- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music
Here at Performer, ATC holds a special place in our heart. We’ve loved the band for YEARS, going back to their album NORDO which first caught our attention back in 2012. You can read our retro-review of that here. Fun fact: we still keep that promo CD on our office shelves and it’s still in constant rotation on the stereo.
And over the years we’ve had a few opportunities to work with the band on a number of video projects. The group, led by frontman Dave Munro, has this infectious brand of indie pop/rock that’s confident, catchy but not in a precious way that can come across as forced (one of our main gripes with a lot of inexperienced indie bands aping more mature acts they’ve seen).▼ Article continues below ▼
Instead, there’s an earnest quality to Munro’s songwriting and vocal delivery that oozes authenticity (as in one of our recent faves rom the band, “Sometimes”, which you can hear on our 2022 end-of-year cassette mixtape). And the band’s accompanying vibe of chimey, hookey power-pop lends the perfect base for Munro to layer his hooks on top of. Throw in some excellent, and tasteful backing harmonies, and there’s just no going wrong with letting ATC take you for a ride.
One last thing we’ll say — there’s a fine line between bad lo-fi sounds due to a band not knowing how to record properly, and the tastefully-applied lo-fi touches you hear in “Anybody Got A Light?” — it’s just the right mix to give off the vibe you want without the poor fidelity you don’t (so if you’re a band seeking that type of mood, listen to this track on good headphones on repeat and pay close attention to how the guitars are set up — far less gain than you might think, and how they sit in the overall mix).
When describing the track in more detail, Dave Munro writes:
“During the summer of 2021, there was one particular period where it felt like the pandemic had ended, and it was time to celebrate. Our world was back, only for a moment, after playing an outdoor show for a wild unmasked crowd. In my search for a lyric, I found that feeling of excitement accompanied by anxiety. I have a fellow Boston singer-songwriter friend named Will Dailey whose album is called “Back Flipping Forward.” Eventually, I’ll find out what he meant, but I imagined looking back at darker days and doing a back flip, but forward on a path toward an uncertain but hopeful future – a light.”
“Anybody Got A Light?” was recorded live by producer Dan Cardinal with Seth Kasper & Air Traffic Controller at Dimension Sound Studio in Boston. Dan’s approach, after hearing Dave Munro play it solo acoustic, was to record it live quickly and not overthink it. “It’s funny how the only song we didn’t obsess over ended up being our favorite,” Dave Munro says.
In the track’s music video, Air Traffic Controller maintained that lo-fi spirit. Video director Tyler Armstrong suggested approaching the title in a literal sense. With a flick of a magic lighter, a mysterious character transforms less fortunate lives into happier ones. These stories are told through TVs playing in the dark and all of the acting is done by the band, like in an early MTV video. On one of the TVs, the band is “performing” on the roof of their rehearsal space in Charlestown MA.
As Air Traffic Controller’s lineup has been going through some big changes (enter Bobby Borenstein and Emi McSwain), creating this song and video served as a much-needed retreat and bonding experience. In light of the song’s theme of surviving in a changed world, this is a fitting conclusion.
“Filming this video amplified my faith in this group and our future. I truly believe we have a lot more to accomplish together,” writes Dave Munro.
New album “DASH” out now.
Air Traffic Controller – “Anybody Got A Light?” on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/2Gagzo…
Additional Streaming links:
Director: Tyler Armstrong
Camera: Rob Scheffler
**main photo by Yaz