bill bodkin catches up with the North Jersey rock band as they get ready for their performance on Thursday, March 8 at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., for pop-break’s Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase …
Sometimes you hear a band that’s so unique, so different, that for some inexplicable reason, once you take the iPod buds out of your ears, you sit there and think, “Now, that was awesome.” When I first listened to Cicada Radio over the summer, I got that feeling. This exciting and unexplainable feeling that you had just discovered something fantastic. It has this sonic resonance, a staying power that oft-inspired me saying to fellow music aficionados, “You gotta check these guys out.”
With barely a year under their belt as a band, Cicada Radio has become an integral part of the North Jersey scene, and on March 8, they will make their first venture into the wild and wonderful world of the Asbury Park, N.J., music world as a part of Pop-Break’s Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at The Wonder Bar.
Pop-Break’s Bill Bodkin recently caught up with Mike Kundrath, drummer for Cicada Radio, and we discussed all that’s changed with the band since we last spoke about half a year ago.
Pop-Break: You guys have terrifically unique sound. Can you paint us a picture in words of what the Cicada Radio sound is?
Mike Kundrath: Well, thanks a lot. Honestly, our sound is still being crafted every time we get together to write. It is yet to be fully realized, but we like to think of our sound as something of a hybrid of bands we like, such as Hot Water Music, At The Drive In, Surfer Blood, Title Fight, and Daniel Johnston. Hopefully, we don’t sound like any one of them too much, but the fact is each member of Cicada Radio brings their own unique influences to the practice space. We just want to make heart piercing yet balls to the wall songs for the ex-emo kids out there.
Pop-Break: Over the summer, you released the Imposter EP. Are there any plans to release another EP or a full-length album?
MK: Yes. Imposter turned out cooler than we expected because we didn’t exactly know what we were going to leave the studio with once we booked the sessions. We were a very new band at that point and just wanted to record some of the first songs that we had crafted together — plus a few already written before I joined the band — and hear what they were sounding like. Now we have about 11 new songs written, plus more that are still being written, and we’re going back into the studio at the end of March to work on a new EP or possibly our first full-length record. We’re still deciding what it will be. Either way. it should be pretty bitchin’. We’re psyched on these new songs.
PB: What’s been some of your favorite memories/moments of performing live with Cicada Radio?
MK: One of the more memorable moments playing live that I’ve experienced so far has been when Mike Keefe [lead guitar] had a guitar malfunction at the beginning of a song we were playing at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, so we cut it right there, and this is usually where everyone sweats and feels everything falling apart, but Pat Keefe [lead singer, rhythm guitar] immediately busted out a perfectly timed and perfectly heartfelt cover of a Daniel Johnston song — the name escapes me right now — the crowd loved it, and by its end, Mike’s guitar was fixed and ready to go. Onstage disaster perfectly, if narrowly avoided. I was a happy drummer.
PB: You guys are a member of The Tiny Giant Artist Collective. Can you talk about this group and how they’ve helped you as a band?
MK: Tiny Giant is a great collective of Jersey bands trying to keep a strong sense of community in order to build a strong efficient music scene, unlike so many sad and misguided ones out there. The guys who started the collective are really talented, sweet and supportive. It’s a great thing to be a part of and we’re happy to be a part of it. Check out the bands Holy City Zoo and The Nico Blues. They started the whole thing. They’re great dudes.
PB: You’re performing at our Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase in Asbury Park. What’s your opinion of the current scene down there?
MK: We haven’t played Asbury yet as a new band, so I don’t have much incite into it these days, but with all of the history there, and great bands like Plus Plus Minus and The Parlor Mob representing, and probably a lot of other good bands I still haven’t discovered, I can confidently say I that certainly haven’t lost hope for it.
PB: If someone reads this piece and wants to check you out, what would be the one song would you tell them to listen to — one that you think defines the Cicada Radio sound?
MK: If you’re entirely new to the band, I’d direct you to a song like “Open Wide” or “Sleeperhold” to get an idea of what we sound like. Both can be downloaded at
cicada-radio.bandcamp.com. Then keep your ears out for the new material by June. The new music is face melting.
PB: What can we expect from you guys in 2012?
MK: In 2012, we plan on recording and releasing a new EP or album, playing a healthy amount of shows, buying lots of Jameson, and becoming a bigger and better band. Oh, and T-shirts and stickers. These are overdue, and we plan to fix this.
Cicada Radio will perform at Pop-Break’s Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., on March 8, along with mix-hop pioneers Aquavibe and Central Jersey rockers Tango Machina. Tickets are $5.