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On The Importance of a Local Foothold, Founding Their Own Label and a Lifelong Commitment to Learning
TEAM* – “I Like It” from Evan Kaufmann on Vimeo.▼ Article continues below ▼
Whether you spell their name with an asterisk or not, TEAM’s second EP, Good Morning Bad Day, has been drawn out of the urgency to deliver the best quality possible. Percussionist Rico Andradi can be found next to a drum set at almost any time of day, on tour and at home in Dallas, with a sincere urgency to be the best he can be. When Andradi and guitarist/vocalist Caleb Turman asked long time friend Will Pugh of Cartel to produce their record, he jumped on it, and together they’ve created a poppy dream. Andradi had the chance to speak with us about releasing the EP on his new label, Field Day Records and raising a band from its roots.
You guys managed to write quite a few hooks on your new EP. When you are writing, do you begin with the vocals or instrumentals?
Most of the time, Caleb will have an idea after strumming on the guitar in his room and find a melody that he likes. Usually, we just run with it, bring it into a room, and put our own thumbprint to it. The melodies are really Caleb’s department, but whenever one of us comes up with something that we’re excited about, we’ll stop and break it down into sections. For now, I think we’re just kind of surprised when we put something out and people say there’s a lot of hooks; we just think it’s awesome that it worked out that way because we really didn’t know.
How was the reception on tour with Third Eye Blind?
Honestly, it was great! We’ve been friends with those guys for about four years now. Whenever we found out that they were doing a headlining tour, we just joked about it like, ‘Hey maybe we should tour together!’ and they said, ‘Ya ya, send us your EP and we’ll check it out!’ Honestly, we didn’t think anything of it. It’s one of those things that you joke about, but never think that will happen…but they had a meeting, and heard our EP, and they really liked it and were very supportive of it.
The tour at first was kind of hilarious because we didn’t even own a van. I literally bought a van on Craigslist three days before the tour, but the tour was amazing. They responded so positively to our record and they thought it would be a good fit for them. The response from the tour really helped us out a lot. I think the best part about it was being with a pretty established band that’s been around for a while and has generally older fans. It was kind of cool to see how our music resonated with that older crowd. We were getting crowds ranging from 12-year-old kids who came with their parents to people in their 50s, so it was cool to see that. We weren’t pigeon-holed.
Have you had previous plans of creating a label or did the idea come to be after the formation of TEAM?
I’ve always worked in music and I’ve always worked under the name, Field Day Records, but whenever TEAM started going it urged me to take it a little more seriously, so I ended up getting an attorney and doing everything legit and all that stuff. I started the label, holding myself accountable. It’s always been a passion of mine to start a label and self-release records. Now that I’ve released our new EP and have plans of re-releasing our first self-titled EP, I’m also going to be working with other bands.
It’s just a passion. When I get older and I can’t tour anymore, I still want to be in music and this is my excuse to still be able to do that.
How have you grown as a touring musician?
You learn a lot about yourself on tour and a lot about the other people you tour with. The best way that I can explain it is, when you join the army and you’re in a foxhole, your life is in someone else’s hands. You start to look around you and think, ‘Who would I want to be in a foxhole with?’
How I’ve adapted is learning the do’s and don’ts through a lot of trial and error. When you first start touring it’s very new and it’s exciting, but after one two, three, four, five, six, seven years of touring as a musician it’s more serious; we’re thinking longevity. Now, I take it very seriously. When we’re out there, we’re very committed and it is very much a job to us, it isn’t a vacation. Just taking my musicianship seriously has helped me adapt greatly. I’m always practicing on and off tour, all day every day, to the point where I started as a drum instructor and get called in whenever I’m off tour. I do this just so that I’m always around my instrument. It’s not that I do it for financial reasons, it’s more to make me better because I’m thrown into a situation that I wouldn’t normally be in. It helps me progress. If you’re not getting better, what are you doing and why are you doing it?
What advice do you have for bands that aren’t based out of major hubs like New York or Los Angeles?
You have to get back to the basics, write all the time, practice all the time, and make demos all the time. Just always try to get better! Writing songs and recording them, even if it’s just on your laptop, helps you grow to a point where you can move on and come back later. Obviously, there’s social media, where you should try and connect with touring bands coming through and get on those bills, but no matter what, you have to connect with your hometown. When we started, we knew that we couldn’t forget our roots in Dallas. Once you get the support from your community, surrounding cities pick up on that. Establish yourself where you’re at regardless of whether you’re in a major city or not.
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