Satellite is an indie rock/alternative band with roots in Nashville and Los Angeles and made up of Steven McMorran, Josh Dunahoo, Erik Kertes, and Mitch Allan. The sound of their 2010 EP, Ring the Bells, with their well-known single "Say the Words," has been compared to the sounds of Kings of Leon, Snow Patrol, and Mumford & Sons. Recently signed with Sony Music Entertainment and Descendant Records, Satellite will release their first full-length album titled Calling Birds on March 5.
I was able to chat with the guys before they played a show at The Living Room late last month and discovered they appreciate the energy and edginess of the NYC music scene that is unlike other big music hubs like Nashville, L.A., and Chicago.
McMorran, who has a long history with songwriting, including having written songs for legends Celine Dion and Joe Cocker, said unlike their first album, “Calling Birds” will be new material and listeners can expect a different and more evolved sound. “We like to get weird and rootsy and mesh those different sounds,” Dunahoo said of their style. They said this album is much more equally-written and evenly-collaborated between all members of the band, which is something Satellite fans are excited to experience.
I asked the guys who some of their music inspirations are and who was recently played on their iPods. McMorran gave me a solid lineup of Otis Redding, Frank Ocean, Johnny Cash, new Mumford & Sons, The National and some John Legend. Dunahoo added that he’s been listening to a lot of dance music lately and diggin’ Miike Snow and the new Robyn album. He also mentioned his admiration for a band that he believes will go down in history as one of the greats of our time; a band they get awesome and weird musical ideas from, and that is Arcade Fire.
I asked McMorran how his writing process works: does he write the lyrics first and then set them to music or does the music happen first? He replied that he works kind of backwards; he creates the music first and then matches that music to a feeling. “Think of it as emotional music…without being emo.” All right. I’m down.