From the Producer’s Desk: ShortWave RadioBand

Sitting in the only shaded chair on Bill and O’s back deck, I strummed along with Andy Scullin of ShortWave RadioBand, entertaining our friends with cover tunes while putting away more Bud Lights than intended. Another day in the good life with friends and sunshine.

“Andy, do you ever write songs?”

“No, I can’t. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.”

That response didn’t sit well with me. Andy is a free-thinking, carefree guy. He can reproduce the melodies of hundreds of other people’s songs. Surely, he must be able to craft his own. The music producer in me believes anyone can turn their thoughts into music if that’s what they want to do. After all, I’ve been helping people create music for nearly 30 years.

“I bet if you quit telling yourself you can’t, then you will.”

Photo by Oziel de la Garza

Andy wasn’t trying to summon a Zen moment, so I let it go, but it turned out he didn’t…

Andy and his bandmate Lonny Eaton were a cover duo at the time with prepackaged drums provided by a digital pedal Andy controlled with his foot. From the corner of the barroom, ShortWave RadioBand would entertain patrons with classic rock covers, trading off lead vocal duties. It was a fun hobby that made the pair a few bucks.

Enter John Woods. As fate would have it, a neighbor who lived just up the road happened upon the duo as they played Bound By Fate, their hometown brewery in Schuylerville. Little did they know, John’s chill demeanor and love for the drums would become the perfect completion of ShortWave RadioBand’s lineup. Andy put down his acoustic 6-string for an electric bass and a power trio was born.

Tucked away off of Route 32 in cow country is the concrete and unfinished drywall lair of ShortWave RadioBand. Decked out with Friday the 13th props, video game posters, and frequent visits from a four-legged ball of puppish fury named Calvin, ShortWave RadioBand worked diligently getting drummer John Woods up to speed. Little did they know, Andy had a new trick up his sleeve – a dose of confidence.

Photo by Oziel de la Garza

Months had gone by since that summer jam, and Andy secretly convinced himself he can and will write songs. I remember the moment his first demo dinged my phone. All the right parts of a hip three-minute ditty were there. Some went on too long, others were upside-down but even rough and unfinished, it was an original!

I met with the guys to talk about producing their new material. With little-to-no experience working with a producer or recording in a studio, the trio was surprisingly open to change and willing to focus on serving the song. As a producer, that’s usually my primary focus.

We tracked “Don’t Care” at my studio and I sent the guys the mix. They couldn’t believe how badass it sounded. The fine folks at WEXT got their hands on it and gave it some airtime, and just like that, ShortWave RadioBand emerged from background barroom cover duo to local power trio with their first original song soaring across FM radio.

Being in your forties and realizing for the first time that something you’d always wanted to do is not only a possibility, but now an achievement, the band got to work writing their sophomore single “SomeDay”.

As they were working out the bridge, Andy rang me on video chat. Though I was covered in paint searching the aisles at Home Depot for the right baseboard, I was happy to pause for a moment and talk music. This job has no end to its perks. I love to help people create, and damn it, I’ll even do it at the hardware store.

Back in the studio, it was a breeze. The guys were so well-prepared that my job felt effortless. In just a couple of sessions, we wrapped production on “SomeDay”. Chris Wienk from WEXT heard the song and exclaimed, “You’re two for two!” giving the band’s second single some airtime love ahead of today’s official release date. Hear the ultra-positive ditty “SomeDay” from ShortWave RadioBand right now on your favorite music streaming platform.

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