A Go Radio record isn’t so much meant to be listened to as it’s meant to be experienced. Go Radio have more in mind than just their ultra-catchy melodies. They craft songs that climb inside the listener’s heart and mind, establishing deep roots through shared experience and expression.
Go Radio is all about connection. The melodic rock band’s passionate and energized anthems demand participation. Like the expansive, broad-minded, big rock soundscapes created by U2 and Foo Fighters or the earnest, heart-on-sleeve, punk-scene-nourished output of generational torchbearers like Jack’s Mannequin and Dashboard Confessional, the tracks on Go Radio’s sophomore album, Close The Distance, arrive as more than just simple sound.
One listen to the piano-driven rock n’ roll ballad “Go to Hell” or the driving alt-rock barnburner “I Won’t Lie” from the band’s new album is ample assurance that Go Radio makes not only the kind of music that they themselves want to hear but the type of songs that connect with an audience. Close The Distance is a sophomore-slump defying natural progression from Lucky Street, which established their ability to craft a catchy hook and create memorable connections with the crowd.
Close The Distance is the sound of Go Radio’s internal brotherhood and collaborative spirit. Go Radio and their music represent a true family atmosphere, within the band and with their fans.
“I hope that Go Radio makes people think,” says vocalist / guitarist Jason Lancaster. “I want them to think about why it’s OK to be a certain way, or about ways they can handle different situations. I want them to think about faith, life; everything. Just to think in general. Move your brain.”
Of course the band’s songs have made people move their bodies, too. Eliciting electric and interactive reactions from diverse audiences around the world on Vans Warped Tour, Australia’s Soundwave Counter-Revolution and on package tours with their peers in groups like Yellowcard and Breathe Carolina, Go Radio thrives in the live environment as much as on record.
The Tallahassee, Florida based quartet – comprised of Lancaster, Matt “Burns” Poulos (bass), Steven Kopacz (drums) and Alex Reed (guitar) – stands apart in their willingness to put it all on the line for their craft and each other. In an age where many groups do whatever is fashionable to become as popular as possible, Go Radio puts honesty and integrity first in front of any careerist concerns. The familial bond and true brotherhood within the group takes priority.
Go Radio began as one of the most hotly anticipated bands the melodic pop rock scene has spawned. On the strength of two incredibly well received EPs (Welcome to Life and Do Overs and Second Chances), Go Radio’s debut album, Lucky Street, cracked the Billboard Top 100 and was declared Album Of The Year by AMP Magazine. Music fans weaned on bands like Starting Line and Something Corporate were instantly enthralled by the album’s dynamic power.
The straightforward and brazenly honest tracks became a guidepost for what Go Radio would become beyond the blueprint of the early EPs. A subsequent deluxe edition packed in an additional nine songs, all of them breathtaking, together with the fan-favorites that had made up the album upon its release. With roadwork under their belts and creative ambition burning in their blood, the band reconvened and enlisted indie maven producer James Paul Wisner to make album number two. His experience refining the jagged edges while emphasizing the raw power of bands like Paramore, New Found Glory and Dashboard Confessional came in handy. Wisner mixed the album with Mark Endert, who’s worked with Maroon 5, The Fray and other huge acts.
“We are looking at the world in a completely different way,” explains Lancaster. “You can hear that change between the two records. We’re still growing, even now. We’re not angry about the things we were angry about, back when we made the first record, anymore.” Part of that growth process between albums involved a newfound focus on what sets them apart – the reasons why Go Radio has something fresh to offer as they breathe new life into a familiar sound.
Close The Distance represents a progressive shift in tone for Go Radio. It’s the sound of a band who has come into its own, who is comfortable in their own skin and who has developed a newfound serenity courtesy of the groundswell of support they’ve received. “Thanks to our fans, we don’t have to be mad about stupid things anymore,” Lancaster says. “We look at things so much differently than when we wrote Lucky Street. We are incredibly proud of the new album.”
The passion and thought Go Radio put into Close The Distance is palpable. And it’s the exact record the music scene needed. “We’ve always wanted to be a band that talks about so much more than just boys and girls,” emphasizes the frontman. “There is so much left out in music now and there are so many topics that need to be touched on, that need to be spoken about that, and people are just forgetting. It is really sad. Music, especially this genre of music, comes from a place that is so incredibly honest and so incredibly, brutally truthful. Our generation has given a lot of that part of the music up and that is something that we are trying to bring back into it.”
One of the first songs Go Radio wrote for Close The Distance ended up being the first single. “Collide” is anchored by a guitar lick Lancaster says he had in his arsenal “forever” and the result is one of Go Radio’s most driving and fun songs. It’s sure to become a Go Radio signature track.
Slower in tempo, “Hear Me Out” deals with the passing of Alex Reed’s grandmother. The guitarist brought the song to the band as a finished track. “We listened to it and it was just gorgeous,” says Lancaster. “He was just sitting in a corner listening to it and tearing up, trying to stay as composed as he could, but at the same time listening to this song that is about one of the first major heartbreaks of his life. It’s just a really beautiful and honest piece of art.”
Fans are well acquainted with “Forever My Father,” which Lancaster and his siblings recorded after their father’s passing. Go Radio has a special connection with issues of mortality and manages to address them in song in ways that everyone can relate to. “Alex’s grandmother was one of the first people close to him to leave this world,” Lancaster says. “He was very hurt by it. It’s something he never really dealt with all of the way. So when we started writing this album, we were talking about the direction we wanted to go in and the things that we all wanted to say.”
The album’s title track, “Close The Distance,” is a feel good anthem that still gives the singer chills every time he hears it. “It reminds me of exactly where we were when we wrote it. When we wrote that song, we needed the ‘Braveheart’ speech where William Wallace is screaming ‘Freedom!’ at the top of his lungs, waving his sword in the air. This song is very much that for us.” It reminds listeners to keep moving, keep the wheels turning, because we’re almost there. “That’s why we wanted to make it the title track, because emotionally, the song is so important to us.”
MTV Buzzworthy chose to premiere “Go to Hell” and with good reason, because it’s a prime example of Go Radio doing what they do best: blending melody and energy. “I’m O.K. by myself / you can go to hell,” Lancaster proclaims in the brilliantly dramatic track. As MTV pointed out, the piano-laced track is filled with unexpected bounce, fiery guitars and a “stomp-along” chorus.
The type of honesty present in songs like “Go to Hell,” “Collide,” “Close The Distance” and “Hear Me Out” permeates the entire album and truth be told, Go Radio’s entire career as a band. Too many groups are out there releasing music that has nothing to say lyrically or artistically. Go Radio is a band with a creative point of view who has never sold themselves out artistically just to make a fast buck.
“We have always been honest with our music, with ourselves and with our fans,” Lancaster says proudly. “That has always been the most important thing to us. When you listen to a Go Radio song, you hear how we feel about things. If we write something then that is exactly how it is. I feel like that is something that has been lost in music for most of this generation.” More than catchy one-liners, more than flashy gimmicks, Go Radio and their authentic approach is here to stay.