Hometown and/or Current City: Holmdel, NJ (Monmouth County)
Keywords: Rock Band, Rock and Roll, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Local Natives, Young The Giant, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, The Strokes, Tame Impala
"Berklee alumni Airacuda has cooked up a surprisingly unique fusion of contemporary indie and classic rock elements." -Sound of Boston
"Their [Airacuda] self titled debut LP tracks themes of chasing dreams, love, and everything in-between with an up tempo Spoon sound delicately cross breeded with the wistfulness of The Gaslight Anthem." -Speak Into My Good Eye
Airacuda first took flight when Westland Walls came tumbling down via an unceremonious cease and desist letter. At the time the band — formed by childhood friends Matt Menges and Matt Fernicola, and Eddie Ruddick, a peer of Fernicola’s at Berklee College of Music — had taken the moniker from their Boston apartment on Westland Ave. Their next move was Zeppelin-esque; just as the rock monoliths titled themselves as a non-flying blimp, Airacuda derived their name from a World War II fighter plane with aerial difficulties. The new title became a fitting homage for a band that mixes a classic rock core with modern indie sensibilities.
Joined by fellow band-and-roommates Roland Greco and Aaron Kessler, 2012 found the band flying to Abbey Road Studios in London to record their first LP. Their eponymous record tackled everything from long distance love to the frustration of the everyday grind, slips of sax and piano slipped in for a refreshing bounciness to their alt rock sound. They returned back to Berklee with the Boston college crowd crooning for more, but Airacuda had to spread their wings.
Prior to their album’s release they took the stage at the House of the Blues with the Blues Brothers, and after Airacuda debuted in January 2013 the band embarked on a sporadic tour of the Northeast. The next two years saw the band developing their sound, in studio with a handful of singles (2014’s “Remedy” and the Valentine’s Day ’15 track “I Got A Woman”) and on stage with their high-energy shows.
With influences spanning from Young the Giant to The Doors to Local Natives to Pink Floyd, Airacuda worked to cultivate a fuller sound, never shying to get a bit experimental with their otherwise timeless sound. You’d think a band couldn’t do a song like “Paper Candy”— a ‘60s psychedelic throwback track that takes cues from The Grassroots — and then fluctuate seamlessly into a cover of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me.” You’d be wrong. The feeling is self-described as oxymoronic-but-accurate modern classic rock; fresh alternative music from old souls. Along the way the band decided it was time to start working on their sophomore effort, which became a journey all it’s own.
In 2014 the band starting laying down tracks for their follow-up EP at Telegraph Hill Records’ studio in Holmdel, NJ, just a hop skip away from where Bruce Springsteen held sessions for The River. Produced by longtime collaborator and friend Joe Pomarico, Daydreaming was slated to be a musically multilayered six track album, utilizing the band’s retro sound to document the millennial musician struggle of coming to terms with burgeoning adulthood, and trying to thrive in a creative field.
The EP became as conceptual as it is autobiographical: recording started with Greco and Kessler, but post-graduate life forced the band into a crossroads. Greco and Roland decided to pursue musical careers in Nashville and New York, respectively. Fernicola, Menges, and Ruddick made the creative decision to relocate Airacuda in central Jersey.
By the time Daydreaming became a reality in February 26, 2016, Airacuda had filled in the gaps with Phil Marflak, an old friend of Fernicola and Menges, and Owen Flanagan, a mainstay in the Jersey Shore music scene. Through passion and perseverance, the project hadn’t fallen from the skies yet... far from it.
Now beloved regulars in Asbury Park music scene, the band is accustomed to frequenting the New York and New Brunswick areas, with big plans to take on the rest of the country. Between a quick stop in Canada, another London trip, and the release of another single, “Looking Back and Laughing,” Airacuda is just getting started, and against all odds, they’re on the precipice of truly soaring.
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