Air Traffic Controller Live In Studio

WERS Artist of the Week, Air Traffic Controller, stopped by for a live in-studio session. In anticipation for the launch of their sophomore album, Air Traffic Controller is eager to show fans what they’ve been working on. Front-man Dave Munro showcased both new and old tracks in the live mix accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Steve Scott and bassist Casey Sullivan.

Starting off the set was Air Traffic Controller’s latest single “Hurry, Hurry” that has been garnering attention over the past few weeks. The band just premiered the video for this single on May 24th, 2012. The music video for the single shows Munro frantically running through life and constantly being rushed by time, as there never seems to be enough of it to smell the roses.

Second came a hit from Air Traffic Controller’s debut album, The One, “Test 1, 2”. The band then wrapped up the live set with the first song of theirs that ever hit the airwaves here at WERS, “The One” which the album was aptly named after.

Their debut album is set to be released next month and is titled Nordo. Short for “no radio”, Munro explains that this term stuck with him after his time working as an air traffic controller. An aircraft is called “nordo” when it loses its signal, when radio signals cross, or any other situation that leaves the pilot without communication. “Nobody is talking to [the pilot], so you’ve got these plane crossing your scope and nobody knows what he’s doing. I’ve always found that exciting and mysterious,” said Munro. “It can be an eminent situation and I thought it would be a great concept for the album.”

As the sole songwriter for the band, Munro often writes in isolation. “When I write a lot of my music, it’s an isolated experience,” he said. “Maybe I felt very alone despite the fact that I’m on stage with nine other musicians whenever we play.” Starting with a concept for the song, Munro is often struck with lyrical inspiration at random moments. This means often singing lyrics into his phone while driving or scribbling words down right when waking up. “I try to really make the verse as interesting as the pre-chorus and that as interesting as the chorus itself,” Munro said.

Nordo is the product of the band’s second time working with critically acclaimed producer Bleu, whom Munro has been a long-time fan of. This time around however, new band members have been added to the line-up. String musicians Alison Shipton and Kiara Perico play violin and viola both on the record and on the road.

As the band gains momentum, Boston-native Munro finds himself playing at the very same venues he grew up with and hears his songs on the same radio station he listened to through his youth. “Oh man, when we played The Paradise it was really cool to get on that stage and play for a packed house,” Munro said. “We took photos with The Police poster knowing that we were playing the same stage that they did. We felt like little fish in an awesome stage.”

Air Traffic Controller has gotten into the habit of playing gigs with a string section to add more depth to the live sound of each song. “When we play with a rock band plus a string quartet, the whole sonic landscape sounds so rich and so unique,” said Scott.

Nordo holds the promise of bigger landscapes and a bigger sound for Air Traffic Controller. Be sure to catch the exclusive first listen concert at Emerson on June 7th to hear Nordo played live, in its entirety, before it hits stores!

By Jeeyoon Kim
Photo by Lauren Moquin

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