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Local band starts climb to top

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Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:00 am

The three Missouri State students of Audio Airway haven't been playing as a trio for long, but their enthusiasm and dedication to the success of the band would make it seem otherwise.

"Well, me and Steve were in a band together in high school called Open Theory," guitarist Patrick Queensen said, "but we were too unorganized to ever do anything productive. I guess when we came to college we were a little more motivated."

The acoustic band is starting its struggle to the top with a chill sound reminiscent of alternative '90s rock, with a contemporary edge.

Soon after moving to Springfield, lead vocalist and lead guitarist Steve Claudin and Queensen met up with violinist Rachel Filak. After hearing her play, they decided to form the band.

"It's kind of cool because she naturally sings harmony," Queensen said. "So when she sings along with Steve, she's singing harmony, but she does the same thing with violin."

Since the band became a trio six months ago, they have been getting their name out there as much as possible by posting flyers around campus and chalking up the sidewalks to try and turn people on to their music. They have played shows at Potter's House and have secured a regular spot at the Magic Bean every Monday at 10 p.m.

"This guy that worked there (Potter's House) named Jeremy was like 'Hey, I work and I play over at the Magic Bean, and you guys need to play over there,'" Claudin said. "We played there again, and he was there and he was like 'Hey, seriously you guys should play. I think I could get you a regular spot.' He talked to the guy over at the Magic Bean, and we were told they were interested."

Since then, the band has kept busy with frequent shows and their regular school schedules. They are trying to play shows every weekend in February.

Their only set back, and the problem many bands find when trying to find places to play, is the lack of all-ages venues.

"It's kind of hard to go around and try to find places to play and all of our friends are under 21," Queensen said. "I think people are interested in us. It's just the fact that we can't really play at the Mud Lounge because you have to be 21."

They recorded their EP last semester in a Strong Hall bathroom. The band made friends with a janitor and snuck into the building late at night multiple times to record what includes four original songs and one cover. They are now working on the release of their first upcoming full-length album due by spring or early summer.

"We started on the album over Christmas break," Queensen said. "We're actually using our home parish to record, but we found out we'll be able to do a lot of recording down here."

There will be 12 songs on the new album titled "The Emotion of Movement," and will include a few songs from Queensen and Claudin's earlier work together in Open Theory. The guys recently found out the Filak not only plays violin, but writes lyrics as well and hope to incorporate more of her writing into their music.

"A lot of times, we'll just come to each other with an idea and put something together and maybe work off of one line we think of," Queensen said, "but sometimes we'll just come back one morning and be like 'Dude, I just stayed up till 3 a.m. writing this.'"

With the support of their friends and a steady growth in fans, the band is confident they will be playing together for quite a while.

"I could see us hooking up in our 30's and playing together," Filak said. "Our group of friends are all like 'Oh, you guys should play for our wedding,' so we're definitely thinking about it in the long term and making sure that we can still keep it up past college."

Audio Airway will play their first two-hour set Feb. 19 at the Magic Bean at 10 p.m. with a $4 cover.

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