The American Authors story began in 2006 in Boston as the members originally met at Berklee College of Music. The quintet made the leap to Brooklyn in 2010 only to catch the attention of Island Def Jam Records and the rest as they say is history. The band’s poppy sound ventures a little bit into familiar emo territory, but don’t get their collection of tunes mixed up with the Fall Out Boy genre, as they are carving out their own niche for 2014.
Pancakes and Whiskey sat down with lead singer Zac Barnett to discuss the band’s sound, their imminent album release, and how their energy pours over the stage at their live shows.
P&W: American Authors songs are very upbeat and melodic. Where do you get that ‘upbeat’ inspiration from?
AA: When we are writing music, we are telling the stories of our everyday experiences. We’ve been working so hard for so long in our musical endeavors, and have seen a lot of highs and also a good amount of lows. The upbeat music definitely signifies the amazing times we’ve had together and continue to have. We like to project our energy to the listener with upbeat music.
P&W: Was everyone in the band on the same page music wise when you first started out in Boston?
AA: Surprisingly we have never argued about music. We have gone through so many different styles since we started and have always been open to new sounds and influences.
P&W: Mercury Records are pushing for you guys big time behind your album that has not even been released yet. How does that feel, and is there any pressure to put together a successful album?
AA: Everyone at Island Records have been and are amazing! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be with such a supportive and hard-working team. When we wrote and recorded the album we just went in to write great music that we genuinely loved and had fun creating. Everyone behind us was immediately into the album when we finished recording so we have not felt any pressure. The album is due out in March.
P&W: Do you prefer Brooklyn or your hometown of Boston to perform?
AA: While Boston was a great city to start out, Brooklyn is definitely home for us. Our team, friends, and pieces of family are there. It’s always so much fun to be able to do a show in NYC and have all your closest people there.
P&W: Two of your singles “Believer” and “Best Day of My Life” are making your presence known. Do you feel somewhat established at this point?
AA: We are very proud of those songs and it’s such a blast to see them doing well. We have been making music for so long though that we still feel like the same 4 average guys. We still live in our first apartment in Bushwick together and bum around the city in our off days. It sure does feel good to be able to show our parents and grandparents different commercials and tv shows where our music is though.
P&W: It seems like songs are being placed in advertisements now. How do you feel about your songs being placed in car commercials, movies, etc.? “Best Day of My Life” has been used for both commercials and the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
AA: We love it! It’s great to show our families and say “look guys, struggling to play music payed off!”
P&W: It seems like we live in lighter times in terms of music. Imagine Dragons had a big year in rock music in 2013 though, as they have some heavy material at times. Do you think rock music is dead? Do you consider yourself rock or pop or would you rather not be labeled either at all? Do you think we do live in poppier times?
AA: Rock music is much more alive now than it has been in a long time. It’s so awesome to see great rock artists crossing over to pop mainstream with good, genuine music. I don’t think the music has gotten poppier, rather than pop listeners are beginning to accept rock music back into their lives.
Indie alternative rock, pop rock, pop alternative, indie pop….we just love writing great songs that we enjoy playing.
P&W: What is the American Authors live show like for those who have not seen the band perform live?
AA: Our live show is very energetic. Our goal is to share a moment and create a connection between us and the audience. We switch off between a ton of different instruments and give every show 110%.
Interview by Robert Frezza