Speaking to front man Miles Zuniga over the phone, he gives details about Step into Light, the recording process, and how the group is reaching out to fans in the current digital era and keeping them engaged with the new music, in addition to how mainstream artists are turning their songs into brand new hits.
Great end to a great tour! Thank you very much! pic.twitter.com/AfNS8CINdv
— Miles Zuniga (@mileszuniga) August 18, 2013
Forming in 1995, Zuniga and drummer Joey Shuffield played together in the group Big Car before disbanding and founding Fastball. After building a strong regional buzz, a journalist suggested to Hollywood Records that they should check out the group, leading the band to sign on the dotted line. While sales of Make Your Mama Proud were poor, the group would taste success with All the Pain Money Can Buy two years later, which would garner them several hit singles and two Grammy nominations. While the groups forthcoming records did not see the same success as All the Pain…the band has remained a strong local act that everyone is familiar with.
Fresh from performing at SXSW this year, Fastball did not give fans much of an introduction to the record by performing a lot of songs from it saying, “we played stuff off the new record, but by this point this will be our sixth record and a lot of the time you think that this will be the best record that you’ve ever done. But maybe the fourth record is the best or the third record. So, we tried not to make it to new record centric.”
As for discussing the writing process for the record, Zuniga states that “The new record breaks the record for the fastest album we’ve ever recorded. We did it in about two weeks because we were supposed to go on this tour and it fell through. We were operating under this presumption that there was going to be this tour and there was a hard deadline, and we were going to record the record and get it manufactured and everything, so we did it in about two weeks and there wasn’t a lot of chin scratching over it.”
“We’ve never taken more than a couple of months to do records, but it’s still interesting to see the results. I like it, it’s much more direct. I like listening back to it, and that’s what I remember the most. Plus, we are way better musicians than we were 20 years ago. It’s a lot easier to zero in and really get across what you are trying to say then it used to be, and it’s a lot easier to know when something isn’t working and you can just leave it behind.”
Growing up in the small Texas town of Laredo, Zuniga was introduced to the guitar from his older brother and from playing in the choir band at his Catholic school. After realizing that the guitar had become his passion, Zuniga eventually made the move to Austin where he hoped to make a name for himself.
While Zuniga is of course most well known for his work with Fastball, he has also released music as a solo artist, and while he has thought about going the modern route to reach his audience by giving his music away for free, he admits that for Fastball, that’s probably not the best idea. “I floated around with the idea of just giving this new record away, but fortunately people talked me out of it. They said ‘you have a legacy, and you aren’t an unknown band and you shouldn’t treat it like an unknown band. You should wait and get it set up right, and things are going really well right now and it wouldn’t have happened the way that it did if we had given it away.”