Suite 709 doesn’t shy away from the (sometimes dreaded) pop label. In fact, the Austin band embraces the tag.
“I feel like when people hear that word, they think of the color pink and bubble gum. Pop is the trend, but as artists, you should redefine what’s popular. Redefine the trend,” says singer Jirod Greene. “Pop is what you make it and what you give into.”
The group was a vibrant highlight during last month’s Free Press Summer Fest, showcasing strong melodies and slick musicianship during a sweltering, midafternoon set. Greene has a vocal blend that recalls Lenny Kravitz and Adam Levine on standout tunes “Heartache (Won’t Let Me Go),” “She Don’t Even Know” and new single “Life Won’t Let You Down,” which seems designed for arena singalongs.
The band’s new album, “Night & Day,” is out Monday, and one of the tunes, “I Like It,” has been picked up in an international Google Plus campaign.
How many times have you been asked to explain the band name?
We’ve been asked about the band name about 709 times. It signifies the month and the year the band came together — July 2009. The “Suite” part is more of what we call ourselves, especially when we write. It houses all of our thoughts and ideas.
Where did you learn your way around a pop song? It seems pretty effortless.
My influences span across several genres and styles, from Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Ella Fitzgerald to John Legend, Musiq SoulChild, Dave Hollister, Fred Hammond and Beyoncé.
What’s the challenge of being a developing band in Austin?
Everyone is in a band. Bands play every night of the week, so sometimes I think people are a bit jaded in Austin. It’s competitive, but I’d say one of the most challenging things is making the type of music that we make. There aren’t a lot of soul bands in the Austin area, so finding other bands to put on a bill that complement our style is tough.
How did you hook up with Houston-raised producer and songwriter Dwight Baker?
He’s beyond pro. We were just fortunate that we got to work together. We reached out to him for our first EP, and, thankfully, he agreed to work with us and has been for two projects now. He knows how to trim the fat, so to speak, in songs, making them speak without having them ramble on. He’s pushed us to be better songwriters and musicians.
What are your impressions of Houston?
Three of us are from surrounding cities. I feel like some of my favorite people came out of Houston. When I’m out of state, and I hear a song from a Houston artist, I always throw up the “H” for DJ Screw, Big Moe, Lil Keke and, of course, Beyoncé. I could feel an electric vibe around the city during Free Press Summer Fest. It was so different from other festivals. I feel like Houston is hungry for good music.
What are the goals beyond Austin and Texas?
We’re kicking off our first national tour in Houston. I love Austin, but it’s time to share some of that with the rest of the country and, hopefully, the world. We’re all about sending positive energy through our music. Making people feel good, making them move, making them feel.
Suite 709 CD release
With: Pot Belly, Deep Ella, the Soldier Thread, Castle Lights and Soapbox Revolutionx
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Fitzgerald’s, 2706 White Oak
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door; 713-862-3838 or unlocksuite709.com