The 502s
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The 502s

Orlando, FL | Established. Jan 01, 2013

Orlando, FL
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Folk Indie




This band has no press


The 502s - EP (2016)



In the premiere for their single “What To Do”, No Depression declared The 502s ”a charismatic indie folk band with enough energy to take on the world”.

The 502s’ bright-eyed and rambunctious indie folk is the brainchild of Floridian banjoist and singer-songwriter Ed Isola.  Ed comes from a huge family, with twenty-five extended family members living within a few miles of each other. Big, loud, and tight-knit, The Isolas are a classic slice of Americana - a wholesome family that gathers together at Grandpa’s house every Sunday afternoon for hugs, laughs, and homemade sandwiches. Ed’s first musical ventures were crafted in this loving environment, and it’s part of the reason The 502s’ debut album Because We Had To gives the listener such a warm and joyful feeling. 

Ed laughs as he recalls, “I had no idea what I was doing at first. I taught myself guitar and banjo in college and just came home one summer with a bunch of songs I wrote. I formed a band of any family and friends that wanted to play, and things kind of took off from there.” After only a couple months together and fueled by a pure love of playing live, the ragtag group won a national competition over thousands of other bands to earn a coveted set at Okeechobee Music Festival. Performing alongside superstar headliners like Mumford and Sons and Kendrick Lamar opened Ed’s eyes to the potential of his songs, and gave the band the push they needed to grow well beyond their local Orlando music scene.

From these auspicious beginnings, The 502s have since evolved into the sound of a big, rowdy block party that invites in the whole neighborhood. In sync with the ‘neighborhood’ vibe, Ed enlisted the help of middle-school classmate Matthew Tonner to produce their first album. Matthew, a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, quickly became a constant member of the live band. Under his direction The 502s’ arrangements flourished with irresistible touches of ebullient horns, jangling piano, and atmospheric organ. On stage, the vibe is flawlessly reproduced despite (or perhaps, because of) a revolving door lineup, typically five- or six-piece, but at times ballooning to over a dozen musicians. “There are more than enough parts to go around” jokes Matthew, “but the sound is so much bigger than the sum of its parts. We make these live videos for our Facebook page, and people are always saying ‘no way, that’s gotta be pre-recorded’ but they are always live, usually around one mic!”

Undoubtedly drawing on sounds of bluegrass and Dixie swing, The 502s make no fuss about acknowledging their influence from modern folk-pop’s usual suspects - Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers. As a matter of fact, they wear their fandom on their sleeves. But while the songs seem upbeat and sunny on the surface, Ed’s vulnerable lyrics and wholehearted vocals reveal great emotional depths. It explains The 502s’ appeal to a much broader demographic than the typical twenty-something festival crowd. “One of the most amazing experiences we have, is when someone tells us how our music is helping them through hard times in their life.” Matthew comments earnestly. Ed elaborates, “We have the opportunity to talk with a lot of people at shows and they are always mentioning how a song has helped them through a death in the family, a lost job, a broken heart... it's just incredible to know that we have the opportunity to bring a small slice of joy through something we love to do.

“Everything we sing and play comes from our hearts, and it's incredibly humbling and honestly somewhat surreal to see people all over connecting with it on a deeply personal level. We love to really create meaningful relationships with people, because we intend to do this for a long, long time.”

All else aside, it’s their undeniable and infectious choruses, and stunningly raucous live shows that have rapidly earned them devotees both at home and abroad. Bolstered by millions of video views and Spotify streams, The 502s spent most of the past two years bringing their ‘party’ to over 1000 cities across the North America and Europe, with no plans of slowing down.

Band Members