Hot on the heels of almost a year’s worth of constant touring, and the release of their album, Lucky Street, Go Radio brought their intelligent, high energy brand of pop-punk-alt (does that really mean anything?) to Tempe, Arizona’s Marquee Theater.
It was a weird night. The traffic was bizarrely slow, even by Valley of the Stunned standards, and when we phoned the band’s tour manager to let him know we were stuck in traffic, he was in a controlled state of panic. Apparently, opening act Every Avenue’s van had blown up (exaggeration) and Go Radio had to go on more than an hour earlier than planned. But the rush-rush didn’t seem to put the guys off their stride. Go Radio gave the house a great show, and lead singer, Jason Lancaster (formerly of Mayday Parade), took time before the set, while everyone hustled around, screaming for dinner, to talk to DOOM!
DOOM: We’re here with Jason Lancaster, lead singer and guitarist for Go Radio. Welcome to Tempe!
Jason: Thank you very much.
DOOM: It’s been a long road. You guys have been touring pretty much constantly, with very few breaks, for the past year. How’s that been?
Jason: We like to consider ourselves a 10 month a year band, so we take a lot of pride in working really hard and doing our best at it.
DOOM: You signed with Fearless about a year and a half ago. How have they been treating you?
Jason: Amazing! We love Fearless. They’re like a second family, I’m actually going to spend part of Christmas out there with them and just say hi. I’m really, really excited about that label.
DOOM: Was Go Radio originally intended as a side project for Mayday Parade?
Jason: No, Go Radio was definitely a new project.
DOOM: What kind of sound were you going for with Go Radio? People have put so many genre labels on the band: pop, pop punk, emo, alternative. What would you consider your music?
Jason: We came into it just trying to not put a label on it. We’re just going to write music that we like, that feels right, that’s honest for us to play and whatever other people want to call it is fine, but we don’t really put a title on it at all. It’s just music, you know?
DOOM: You’ve got a lot of really rich sounds in your songs. You’re a multi-instrumentalist; are you classically trained?
Jason: No, I’m self-taught with everything.
DOOM: Did you start with piano or guitar?
Jason: I started with guitar.
DOOM: And piano after. Do you read music?
Jason: No. I tried to read music for a while, but it didn’t really go with how my head works so I just decided to go by ear. I’ll find a note and go from there.
DOOM: You have a really dynamic stage presence at the piano.
Jason: I have fun with it.
DOOM: I understand you have a really collaborative songwriting process.
Jason: It’s a team effort. That’s why you’re a band; you’re making music with your friends, not having your friends play your music.
DOOM: Does it ever happen that someone brings in a song and says ‘Guys! This is the best thing I’ve ever written!” and the rest of you turn to each other with horrified looks on your faces?
Jason: Yeah. That’s life *laugh*. I do it all the time. Things get turned down a lot. We wrote 50 songs for this last record; 14 made it. There’s a lot of “sorry, that can’t happen here.” That sucks, they’re all pieces of my history and what I like to do, but they didn’t make the cut.
DOOM: For Punk Goes Pop you covered Adele’s song Rolling in the Deep.
Jason: Her vocals are amazing. She’s got a lot of soul in what she does. It was an experience trying to figure how to put a spin on that, to make it sound like Go Radio. We wanted to go outside of the pop box with it. She has so much more to offer than so many of the artists that were named. I really enjoyed it.
DOOM: You’ve said that this tour, with Yellowcard, is a chance to expand your audience. Before this tour you did the Fearless Family tour, Soundwave, in Australia…
Jason: Yeah, Australia was super fun! I got to feed a kangaroo.
DOOM: How was the reception by the fans?
Jason: The fans were amazing. We never really know what to expect, going into a new place, let alone a new continent, but I was very, very surprised and pleased by the response that we got, how many people knew all the words to our songs.
DOOM: How would you define your audience?
Jason: Dedicated and diverse. Pop punk fans, like the 13 to 16 year old girls who come out. Then we have the college guys who like our music a lot. Moms and dads. It’s a broad range, anywhere between 12 and 35, 40s.
DOOM: It seems like a lot of bands, including Go Radio and Yellowcard, are coming out of Florida. What is it about Florida that makes it such a music mecca?
Jason: I feel like Florida has always been there as far as music goes, especially in Tallahassee; there were like five bands signed out of there in one year in the 90s. But I feel like a lot of light is shed on Florida now because not as many bands are coming out of other places.
DOOM: Do you think there’s something that the music community out there does to foster that kind of success and awareness?
Jason: Any time the kids get behind the scene and get out to shows it’s going to do two things: It’s going to inspire the musicians to keep playing and working and striving, and it’s also going to draw a lot of attention to the area. People are going to see 600 kids coming out of a local show and say, ‘hey, what’s going on there?’ Then people want to check it out and see what it’s all about.
DOOM: You’re not a comics guy, so I can’t ask you whether you prefer Marvel or DC. What do you relax with?
Jason: Movies. My favorite is ‘Airheads’ and I like a lot of B movie gore.
DOOM: Do you like horror rock, psychobilly, that kind of music?
Jason: Misfits, yeah.
DOOM: One more quick question. Jason Lancaster, if you woke up tomorrow morning and it was the zombie apocalypse, what would you do?
Jason: I’ve actually thought about this. I would round my friends up … we have a plan … and drive into the middle of the water, find a deserted island, hopefully, but definitely get off the mainland. You all bring your guns, get on a boat, find a deserted island in the middle of the ocean and chill there.
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