When hearing about new music coming out of Texas, most people’s thoughts go immediately to Austin, but there is a band out of Dallas that is making some big noise that is extending far beyond the Lone Star State lines. Douglas Hale (vocals, keys, guitar), Dragan Jakovljevic (guitar, BGVs, percussion), Richard Carpenter (keys, BGVs, percussion), Jeff Taylor (bass, BGVs), and Justin Robinson (drums) began making music together in 2008 in a suburb of Dallas. In a year’s time they had written enough songs to record and self-release their first record, and Air Review was formed.
The band has spent the years since, spreading their music and honing their craft, playing all across Texas as well as other cities across the southern U.S. In their most recent album, Low Wishes that was released in January of this year, Air Review masterfully utilize a variety of tones and melodies resulting in what I like to describe a sort of ambient-folk sound that gives Air Review a unique musical identity.
I was fortunate enough to recently speak with Richard Carpenter about the new album, the ambitions for the band, as well as number of other worldly topics.
How was the band formed? Did you all know each other beforehand? -CL
Doug and Jeff got together a few times and talked about writing some music when they approached me. Doug and I have known each other since day one, our parents being friends and all. The rest of us knew each from various musician-for-hire scenarios or, what you might call, musical social circles. But the key thing is that we’ve all become better friends since forming Air Review. I don’t know if that happens very often, but it’s been a crucial part of making Air Review what it is. -RC
What/who are the bands’ inspiration and influences? This could be both musical and personal.
We all have different musical interests these days. Doug loves electro girl pop, and so do I. I can’t stop listening to Purity Ring. Last year I was obsessed with Youth Lagoon (still kind of am) and I’m listening to POLICA right now. Jeff has always been a big Elbow fan as well as Doves. Justin would probably tell you about David Bazan or Rogue Wave and Dragan would shamelessly tell you that he listens to Boy George, though I don’t know if he’d call it an influence…
Is there anything about Texas that spills into your music?
Though we’re not all from Texas, we’ve all been here for a while. I’d say that it spills into our music in many ways, though it would be hard to pinpoint anything. For me, I think there is something about Texas that makes people feel big and small at the same time. Watching the Texas skyline has always been a favorite part of growing up here. Standing under something so huge and beautiful has always made me feel insignificant while simultaneously nudging me to reach for big things. That may sound silly, but I feel like it’s true.
What is your favorite Air Review moment or accomplishment thus far?
We’re all pretty proud of the new record. We put a lot of our own guts into it and in a way we’re still doing so. We certainly don’t think it’s perfect, but we believe in it.
What is the bands favorite city and favorite venue to play in?
I mean, can we really say anything other than our hometown, Dallas? Honestly, we really do love Dallas. It’s been kind to us. As for a favorite venue, there are so many great ones to choose from, but we love Trees in Deep Ellum. Great sound system and great owner.
Not sure if you have made it up to Nashville yet, but if so, what is your favorite venue to play? What do you like most about Nashville?
Unfortunately, we haven’t been to Nashville yet. I don’t think I’ve ever been there, but I have friends that absolutely love it and keep telling me that I’ve got to make the trip. We hope to get there soon.
I know you just released Low Wishes. Is this your second full length album?
Technically, yes, it is our second full length. Our first, Landmarks, is pretty different from Low Wishes. Some people might not even recognize it as us. It was a first and a conglomeration of many years of pent up music. We’re glad we wrote it, but we’re glad to be past it at the same time.
Following the release of Low Wishes, what is next for Air Review? I know you have a few dates scheduled in Texas, but will you be doing an extended tour? Maybe you’ll be making it up this way?
We have some shows booked for south Texas: Bryan, Austin, Waco. Then we have shows in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Jackson, Mississippi in the middle of March. Other than that, there’s lots in the works. We hope people will check in with us regularly.
What is Air Review’s mission? How do you plan to affect the world with your music?
I don’t know if we’re looking to change the world. We want to make the best music that we can and we hope that people will be inspired by it in the same way that we have been inspired by music.
What is the next goal Air Review hopes to accomplish?
We’re dying to hit the road. We love playing live shows and playing in new places. We’ve got all kinds of plans in the works, to play in surrounding states as well as a trip out to the west coast. We’re just trying to be patient and do our best to be ready to go when the right opportunities present themselves.
Any pre-show rituals?
It’s funny, we really don’t. There’s always so much going on before shows and most of the venues we play don’t really have a place for us to gather privately.
If Air Review could play with one artist/band, who would it be?
It varies for each of us, but I think Radiohead comes closest to a band we can all agree on.
What is the Air Review’s favorite fast food/drive-thru tour pit stop?
Oh geez, that’s something we never agree on.
Which angry bird is your favorite angry bird?
I didn’t know there was more than one.
Lethal Weapon or Die Hard?
This is the toughest question for me. I really can’t decide.
– Christian Lerchenfeld