Outside The Box Festival Feature: Air Traffic Controller

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Air Traffic Controller (Monday, July 15, 2:00 p.m. Boston Common, Beacon Street Stage)

While serving in the US Navy as an actual air traffic controller, singer/songwriter Dave Munro sent home 4-track demo tapes of songs written during his deployment. When his enlistment was up, Munro returned to his hometown of Boston and formed the genesis of the aptly named Air Traffic Controller. Nominated for an MTV “Best Break-Out Artist” Video Music Award in late 2009 and winner of “Best Indie Rock Act” of the 2010 Boston Music Conference, Air Traffic Controller’s modern day, indie rock sound and pop sensibilities put them at the top of the Northeast media outlet’s Best-Of lists. Live, the band is often accompanied on stage by an entire string section to capture and recreate its brilliant, full sound.

We caught up with Steve Scott and Casey Sullivan from Air Traffic Controller after their set on Monday.

1. Outside The Box is described as: A revolutionary event happening this July in the heart of Boston, one that promises to unite neighborhoods, citizens, and artistic communities throughout the city.

Do you think we need more of these types of events?

Steve: Absolutely! Outside the Box is bringing a pretty incredible selection of bands, arts and more to a multitude of stages in Boston– all for free. I really like that this festival is highlighting rising local Boston bands along side of some long renown national acts. Boston is such a beautiful city in the Summer. I think it’s great for the city, its residents and local businesses to have some really extraordinary events like this one throughout the Summer to give Bostonians a reason to stay and enjoy the city.

2. How is the Boston Music Scene different than other cities you’ve played?

Steve: I’m really not sure. In many ways I feel like the world is getting smaller in a good way with regard to new music. Whether we were playing in Austin, NYC, LA or Boston I’ve found that there are people seeking out new sounds, new artists and new ways of presenting what a band can sound like. I’ve really enjoyed that current audiences in Boston don’t seem to be stuck in a mindset that a new “hip” band needs to have a very specific sound or instrumentation. There seems to be a “come as you are” mentality to the indie music esthetic right now that is really refreshing to me.

3. What’s your favorite show you’ve played in Boston?

Steve: I have to admit that the Outside of the Box show on Boston Common was a ton of fun! For previous shows I’d say that our last show at Brighton Music Hall opening for Kingsley Flood’s album release was pretty stellar.

Casey: Aside from our Outside the Box show, I’d have to say my favorite has been our album release show at Brighton Music Hall.  We got to play to a packed room of friends and fans on a Tuesday night.  We were just so excited to finally show the album to everyone and we worked so hard to put together an amazing show.  Really amazing night!

4. What’s your favorite show you’ve been to in Boston?

Steve: The first one that comes to mind is Wilco at the Wang Theater in 2011 (I think it was The Whole Love tour?). I love seeing Wilco live and Nels Cline is one of my all-time fave guitarists.

Casey: I have many favorite shows I’ve seen in Boston, but the most recent favorite has to be Dawes at Royale this past month.  I saw them for the first time in Austin when we were at SXSW and they blew me away.  They quickly became one of my favorite bands and they killed it at Royale.  Also, Shovels and Rope opened and they’ve been a favorite of mine for a while.

5. Which other performances are you looking forward to other than your own?

Steve: I’m really looking forward to catching Coyote Kolb, Darlingside, Joe Fletcher, Alternate Roots, Adam Ezra, Bearstronaut, David Wax Museum, Gentlemen Hall… to name just a few!

Casey: There are too many to name, but I’ll try:  Gentlemen Hall, Coyote Kolb, Joe Fletcher, Nemes, Will Dailey, and so many more!

Once again thanks to Steve Scott and Casey Sullivan and be sure to check out more tour dates of when Air Traffic Controller is coming to your neck of the woods here.

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Just a reminder, the festival is open to the public and will take place at Boston Common and City Hall Plaza from July 13-21. For additional information about the festival, please visit www.outsidetheboxboston.org.