Interview: Super American Serves Up Retro Upbeat Sound with a Side of Pineapple

Buffalo’s best kept secret is about to break out. Super American has been wowing the local music scene with its youthful energy and optimism. With two music videos out now and a debut album hitting the market on April 7, these boys are poised to top the indie pop scene.

Photo by Andy DeLuca

The core of Super American is Matt Cox and Pat Feeley, with friends helping to fill out on drums and guitar. NYS Music interviewed Cox to learn more about Super American’s peppy tunes, clever phrases and… pineapples?

Paula Cummings: Let’s start with the one burning question that’s on everyone’s mind: what’s up with the Year of the Pineapple?

Matt Cox: Before we started taking all the photos of our friends at shows, we all referred to the Year of the Pineapple as this sense of optimism for the upcoming year. When the year started, we didn’t have much of a choice, because we laid the foundation that this is the year of the pineapple. It’s a fun way to start the year.

PC: So people are bringing pineapples to the shows. What are you doing with all of them?

MC: When people do bring them to the shows, I’m not sure what they do with it. I typically leave it or I’ll pass it along. The last time we brought one out someone asked for it, so they take it and it makes its way to the bar or wherever it’s going.

 

PC: Tell me a little about how Super American started.

MC: We were working on songs about this time last year. We’ve been friends, Pat had in bands separately from myself and vice versa. It was something we talked about working on music together. We got together about this time last year and we haven’t looked back.

PC: So you guys were in separate projects, but ran in the same circles in Buffalo.

MC: Yeah, it’s a tight-knit community. We recorded our album through the spring of last year, we wrote it over the winter. We played a few shows in the summer. That’s when we gained the attention of Joe from the label, and put things on hold til the end of the year. And now we are going to release the album on April 7.

PC: I’m looking forward to it. Going back to the community, you’ve been working with Andy DeLuca. What was it like working with him for the music videos and promotional photos?

MC: Working with Andy, I personally grew up with Andy around the corner. He was a friend, and he was someone who inspired me at a young age. So I got to learn how to make music from Andy and learned how to be creative from Andy. Some of my best jokes were stolen from Andy, and at one point we were roommates. He just moved to the city, but seeing what he’s been able to do in a short period of time is awesome. When you have an opportunity to work with someone like that you let it happen, and you don’t take any second for granted, because he could obviously be spending his time elsewhere at this point. So we’re lucky to have him as part of our team.

PC: I think he’s captured your aesthetic – that retro feel-good throw-back to an earlier, simpler time.

MC: Definitely. When we made the video [for “Sloppy Jazz”] we didn’t have too much of a plan ahead of time. We just had an idea. We just went at it. And you just get out of the way of someone that talented who has a vision. He did an awesome job. The video he did was amazing.

PC: Did he also direct the video for “Congratulations?”

MC: He did. That was actually Pat’s idea. The stand still lyric video, which was cool. And Andy said where to sit and things like that, and he did the lyrics. We actually recorded those videos on the same day.

PC: On your band profile, you identify your genre as “Poolhouse Rock.”

MC: We were spending a lot of time this past winter in a suburb of Buffalo, in East Aurora. We’d go there every weekend just to get out of the city. There was a lot going on in the city. Sometimes it’s a bit repetitive and there are a lot of distractions. So we would go to East Aurora to get inspired, and not even just to write music. Our friend had a pool house that was potentially available to rent. So Poolhouse Rock is something Pat came up with. It’s about defining music, and removing yourself (from the label of a genre) to hear it objectively. So Poolhouse Rock works for Super American.

PC: How would you describe your music?

MC: We made a lot of effort to capture that same energy that we had in past bands that were a bit louder and more aggressive in an audible sense. So the energy, but a little easier to listen to. We made an effort to try and step up as musicians in this batch of songs we recorded, and I really hope we accomplished that.

PC: What I like about the album is that it’s pop and it’s fun, but it’s got a message to it.

MC: I’d say it’s a very friendly record. We wrote the songs all together. Our good friend Fred Cimato, who played in a band called Cute is What We Aim For for a number of years, really helped us when we were writing songs and arrangement and recording the album. Fred is intelligent when it comes to songwriting and producing. And Rob Grabowski, our drummer at the time, had a part in it. So it was a lot of heads put together for all the songs on the record. Our friends Fred and Rob recorded with us and were on the videos. Rob has moved to NYC and Fred is always down to help if needed. Now it’s Pat, myself, Steve Gardner, and Elliot Douglas.

PC: Where did you record the album?

MC: We were actually very fortunate in that aspect. We have a studio called CGR Studio that’s owned and operated by Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls. It’s been around many years. Rob’s done a good job renovating the studio. He’s had people like James Taylor come here to record parts of his album and people such as Lil Wayne. That’s the reputation CRG has. We’re very lucky to have a place to make something like that. We recorded with Jay Zubricky, who’s a producer here in Buffalo. He engineered it, mixed it and produced it.

PC: What led to the signing with Take This To Heart Records?

MC: We were looking at putting it out with a label. We were looking for a team approach.  Joe (the owner of Take This To Heart Records) was very nice to us. We have the same goals. He’s been getting us exposure on playlists. Working with Joe has been great so far.

PC: What are your band goals for the year of the pineapple?

MC: To live up to the standard of the year of the pineapple. And continue to grow as a band and as artists and grow as people. And if we’re able to do that then I think that those things our band looks forward to like touring and playing shows will take care of themselves.

PC: Anything else you’d like to add?

MC: I would suggest that people listen to the Del Paxton record. I highly recommend it.

Photo by Andy DeLuca

Disposable and pineapple-themed Super American t-shirts are available to preorder on Take This to Heart Records.

Upcoming Shows:

4/8 – Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
4/14 – New York, NY @ TBA
5/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
5/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Alternative Underground
5/26 – Washington, DC @ Electric Maid

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