American Authors, a band who only hope what they do will bring joy to fans, listeners and collaborators around the world, are currently giving a gift of music and getting back into the beat.

American Authors frontman Zac Barnett understands that the face of music has changed. In our conversation, he reflected on how, as the group rose to prominence around 2013, there was a distinct sound floating through the radio waves he was a part of, alongside One Republic, Of Monsters and Men. and Mumford and Sons. With that in mind, however, he and his band mates James Adam Shelley, Dave Rublin, and Matt Sanchez strove to evolve over time and not stick to just one sound. Each of their albums has been critically acclaimed for a reason: they’re fun, rewarding, and original. Their style is entirely their own, focusing on their own feelings and experiences before transforming them into a perfect musical ensemble, with a bow. Their last outing, Countdown, dropped out in mid-September with the exact idea of ​​giving fans something new and positive to listen to in these unprecedented times, which truly is the ultimate gift.

Not only have American writers toured the world for years, but you’ve also been a staple at music festivals throughout your career. What was one of the real live performances this time around for you all? Because I feel like performing for your fans and music lovers is a big part of who you are as a band.

It’s certain. We’ve been pretty consistent touring since we took the stage over eight years ago now, so yeah, touring is huge for us. I’ll say, as bad as it sucks to cancel shows, which we had to do, but this whole pandemic hit at a time when the American writers were just coming off tour and we were going to take some time out to refocus and refocus before starting to return to the studio. We had to cancel shows, but we didn’t have to cancel the whole show.

For me, it sucks, because it’s the longest time I’ve been away from my band mates. It’s the longest time I’ve spent without doing a show here or there. I really feel like American writers have had it easy, where it’s like I have friends in so many other bands that just had to cancel six months of touring. I can’t even imagine that. I can’t imagine if that would have happened last summer, just a year ago, when we were on tour all summer, and then we went to Europe for a month, and we had so much stuff booked. . I can’t even imagine what it must be like for bands. My heart is with them, my heart is with all the crew members who are out of work right now, and everyone in between. It sucks and it’s a disappointment.

It’s also very different, as there has now been a shift to these online shows, which I know you have made a few of. How do you see the shift to streaming concerts or internet performances?

Oh it’s good. It’s far from the same, however. I don’t think they have the same energy. I’ve even done live shows that are sort of more live produced for Have a nice day, New York and other morning shows and I don’t even think they have the same energy as when a band comes in and performs live on a TV show. I don’t know, but it’s not the same. It’s cool for now! I think it’s fun to do, especially to raise awareness for different causes and raise funds. I think that’s a good thing, mostly, because that’s kind of all people can do right now, so I would never discourage it, but it’s definitely not the same.

Of course, there may be a reason behind the performance, but you still won’t feel that compromise with an audience the same way you would on stage.

Yes. I mean, you don’t feel the compromise, you don’t feel the energy that the audience doesn’t feel. It’s like watching another version of a clip almost for me…. What I love about seeing a live show is that as a member of the audience I love to feel the music all over my body, blood and bones as if it is shaking me. . I like this. I want to see bands and I like the idea that you have no idea what the unforeseen is going to happen on their stage. I like, even as an audience member, to feed off the other audience numbers that are present when we watch this performance, you know?

I totally understand. This is something that I don’t think can be reproduced. You can try, but I don’t think anyone can find a way to do it.

You sure can’t. I think this definitely sets up a cool new way to do performances for the future. I think everyone’s going to kind of start to be equipped to do some really nice professional live broadcasts or screaming or whatever from their homes, so I think you might start to see more of it here. future where people can do home sessions now and can just zoom in and whatever. There’s going to be a lot of that stuff. You won’t have to travel that much for some things, but the idea of ​​a live concert and the live show will never go anywhere and it cannot be replicated at all.

That’s right, there are many benefits to all of this – especially for musicians who might have people they want to collaborate with in another state or even another country. I love the prospect that he can still bring people together in a new way.

Yes. It’s cool. It’s definitely a bit normalized for me. It’s really cool to keep making music like writing, collaborating, doing stuff that isn’t in the room. Can it work? Yes of course. You lack energy, like similar musical energy always, but there are some cool things about it. It makes some things really accessible, which I like.

Absoutely. Now, Countdown, your new EP is finally available to the world for people to listen to and love. How was this EP, this project born? Because it is surely an interesting time to release music and I read that a lot of the songs appeared during the Seasons time last year.

Yes. They were written and it all pretty much ended like two months after our third album, Seasons, came out, so we had them for a while. We started releasing singles, like a song called “Microphone”, ahead of our January / February tour with Magic Giant. Then we collaborated with Seeb on the song “Best I Can”. It came out and at that point it was kind of like, “Well, we have these other three songs that we almost finished. Seems like a good time while everyone is kind of in hibernation to release another album for our fans and give more music to the people who hang out, hang out at home and need more shit to listen to.

Well the fans are glad you did, because even though Countdown is an EP, it has it all: fun, depth, inspiration, anthemic instrumentation and soul-warming melodies. What do you want listeners to take in now that he’s in the world?

It’s really cool because American Authors is at a point where we now have three full albums and I think this EP really encompasses all of the different types of music that we’ve been lucky enough to release on these albums. We have some really classic American songwriter stuff that is a little quick and fun that people know us about with Oh, what a life. Then you have the most sentimental and moody songs that are on Seasons. Then you have some pretty heavy pop songs that are a bit more familiar on our second album, What we live for. So this EP, just five songs, for me, really has all of these styles and now it allows us to take that time to move forward and get back to the drawing board of what we want to do for the next batch of music.

As a band, you’ve never really cared about a sound or an idea. Like you said, you’ve dabbled in pop music, you’ve dabbled in folk, classic rock, and indie – and you’ve done it all exceptionally well. Where do you get these inspirations from? Have they changed over time?

It’s always different. I think with each album we were always looking for something different. With the first album, we were really in the process of discovering ourselves and sort of entering into what American authors were. I think with the second album it was definitely more like a collection of pop songs. Then the third … well, Seasons was sort of digging deep and it was more of a “Look, this is where we are in our lives.” This is the state of mind we are in and we write it down. This is what we are writing right now as we really let these emotions flow. That’s why I don’t necessarily know what the next step is. I could tell you right away, we’ve literally just started writing. We have just started writing again for the first time since March when we parted. We already have three songs that I feel great, super happy with and they’re really, really good.

Wow, this is exciting. How has your writing process changed, if anything, since you were kind in this weird lockdown? Or did you just manage to get up to speed like you did before?

It was cool. It was a good thing because we actually got together. The guys got out – I have a home studio, so they came to my home studio when they landed – they got off the plane, had COVID tested with the quick test, so they got the results, and they were both negative. Then they came and we just crouched in my studio at my house and just wrote. During that time, you know, I wrote so much on my own because I wasn’t around a lot of people. It was pretty amazing the last six months just being home alone, working on music on my own, because I hadn’t done those years since everything with American Authors is so collaborative. In fact, I had an amazing time going back to my roots and being on my own, being my own writer and my own editor. It all kind of got done by myself, so I was nervous about collaborating with several other people. Honestly, however, the first day we just got back to it and it was super fun. It was like riding a bike, just falling back into it. That first day we wrote a new killer song and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’m so glad you got back on track. You mentioned that you used this time to work on music as your own artist. Will we get to hear any of these songs or any of these ideas on a possible upcoming album from an American songwriter?

You will hear them. I have a lot of things I’m working on right now. I have a bunch of different projects I’m working on that should come out ASAP. It’s just a lot of fun working on different things right now and I’m, we’re super excited.


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