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Friday, April 17, 2015
American Authors sing about their 'best days' at Breckenridge Spring Fever
Most bands find inspiration in their day-to-day lives, hoping to translate a personal experience into a universal song with a catchy melody. For American Authors, rather than pen tunes about being broke while living in Brooklyn, coming up with new and inventive ways to cook ramen noodles and trying to make it as a pop-rock band in the big city, the group decided on a more aspirational approach. Lead singer Zac Barnett, guitarist James Adam Shelley, bassist Dave Rublin and drummer Matt Sanchez focused on writing songs that would lift their spirits and help them not give up on their dreams.
“One of the things that bound us together was the fact that we did have one another to keep us inspired during the hard times,” Barnett said. “The first song we wrote as American Authors was ‘Believer,’ (which is about) how as people we all have these faults, we all have these insecurities, but you’re not supposed to let those things weigh you down. Know that you can make things better for yourself.”
‘WRITING SONGS WE LOVE’
While “Believer” was the band’s first official single, it was the 2013 smash hit “Best Day of My Life” that took the band from the tiny apartment they all shared to playing bigger crowds and garnering more fans. “Best Day of My Life” has been played everywhere, from TV commercials to this year’s Miss America pageant during the coronation, which seems fitting. No one’s more surprised at the song’s success than Barnett himself.
“We thought it was a bit crazy at first,” Barnett said. “There are five different experiences in one song; it’s a bit bizarre and weird. After recording it, we sat on it for a few weeks (and thought) we’d release it as a B side to ‘Believer.’ For it to become what it is is totally amazing, and we’re pretty thankful for that.”
Many indie rock bands try to keep their street cred, even when they hit the jukebox jackpot, but American Authors are comfortable with the “pop” label and like crafting songs a wide audience can relate to.
“It’s just about writing songs we love,” Barnett said. “I think a great song shines through no matter what the song is, and a truthful song will shine through as well.”
TOURING THE WORLD
Now that the band spends most of its time touring instead of searching for pennies under the couch, Barnett has devised an expert packing strategy unmatched by most rock stars.
“I used to be a ninja where I could fit everything into one backpack and have more clothes than anyone else on tour,” Barnett said. “We’ve been flying a bit more, so now I bring a roller suitcase, because it fits a bit more things, just in case I get any gift or souvenirs, then I just walk through security with nothing on me. If you ever see me at the airport, make sure you get behind me.”
American Authors will perform a free concert on Saturday, April 18, at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge as part of Breck Spring Fever, and if you were to see Barnett on the slopes for closing weekend, it would be on a snowboard.
“I don’t like the idea of my feet being apart,” Barnett said. “I get real wobbly and get nervous that I’m going to do the splits.”