Downtown City Radio will make 20-somethings nostalgic for the pop-punk sounds of their middle and high school years.
The band describes its sound as “soul-punk.” Sampson Ma, the lead singer of the band, said he is greatly influenced by soulful music from artists like Patrick Stump, while drummer Brady Sharp likes to bring in elements from his favorite band, Chevelle.
“The best way I’ve ever heard someone describe our band is this,” guitarist Dalton Cooper said. “We’re pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy, if they had a kid with Yellowcard and Blink 182, and left that kid to be raised by the wolves in Lubbock.”
Band members Ma, Sharp, Cooper and bassist Travis Christopher recently celebrated their one year anniversary and are proud of how far they have come in such a short amount of time.
Downtown City Radio had their big break last year, when they opened for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, the band who performs 2004 mega-hit “Face Down.”
“That was cool not only because we’re fans of them and they’re a pretty big band, but there were just a lot of people,” Sharp said. “It kind of put us on the map in Lubbock.”
Sharp said they got the opportunity to perform with the early 2000s rockstars because they are one of the few pop-punk music acts in Lubbock. Although Lubbock has a lively music scene, the band said most other groups perform either harder rock songs or covers.
“It’s kind of weird for us, especially getting started, because we’re opening up for like Halloween shows with satanic bands,” Sharp joked.
The band has found an audience in West Texas, and is releasing its first full-length album on Sept. 2.
Recorded in only a day and a half, the band completely self-funded the album. They recorded the album in the middle of a bar, which they joked had good acoustics. As students, they had little time and resources, but made the best of them and are proud of the final product.
They cannot predict what will happen, but the band hopes to break even financially and gain exposure around and outside of Lubbock. They have already sent the album to record companies and radio stations in hopes of gaining attention, and ideally, a record deal. Sharp said few bands get noticed by just sending their album out, and rely more on connections and touring to make it big.
“You have to have courage,” Cooper said. “You look at yourself real hard in the mirror and say, ‘Do you really want to be exposed to these people?’ I’ve sent it off to eight or nine labels, and haven’t gotten a response yet, but I still have one more that I want to send it off to. Hopefully they’ll at least give me an answer.”
With graduation quickly approaching for many of the band members, they are eager to see where they will go next. Depending on the success of this first album, they plan on continuing to pursue their musical dreams. They hope to record another album in 2017.
“It’s not an easy thing, but it’s worth it,” Sharp said.
Downtown City Radio is having a back to school bash and CD release party on Sept. 2 at Backstage. Other local bands Wake the Weary, Alive & Well and Everything is Sad will also perform. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door.