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Meet Trae Berry, Paxton Mclelland, Chris Callahan, Jack Lloyd and Seth Radman of The Vinyl Suns

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trae Berry, Paxton Mclelland, Chris Callahan, Jack Lloyd and Seth Radman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about your band, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The band really started in summer 2015 when we luckily stumbled across Jack, our drummer, by great coincidence. Chris (lead guitar/vocals) moved into a new place with a couple of friends, and Jack was a friend of theirs who signed on as the 5th roommate. None of us knew Jack till then. One day we were in their living room talking about how, “all we need is a good drummer and we’re set…” and Jack turned his head as very casually to point out that he, indeed, was a drummer. The stars aligned after that. We had our first practice that afternoon at good ole Nuçi’s Space in Athens, and we’ve been going ever since.

Anyway, after that, we started playing covers and writing songs all over Athens playing shows anywhere that would put us on the ticket. Our first show was a modest house party at Paxton’s place. We bought a keg to lure people into coming… that worked pretty well. We began to get some traction around town and soon started playing shows at the 40 Watt, Nowhere Bar, Caledonia Lounge, and the Theatre weekly before we took the step to branch out to Atlanta, Clemson, Macon, and other cities in the south. Some of the most memorable times thus far have been playing Athfest in summer 2017 and closing the tickets at the Georgia Theatre for the Wood Brothers and Blackberry Smoke in 2018 and 2019.

These days we all live in and play mostly in Atlanta, but we’ll always feel like an Athens band in some way. We really enjoy the music scene here and the other musical talent is fantastic. It’s a great place to continue our growth. Today we’re a five-piece band with the addition of Seth Radman on the Saxophone, and we always like to have Chad Mason join us on the keyboards. Both of these guys have really helped us develop our sound into what you hear today—a gradually evolving style of indie rock born from blues, rock n roll, and Americana.

We are currently working on our 3rd project and what will be our first full-length album. We just released our first single off the album, Bad Feeling, which can be found on all streaming platforms, and we also released our music video for Bad Feeling on YouTube earlier this month.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Cross your fingers, but to be honest, it has been a pretty smooth ride over the last five years. There are always arguments and some fights here and there, but that’s true for any band with a long enough history. We have had slow periods, and we have had really productive periods. Now that we all live in Atlanta, this are great. We get together to work on music weekly, if not more, and we’re a group of friends that does everything together outside of music too. The COVID-19 pandemic hit us pretty hard in terms of live performance and reaching our fans in person, but we’ve taken the opportunity to hammer down on our writing, music production, and working on the upcoming album.

We’d love to hear more about your band.
The band is our baby. We run things like a democracy – everyone has a main job or specialization, but we all make decisions together. Having a 5th member to split the vote on some things really helps avoid issues. In the last year, our focus has been to solidity our sound and break away from general categorization, really nail down or branding and image, and (most importantly) take our production to the next level. We feel that our upcoming album is really going to pay off in these areas, and we’re super excited for the next singles to come out to start paving the way for it.

What we’re really proud of is that we all, without a doubt, treat the band as our main priority and are in this for the long haul. Every time we wrap up a project or a show, we celebrate, but the best thing is how we snap back and immediately begin thinking about the next one and how to make it better. I think our fans can see that reflected in our music over time. We are always happy with our progress, but we’ve never let ourselves slow down. What sets us apart from others? The ultimate goal is for us to never have to explain. We strive for our work in the studio and on stage to make it easy for the fans to answer that for themselves.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
We consider it a success when we are all happy with our work. Whether it’s a song, an album, a show, a video, our brand. There’s no better feeling than finishing something we’ve been working on, looking around at each other, and seeing that everyone in the band has the same childish grin on their face. Of course, we measure our success quantitatively in terms of how well we promoted a show, or how effectively we are communicating news to our fans and that sort of thing, but that’s not the reason we do this. Success to us equals playing, writing, and producing our music the way we intended and seeing our fans react to that. There really is no better feeling. We love when our fans say things like “you guys have a really (insert adjective) sound,” or “that one song you played tonight was really good! Was that an original?” That makes everything worth it for us.

Pricing:

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Image Credit:
Isabel de Frutos and Stillscapes Photography.

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