NEW YORK -- That sound of a revving motor you hear is the sound of The Band Camino.
The pop-rock trio named after a muscle car are on the cusp of stardom, with a self-titled debut album dropping Friday and a fall touring gig opening for Dan + Shay that will take them from the Staples Center to Madison Square Garden.
“We’ve always said the goal is to be the biggest band in the world,” says Jeffery Jordan, who plays guitar and sings. “Here we go.”
The Band Camino have been around for five years, pumping out popular singles and the terrific EP “tryhard” that feature their propulsive, hook-heavy blend of rock and pop with confessional lyrics and a sly sense of humor. Jordan calls it a “melting pot of sounds.”
“A fan once coined us as a heartfelt rock band,” says Garrison Burgess, the drummer who has lately also been playing bass. “I know that’s not a chart anywhere, but it should be.”
Songs like “2/14,” “See Through” and "Daphne Blue” helped Billboard magazine dub them “rock’s next big thing.” Taylor Swift included the band’s “Berenstein” on her “Songs I’m Loving Right Now” playlist in 2018.
Signed to Elektra Records, their 14-track full-length debut shows more of the band’s range, from the arena-rock ready “1 Last Cigarette” to the stop-looking-at-your-phone mid-tempo “Look Up” and the sweet downbeat “Sorry Mom.” They do quiet ballads and can somehow make crowds chant “Everybody dies anyway!”
“We’re not a one-trick pony. We want to be able to do and say whatever we want to say and sound how we want to sound with it still sounding like us,” says Spencer Stewart, who also sings and plays guitar.
“I think one of our strengths is that no matter what we do and no matter what kind genre a song is in, you can always kind of tell it’s us.”
Jordan and Stewart first met at the University of Memphis, initially performing covers of songs from bands like Kings of Leon, Coldplay and The Killers. Burgess joined the band in 2018 after Jeffery and Spencer moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
The band’s name came a little randomly: The founding members couldn’t decide from a list of possible names when they happened to see a Chevrolet El Camino. They liked that “camino” means “path” or “way” in Spanish and that the word “band” is in the title.
“We kind of feel like we’re hopefully trying to bring bands back a little bit,” says Jordan. “It’s so easy right now to just make a song in your bedroom, on your laptop, by yourself. The aspect of collaboration is not dead or anything, but definitely seems like a little bit few and far between.”
The trio recorded the entire album over a month-long stay in the middle of the desert at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas. A month to record an album was a luxury only offered due to the pandemic.
“It’s hard to say that COVID was a good thing because it wasn’t. But the thing that it did allow us to do in preparation for our record was give us time, which is something we normally don’t have a lot of,” says Burgess. “Nobody makes records like that anymore.”
The band had intended to record their debut between spring and fall tours in 2020 but the pandemic left that process unrushed and organic.
“It would have been a different album because we wrote so many songs over quarantine that ended up taking the place of songs that we already had,” Jordan says. “These new songs are like who we are right now.”
In a twist, the band that used to play covers of “Yellow” by Coldplay now have line about how far they’ve come in the explosive song “Know It All” — “You love the color yellow but you hate the song.”
The Band Camino may be on the verge of big things but its members are remarkably chill about the process, from making their national television debut this year on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to hitting Lollaplooza in 2019. They also earned a coveted slot at Bonnaroo this year but heavy rains canceled the festival.
“We’ve always considered ourselves a band that’s taken it step by step. I don’t think we’ve ever woken up one day and been like, ‘We made it!’” says Stewart.
“We like to think that we put it in all the work and it makes it much more worth it in the end because you feel like you’ve earned it.”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits