Under the Sun likes to feature some of the local talent that provide the soundtracks to our stories of life in South Florida. We worked with Radioboxer to use their songs, “Cat’s Meow,” and “While You Wait,” in an Under the Sun piece, “Loyalty Oath.” We also got to chat with Jota Dazza on everything from the band’s inception to how Miami influences their music.
Under the Sun: Thanks for chatting with us, will you be speaking on behalf of the band?
Jota Dazza: (laughs) Yes, I will.
I know there has been some transition, can you name the current members of Radioboxer?
Sure. Our frontwoman is Vanne Dazza who handles vocals and keyboard, Esteban Gomez who is one of the guitarists, Santos Arroyo who is the second guitarist, bassist and who plays keyboard. We also have our drummer,Orestis Bardoustsos, and me, Jota Dazza, on bass guitar.
So when did the band form?
Well, Vanne and I met about ten years ago. We played as a duo and had another band called Falaz, which means “fallacy” in Spanish, but we wanted to focus less on latin rock, so we started progressing towards a more British pop sound and changed our name to Radioboxer in 2009. Originally the band members were Vanessa, Santos and I. We were all close and eventually some of our other friends joined as well.
What was life like in the beginning as a musician in Radioboxer?
Oh, it was hard. Well, Santos always had a nice home, but for Vanne and I, as a couple living on our own, it was tough. We had no jobs and we were kicked out of three homes. There were times there was no electricity, but through it all we always remained focused on the band and worked through it. We then met Ferny Coipel from the band Humbert, who has who helped us out tremendously. He let us practice and play in his studio and really supported us.
So he was like a guardian angel?
No, more than that! (laughs) He’s like my hero. That guy is a saint. He’s an atheist, but he’s a saint. (laughs) No, but Ferny has helped out a lot of bands. I owe him too much. He’s awesome.
Do you feel that South Florida influences your music?
Yes, I believe so. If you asked me this a few years ago, I wouldn’t have known what to say, but now, yeah now, I can answer this. Miami is sort of an isolated city and Florida an isolated state. It’s just the nature of our area. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. In the past, many musicians didn’t play here, but now there’s more and more bands scheduling to play in Miami. I feel that because of this isolation though, bands have a lot more time to develop. We have time to get better, so when it’s time to play shows, we are really good.
Can you tell me about your creative process? For songwriting, do the lyrics come first, or the melody?
Usually, it’s the idea of the song. The thought…the feeling of the song that comes first. Then a few lyrics come and a few chords on the guitar or piano or whatever instrument I’m playing on. If it opens up, I’ll share it with Vanessa who will put her own interpretation of the lyrics to it. So I bring direction to the song and Vanessa brings the melody. She adds the human connection element to it.
You talk about songs like they have a life of their own.
Songs totally have a life of their own. I like to think of them like children (laughs).You are rearranging elements into this one unit. Then, you have a certain time frame to raise it and let it grow. After that, you start sharing it with other people and it starts creating and taking on qualities from those people. The song changes. You still created it but it grows and then it’s out of your control.
Give me an example.
So we have this one song called Go Home, and it’s like everyone has their own idea of what it means. It’s five chords and really catchy. Our manager and I have completely separate ideas of what the song means. I believe it’s the idea of wanting to change directions. Like, you know when you think you know where you’re going, only to realize when you get there this isn’t where you want to be. So then you have to go back and find a place that feels like home again, that’s secure and safe (laughs). Our manager says it’s the sadness you feel when they call the last song at a concert, and you know that soon you will have to leave and go home.
So tell me, what’s next for Radioboxer?
Currently we are working on our third album. Also, I am helping to organize the next Florida Music Get Together.
Right, you are the founder. How did that all start?
The truth is, it started out as a Facebook status. I asked the question, “Who wants to get together over a beer and talk local music?” And within a day I had 70-80 comments on it. So I spoke to Ferny and we organized the first Florida Music Get Together at the Annex. Now it is scheduled for Feb 29th– yes the 29th because it’s a leap year–at The Stage. This event is meant to bring people together so bands can meet other bands, venue owners, promoters, etc. It’s a place that can build a greater connection.
If you want to learn more about Radioboxer, check out their page here.