The best artists have always torn up boundaries of genre and style, bridging musical realms to create a sound uniquely their own. On their new album, Why Can’t We Have Fun, Debutaunts, the Atlanta based quartet, take the smarts and edge of the underground and drop them in infectious, powerful and undeniable songs that immediately distinguish the band as one of the few that can marry progressive and pop successfully.
Why Can’t We Have Fun resonates with a sense of a band coming into its own and discovering just what it's capable of doing. Inspired by everything from 60’s pop-rock to new-wave and dance, the album is a result of the band’s increased commitment to their craft, a commitment that has seen the band relocate from Florida to Atlanta, leaving their lives in Florida behind to concentrate solely on their music.
Formed in 2006 when lead singer and guitarist Jazek found Jonny Shupert (guitar, vocals) and Stephen Santana (drums) (with bassist Jeff Margaritondo joining later), the band set its sights high from the beginning. Jazek says, “We’ve always wanted to be our own sound. I don’t even consider us influenced by any artists – rather, we take the inspiration we get from great music and artists to create our own thing. That’s what we’ve always done.”
That inspiration comes in many forms. From the Beatles to the Smiths and Stone Roses, to Madonna and Prince to David Bowie and the Beach Boys, it’s clear that the band is inspired by both edge and beauty, which informs the best of its music.
Taking on the work of a DIY band, Debutaunts spent their first couple of years touring up and down the east coast, developing themselves and honing their skills as a live band. During those travels, the band crossed paths with Atlanta-based, grammy-nominated, Platinum-record producer Matt Goldman, who the band saw immediately as a kindred spirit. Jazek explains, “We met with a lot of producers, but Matt really was on point and down to earth. And he’s super innovative in the studio, which is essential for us.”
The first result of the band’s collaboration with Goldman was 2008’s Flowers From Evil EP, which drew plaudits and expanded their fan base. The band, restless and determined to keep creating anew, began writing for a full-length album immediately. “After we did Flowers From Evil,” recalls Jonny, “we were proud of it, but once we were done with it, we were over it. We were listening to a lot of 60’s pop and Motown, and remembered that you can be commercial without being terrible. That inspired us for the next four to five months of songwriting.”
Working again with Matt Goldman, Why Can’t We Have Fun showcases the leap in both songwriting and craftsmanship that is the result of their total dedication to their music. “As Long As You Want Me” pulses with a slinky synth riff that speaks to the band’s modernity, but Jazek’s vocals are melodically seductive in the way that the greatest pop/rock has always been. “Who Could Have Lost You” speaks to the bands inventiveness, with a shimmering string quartet complementing the band as it plays in waltz time. On “Principles,” Jonny gets to display a whole other weapon in the bands arsenal when he takes on lead vocals.
The band is taking advantage of the multi-media tools available to promote the album in their own special way. Jazek declares, “We’re promoting the album as song at a time; every two weeks we’re releasing new content around each track – new video, new photos and more.” Summer and Fall of 2010 will see the band hit the road to make their new songs come alive in front of an audience.
Ultimately, Debutaunts have made an album that has showcased their talent, growth and their immense progression as a band. “We’re so proud of the album,” says Jazek. “Everything about it is a breakthrough.” He concludes by saying, “As soon as we met we knew we had to do music. Everything else fell apart – nothing else mattered. Now more than ever, we’re dedicated to exposing as many people as possible to our love affair with music.” That dedication is abundantly clear in every note of Why Can’t We Have Fun, music that bridges the gap of the subversive underground and the mass appeal of pop; music that promises to crack the Debutaunts future wide open in 2010.