A new day for Sunshine Radio

By Sean Willett

Remember in junior high, when you and some friends decided to start a band? Remember how you lasted about three months before breaking up? That is the case for most young bands, but not for Sunshine Radio. With three of its members fresh out of high school and the other a sophomore at Mount Royal University, this group brings together youth and experience in a wholly unique way.

The band’s first incarnation, the blues-rock oriented Jacob’s Ladder, was created five years ago by guitarist Tory Rosso and bassist Del Coburn, along with two other friends. After their drummer departed they were joined by Jonny Diano, and after their other guitarist left they changed their name to Sunshine Radio. Their newest member, keyboardist Liam Grove, joined the band about two months ago, shortly after they recorded their first ep.

A band as young as Sunshine Radio is not a common sight in the Calgary music scene. But despite the obvious advantages that youth brings, it has also caused the band a significant amount of difficulty. “It sucks,” admits Tory, “There’s not a whole lot going on in the youth scene.”

“You can only go so far with it,” adds Jonny. “[All-ages] shows are fun to get your name out to the younger people, but they aren’t all that useful.”

The band does, however, acknowledge the benefits of playing these kinds of shows versus bar gigs.

“It was harder to get into the bar scene,” Jonny explains, “but at the same time we’ve jammed and played so much that we’re much tighter coming out then a lot of these bands that have already played at bars.”

This experience has translated into confidence for Sunshine Radio. “We’re definitely not shy about going up on stage,” states Tory.

Having just finished their first legal bar show with many more on the way, it feels like a new beginning for the band — especially in light of the recent completion of their first cd, the Sunlight ep, recorded entirely with home equipment.

The band made sure this didn’t result in any loss of quality, however. “I don’t want to bash any lo-fi bands,” assures Liam, “but it’s better to have production value, I’m not going to lie.” It took them over a year to record, but the end result is something that they’re proud to share with fans.

The ep will soon be available on iTunes, but Sunshine Radio still prefers traditional formats. “Buy cds still!” expounds an exasperated Jonny. Yet Sunshine Radio would rather have you go to their shows. “I think bands appreciate that more than anything else,” remarks Tory.

Despite having only just finished their first bar show, Sunshine Radio is already preparing for their next performance. Their advice for other youth groups looking for gigs: “Don’t be lazy. If you go out and look for he shows, you’ll get them,” assures Jonny.

With a new ep, upcoming shows, and a rare combination of youth and experience, the future looks bright for Sunshine Radio.

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