Open Air Stereo is a band full of storylines from taking eleven years to release a debut album, to finding their guitarist through Craigslist, and from their lead singer Chase Johnson starring on MTV’s Laguna Beach where the band appeared as well. The band is embarking on their first ever headlining tour in support of their upcoming album Primates.
Open Air Stereo is bringing their tour to Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia tonight. The band consists of Chase Johnson on vocals, Nick Gross on drums, Evan Smith on bass, and Scott Pounds on guitar.
I had the chance to speak to guitarist Scott Pounds about the tour.
Mike Spain: This is your first headlining tour. Are you excited about the tour?
Scott Pounds: Absolutely its been a really long time. Open Air Stereo has been a band for roughly 10 or 11 years. Chase and Nick have been playing together since they were like 15. So to get to this point finally is incredible! I’m just ready finally.
The band has been together for a long time. Why did it take so long to finally come up with a debut album?
Alot of them were together in high school, I came actually after all the high school days. The band was signed to Sony/Epic and basically the day the band signed with them the whole team that was interested in them and signed them just left, or were fired, or for whatever reason there was total dismemberment. So the band was kind of put on the back burner. Nobody really paid attention to the band anymore. So what they did was throw them around to different producers and writers. There was never really a focus to have these guys do a record. Finally when the band was able to get out of the contract that was really the start of Open Air Stereo. It took a lot of trials to get an actual focused band and everything to put out a record.
You were discovered for the band through an ad in Craigslist?
Yes, I actually was. It was really strange. As some people know Chase was one of the main characters on an MTV show Laguna Hills and I had been in and out of bands my whole life. I had just gotten out of a band and didn’t know if I wanted to do the band thing anymore. Then I was like I’m still young I am going to look and find people to play with and I found that ad on Craigslist. It was just crazy. My wife was like “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that show” and I hadn’t heard of it and I had no idea what the show was or anything. I went to the audition and things just really clicked. You never know, it was strange and that was day one of me and Open Air Stereo.
How would you describe the music of Open Air Stereo?
On our debut record Primate a lot of songs on that record were songs that had already been kind of filtered through the band in the Sony/Epic days. The new tracks on Primates like “Where Do We Go?,” “Damned,” which is our current single, “Stuck on You,” and “Love is Blind” – those were more of a representation of who we were at the time we did the record. The way that we are moving now is atmospheric guitars, with a mix of synth-driven songs sometimes, and a lot of deep bass stuff.
Do you have a favorite song?
Yeah, actually it is funny when we started our first tour last year we were doing some video blog thing and they were all asking us what our favorite song was. Mine is “Damned” – our current single. I love playing it live. It is just an exciting song, its really fun, and I get to do a lot of fun things live on guitar. It’s my favorite probably.
What can you tell me about the rest of the band?
(Jokingly) They are just a bunch of goofballs – just kidding. I don’t know. We are really good friends and we all love to write all the time. We’re all writers. We are a group of four really good friends that luckily have that chemistry. We just all like to write and have a good time playing music and traveling. Honestly-that’s what we are all about.
What are you looking forward to on this tour?
Just getting out to play on our own and doing the headlining thing. Just seeing the response to the music. Just to see the people who show up every night. We just played South by Southwest for a week. We had something crazy like nine shows in five days. There were new people at the shows who were excited about the music. It was so exciting to get to talk to those people and see their passion for it. That’s a lot of what I’m looking forward to on tour – to meet new people and see how the music is impacting them.
For people who might not be familiar with your band or your music – why should they come out and check you out?
You can listen to our record. I think where we really excel though is live. The live show is great we have a lot going on. Like each of us switch off instruments and things like that live and it is just a really fun time. We really like it to be a community live, like getting everyone feeling like they are performing with us.
Open Air Stereo performs with Miggs and special guest Man on Earth, tonight, Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 8 PM at Jammin’ Java – 227 E Maple Avenue, in Vienna, Virginia. Purchase tickets here.