Wild Adriatic drummer Mateo Vosganian has a simple explanation for why his band has been so successful in only a little over a year and a half of existence — they’re friendly.
“The band really started in January, February of 2011, and since then we’ve just been kind of doing what we all know how to do best — make rock ’n’ roll, and make friends,” he said.
“That’s been our biggest saving grace to date. People in the area genuinely like us, not just the music, but they genuinely like us as people. We have no problems or issues at shows — we show up, we’re professional, people like to dance when they see us, and we’re generally very easy to get along with.”
Wild Adriatic, with Northern Faces, Titanics, Mayweather
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Jillian’s, 59 N. Pearl St., Albany
HOW MUCH: $10
MORE INFO: 432-1997, www.jilliansofalbany.com
The hard-rocking soul quartet’s easygoing demeanor has helped put it at the top of the Albany music scene and beyond, in recent months.
In its short existence, the band — featuring lead vocalist and guitarist Travis Gray, lead guitarist Shane Gilman and bassist Rich Derbyshire — has released two EPs, gathered more than 6,000 fans on Facebook and has become a regular at area venues, especially Jillian’s, where the band will headline on Saturday night.
This strong following has led to other, bigger shows. In June the band opened for Irish rockers Flogging Molly at the Palace Theatre, and in April, the group took the stage before All American Rejects at the Cheel Arena in Potsdam. Those two have been the biggest shows the band has performed to date, and in the case of Flogging Molly, a dream come true for Vosganian.
“That was pretty mind-blowing,” he said. “It’s one of those venues that, as a young musician in the area, is sort of like a dream to play.”
The show also gave the band a taste of classic rock ’n’ roll abandon, albeit accidentally.
“I think we inadvertently trashed our first dressing room,” Vosganian said. “We had fashioned a makeshift cooler out of a garbage can, because they hadn’t given us anything. And it happened to be where all the other bands wanted to store their beer, so they were all coming to our place, getting beer, leaving their empties. At the end we didn’t know what to do, so we just drove away.”
But the band’s focus has always been its ever-evolving sound — influenced equally by classic rock acts such as The Allman Brothers Band and pop vocalists such as Michael Buble.
Frontman Gray’s name should be familiar to Albany music fans from his previous group, Travis Gray and the Frontiers, which also featured Gilman. That band was more in the acoustic singer-songwriter mold, but Wild Adriatic’s upbeat soul-rock would soon rise to the surface on the early 2011 EP “The Lion” — which marked the band’s official transition into Wild Adriatic.
“At the time Travis was focusing on more writing the songs, bringing them to the band, and having the band add flourishes,” Vosganian said. “But he decided he wanted to be back in being in a band band, and that’s what it evolved into. It wasn’t a decision, it just evolved into everyone writing their own parts and songs coming together as a group thing.”
Vosganian and Derbyshire were both childhood friends of Gray’s, and joined the band after hearing “The Lion.” Given the band members’ long history in the area, it was relatively easy to cultivate an audience from fans who had been following their music through its evolution over the past decade.
“Travis and I played in a band when we were in high school in this area, which must have been 10 years ago now,” Vosganian said. “We’ve been lucky to have people listen to whatever we’ve been doing, and they’ve stuck with us a long time, and that did not change at all with this band. When the style sort of changed, the people who were following us were still there — all it did for us was it basically kicked the doors open to where we could say, OK, now let’s get new fans and friends.”
Musically, the band has taken its time developing its sound, following up “The Lion” with another EP, “Lock & Key,” recorded with producer John Naclerio in Newburgh and released this year.
The band is planning to record a full-length album sometime in the next year — though with a Southern tour planned in August, a Midwest tour in November and plans to head to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March, they aren’t sure exactly when a new album will fit in.
“As it is, we’ve put a lot of money behind the promotion of the EP, and we feel the songs are good enough to be heard,” Vosganian said. “We’re not too sick of playing those tunes yet, but winter is usually the time when we just want to bog down and write some tunes. If that happens, and we can write 12 tunes that we’re happy with — and we can stumble upon millions of dollars — if we have the money and the songs, we can make the record and probably put it out after South by Southwest.”