Nearly 10 years ago, Brooklyn indie pop act American Authors released the single “Best Day Of My Life” and it hit a lot of musical charts around the globe, including the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 40. Since then, the song has been used in commercials, film trailers, TV, video games, sports broadcasts and even the Miss America Pageant.
Marking a decade since that hit song came out, the band of vocalist and guitarist Zac Barnett, bassist & keyboardist Dave Rublin and drummer Matt Sanchez will be putting out the album Best Night Of My Live on Feb. 10.
On the same night of its release, American Authors will be putting on a party at The Warehouse in Fairfield. Canadian singer-songwriter Billy Raffoul will be kicking off the festivities at 8 p.m.
Barnett and I talked ahead of the show.
RD: American Authors originally started out at Berklee College Of Music in Boston under a different name with The Blue Pages. What was it like going to school there and what inspired the name change?
ZB: Berklee was great, I went there really just to meet other like minded musicians who wanted to form a band, go on tour and whatnot. After my first semester, I met Dave [Rublin] and Matt [Sanchez] and we started touring around New England which was awesome. We started pressing our own album and doing the whole DIY scene of the area, which prompted us to drop out of school. Finally after we toured New England so many times over and over, we moved to New York City and once we were there it felt like we were due for a fresh start so that prompted the name change and here we are today.
RD: You guys have been based in the borough of Brooklyn since 2010. How much has Brooklyn changed over the past 13 years and do you feel that New York City is a more beneficial environment to be in as a full-time musician than other cities?
ZB: I’ll be completely honest with you, scenes change and when we were there it was such a prime time, at least for us and our music. 2009 through 2014 in New York City was just amazing, we’re still friends with all the bands we came up with back in the day. Going to Angels & Kings together in the East Village with Young Rising Sons, Lovelytheband, there were so many groups that came out of there that are still active today and we are friends with all coming up together. I think that was really, really cool. New York City is my favorite city in the world but I personally felt like the music scene there kind of dried up around 2016 and you saw people start to really focus on L.A. and Nashville, which is still the case.
It’s a tricky thing, scenes change all the time. I’m not even making this up, I remember reading a big article with Ryan Tedder [from OneRepublic] and he was even saying at this exact same time that the scene in New York is pretty much dried up and it’s all out in L.A, Nashville and London now. Those things change, Brooklyn and New York City are still the best places in the world but you just kind of find more of the collaborative scene in those other cities I mentioned.
RD: On January 13th, American Authors released the title track off of the album Best Night Of My Life, which due out on the same day as the upcoming show at The Warehouse. From watching the music video for it, it has you playing the banjo versus the guitar you usually play. What made you want to use that particular instrument for this song and do you view both the single and the album as a reaction to the band’s 2013 hit single “Best Day Of My Life”?
ZB: For sure, obviously American Authors have been gigging for the last 10 years since that song and people have told us that we could do a “best birthday of my life” or a “best Christmas of my life” and we get it all the time. When we were making this new album, rather than listen to everything that’s out today and trying to turn our band into something that we’re hearing on the radio in 2023, we really wanted to focus on our career as a band and really be truthful to who we are and who we’ve been our entire life as a band. It was the idea of everyone always telling us to play off “Best Day Of My Life” so we did it, we made the “Best Night Of My Life”. As far as me playing the banjo, I play all the string instruments on this album and I play guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele so it’s pretty easy. When you see us play live, you’ll see me constantly switching off of guitars, ukuleles and all that stuff.
RD: That makes sense. What was the experience like making the album? Where was it recorded and did you work with a producer on it or did you guys produce it yourselves?
ZB: We wrote, recorded it and produced it ourselves in my living room at my house in Las Vegas. Matt [Sanchez] is an incredible producer so between him and the rest of us we did 90% of the album just there in my living room within a two week timespan. It was really, really special because once again, rather than looking at what’s going on today and trying to change who we are into something else it more so the idea of who knows American Authors better than American Authors? I think it was a much more focused idea that really allowed us to mesh while really having a great time writing and recording this together.
RD: It definitely seems like you guys were focused due to getting it all done within two weeks, seems like you were able to get everything moving at a steady pace.
ZB: Yeah, it was cool.
RD: I can imagine it being so. What can fans expect from Best Night Of My Live when the album is released? Do you guys plan on incorporating its unveiling in any way at The Warehouse?
ZB: It’s a great album, man. I like to tell people that it’s the most American Authors sounding album that American Authors has ever released. It’s super fun, it feels good, it has a lot of depth to it, it’s all truth and I think it has really good, meaningful stories that our fans are really going to relate to. I think they’re going to hear a lot of nostalgic sounds that are going to make them feel comfort and feel really good. As far as the show goes, it’s going to be great, we’re going to play a lot of the new album, we’re going to play all your favorite songs from the past and maybe some fun covers as well.
70 Sanford Street, Fairfield, CT
Friday, Feb. 10. 8 p.m.