Sounds Under Radio’s alt-rockers strive to produce cinematic sound

Neha Aziz

Local alternative rock band Sounds Under Radio has been making a name for itself since 2007, with two independently released albums under its belt: Cinematica in 2008, and My Communist Heart in 2010. Though still unsigned, the band has already been featured in “Spider-Man 3” and The CW’s latest hit, “The Vampire Diaries.” Tonight, Sounds Under Radio is getting back to its Austin roots with a show at Stubb’s Bar-B-Que.

Lead singer and front man Lang Freeman began his musical career at UT, where he studied English and met his future bandmate, Bradley Oliver.

“We both lived at Moore-Hill Dormitory,” Freeman said. “We each played with different bands that were around Austin, and eventually decided to form our own. The other two members came into the picture as well, and we focused on building the perfect band.”

Sounds Under Radio cites The Beatles, Radiohead and Nirvana as influences on its Brit-rock sound, which the band members describe as cinematic-infused with centered pop.

“The guys and I are just huge fans of music. We listen to [a] wide variety of music, from Muse to Led Zeppelin,” Freeman said. “We like a lot of things, so we let that influence the music that we create. We have so many different tastes. In our van right now, we have Queens of the Stone Age and a local band from San Antonio called Nothing More.”

Though the band’s success had been escalating, there was a particular moment when Freeman knew that they had made it big.

“There was a show that we played, and I was looking out at the audience. There was not a single friend or person that I knew, all I saw were people singing the lyrics along with me,” he said.

Sounds Under Radio was the only unsigned band to be featured on the “Spider-Man 3” soundtrack, with its song “Portrait of a Summer Thief.” On “The Vampire Diaries,” the band was prominently played in a powerful, key scene in the series.

“The music supervisor for ‘The Vampire Dairies’ had known us and heard us play a few times,” Freeman said. “He had mentioned that there was a scene in an upcoming episode that needed to have music added to it. He asked if we had anything, and we gave him a bunch of stuff. In the end, he picked ‘All You Wanted,’ and the song had fit in so perfectly with the scene. I had watched the episode and since have become a fan of the series.”

With regard to audience expectations, Sounds Under Radio ultimately aims to put on a elaborate performance.

“Each show is a little different from the last,” Freeman said. “It does not matter how small the venue is, or if there are 50 people in the audience — we put on a stadium-style rock show.”