Q&A with 79.5

The serene and fabulous 79.5

By: Tafari Lemma

July 11, 2017

"I see 79.5 evolving to the band you wanna slow dance and boogie to."

There is something magnetizing about Brooklyn band 79.5 - between dreamy and colorful vocal harmonies, entrancing electronic keyboard novelties, and smooth but jumpy rhythms, it is difficult to confine their dazzling sound to one characteristic. The seven-piece band, whose name alludes to the distinct tunes of a low dial FM radio station, has released two singles which enunciate their attractive mellow flavor. “Boy Don’t Be Afraid”, their latest release, reminds listeners of a vintage but original style that charms, presenting lyrics that softly speak to the troubles of romance. With their debut album Predictions set to release in the fall, the band has remarkable skills to watch out for.

These answers are from Kate (keys and vocals) & Nya (vocals) from 79.5 How did you come up with the name 79.5? K: The name came from my buddy, JB, who plays in Crystal Stilts. He sent me a real amazing list of names that sounded appropriate for the sound. The band has always had that mellow and golden sound like a low dial FM Radio station, so 79.5 is that below the dial radio station. How did you guys meet? K: So many colors to the fabric! Through mutual friends, living in the same neighborhoods, even craigslist. Your first demo, released over 4 years ago, introduced listeners to your R&B, funk-soul infused sound. Since then, your have grown substantially; how did you achieve that? K: I think by adding the new members 2 1/2 years ago, the band then became something more than anyone had expected, something more that we wanted to work for and be a part of. Also sticking to the Rhodes and female harmonies, it can sound so familiar and nostalgic, even if you've never heard the song before. N: Each member really has their own unique sound and flavor. And the combination of those flavors, to us, really makes for some groovy playing. It's about what feels good. We want to feel good and we want the listener to feel good. We like to set the mood. Your latest single, “Boy Don’t Be Afraid” is a song about romance and songwriting! How do the two things interact with each other, in your experience? K: So much of songwriting is about love and relationships. The simpler the lyric and the melody, the better a song. I think it's true for romance too, the more honesty and transparency, the greater the chances of it blooming beyond limit. What feelings, events, records (or anything else) inspired the songs in your album? Was there a major "moment" or a series of smaller experiences behind your inspiration? K: This band has 7 very unique and amazing humans, the feeling of coming together over 3 days in the studio and shredding as one was truly inspiring. I think that the band's diversity has been really cool, coming together as one thorough the universal language of music. N: The title track "Predictions," to me, set the tone for the rest of the album, and is the song that really brought the seven of us together . It's such a magical song that evokes so many emotions. It kind of makes you feel like anything is possible- anything is possible even after love and loss. Many times we'll start a show with that song to set the mood for the night, just like it set the mood for the record. We've been called 79.emotions before. “Terrorize My Heart” features two distinct editions of the single, do you often drift between styles? K: That was all our producer (Leon Michels) and engineer (Jens Jungkurth) on the B side, the "Disco Dub" version. They really made that thing pop, and that 45 really put us on the map with that version. Our songs do tend to have a lot of space, ebb and flow, allowing for cool new movement. Do you feel like your current sound is an arrival or a departure point - or both? And how do you see it evolving in the future? K: Both. I see it evolving to the band you wanna slow dance and boogie to. Since signing with the young Big Crown Records last year, what has changed for you? So much! Our 45 "Terrorize My Heart" has been doing great, we're seeing good airplay here at home and in Europe. Giles Peterson debuted our single "Boy Don't Be Afraid" on his BBC show, and we're on a roster of such great bands and reissues. Recently you've been playing shows with LA’s Chicano Batman, what did you learn from that experience? K: Chicano Batman is an amazing band and they're great examples of how ten years of hard and thoughtful work has finally paid off for them. This gave us some perspective, and it was so cool to play our music to sold out crowds who are totally unfamiliar with 79.5, and see them engage so strongly. It made us feel really good about our upcoming album. N: It was our first tour together, so we learned a lot about each other, on stage and off. It really gave us a chance to explore and find our groove. What other local emerging artists are you guys enjoying these days? K: Breastfist, The Shacks, National Reserve, IGBO, The Brothers Brothers N: Nick Hakim, Moses Sumney, Kadhja Bonet