Sound Team is Bill Baird, Matt Oliver, Sam Sanford, Jordan Johns, Gabe Pearlman, and Bill’s younger brother Michael. Four of the six group members attended the same high school in San Antonio, TX, where they played music in several different loud music bands. Now aged 21 to 27, they’ve been actively and energetically touring as a six piece for a little over two years now.
Bill Baird and Matt Oliver met in Austin in 2001, when each was a sideman in one of the many pick-up groups playing the beer-joints around town. They formed a partnership, and immediately began recording crazy songs on cheap gear that drew inspiration out of everything from traditional American folk and pop song forms to German synthesizer music.
In 2002 Baird asked his younger brother Michael and Michael’s friend Jordan Johns (both of whom were still in high school at the time), and his old friend Sam Sanford if they’d like to make a band. After playing a handful of shows in various performance spaces and punk dives, Gabe Pearlman enlisted and the lineup was solidified by early 2003.
Over the next year, the group built their audience by touring in typical fashion, which is to say in a borrowed van with plenty of trail mix and even more grit and resolve. Lots of crowds in many different cities cheered and stamped their feet. Meanwhile, the members of the band continued to work as dishwashers, line cooks, and bartenders. They wrote and wrote and wrote.
After several miscarried attempts at capturing what had turned into Sound Team’s live sound, Bill, Matt, and their band-mates decided that they were going to have to construct their own place to record and rehearse. This was sure to be quite a task, as the facility would need to allow them to experiment with the old synthesizers, various unreliable tape echoes, borrowed electric guitars, bass, drums, and electric piano which had become mainstays of their live show.
After months of searching, Bill stumbled across a padlocked gate, behind which stood a 1500-sq-ft. warehouse and former record-pressing plant. Over thirty years’-worth of dust and garbage had collected in the warehouse; chemical stains spread across the floor. But because Big Orange, as the space came to be known, would provide the group with both a great compositional tool and place to record, the cost of fixing it up in sweat and otherwise was deemed negligible.
It was at this time that a former-Nashville-session-engineer-turned-rock-producer named Mike McCarthy approached the elder Baird and Oliver. He offered to record Sound Team at Big Orange. And that’s what happened; in between his other projects, McCarthy recorded a handful of songs that found their way onto the various cassette and vinyl-only releases Sound Team sold at shows.
Up to that point, Sound Team had written, recorded, manufactured, and shipped all of their music themselves. Once their touring schedule began in earnest, though, this soon became unfeasible.
Now Sound Team has a record deal with the Capitol/EMI music label, which will release their full-length album in March of 2006. The group’s also putting the WORK EP out in November, which will feature five songs, four of which appeared on 2004’s Marathon 12-inch, originally released by the Indiana label St. Ives, a vinyl-only imprint of Secretly Canadian.