by Hannah Gandon
The 502s- a rambunctious indie folk band- has been making waves on social media as they share their upbeat folk music that embraces the sounds of celebration. Started in 2015 by lead singer Eddie Isola, the band is full of personality which has garnered over 235,000 followers across their social media platforms and a strong, passionate following. With influences such as The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Bruce Springsteen, and Earth Wind and Fire, The 502s are taking the folk music industry by storm with their feel-good music and dynamic discography.
After graduating college with a degree in math, lead singer and banjo player Eddie decided to take the leap from a stable banking job to the fast-paced, fun-filled world of music- thus creating The 502s and never looking back.
Alongside Eddie for their New York performance on February 26th was Jake Isola on guitar, Matthew Tonner on the keyboard, Sean Froelich on the drums, Joe Capati on the Saxophone, and Nicholas Dallas on the bass. Together, the Florida-based band put on a show that quite literally had the room shaking.
Starting off the show, the band began with What To Do, before making their way through a setlist full of fan favorites such as Leading Lady, I Keep Rolling, Hi There, Hello, Because We Had To, Just a Little While, and Olivia. The energy in the room was high throughout the whole night, with the band members and crowd dancing along the whole time. After the fact, Eddie took to social media to share that at times, the crowd was so loud that he could barely hear himself.
As impressive as their discography is, their recordings simply cannot capture the band’s power and passion the way their live performances can. From the moment they stepped on stage, it was impossible to feel any sort of gloom, and everyone’s euphoric feelings lasted well-past the end of the show.
As a band, The 502s prioritize building strong relationships with their fans both in person and online. After their show, all of the band members could be found somewhere in the venue talking with fans and taking photos. They are also very active on social media, constantly replying to fans, interacting with posts in their 502s Fam Facebook Group, and keeping fans in the loop via their mailing list.
Before their New York show, I was able to talk to the band over the phone about what it’s like to be The 502s and how touring has been. For many of the members, it was a no-brainer to leave their traditional jobs in teaching, banking, and working at Whole Foods to pursue the opportunity of a lifetime. Since the band’s creation in 2015, The 502s have played across the United States and Europe, which has earned them a loyal following.
When it comes to the creation of their music, the band has said that the process is very collaborative. Usually Ed will come up with a melody or some lyrics and then everyone will come together to experiment and slowly build upon the idea until they’ve created a song they’re proud of. From there, the band will prepare to release new music and come up with creative ways to launch. With the release of their most recent album Could It Get Better Than This, the band created a free 11-day virtual ‘camp’ and sent participants a camp passport with activities, lyrics, and signature spaces, as well as access to all of the songs on the album, behind the scenes looks, and daily activities.
Before The 502s took the stage, Oliver Hazard started off the night with an impressive set. The Ohio-based folk band played a set consisting of their songs including Fly Right, Grenadine, Illinois, Ohio, Dandelion, and a cover of Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel. Members Mike, Dev, and Griff brought a warm, nostalgic energy to the stage with their laid-back and tranquil discography.
The Ohio natives have amassed over 33,000 followers across their social media pages and have hosted the Oliver Hazard Day music festival in their hometown of Waterville, Ohio to showcase other small bands and raise money for local non-profit organizations. In 2021, the festival raised over $8,000 for a local arts commission.
It’s safe to say that both The 502s and Oliver Hazard are clearly passionate about their craft and rightfully so. In an industry as competitive as music, these artists are unapologetically forging their own paths and making waves in the folk genre. It’s safe to say that folk fanatics should keep The 502s and Oliver Hazard on their radars, as the bands are sure to be making headlines as they grow in the coming years.