It’s been a pretty phenomenal past three years for alternative-rock band The Airborne Toxic Event. Following the release of their debut self-titled album in 2008, the group skyrocketed from a MySpace band to number one on the Billboard charts.
Thanks to their hit single Sometime around Midnight, and other popular tracks, the band is making a name for itself worldwide. And with the U.S. release of their second album, All At Once, on Tuesday, Airborne shows no signs of slowing down.
The Airborne Toxic Event’s history hasn’t always been so easy, however. The band was formed to help lead singer Mikel Jollet cope after he had a break-up, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in a one-week period. Their unique name was fittingly based on a section of the novel White Noise, as a chemical spill caused the protagonist to analyze his own mortality.
Although many bands would bask in temporary celebrity of their successes, bass guitarist Noah Harmon finds the best part of his career thus far is the fans. I really enjoy getting to be able to meet people of all walks of life, he said. We meet people daily from so many countries—Belgium, Germany and others.
Although the band’s sound is particularly hard to classify, Harmon said people will still try to make their own comparisons. You are not The Clash until you’re the Clash, he said. [You may get compared to] the legendary [bands] who cast big shadows, but you have to take it with a grain of salt.
The band’s unique sound is often called orchestra rock as they have collaborated with many orchestras in the past. The Airborne Toxic Event’s viola player, Anna Bulbrook, helps create that creative aspect of Airborne’s music.
Harmon describes the band as total headphone music, particularly on the latest album.
[All At Once] is really a complete work. It is… a series of questions, statements and big moments in life that change the way you see the world, he said. I can’t say enough about how it’s really a whole piece and a really coherent album. It’s best listened the whole way through.
It’s definitely all of our best efforts, he added. There aren’t any songs that any of us didn’t love.
As the band anticipates the album release, the Airborne Toxic Event also finishes their tour in Europe and begins their US tour dates, including two at the Trocadero in Philly—one on May 7th, which is currently sold out, and one on May 9th.
Harmon says that fans definitely have a lot to look forward to at these upcoming shows. We have a lot planned, and more acoustic [songs] than before, he said. Every tour has to be better than the last.
Tickets for The Airborne Toxic Event’s Philadelphia shows can be purchased on Trocadero’s website.
Danielle Miess can be contacted at Danielle.Miess@Temple.Edu