2AM Club know how to throw a party--and it's not one you're going to forget the next day. Funk, pop, rock, blue-eyed soul, hip-hop, new wave, and electro all converge to create a genre-bending sound that's completely unique, instantly relatable, and practically begging to be danced to. These six 20-something guys--singer Marc Griffin, emcee Tyler Cordy, guitarist Matt Reagan, keyboard player Dave Dalton, drummer Ian O'Neill and bassist Matt Warshauer, AKA "Sauce"--bring a diverse array of influences to the table (Jay Z to the Beatles, Duran Duran to the Beastie Boys, Stevie Wonder to The Strokes), effortlessly synthesizing the very best of all that has come before them to create music that is resoundingly modern. One part Seattle, one part Bay Area and one part Northeast, the group came together in Los Angeles in 2007 and honed their skills playing the local college scene before heading up and down the West Coast, booking, producing, and headlining their own gigs. After recording some demos with Jerry Harrison--a former member of the Talking Heads and Modern Lovers--2AM Club played a now-legendary four-month residency they called "Tiny Porno" at the Derby in L.A., and word quickly spread that it was the place to be: "We wanted to create an environment that wasn't like the typical L.A. promotional circuit," says Sauce. "We wanted something raw, sweaty, dark, and disgusting. It turned into a huge thing."
2AM Club's shows never fail to explode with energy, heightened by the hyperactive musical tango between Tyler and Marc's vocals, and the way that the band--named for a beloved Bay Area bar known for being a welcoming chill spot for a random assortment of locals--honor their moniker by making their shows an all-inclusive, unpretentious good time for all who attend.
"Our idea has always been to try to break down the fourth wall," says Tyler. "A lot of bands play for the audience while the audience just stands there. We wanted a different dynamic. Everybody's in the room and we're all listening to music, we should be experiencing it together. The Tiny Porno shows were crucial because they exploded with that kind of crazy energy."
With a buzz like that, it was only a matter of time before the labels came knocking, and 2AM Club signed with RCA Records in September 2008. Since then, they've relocated to NYC, where they've been sequestered in the studio with seasoned producers Sam Hollander and Dave Katz (Boys Like Girls, Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes), recording tracks for their debut album.
With live crowd-pleasers such as "Flashing Room" (a thumping, ode to sex that's a bit more than casual, featuring soaring 80s-esque synths, sly rock riffs, and a sky-high chorus), "Hurricane" (a seductive slow jam that unspools into panoramic pop), and "Let Me Down Easy" (which sounds like what might happen if Eminem body-slammed New Edition) already in the bag, expect rip-roaring rock riffs, punchy new wave-inflected synths, ass-shaking hip-hop beats, clever wordplay (exhibit a: "she left her cares on the bedpost, next to her lipstick and her Mentos"), and a dash of good old Motown-style soul. In other words, expect a record full of unique and entirely creative cuts that span a vast musical landscape.
While there may be touches of everyone from Prince to Maroon 5 to Justin Timberlake to D'Angelo in their DNA, the interplay between Marc's smooth singing voice and Tyler's effortless staccato flow makes 2AM Club sound completely fresh. They also lay strong emphasis on solid songwriting (an effort that involves the whole band), giving them a lyrical and melodic sophistication that's rarely seen in groups so young. 2AM Club's songs may be predominantly about sex and girls, nights out and lights out, but they're also inventive, intelligent, and shot through with real sentiment because they're written about things that are actually happening in the band member's lives.
"Pop music has been made for so long, a lot of it has obviously become cliché and hackneyed," says Tyler. "We're hoping that if we can make it a little bit smarter, we can take it somewhere new and cool and exciting. It comes down to a bigger idea of love and conflict and greatness and bullshit. I think most people can identify with that, but then on another level it's also just super dumb drunk party music--you can take from it what you will."
"I think we've all always wanted to be saying something with music," adds Marc. "That's why we started out in poetry slams and doing hip-hop. We may be making music that's more pop now, which has this overarching feeling of being catchy and melodic and cheeky, but we're hoping you can listen to it 20 times and still be taking something new away from it on a deeper level."
"In other words," says Matt, "we're hoping the album will be something you can play at a party, but that you'll also want to play after the party when you get home."