Republic of Letters is a three-man band that exemplifies the notion that the sum of the parts can be far greater than the whole. Each of its members was inspired to create and perform as a result of the major impact that music had on them and their lives. Now coalesced together with a seven-year-strong unity honed in front of many thousands of listeners at hundreds of shows, the San Diego-based group stands at the springboard of success, ready and able to have an equally great impact in today’s contemporary music scene.

You can hear that potential on their first full album Stories, a disc that melds modern musical modes and appeal with time-honored and proven classic rock’n’roll power, craft and finesse. Produced by Brian Karscig (of Louis XIV), it’s a 10 song collection rich with energy, melodic colors, rhythmic drive and grooves, emotions and lyrical observations that all echo with an inviting familiarity alongside the newness of the band’s own distinctive creativity, energy and engaging spirit. It follows their 2007 six-song debut EP, Spirit or a Ghost, produced by Ben Moore, known for his work with such famed artists as Switchfoot, Rocket from the Crypt and Hot Snakes. From a first listen to Republic of Letters, be it on record or stage, it’s undeniable that here’s an act whose fervent sense of purpose and musicality is engaging and infectious.

Republic of Letters chose an apt name for their band, taken from an international community of 17th and 18th Century scholars and writers who avidly communicated and exchanged ideas in a fashion that transcended language and borders to help inspire their peers and the world at large. In a similar fashion, popular music has transmitted and shared ideas and feelings in the modern age to inspire and enhance the lives of many millions. Among those it affected deeply and moved to add their own contributions to the canon is the members of this new musical Republic of Letters: Chris Venti (guitar and vocals), Nick Venti (drums) and Martin Niwinski (bass).

RoL, as they are known in shorthand, are not just a group of musicians but truly a band. Their songs are almost all written collectively, and together they have built their own independent career and profile that have found them earning radio play on major rock and Triple A radio stations nationwide as well as 150 plus college stations, charting in CMJ. In their hometown, they’ve been nominated three years in a row as Best Alternative Band in the San Diego Music Awards, enjoy regular rotation on 91X, FM 94/9, KPRI/102.1 and Sophie 103.7, and are the city’s opening act of choice for such touring acts as The Duke Spirit, We Are Scientists, Awolnation, British Sea Power, The Coronas, Air Traffic, Unwritten Law and Hot Water Music, to name some but hardly all. They’ve played the annual Heart of Texas Rock Fest during SXSW in 2008 and 2009, and have been heard on the radio in Europe and enjoyed steady play on XFM in Reykjavik, Iceland. And all that is only beginning as they move out on tour and prepare to cut their next album.

All three members have listened to and absorbed a broad range of music that informs the rich palette from which they draw and fashion their sound. The Venti brothers grew up in a musical household, encouraged to play instruments by their mother, a college voice and music teacher, and hearing such artists as Bob Dylan and Steppenwolf from their father’s extensive album collection. By their teens they had started on their rock’n’roll instruments and began playing in bands, both fired by the buzz of the early Southern California second wave punk and skateboard culture that emerged around them as they came of age. Niwinski started out on trumpet and French horn in school band, and in his teens played guitar but then switched to bass, prompted by the upright bass tracks he heard on the debut Beastie Boys album, Licensed to Ill.

“We all come from different and varied places musically yet find a common ground together,” notes Chris. After playing in separate bands the Venti brothers joined forces. When Niwinski joined them, the immediate musical flow and intercommunication they shared shifted his perception from playing music for fun but doubting he could make a career of it to seeing it as a viable pursuit.

Like such other acts comprised of three instruments and a lead voice as U2, The Ramones, The Who, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, R.E.M. and The Police, Republic of Letters aim and succeed at creating a big sound and impact from such basic elements. “That’s what it’s all about with us,” explains Niwinski. Inquire about the artists they admire and who inspire them, and the responses are as wide and diverse as a huge record collection: Everyone from Radiohead to Bruce Springsteen to Charles Mingus to Depeche Mode and many more between and beyond. What results from all that is a genuinely global and timeless musical republic all their own.

“We are all drawn to the creative adventure and wanderlust of being in a band,” says Chris Venti. “We focus on the music and pushing ourselves on all levels as people.”

“We’re about hope and instigating worthwhile changes, and we aspire to use music as a vehicle to inspire that,” adds Niwinski.

“We want people to come away from hearing our songs feeling better,” Nick Venti explains. “Music is that place where I could always go and find a record that made me feel better. It always gave so much to me that we want to give something back and keep that chain going.”

To achieve those ends, “We really strive to bring it all every time we play,” concludes Nick. “We’re trying to create music that will last and mean something to people.” From the evidence at hand, it’s clear that another historical Republic of Letters has arrived to make its mark on a new era.