Safety Squad and Radarhill, two of Columbus’ finest up-and-coming jazz ensembles, are joining forces to present a “Winter Wonderland Extravaganza” on Saturday, December 16th at Rumba Cafe. Tickets are $10 at the door and available in advance here. Doors open at 7:30pm, Radarhill plays at 8pm, and Safety Squad follows around 10pm. In the first Columbus appearance for both bands since October, they will both be playing new/rare selections, and both sets will also feature members of the other band for some special new collaborations. In light of this exciting pairing and the fact that the bands are working on new projects, I checked in with Danny Bauer of Safety Squad and Caleb Miller of Radarhill for updates. Keep reading to learn more about what each of the bands are up to and what they’re planning for the show.
Safety Squad is recording a follow-up to their excellent 2016 self-titled debut next week, and recently announced a Kickstarter campaign to assist with costs of production and a tour to support the album. As Danny Bauer (DB) told me, “We are recording at Oranjudio with Tony Rice as the engineer. The band will have a little bit of an extended lineup:
Kramer Sell (percussion)
Stephan Fess (percussion)
Does the album have a title yet?
DB: No title yet, but one theme I have been working with is the idea of looking at the future. I like reading and learning about robots and artificial intelligence a lot, and some of the song titles reference to things like that.
Would you like to share any thoughts on the direction of the new album and new material?
DB: So far with all of the new songs, I am happy with everything. I think the biggest challenge to overcome was to not feel pressure to make it ‘better’ than the first album. Putting your writing on a pedestal like that is dangerous and can lead to a mindset where you never feel like what you write is good.
Have you observed any differences from the debut album?
DB: I think the biggest difference between the first album and the second album musically is simply that we are much better now than we were then, both individually and as a group. We have played the music from that album so many times that the songs and band have developed immensely and the songs don’t even sound the same as they did when we recorded them. With this new album we expect it to be better simply because we are better as a band. We are also having Matt Bonder record videos of the session and plan on releasing some nice music videos to go along with the album release!”
Radarhill’s Caleb Miller: “Since our drummer Seth has had surgery recently (and will not be in 100% playing condition for the show) this show will be a triumphant ‘return to form’ with Troy Kunkler joining us again! Due to this being the case, we’ve been mainly preparing tunes that we haven’t played with Seth the last year (“CYOA,” “Trading Scarabs for Oil,” 2nd Movement of Nick Weckman’s “Any Given Day” Suite) and are planning on showcasing those! They’ve been re-worked for the show and sound bigger/better than before. As far as what Radarhill has been working on, we’re currently preparing/writing tunes for our upcoming 3rd record! It will be recorded in March (at Musicol with Keith Hanlon, have to finalize date) and will be an album of full length tunes, juxtaposed by eclectic miniatures (including singing, specific and improvised playing). We’re also jacked to say the album artwork will be done by one of my/our favorite Chicago/NYC based artists Brandon Locher!! I’m such a fan-boy and am honored he’s taking on the job of making an original work for us :)))”