Travel Profile: Air Traffic Controller
By Sean Ritchie | Published on April 5, 2016
Travel Profile: Air Traffic Controller

With an eclectic song catalog and category-defying organic/electronic sound, people are taking notice of Air Traffic Controller. They were 2015 Billboard Hot 100 Fest performers with The Weeknd and Justin Bieber, placed on the NPR Hot 100 List for SXSW, named Guardian UK Band of the Day, won Best Indie Alternative Song in the Independent Music Awards, and have over 15 million Spotify plays. ATC’s music has been licensed by Bose, MTV, NBC, ABC, Disney, Verizon, Toyota, and many more. 

The band started the new year with showcases in Park City at Sundance with ASCAP, Toyota Music Lodge, Zen Den, and Cisero’s. They followed this up with their first Sixthman Rock Boat cruise with bands like Bronze Radio Return, Jukebox The Ghost, and Michael Franti. An Official act again this year at SXSW, ATC played showcases for McDonalds and the Grammy Museum.

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Read the interview below, or watch SCP TV’s full-length video:

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Sean Ritchie: We’re here at South by Southwest 2016. I just want to get a sense of your overall excitement.

Casey Sullivan: We’re so excited!

Dave Munro: Wow!

Steve Scott: We just got here. We’re thrilled. Very thrilled.

SR: You just landed today?

SS: We landed last night and then got all our crap together today, and now we’re rolling.

Travel Profile: Air Traffic ControllerPhoto courtesy | John Maffei

SR: Nice. How long you guys here for?

CS: We’re here for four-five days.

DM: Something like that.

SR: What are you guys looking to hit while you’re here?

SS: For starters we’re playing about four showcases. That to me, just seeing the bands that are on those showcases are what I’m most excited about. It’s going to be awesome.

CS: We’re actually reuniting with some of our tour buddies here. So, it’s cool because a lot of our other bands that we’re friends with, we all come to SXSW and get to see each other.

Travel Profile: Air Traffic ControllerPhoto courtesy | John Rogers

SR: Sweet. Who are you meeting up with?

CS: Jared & The Mill is a band that we just went on tour with really recently. They’re here. Then another band that’s actually from Austin, The Rocketboys.

DM: Bronze Radio Return is another one. We just played on a boat with them “The Rock Boat”. We’re on one of the same bills here too. It’s going to be great.

SR: So, I know you’ve said that you’ve been here a couple times before. What about the city really sticks out to you?

SS: I mean, other than the fact that at all times everywhere there’s excellent music being heard – everywhere. In places that aren’t even usually music venues are awesome music venues when you’re here. Then there’s the food – tacos, absolutely. Just any street trucks. You cannot go wrong here.

DM: As soon as we stepped off the plane there were guitars everywhere and posters. It’s just part of Austin. Music is the theme.

Travel Profile: Air Traffic ControllerPhoto courtesy | Garrett Malone

CS: The weather, I have to say, is pretty refreshing too, because we’re from Boston. We just got done with the not-so-brutal winter, but it’s nice to be in Austin. It’s beautiful out.

SR: We’re from outside of New York City, in New Jersey, so I kind of feel your pain on that one. The one thing that I really got, we’ve been here for about seven days, is everyone is so nice in this city. Everyone is friendly and I just feel like the vibe of SXSW, brings the city up and just kind of shows everything that’s good about the city. One thing that we really love is the music and travel side of things, how the two really intertwine together. Kind of touch on how special it is to travel for music.

CS: I think we’re the luckiest people ever to be able to do it. I’ve gotten to see so many different cities and played cool places that I never really expected to, just because we get to play for people.

DM: Yeah, we don’t just get to experience the cities. We meet the people and I say that every city we go to has a different kind of personality to it. The people are different and it’s always in a good way. We’re getting a certain section of the people that actually like to listen to live music. That’s going to be a good sampling of course. Meeting the people in the towns is as exciting as the town itself.

SS: I think, at the level we’re at, we’re driving a van across the country. So, it’s all of us sharing in the driving and just piling into a van. We’re kind of living all the miles between all those cities and really getting to see the country, seeing every mile of it and seeing all of the beautiful landscapes. Again, being from the Northeast, it’s usually warmer and the weather’s beautiful, and again just different landscapes. Just different vistas that you can’t see in New England. For us, the traveling and doing the daily six-to-eight hour drives that we’re doing every day is …

DM: … 12 hours. It’s happened a couple of times.

SS: That, to me, is a big part of just feeling America and seeing the whole thing.

SR: What are some of your favorite stops along the way?

Travel Profile: Air Traffic ControllerPhoto courtesy | Howard Ignatius

CS: I love Chicago and Seattle. Seattle is one city that I really got a full day to explore. I rode a bike around. I went to the top of the space needle. You can see Mount Rainier from the top. It’s beautiful; it’s breathtaking.

SS: For me San Francisco, absolutely. Anywhere from the food, they have some of the most amazing coffee in the world, Blue Bottle Coffee. The weather is always just perfect there. You just can’t go wrong with San Francisco. It’s an amazing city.

SR: Yeah, Mike (SCP writer) actually just got back from there about a year ago and he said that the vibe, atmosphere and openness of it is really cool about that city. What about you?

DM: Honestly, for me, Texas. I love the Texas towns that we play, especially Austin, of course. It’s just a different breed of people and music is so appreciated here. It’s just cool.

SR: So, what do you have your sights set on next after SXSW wraps up and you’re out of Austin?

Travel Profile: Air Traffic ControllerPhoto courtesy | Bernd Thaller

SS: New York City is a big one for us. It’s nice to feel like NYC is a home away from home for us. It’s almost like our second city. So, we have a show coming up there. Then, the new album is out so we’re looking at doing some touring. So, the summer absolutely, and through the spring into the summer, looking to just be on the road.

CS: Yep, we’re planning on touring.

SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, what do you have planned for the rest of the day?

DM: Well, we have this show at Shiner’s Saloon, then we have another one, not at McDonald’s [Loft], but I think McDonald’s is sponsoring it. That’s going to be a blast.

SR: Cool, awesome. Well I appreciate it guys, and that’s a wrap.

CS: Thank you!

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For more on Air Traffic Controller visit their website:

Travel Profile: Air Traffic Controller

About The Writer
Sean Ritchie

By: Sean Ritchie | Published on April 5, 2016

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