making each song better—which will, in turn, make the record better.
How are you narrowing down the songs?
Very carefully. It’s hard, because we’re all very attached to each individual song. This is the first record that we wrote mostly together. We came back from tour, took about a week off and just sat down and were like, “Okay, well, we have this idea—let’s go with it.” We would start with an idea together, as opposed to one person coming in with a complete song and us just putting our spin on it. Everyone is attached to every single song, so it’s been really hard to choose which ones we think are best.
What is standing out to you in terms of sound?
We’re growing up a little bit with this record. I know everybody says that about their sophomore attempt, but we feel like we started something with Lucky Street that we want to finish with this record. Tone-wise and material-wise, we want to appeal [to] and reach more ears. We want people to listen to this record—and we want the fans we’ve got to listen to this record and say, “Wow, this is where I hoped the band would go after Lucky Street.” Then we want other people to listen to it as well, and be like, “I can hear a back story in this and I’m not lost in it. I’m not lost in just the meaning of this record. I want to explore other things about this band.”
What sorts of things sonically are you exploring? Any different directions that way? Same old, same old?
We brought in a bunch of different amps and guitars and things like that, and we’re trying to really get away from what’s been really big and popular in the music scene that we’re in. [Right now] it’s just these big, huge, crushing guitars and over-saturation. We’re trying to back away from that a little bit and get more pure tones. Everybody has been crashing on the ride cymbal so long filling up all this space with, basically, noise. We’re trying to give the songs more room to breathe and more vocals in the mix and things like that. I’m really excited about how it’s sounding, how it’s feeling, about what it’s saying. Everything has been moving well.
What kind of lyrical things are you guys exploring?
It’s still along the same lines that we did with Lucky Street. We came into [that album] with the idea that we wanted to write a record that, realistically, has been written before—to write about things that have really affected us in every day life and not just the “boy meets girl” stuff. I feel we did that with Lucky Street. We’re really trying to continue it with this record. We’re trying to make it where it’s more applicable to everybody.
With Lucky Street, the way that we worded things and the things that we said kind of scared a lot of people, honestly, because we did talk about life and death and faith and religion and lack of both. We got really deep into ourselves for that record, and we’re still doing that with this record; we’re just trying to make it a little bit less scary. We’re trying to word things to where, like, [we’re saying] “Hey, you can still have all these things, but then hope is still there.” I feel like that’s something we tried with Lucky Street, but we’re actually going to accomplish with this record.
As a music fan, that’s very refreshing to hear things that are a little bit different as well, and not just the same old themes.
Absolutely. We listened to a lot of the bands that influenced us growing up, and then we listened to a lot of the bands in our genre that got influenced by the same bands—and I feel like that’s what created the whole pop-punk thing or whatever you’d like to call it. Everybody was getting influenced by the same bands, and it kind of made this general wash of music that just got kind of boring and stale; everything was sounding the same and feeling the same because it all sounded like the record before it.
I can understand why people think the scene is dying—that’s because it is. It’s like if you go to a certain sandwich shop every day and get the same sandwich every day: Eventually, you get bored of it, you get tired of it and you don’t want that anymore. So then you venture out and experience other things. I feel like that’s what we’re trying to bring this style of music into—[a feeling of] “Hey, it’s okay to venture out a little bit. It’s okay to feel different ways and be the person that you feel like you’re supposed to be. You can still go to shows and experience that.”
That takes a certain amount of bravery.
Oh, it’s terrifying. In a genre that’s been so long the same thing, it really is frightening to venture out and try new things and go, “I know how everybody else has done this, and its been successful for them, but we’re going to try it a different way.” That’s “keep you up with nightmares” stuff.
When are you guys going to finish the record?
I believe we finish May 4, so it will be done and recorded by the time we leave again for tour.
What else do you want people to know about the album and what direction you guys are going?
The important thing is that people realize just because you like one kind of music doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to like other kinds of music. I feel like that’s been a very, very big thing in music for a long time. I always hear people say, “I like everything but country.” That doesn’t make sense. You can’t not like something just because of the label that’s on it. You can’t put everything in one classification and only like that classification and only say, “I’m here for this.” You don’t know what is out there, and you don’t know what else you would enjoy as long as you’re pigeonholing everything into one category of “I don’t like this.” I want people to give this record a chance and give everything a chance—not just with us, but with life in general. Be happy and enjoy the things that you enjoy and don’t worry about what the person sitting next to you is going to think if they hear you listen to Willie Nelson on the bus. Don’t worry about any of that stuff, because none of that really matters as long as you’re happy and you’re enjoying it. alt