If you know your local music, then you know one top dog on the scene is Radioboxer.
Be warned. If you aren’t prepared to rock hard, get fake blood spilled on your face, or be blown away by this 5-piece wonderband, we suggest you spend your nights at home, safe in your room. Otherwise, you'll find these guys playing at just about every venue in town.
I know you guys have rotated band members in and out, but you’ve recently settled into a comfy 5-piece. Go around and introduce yourselves to everyone.
Hey, I’m Orestis and I play drums.
I’m Esteban and I play guitar.
My name’s Jota and I play bass and guitar.
I’m Santos and I play guitar, bass and keyboards.
And I’m Vanessa. I play keyboards and do vocals.
Tell me when Radioboxer began.
Jota: Well the original members were Santos, Vanessa and I, and we formed the band in 2009. We used to be called Falaz, which means, "Fallacy" in Spanish. Our sound is bi-polar in that our songs have rock, pop, bolero and some punk in them too.
Who came up with the name?
Vanessa: When I was little my dad used to be a boxer. And we tied that into radio because we have a love/hate relationship with the radio. (Laughs)
Which musicians and bands influence you?
Vanessa: Arcade fire, The Beatles...
Jota: We're influenced by Latin American rock and roll, and bolero music from the 1940's. Those were our influences for the first album. That album was really ecletic and interesting. There was a lot of bolero sound on there.
What influenced the second album?
Jota: Our second album was more pop sounding. It was easier and more fun to play on stage. It was the kind of album where, when you play it live, the crowd goes nuts. Some of our favorite tracks on that album are White Trash, Deborah, and Elephant Heart.
But with the second album, we opened ourselves up to alot of opinions when we shouldn’t have. Everyone had a different concept of how Radioboxer should sound and their own ideas on how to be successful. We realized at the end of the day, the songs people liked the most were the ones we came up with ourselves. They’re the songs we always have the most fun playing.
What about songs you might be working on now?
Vanessa: The writing in the new songs are really strong. Everything is getting tighter and better. And we are getting back to that organic sound, being more eclectic, a little more quirky.
Are you all self-taught musicians, or were you classically trained?
Vanne: My dad played in an orchestra, and I grew up around my brother playing in his band, so I have a musical family. So music came naturally to me.
Jota: Nobody plays music in my family. Well, my mom played piano and we have one in our house but only as decoration. For me, I didn't learn how to play guitar until high school. I wanted to opt-out of P.E. so I decided to take a guitar class instead. I went into that class and loved it.
Orestis: Well, I played guitar when I was little. I had someone teach me how to play, and I was so bored. All I wanted to play was Green Day, and play chords. But then I got into drums, and my mom bought me drum set and the rest is history.
Santiago: I’m classically trained, and I also have a very musical family.
Stevan: I’m self-taught, and I’ve always loved music.
What are you guys working on right now?
Jota: We can’t really say. All I can tell you is we have been busy. The last two months we were playing maybe 3 gigs a week, and practicing 6-8 hour practices a couple times a week as well.
I want to know how Jota and Vanessa met?
Jota: We met about 11 years ago through Manuel, a friend we both had in common. He invited me over to meet Vanessa and play guitar with them. And 10 days after I met her, we were together. So yeah, my advice for the guys out there is just be clear and concise. If you’re gonna put yourself on the line for someone, and you really care, you should just go for it.
Where are you guys from originally?
Jota: I’m from Coloumbia
Orestis tell me about the music scene in Greece?
Orestis: Well, I left Greece and came to Miami in 2002. Before that I was the singer in a ska band in Greece called LIFO, for "last in first out." In Greece music isn't widely available, so everyone has to share their tapes. And when you want to find similar bands, you take a look a the “thank you” section on their tape. (Laughs)
Jota: Yeah I remember that! I remember reading one from Limp Bizkit, thanking Sugar Ray. (Laughs).
You guys recently went up to New York, how’d the crowds treat you there?
Jota: New York was great. We played a couple of shows with some nice bands up there. The crowds really listen and focus on your music when you play. Like, there were some really low chords in some of our songs, and all you heard was their silence, because they were listening so hard. In Miami, you might have heard some chatter, or people talking.
Tell me some pros and cons about being a musician in Miami?
Jota: Well, Miami doesn’t pay too much, but what I like about Miami is you can play anywhere. In New York, they’d ask if you can pack the room at a show, and we weren’t even from there. But, it’s the opposite in Miami. You can go to any hole in the wall and they don’t care how many people you bring, they’ll let you play.
Miami also has a lot of talent, I don’t think its a bad scene here.
What could help the music scene in South Florida?
Jota: Bands have to realize that if you want it to work, you have to invest a little. Bands need to promote themselves more.
When I created the Florida Music Get Together, I thought, “Okay I’m creating something organic, and as soon as people get what they need from it, it’s done it’s job and I can back up a little." Because I’m busy and don’t have time to keep doing it. The point of those events were for people to meet each other face to face and network.
Now there’s a lot of florida music movements. But you have to remeber to market yourself too. I remember sitting with Javier Maggiolo, and Fernando Pedromo to talk about the Miami Music Movement. Javier does all the promoting for that site and it’s going well, and I remember talking to Javier just to make sure local punk and rock bands got a chance to play in the events he's planning.
What upcoming shows are you guys playing?
We have our Back to the Future Show next Saturday, June 2nd, from 9pm-2am at Green Room. The whole event is based on the “Under the Sea” dance from the movie. You can come dressed in costumes! We already have ours. (Laughs) We’re gonna be playing with The Butchers that night, and everyone should expect to hear some old hits like, “Earth Angel,” and “Johnny B Good.”