The Daybreaks are a Nashville-based indie band that takes the electric nuances of Blondie and Garbage and adding a modern flair of poignancy. Fonded in 2015 by Kaleb Jones, Heather Bond and Bobby Holland, later adding Adam Bokesch and Zac Stred to intensify their sound – which has been described as theatrical and haunting with layered vocals against complex sound schemes. The Daybreaks have been named “Nashville’s next super-group” by local independent radio station Lightning 100. The Daybreaks recently released their debut album Find Me at the End of the World and recently just hosted a sold out album release show in Nashville. We recently caught up with the band as they get ready for take off…
You all just released your new album Find Me at The End of the World. What has the reception been so far?
The reception has been beyond what we imagined. From Southwest Airlines calling us out of the blue to be a part of their destination Red Rocks campaign, to our album release show selling out before the doors opened, we’ve just been trying to keep up. So many people have rallied around us. We feel super fortunate to be a part of this Nashville community. We cannot say enough about this town and the artists that call it home.
This process was unique in that the album formed the band more so than the other way around. We didn’t even necessarily set out to start a band or even make a full record at first. Heather and I really just had a few songs in our back pocket that we wanted to let loose and see where they went. We mostly hoped to just get some TV sync licenses. As Heather, Bobby and I nurtured ideas in the studio, the vision became grander and grander and we were able to dream a bit, and write more songs with a different angle. That’s when we brought Adam and Zac in and the rest was magic. We knew we had to dive headfirst into this new vision.
What’s next for The Daybreaks following the release? Where can we see you live and if so what are your touring plans if any?
Believe it or not, we’re already prepping new songs for a next round of recording. Writing and recording is a perpetual process for us. We’re also very excited about some shows we have coming up here in Nashville. We’ll be at Mercy Lounge Aug 5 with the Lister Brothers and The Back Corner Sept. 6 which will cap off a southeast regional run with our pals The Sweeplings.
What songs on the new album are most definitive of your sound and how would you describe what makes a song a “Daybreaks” song?
The long answer: I think all the songs on the album represent a little piece of who we are and where we’d like to go. Each member tries to give our songs their own unique personality. These recordings are literally an extension of our collective hearts, souls and brains. They don’t fully become “Daybreaks” songs until everyone gets to put a little bit of their personal stank on it.
The short answer: probably “The Machine” and we reeeeeally like synths and harmonies.
How did you come up with the band name? For many rock bands, they like to focus on the late night aspect of things, but your name signifies morning. Any particular reason?
I honestly don’t know if some of the members even know this, but here’s my version of the story. I’ve spent 13 years in Nashville chasing my dreams of being a writer, artist, singer, and creator. In order to subsidize my music habit, I worked in coffee shops for years. I’d open the shop in the morning so I was free to write and perform in the evening. I’m not crazy good at math but business hours plus musician hours equals zero sleep. The legendary Sam and Zoes will forever be my Nashville home away from home. I’ll always be close friends with the owners. They’re a part of my family now. I always remember waking up well before the sun most days and watching the pinkish orange blaze creeping over train tracks and power lines in Berry Hill as I poured myself a triple and braced myself for the hungry, caffeine deprived onslaught that was inevitably coming my way. The actual Daybreak was a huge part of my journey to this point so I thought it an appropriate name for this group. (Spoiler alert: an extremely large portion of the service industry in Nashville are ridiculously talented monster musicians that are a flap of the butterfly’s wings away from being a superstar.)
All three of you are music industry veterans – seeing how hard it is to break through, how were you able to persist and come through with a new LP?
I don’t really feel like it’s a choice. It’s just what we’re wired to do. I feel like most artists would say the same thing. Just because the circumstances are tough for artists right now doesn’t mean they’re not artists. Just because a writer isn’t paying bills entirely from writing, doesn’t make them less of a writer. You are not your circumstances. You are what you do, and you keep doing it until you get it right or someone is smart enough to notice.
I hear one step in the past and another in the present on your sound? What current bands and what retro bands do you find as primary influences?
Our influences are incredibly diverse between all of us, it’s really hard to narrow down. I feel like gear influences us more than anything. We love our toys, and a lot of cool, now hard to find, gear came out in the 80s. So we might stumble on an 80s synth and work a whole day based on that, or a wacky pedal noise that we’ve never heard before, or a vintage compressor that smashes the drums in a unique way. If you’re digging for names, I’ve been really into an artist named Asgeir recently as well as classics like The Cure and Tears for Fears.
You do a strong take on “Cruel Summer,” what other songs do you have fun taking on and what makes a good pop song for you?
We covered Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” at our release show and it was maybe the hardest I’ve ever danced. It was unbelievably fun. As soon as the bass line hits every room goes nuts. Any song that has you moving in the first 4 beats (whether to dance or to tears) is up to something good. We also have a little cover of Prince/Sinead O’conner’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” that we worked up. Slightly sadder than “Let’s Dance” but equally as effective.