Q&A: The Broadcast live at The Foundry Athens

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Caitlin Krisko, frontwoman of The Broadcast, which is performing at The Foundry on March 23 alongside Otis Redding III, chatted with The Red & Black about the release of the group’s third album ‘From the Horizon,’ creating oneness through music and the importance of art education in schools.

The Red & Black : On your tour, will you be playing music from the [new] album?

Caitlin Krisko: We’re definitely going to be playing almost everything on the record. There are 11 songs on the album and we will be playing nine of them on this tour. Then, on the album release tour, we’ll be playing the entire record.

R&B: Tell me a little bit about how the band started.

CK: I was born in Detroit, and my family relocated me to New York City for high school where I attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. I graduated top of my class, and I went on to attend the private art conservatory in the city. After graduating from that program, I started to get involved in the live music scene in New York City. I was very lucky to have a really inspiring, amazing music theory teacher in college who planted the seed my senior year of ‘Have you ever thought about, instead of pursuing musical theater or film, what about being a rockstar?’ It was sort of this ‘a-ha moment’ that planted the seed that really blossomed into what The Broadcast is years later.

In 2007, we formed Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast. In 2010, we relocated in Asheville, North Carolina, because we wanted to start touring, and it wasn’t really feasible to start doing that in New York City because of the cost of living. Six years later, the lineup is very different. We have pretty much a fresh, new lineup in the past couple of years. Everything was sort of serendipitous and it’s been a really beautiful experience watching the story of The Broadcast unfold. We’ve got our first European tour in the fall for two months, and with this new record coming out, we’ve got a lot of really great things on the horizon.

R&B: Where did the name The Broadcast come from?

CK: Well, when we first started writing music, I’ve always been the lyricist of the band. All the lyrics are written by myself, and I just really liked the idea of every individual in their life has their own unique life experience. To me, music is kind of like a broadcasting of ideas and issues, and so when we were forming the project, I thought it was a really interesting concept to sort of attach the idea of Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast, saying ‘This is what I have to say, this is the experience I’m having.’


Courtesy Otis Redding III


R&B: Tell me what it was like to decide to pursue music as a career, instead of doing musical theater.

CK: I think that the difference between musical theater and writing music in an original band is the level of freedom of expression that you have. I love that getting on stage night after night with The Broadcast, I am my own boss. I get to decide what I say, what I do – the order of the songs. There’s a freedom to that that’s really intoxicating and inspiring, and I think that it can reach people on a very deep level. Being in a rock band, with our lyrics being a focus of our songwriting, I get the chance to say things and express ideas and hopefully inspire a sense of oneness in the music community. I don’t think there’s necessarily that freedom in structured performance like musical theater. Musical theater and platforms like that are scripted and created by someone else, and it’s more interpreting the performance through your own self. In music, you get to take all the reins.

R&B: What do you think you would have done if this hadn’t worked out?

CK: I don’t think I ever gave myself the chance to ask that question. For real. I think that’s really important. I had a teacher in high school that said, ‘If you have plan B, you will always fall back on it.’ There will be times in your career where you have no money, no hope, no senses of future, and those are the times when you have to push through and persevere for the sake of the art. It’s like Kurt Vonnegut said, you have a responsibility to the art, and if people don’t consume it and they don’t respond to it, it’s still your responsibility to create the art. I’m paraphrasing, by the way, horribly.

R&B: As a music artist, what is the truth that you’re speaking through your music?

CK: I think that our music is about compassion. I think it’s about creating a community. I was raised in New York City where community was not a very large focus. There are other things that New York City focuses on that are wildly inspiring and incredibly unique about that city. But one of the incredible things about moving to Asheville was discovering the value of community and the fact that your community can be there to support you and share a collective experience together. I love that idea. I love that we sit behind computers and phones all day, kind of disconnected from each other, and music is still a place where people can go and share a collective experience

R&B: The Broadcast has been described as Grace Slick meets Led Zeppelin. What do you have to say about that?

CK: (laughs) Uh, thank you? Whoever said that is extremely nice. It’s very flattering. Grace Slick and Robert Plant are two of the most enigmatic, dynamic front-people of bands, in my opinion. I think maybe the comparison stems from a liberated feeling onstage, feeling like you can really let go and lose yourself in the music and the moment and tap into something super that people can experience with you. I love it anytime anybody says anything like that. It’s really flattering.

R&B: Where do you see The Broadcast in five years?

CK: I see The Broadcast continuing to push boundaries in the music industry – in the grassroots music industry. I believe that we have the potential to break through the glass ceiling of the music industry and get to a place where original rock Americana music is enjoyed and celebrated by even larger numbers of people. I would love to be performing in the Grammys; I would love to be scoring films; I would love to be starting organizations for education programs in middle schools and high schools for kids to receive better art education.

I was really lucky in my life to attend schools that had fantastic art programs, and I can honestly say that I know I wouldn’t be doing this today if I hadn’t had those teachers and that influence from a really developmental age. I see how much the arts are suffering in schools, and I think as artists we can really encourage and push education systems to create more of a focus on that. If you look throughout history and you look at people that have changed the world and have made an impact, you don’t see artists going into places and spitting hatred and fear and anger. Artists are the people who go and create understanding and compassion and unity within people. It’s like an American rite of passage almost, to be in an American touring band.