|Drew de F Fawkes (phonegigpics) Flickr (American Authors, Heaven London)|
Blueprint: How do you start your song-writing process?
American Authors: It’s always a different process each time we sit down to write. Sometimes one person will bring in the initial idea, sometimes it will come from a few different people who had already started something and a lot of the times we all just sit in a room together and come up with something from scratch. Having 4 writers in the band always makes for a different writing experience which is really cool because the sound always comes out a little different.
BP : Have you noticed any theme or idea that is prominent in your music?
AA: Recently we have been experimenting with a lot of different instruments including banjo, mandolin and various percussion toys. Africa-influenced rhythms have been taking more of a prominent role in our songs which has then opened up our ideas on melodies. We're always open to trying new things and we get very excited to learn new instruments and experiment with new sounds. We are currently trying to get one of China’s most famous dulcimer players to come in and play on a song.
BP: What do you believe distinguishes you from other musicians and bands?
AA: We are all influenced by so many different types of music and we always want to find ways to incorporate all these different sounds. At the end of the day a great song is a great song no matter what the arrangement of the music is. We are constantly trying to find new ways [to] bring all of our musical influences into our songwriting.
BP: What bands or artists have inspired your music?
AA: We really love Coldplay and The Killers. Recently we have been listening to a lot of FUN, Imagine Dragons and our tour-mates, A Silent Film, but also like everything from EDM to country music (yes, country, and totally not ashamed to admit it). We grew up listening to a lot of Motown, classic rock and jazz as well.
BP: How do diversify your music from the rest of its genre?
AA: So many of our songs are started with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. We start off much more concerned about writing the best song we can and then worry about the sounds we add in later. We take it one song at a time, always trying to out-write our last tune. I guess when it comes down to producing a track we just like to stay as open-minded as possible and not let any idea go unnoticed.
BP: What's one random thing that no one really knows about American Authors?
AA: James speaks Chinese, I am a yoga master, Dave is adopted from Columbia, and Matt …well I would consider Matt to be an urban explorer. He will walk the city for hours and hours pondering life and drinking high-end coffee.
BP: How do each of you contribute to your song-writing?
AA: We all play each other’s instruments so we change roles when writing quite often. Sometimes I will start a song with a guitar riff or James with have a vocal melody. There really is no set way. A lot of the times Matt will have a drum loop that he will bring to the table and we will just start jamming on that. It’s always different which keeps the excitement going.
BP: What do you think makes your songs so meaningful?
AA: We have been able to create this indie/alternative musical vibe and keep a sense of positivity in the lyrics. A lot of the comments we have been receiving on “Believer” have been so in depth like "I was having such a bad day then your song came on and everything was ok!" It's been really awesome to see. On top of the lyrics having this overall uplifting vibe, I think the music is fun and interesting too [but] I am really not 100% sure!
BP: What experience sparked the idea for Believer? What about Best Day of My Life?
AA: Believer started from a guitar riff I played. We were sitting around the studio not sure what to start working on and I picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing the lead riff and said, “here's our next song.” James had written the line "I’m just a believer" a while back, and it fit perfectly with the melody. From there, the song pretty much wrote itself in under an hour. With everyone adding in different sounds, melodies and rhythms, it was a very natural and organic process.
Best Day of My Life was an idea that James and I had been messing around with. We had the pre-chorus and chorus but once we showed the idea to the rest of the guys they came in and restructured the verses and added the stuttered "life" chorus. Looking back on it, the song changed a lot from the initial idea but that’s what I love so much about it. I'll always remember that song being started on acoustic guitars in my tiny Bushwick bedroom, but all of us together as a band really took the song to a completely different place.
BP: Do you have a story behind your band name?
AA: An Author is someone who tells a story through written words. In a way we view ourselves, and everyone else, as authors. Even though we are not writing novels, we are telling stories through music and songs and lyrics. All four of us are from completely different parts of the country (Minnesota, Florida, New Jersey, Texas) and we met in Boston, MA, so we all grew up with pretty different back grounds and experiences to share.
BP: What do you want your listeners to take away from your music?
AA: I hope listeners can relate to the stories we tell and feel emotions from the music. I love listening to songs where I am able to discover something new with each listen. I hope people can get that out of ours!
BP: “Believer” is getting some serious recognition from Alternative Radio Stations. How did the song start getting so popular?
AA: Alt Nation at SeriusXM was the first to find “Believer.” Somehow a friend of a friend of a friend played the track for them and Jeff Regan started playing the record. It came as such a shock to us because didn't plan to release the song that quickly. After that, other stations started playing the song as well and it has kind of turned into this very cool snowball-effect. We are incredibly grateful and thankful to Regan and the other stations who have been such early supporters of our music.
BP: What can fans expect from you in 2013?
AA: As far as 2013, we will be touring with A Silent Film, Gold Fields and Carousel early in the year and hope to release an EP in the spring. Definitely a lot of exciting things coming up that we cannot wait to share with everyone!
Keep up with news and updates from American Authors on their website http://weareamericanauthors.com/.
-Megan Janetsky, Finance Manager