Nashville retro-synth pop band chat through the influences & ambitions of their debut album
The Daybreaks are currently being touted as Nashville’s next big supergroup.
An indie band with a large sound, and comprising of talented singer-songwriters formed to make perfect pop songs, The Daybreaks were founded in 2015 by Kaleb Jones, Heather Bond and Bobby Holland, later adding Adam Bokesch and Zac Stred to bring an intensity to their vision.
Theatrical and insightful in equal measure, the simplicity of sing-along tunes are measured against complex sound schemes and smart production that distinguishes The Daybreaks from typical pop fare.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Kaleb, Heather and Bobby, as they’re preparing to release their debut album, Find Me At The End Of The World. We asked about roots, personal advice and their ambitions for the record, and the future of the band…
Hello – Please introduce yourself.
Kaleb Jones: Hello! I’m Kaleb Jones, singer/writer/guitar player for The Daybreaks.
Heather Bond: Hello! I’m Heather Bond, singer/writer/piano/keytar player for The Daybreaks.
Bobby Holland: Hi! I’m Bobby Holland. I play guitar/keys/percussion, sing background vocals, and am producer for The Daybreaks.
Where are you right now?
KJ: First of all, creepy. Secondly, I’m pretty sure you can just google that kind of thing now.
HB: Ha only Kaleb would say it’s creepy because he doesn’t document his life on social media. I am sitting on a Southwest flight right now heading back to Nashville!
BH: I’m not sure. Where are you?
Please name your fellow band members and their roles… oh, and who has the best dance moves?
KJ: Bobby Holland is our brilliant producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist. He’s the engine of the group as well as a well known and established producer and mixing engineer in Nashville.
Heather Bond is an established Nashville writer/musician and notorious 2-stepper. She sings, plays keys and writes songs for The Daybreaks along with her other diverse projects.
Kaleb Jones is a long tenured Nashville artist who sings, plays guitar and writes for The Daybreaks. He also travels and performs across the country and world with the well known a cappella group Street Corner Symphony.
Zac Stred plays bass and synth in The Daybreaks, and is by far the most stylish person in the group. He has played bass for some of the best in the biz.
Adam Bokesch produces, programs and plays drums in the group. He is also an established producer and studio drummer in Nashville.
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
KJ: Our new album is called Find Me At the End of the World and it comes out Friday June 30! It was produced by our very own Bobby Holland and Adam Bokesch, in our home base Pentavarit Studios here in Nashville.
It’s about a wide range of topics, emotions and dreams. We try to capture specific moments or feelings and extrapolate them over the course of a song but at the end of the day, music is still just communication. All we can hope is that our listeners can find a little truth or a piece of themselves in these songs we’ve created. And yes, of course there is candy. You just have to find it.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
KJ: I usually say something like ‘limp bizkit meets Neil Diamond.’ then after I have their attention, ‘Retro Synth Pop.’
How did you first meet, and where exactly did you become a band?
KJ: Nashville is a great big small town. Bobby and Kaleb had worked on his solo album together and became close friends. Kaleb and Heather started and writing after meeting at the annual Sputnik Studio Christmas party.
Some of the songs they wrote ended up being demoed at Bobby’s studio. We brought in Adam and Zac and those sessions were like magic. We stumbled into an amazing situation. We all got along great personally and creatively. We kind of looked up after the creative dust settled and realized we were a band.
Other than your music, what should your hometown be known for?
HB: What should Nashville be known for other than music? Why two-stepping of course.
BH: Haha, Heather nailed it! But also – Nashville is the most friendly big city in the world. Also, we’ve got an incredible amount of diverse and delicious food here!
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you …
KJ: The first thing I see is my bull horn. I use it for my a cappella group to mimic guitar solos. Yes it’s true, when I’m not playing real guitar, my other job is to pretend to play guitar.
HB: The first thing I see right now is the pilot. Since he’s in charge of my life, this person is pretty significant to me.
BH: My mixing console! (Nerd alert…) It is a highly modified and customized 1982 SSL E series desk, and it is probably my post prized possession. A huge part of my daily life, workflow, and creative process.
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
KJ: I grew up in an athletic family so I always dreamed of playing baseball. My brother played in the minors and I always wanted to be like him. Unfortunately I tore my rotator cuff my sophomore and junior year and sure enough picked up my dad’s guitar that summer and the rest was history.
HB: As corny as this may be, I heard “Strawberry Wine” when I was about 11 years old and decided I wanted to be a singer/songwriter. Something about it inspired me. Deana Carter had such an easy voice to listen to, and it was one of the first times I learned not everything you hear on the radio is written by the person who sings it.
BH: The Beatles. My mom is a HUGE Beatles fan (she even saw them at Shea Stadium In 1965 and 1966!), and instilled me with a deep love and respect for them. As I got older, I also realized how amazing the production and engineering was, so I am equally inspired by Geoff Emerick and George Martin.
I grew up harmonizing to The Beatles songs in the car with my mom – some of my fondest memories. And another equally important moment was for my 5th birthday, I wanted the Casio Muppet Babies keyboard more than anything in the world! I remember waking up on the morning of my birthday, and my parents had surprised me with it, sitting right next to my bed when I woke up. From that moment I knew exactly what I would do for the rest of my life.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
KJ: My father and I have the mantra ‘Keep Rowing!’ It’s kind of our rallying cry to never give up, keep working hard, keep rowing even though there’s no metaphorical shore in sight. It applies to most everything in my life but music especially because the shore seems very far sometimes.
HB: The best advice? That’s a hard one. My mom has always says to visualize where I want to be, and don’t stop until I get there. I practice that every day!
BH: My dad has always taught be about having intense, almost obsessive, attention to detail. He also has shown me how to work harder than everyone else, and to never give up when you have a goal. I think those things combined have been super important when it comes to finding and maintaining success in this crazy industry.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
KJ: I would have JRR Tolkien read me everything he ever wrote.
HB: Let’s see. I would bring Kristen Wiig in the van with me. She’d ease any stress, we’d never stop laughing, and obviously become the best of friends.
BH: Wayne and Garth, for sure.
What song best sums up your life right now?
KJ: Asgeir’s newest album “afterglow” is the soundtrack to my life this moment.
HB: I can’t stop listening to “Call Your Name” by Karen Elson right now. I’m not sure if it necessarily sums up my life but it sure as hell moves me.
BH: I’m terrible at this sort of thing, so I’m just going to say that I have been really into Tom Petty’s early records lately.
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
KJ: We did a ‘live @ 35’ for Southwest Airlines recently. This is where they surprise a flight full of passengers with a live performance mid flight. We were terrified at first but the whole flight got on board (pun intended) and had a great time with us. It was a unique and amazing experience.
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
KJ: Maui. People on Maui need concerts too right?
HB: A year from now I hope to win a Grammy. Too soon? 😉
BH: I would love to play some festivals in Australia and New Zealand. I think we can make it happen! Also, I think we’ll be ready to release our second record by then!
What’s your next step towards that dream?
KJ: Expedia and a new credit card.
HB: Next steps towards that dream: Keep making music. Keep working hard. Keep pursuing that dream every single day.
BH: Australia/New Zealand: make more friends down under. Finishing second record: write a few more songs and make them sound awesome.