Jeff McCullough - bass, piano, vocals
Daniel Gula - guitar
Jon Stamm - drums
You can walk from one end of Greenville, Illinois to the other in about 15 minutes. It might take you longer if your momentum is interrupted by Greenville's one traffic light. Nestled away in the southern half of the state, just across the river and a few miles down I-70 from St. Louis, Greenville isn't where you'd expect to find a rock band like Redding.
Redding's four members are students at Greenville College, a small liberal arts school in town -- full-time students, aged 19 to 25. But Redding's not your garden-variety Midwest rock band. Devout anglophiles, these four young gentlemen have created a mature, melodic and atmospheric album that defies age and geography, venturing into the anthemic turf of Britpop (Coldplay, Travis) and the dark, intricate sensitivity of bands like Doves, Elbow, and Radiohead.
Redding singer/guitarist Joseph Graves, guitarist Daniel Gula and drummer Jon Stamm grew up in nearby Belleville, IL, and became close friends in grade school, and knew they wanted to start a band before any of them even knew how to play an instrument. They played in various styles and formats through middle and high school, and while preparing to record their first independent EP, decided it was time to fill the bass role -- for which they turned to Graves' cousin, Jeff McCullough, five years their senior and schooled in music recording and production. McCullough brought a passion for bands like Radiohead and Elbow that infected the other members and informed the sound of Redding as we hear them today.
An early demo found its way into the hands of Rock Ridge Music founder Tom Derr, who played it for a company partner, 3 Doors Down's Chris Henderson. Tom and Chris were excited about the band's potential. According to Graves, "Tom asked us how many new songs we'd written. We told him we had between six and eight playable songs, which wasn't true. In reality, we had about four. But our lie forced us into a month of very productive writing/recording, which gave us enough songs to back up our claim." The songs "Bottlenecking," "In Montauk" and "Another Day" all came from that month.
"We're all really perfectionists, and we're all really hard on ourselves," says McCullough of the band's painstaking creative process. The genesis of a typical Redding song goes like this: a band member sketches the basic musical elements, and brings them to the rest of the band, where they're molded, rearranged, built upon and debated until all four musicians are truly excited about playing them. "We have this rating system," McCullough says, "where we've broken the songs down into 20 different categories. We all sit around by ourselves and rate them, and then we talk about the songs and what's working and what's not working. Then we try to practice it live and see what comes alive then, and then we go back in the studio and actually record the song."
Recording of Redding's self-titled debut album began in January 2005 at Rivergate Studios in Biloxi, Mississippi, with producer Kirk Kelsey (and with additional production by Chris Henderson). After their allotted week at Rivergate, recorded was suspended for several months because of Henderson's touring commitments with his band. They resumed in August, this time in two Greenville College classrooms: one served as a control room, and the other was configured with overturned couches, folding chairs, desks, and tapestries as a makeshift "live" room.
Redding's goals are simple -- to grow their fanbase and to eventually work on their music full-time in a professional studio. The band works from a fully-functional basement recording studio on equipment they worked day jobs to purchase. They're grateful for their studio's dual-processor Apple G5, a gift from a family friend. Funny enough -- they don't have internet access.
The album is being released in conjunction with antiMusic.com, an online music magazine. AntiMusic.com's Editor-In-Chief Keavin Wiggins explains, "One of our biggest goals at antiMusic is to expose promising new artists to our readers and when I heard Redding the first time I knew right away that they were a band we would get behind. So when Rock Ridge asked if we would be interested in partnering with them to help launch Redding's debut album, I jumped at the opportunity to lend our support because not only does the music deserve as much exposure as possible but I know Rock Ridge is one of the few labels out there that is actually in the business for the music first and foremost."