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2AM Club not afraid to make 'dumb pop music'

September 30, 2010 |  9:35 am


The boys of 2AM Club can’t help but feel nostalgic. As the six-piece band prepped for a gig at West Hollywood’s House of Blues on the day their debut album, “What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?” hit stores, much of the backstage chatter ventured to their formative days a few blocks from the venue they were set to play.

“The best feeling [is] when you do that full circle. We started here,” the group’s lead singer Marc Griffin said backstage after the sound check. “The first songs were written right here. We wrote those in our apartment right down the street. It’s funny we were living in that dirty ... cockroach apartment and we started writing. We started writing these intense, hopefully sentimental, party records. It feels just like yesterday.”

In reality yesterday was 2007, but life is a bit different from those days of playing the West Coast college scene and bunking together (they joke that the space was so small they had to share cereal with their bug roommates) a few blocks east on Sunset Boulevard. The emerging group -- headed by Griffin and emcee Tyler Cordy -- are having their moment, thanks to their genre-bending fusion of pop, electro, soul, funk, rock and hip-hop.

Akin to their music, the boys' upbringing is all over the map. Griffin and guitarist Matt Reagan grew up together in San Francisco, while keyboardist Dave Dalton and Cordy grew up together in Seattle. Cordy and Griffin met as undergrads at UC Santa Cruz, where they dropped out together and moved to LA. The four later met drummer Ian O’Neill and bassist Matt “Sauce” Warshauer and snagged a deal with RCA. They are riding a small wave of success with their first single, “Worry About You,” which has become a late-night staple on MTV.

With their soulful sound, sharp pop hooks, New Wave-influenced synths paired with charming attitudes and arresting good looks, it’s easy to peg them as just another strand on the crowded boy band DNA. Thankfully, they are a bit more Maroon 5 than New Kids on the Block.

Cordy said the crew wanted to create an album about “pulling up your roots and experiencing something completely different,” but being six twentysomethings the album is, as expected, heavy on party anthems about sweaty dancing and getting laid. The boys owe their eclectic sound to their varying musical tastes.

M.2AM_02-Asian_0130 “It’s the iPod generation … all of us growing up listening to different stuff and putting each other onto new music,” Griffin said. “Like when I first met Tyler we both loved Kanye West and Tupac, but he loves Fiona Apple and I love Sam Cooke. We can all share music and that’s had a lot to do with our development and how we structured our sound. Our bass player is a huge ‘80s Duran Duran fan, so we implemented that type of dance music sound into what we do.”

Part of the charm is their sense of humor, evident by Cordy making no apologies at his desire to create “dumb pop music,” albeit purposeful.

“We like music that makes you feel good. It’s supposed to make you kinda release. Like the Shakespearian idea of having a moment to go to a play and forgetting about your troubles or whatever. That’s what quote, unquote ‘dumb pop music’ is,” Cordy said. “Like [album opener] ‘Flashing Rooms,’ it’s a sweaty, kinda dance jam with an underlying sentiment of love and affection.”

The sextet has spent a heavy portion of their summer and fall touring to support the album. They are now opening for Mike Posner on his “Up In the Air” tour which will keep the boys on tour through October. One look at their hyperactive set and it’s clear they have mastered making their audience (mostly the girls) break into a sweat and Griffin isn’t ready for a break.

“Now is the real, ‘what if?’ We’re just trying to figure out what’s the next move. What happens next?” Griffin said. “We’ll plan on being on the road for as long as the road will have us.”

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy


Top photo: 2AM Club, from left, members left to right as shown in top photo, Ian O’Neill, Matt Reagan, Marc Griffin, Dave Dalton,Tyler Cordy and Matt “Sauce” Warshauer. Credits: Jeremy Cowart