DWNTWN Interview

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

If you haven’t heard of DWNTWN you are missing out. And by missing out I mean it is the party of the century in L.A. with some of the best music being played and you’re missing the special dance with the love of your life. Led by a wondrous assault of vocals from Jamie Leffler, the band rely on their ability to create a gorgeous atmosphere of warm tones. “Til Tomorrow” has a pop influence with soft airy instruments that allow people to float away as they sing along (shout out to Robert Cepeda’s harmonies that bounce along with Leffler). “Heroine” is a spacey ambiance driven track that is calm and weaved together through Leffler’s flow of conscious that is released from her pipes. The Alternative caught up with the band to discuss new music, the holidays and awkward presents.

DWNTWN, welcome to The Alternative, how is everyone today? 
The Holidays in movies are usually depicted with the snow and the cold, how does living in California alter your or the rest of America’s perception of the holidays in L.A.? 
I wish it was cold and snowy here for the holidays! It never really feels like Christmas when is 75 degrees outside. Yesterday it was raining and overcast all day, which I thought was lovely. Most people in LA, including Chris our keyboard player, hate the rain. Those people are wrong, there’s nothing better than being inside on a cold day wrapped up in a blanket with the Christmas lights on and cookies baking in the oven. That’s my kinda holiday. Oh and don’t forget the wine. 😉
When my roommate and I first heard your self-titled release, the banjo on “Missing You” seemingly came out of nowhere. There are a lot of hidden surprises and instruments in your music, is this all calculated or do you guys think of ideas rather spontaneously?
I think it’s more spontaneous. We listen to a wide variety of music and little things from different genres will find their way into our songs. It’s difficult for us to classify our style because we really enjoy blending multiple genres. Just because we aren’t a county band shouldn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to utilize a traditionally country instrument. The best thing about writing your own music is that you don’t have to follow any rules. Robert has been using a traditional Greek instrument called a baglamas on a lot of our new songs which sounds awesome, just a little touch to make things more our own.

The best way I can describe your sound is art-pop? It’s more than just pop or electronic structured music, but it’s gifted in its ability to paint a picture with the colorful music, I would assume you have a diverse pallet of influences as well? 
Thank you! What a cool way to describe us! We listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Fidlar. We’re really drawn to the pain and honesty you hear in old folk and country songs. At the same time we’re also really drawn to electronic artists like Kygo. Robert has been listening to the Smiths a lot, and I think you can hear evidence of that in our new music. I love Fleetwood Mac and Grimes. I really respect an artist like Grimes who writes and produces her own music, she’s a big inspiration to me.
When is the next release of music happening, or is is under a rug and locked up right now?
We just finished recording all the vocals for the new EP, so we’re hoping to start releasing songs early next year.

The lyrics are pretty cryptic – soft calls for help in situations – but they seem to be coming from a rather personal space, is there a specific approach to writing that helps them come off this way?
I do my best to be as honest as possible when writing lyrics. It can be difficult to allow myself to be venerable, but I think that’s the best way to work. It’s interesting because sometimes I have an idea in mind for a song, and by the time the lyric is finished I realize I’m talking about something completely different, or that it applies to a more personal situation I was avoiding. It can be quite therapeutic actually confronting fears or moments in my life I have a hard time talking about.

What has everybody been jamming from this year? 
After going to Beach Goth we have been listening to Fidlar and The Growlers non-stop. Also Drake is the shit. Last week we saw Miya Folick and now I can’t stop singing her song Talking With Strangers, it is beyond good and you should listen to it.
Favorite toppings on pizza?
Robert makes delicious pizza dough, so we like to make our own with a spicy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil.
I’m photoshopping my friend into historical pictures for a christmas present, what is the weirdest gift you have given or received during the holidays?
That’s amazing. I wish I were clever and/or patient enough to do something fun like that. I just texted the guys to see if they had any stories and Chris replied with the words “hand job”. Not quite sure if that was a gift he gave or received, but it’s a weird one either way! haha
Final words?

Have a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year! <3