Artist to Watch: Air Traffic Controller


Artist to Watch: Air Traffic Controller

by Taylor Gilliam


Hailing from Boston, MA, Air Traffic Controller is a six-piece band that combines artful storytelling with a youthful, vivacious sound to create songs for the sunnier side of the alternative spectrum.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Dave Munro started this project on four-track demos that he sent back to Boston while serving in the U.S. Navy as a real-life air traffic controller, and he came home to an eager fan base. An offer to record with Los Angeles producer Bleu soon followed, and aptly named Air Traffic Controller released its debut album, The One, in 2009.

It took three years to make sophomore album NORDO, but by this time, ATC had gotten some airplay, a nomination by MTV for “Best Break-Out Artist,” and recognition from publications around the Northeast.

This past summer, ATC released single “The House,” a track that starts out more CHVRCHES than The Decemberists, though ATC’s website compares them to the latter. It may be the track that puts them on the map—if the band decides to leave the northeastern part of the map. Roughly three quarters of their tour dates are around New England, though they ventured to Scottsdale in August.

Air Traffic Controller is one to watch because they have solid roots in vocals and lyrics and a wide range of instrument proficiency among members, but they aren’t afraid to branch out and try new sounds. The One is a relatively acoustic album, NORDO centers around the backing orchestra, and there are electronic elements in “The House” that could hint at upcoming releases.

Big names like Disney, The CW Television Network, MTV, and NBC have all used the band’s music, but everyone else needs to fasten their seatbelts, stow their tray tables, and get familiar with Air Traffic Controller.