The FM Pilots are a pop-rock band from Tulsa, Oklahoma and are our latest Sonicbids competition winner. The band consists of Nic Whitaker (Lead Vocals & Guitar), Josh Kephart (Lead Guitar), Josh Davidson (Bass) and Casey Meyering (Drums). Read the full in-depth interview below to find out about what they’ve recently been working on, what their current career highlights have been and what its like living in Tulsa.
Q: Who are you called?
We are “FM Pilots”. Some of our close friends insist we be FM Pilates and AM Navigators. Sometimes people hearing about us for the first time mistake “FM Pilots” as “F-ing Pilots”. No joke! Yes, we are FM Pilots though.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
We’re primarily in the rock/pop/alt rock genres. Fans of those genres might like us a lot. Sometimes fans of rap and heavy stuff actually like us and that’s even more awesome!
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
FM Pilots, balancing indie tock aesthetic and an undeniable pop sensibility.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was a success because that’s the year we all came together. We’d all been friends for years and did a couple recordings together in the first quarter. People really liked what was happening in the studio so we decided to form FM Pilots in summer 2010 and quickly got some of our first gigs. After a few months together we put out an EP, started getting local airplay and media exposure, actually started growing a fan base, and also branched our gigging regionally.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Ben Folds really had a big part in making me want to take music to the next level as well as learning other instruments. I saw one show and literally went and bought a piano 2 weeks later and started teaching myself.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
There’s a wide verity of modern day artists we look up to within the band. We all agree that there’s a mutual respect for Jimmy Eat World. I really like Ben Folds & Foo Fighters, Josh really digs Counting Crows, Kephart loves The Format, and Casey draws inspiration from Thrice.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
I actually have a lot of local artist on my iPod as well as mainstream tunes. I’ve had the Foo Fighters “Wasting Light” album on repeat the last few days. I love the hooks and the raw sound they did on this album.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I do most of the writing, but some are co-writes with Josh. Usually the process doesn’t begin with me just sitting and trying to write a song. Randomly, me or Josh will get a melody in our heads, a good lyrical line, or maybe just a catchy guitar part and share that with each other. Sometimes they are very bad phone recordings! Those sessions usually spark the writing of a new song at some point and then it’s jammed out/demoed/pre-produced with the band, and then re-recorded/produced as the final product. It can be quite the process sometimes!
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
I think sometimes that depends on the genre. I think both are equally as important for our style. During our writing process, they kinda come at the same time.
Q: Where are you based?
We are based in Tulsa, OK.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Oklahoma obviously isn’t going to have an LA or NYC, but there’s actually a lot more here than most would think. Oklahoma’s produced some big names like Hanson, The Flaming Lips, David Cook, Pillar, and Garth Brooks. There’s a lot of great local talent here in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City is developing a really music good scene because of their new music college ACM and Tulsa has a lot of great artist as well. That also means there’s a lot of competition!
Q: What are you currently working on?
We’re working on an album right now that we hope to release late summer/early fall 2011. We still have a couple more songs to finish writing, but the studio process has already begun. We actually just released the first preview of our album on June 14th. You can get our lead off single “No Time to Waste” on iTunes!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I’d say Vans Warped Tour was something pretty cool we never thought we’d be a part of when we started a year ago. Our fans and friends were really happy to see us doing that. It was fun, but man was it HOT out there!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
Well, we’re halfway into 2011 and it’s treated us very good so far. In less than a year we’ve become a regional band, had some radio play & media attention, and also had the privilege of performing/showcasing at some high profile gigs such as Vans Warped Tour, Tulsa International Mayfest and SXSW in Austin. We’re releasing another album later this year and I’d like to see that help us branch out to more radio, further gigs, grow our fan base and help us grow as a band.
Q: What do you do to relax?
It’s very relaxing to write joke songs!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Yes. If you’re on Facebook feel free to say hello to us! (facebook.com/fmpilots)
Editor’s Note: The FM Pilots have great hooks, great energy and profound melodies. One of Song Revelation’s new up and coming bands to watch for 2011 and beyond.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact the FM Pilots just follow the links below:
twitter link: twitter.com/fmpilots
facebook link: facebook.com/fmpilots
myspace link: myspace.com/fmpilots
web page link: fmpilots.net
soundcloud link: soundcloud.com/fmpilots
reverbnation link: reverbnation.com/fmpilots