BY CLAIRE LANTHIER//
Manhattan-based indie band LAUNDRY DAY is one of the country’s best up and coming groups. Following the release of their fourth album and major label debut, We Switched Bodies, DC will be welcoming them on the first leg of their tour next Friday, March 11. They’re really just a group of good friends making music together, and the result has been an innovative and genre-bending project. Check out the following interview with members Etai and Henry and hear about the songwriting process, their favorite parts of tour, and what’s coming up next for the band.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
WRGW: I’m really excited for you guys to come to DC. I know it’s the first leg on your tour, which is so exciting… that’s like, an honor and it’s sold out, it’s gonna be amazing. But I first wanted to ask a little bit about the background of the band. How did you guys come together? I know you all went to high school together, but how did you guys decide to form the band?
Etai: You know, it’s quite funny. We were definitely friends before we made music together, and we had the knowledge that all of us were into music, but we really just gravitated towards each other as friends. And we were part of a larger friend group, and then we slowly realized that it was only really natural for us to just combine our talents and the camaraderie that we already had to produce art. So that started when we were t the end of our freshman year in high school, and we haven’t looked back since to be honest. Anything to add Henry?
Henry: I mean, I think you got it all. We were definitely friends first. And then once we sort of realized that we all were separately going into different music scenes (like, Etai was in a band with Henry and I was in a band at school when Jude was trying to make songs). And once we realized that we were doing it individually, it didn’t really make any sense why we weren’t doing it together.
WRGW: How was it kind of doing the band stuff while also being in school? Was that hard or fun or what?
Etai: It definitely had its challenges. But to be honest, I feel like it motivated us in many ways. For example, our first ever tour was during our spring semester of our junior year. And we would go to school, Monday to Friday, and on the weekends, we would fly to different places and do two shows either in Texas or California, and then come back and have school the next morning. So like it felt a bit like Hannah Montana at the time just living a bit of a double life. And, you know, homework was a struggle at times. And just the mentality of going back to a school building after like, jumping on stage was tough at times. But it really motivated us to get to where we wanted to go. And like I don’t think if we were just kind of chilling, like 16 year olds, not in school, we would have the same motivation to be honest.
Henry: Yeah, I totally agree. And those are also I mean, Etai, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but like, those are some of our fondest memories, just sort of being kind of scrappy, like, having to fly… like directly having to ‘get out of school and directly go from the school to the airport, or else, we won’t drive to the second city in time’, like, those are some fond memories that I think I’ll always look back on and be like, “those were the formative years of the band”.
Etai: Absolutely, they really made us and I mean, I think we always try to maintain a bit of that now. Obviously, with COVID, our high school experience ended quite abruptly. And, um, we’ve never been the same since but we always try to maintain a scrappy, I like the word scrappy. We always try to maintain that in everything we do.
WRGW: I’m also curious about growing up in New York. So what do you guys think about, like, growing up in such a musical place? Did that impact you to want to go into music? How has it affected your sound or your journey?
Henry: I’m sure subconsciously. I mean, we talk about this a lot, but it sort of influenced our life in all aspects of our life. You know, growing up in New York, you’re just exposed to different things that nobody really else can relate to unless you’re from here and you grew up here. Like the age where you get exposed to more sophisticated life experiences is just younger than it would be if you grew up in the suburbs, or whatever. And that’s not to say, like, it’s just a different type of lifestyle. And so whether it directly influenced, you know, how we got into music or not, it sort of just influenced our entire life. And so music was definitely a part of that. There’s music everywhere. There’s venues everywhere. And yeah, it 100% played a part.
Etai: Yeah, I totally agree. I think we embody our environment in a multitude of ways whether it’s in the sound of our music – like you might have noticed from listening that nothing in our songs really takes their time at all. It’s all a bit fast paced, whether it’s just the tempo or the rate at which sections change, things like that. And I bet subconsciously that’s just part of living in the hustle and bustle of the city. We went to live in the country when we started this album and it was then when we realized how central that hustle and bustle really is. And beyond that, actually, in the music just growing up here. There were so many opportunities to meet people and just expand your brain in many ways, like the diversity of all the different arts in the City. There are so many people that I met before I met all my brothers in LAUNDRY DAY that influenced my individual musical upbringing. And I know Henry would feel the same.
WRGW: So I know that this is your first album released with a label. How was making the album different this time around?
Etai: I think it couldn’t have been more different, to be honest. It’s our fourth album, first album with a label, first album since high school, first album since COVID. Every other album before this, we sort of just made with our heads down, just really tapping into what came very, very naturally. And like, this was the first time we really had a second to breathe and be apart before we started. And to be honest, it was a bit hard to find our bearings, when we first began. We didn’t really know what direction to take it in. And, you know, being on a label can tend to add, depending on how you look at it, either a pressure or a motivation to really represent yourself well, and capture your sound in a way that will live forever. So we chewed on that for a while, and it caused us to spend a lot longer on this album than our other ones. But I think it honestly worked out for the better. Like, because of all the love we put in, I think you can feel it. And the improvement is very clear, to me, at least, and I hope it is to the listeners.
Henry: Oh, also, working with the label, it was sort of overwhelming and a little shocking at first because there were so many things that go along with an album process that before we wouldn’t really think about because there was just one way that we would do it. Whether it was just like the logistics of putting out the music, the artwork, stuff like that. But now working with a label, you have specific people that do each one of those specific things solely. Just, that’s all that they do. And so there were a lot more decisions to be made that we actually had to put a lot of thought into. And there were people associated with each one of those decisions. And so that that did get a little overwhelming at times. But I mean, everybody’s so great there, it worked out for the best.
Etai: Yeah. One very funny anecdote is that we were just in LA to shoot a video for the album. And we got to go out to this dinner with all the employees at Warner records that are associated with the LAUNDRY DAY project. It was nice because before meeting them, you kind of have this idea that like the major label is just a big, scary, faceless entity, and it’s just like a corporate machine. But like, meeting everybody from every department was just so comforting to know that there are lovely faces behind each aspect of this and everybody is trying to do their job just like we are.
WRGW: I was reading in an interview that you guys were saying that this whole album was about establishing your vision and that you look up to artists that have a whole vision or world around them. How you would describe or define that if you can, after the release?
Etai: To be honest, I feel like we did that the least on this album out of any album before, like it was very easy for us when we were in high school to kind of use any type of visual aesthetic or like sonic identity to really guide where the project went. But this being our major label debut and a project that we knew would reach lots of new ears, I think we were really just, whether intentionally or not, just nakedly ourselves. And we did try to create a world that is bigger than the music, but I think we really tried to take the listeners into our everyday environment more than like a fantastical place. Our goal is really for the album to feel like you’re walking around with us in the city or just hanging out with us in the studio or a room or something like that. I think we still were very particular with the details on that but it’s just our everyday lives.
Henry: Yeah. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
WRGW: So obviously we’re really excited for the tour. What would each of you say your favorite part of touring is? And what are you looking forward to the most on this upcoming one?
Etai: Wow, it is so hard to pick. Um, the meals with my family are just amazing. We have a habit of making a big deal of where we eat, we’ve gotten into food reviews recently. And it’s just a great time to just unwind and appreciate the finer things in life.
Henry: I’m trying to think, I mean tours are kind of ridiculous because it’s like, technically, you’re working. And so the time that you’re not working, you’re just hanging out with your friends. And then the time that you are working, you’re just playing the show. And playing the show isn’t really working. So it’s basically a month of just chaos and bullshit. And just like eating these obnoxious meals and playing the best shows. And so I don’t know, I mean, I think probably my favorite part is playing the shows themselves. But like Etai said, every moment there’s something new happening…the whole thing is totally ridiculous. But it’s the best.
Etai: I mean, to me touring is really the highest honor of life as a musician., I would do it 365 days a year. I know that’s probably not sustainable. But it’s just such a high honor. It’s so fun. Every aspect of it is incredible.
WRGW: I always like to ask this question when I interview people, but how do you want your fans or your audience, the people who go to the show, to leave feeling? What do you want them to take away from a LAUNDRY DAY show?
Henry: I mean, I want them to have heard some of the songs in a new light. Like, oftentimes, when we play our songs, they sort of sound different than they do on the actual record. And so I think that’s one thing that I want people to take away, but also just having had a good time, boost of adrenaline, something like that.
Etai: Yeah, I would agree. It’s a really good question. I also feel like our shows, at this point in our career, still have a level of intimacy. And it’s always been really fascinating to me how people can really leave with such a sense of community amongst the crowd. Like that is so powerful to me. I’ve heard people say that they’ve met lifelong friends at our concerts. And that’s the most valuable thing to me. Like if we can just create a vibey comfortable environment where people can just let their guard down, be themselves, and hang out and dance to fun music. That’s really all I can ask for, yeah.
WRGW: I’m curious about your songwriting process. Like what goes into it, you know, with five moving parts? Is there a method? Or how do you guys get your inspiration? What goes into that?
Henry: I mean, each one of the songs on the album, really, all of our songs start a different way. I mean, I’ll give you two perfect examples of that as like the knots and worry about yourself, two songs that were singles like the knots, Jude and Sawyer wrote by themselves on an acoustic guitar, brought it to us, and we tried to produce it out, and it didn’t really work. And then, after a few tries, we finally got it. That’s something that we hadn’t really done before this album, and then like, take a song like worry about yourself. That song, Etai made the first part, the vocals are recycled from a different song, you know, everybody sort of contributed after that. And so I wish we had one way, because it would make it easier, but you sort of just have to try a bunch of different things, and hopefully it works out. I don’t know.
Etai: I totally agree. You said that very well. I mean, you’re so right. It’d be way more convenient if there was a process but the music would probably not be as interesting. So it’s a non routine problem every time and I just want to clap it up one time for Henry on really cracking the production on the knots wen we didn’t think was possible.
Henry: Blessings, Blessings, blessings.
WRGW: Well, it does work out so the method to your madness or whatever– it manifests in great songs. What are your plans for the future? Any goals for the rest of the year? What can we kind of expect coming up?
Etai: I’m just trying to stay busy.
Henry: Yeah, that’s all it is. I think we sort of just want to play as much as possible. So we have this tour booked, and then we’ll see what happens after that. But right now, all we can sort of think about is, is playing the new songs live. So probably something like that.
Etai: I think we all have the goal of playing as many shows as possible this year. And like I was saying earlier, we took a lot longer with this album than any album previous. And we really would like to break that, I think, and just be as prolific as we can in the coming months. We spent so long twiddling our thumbs during COVID, and I think that time is finally over. And I get such a joy out of being as busy as possible, because you can really see the effort coming to fruition.
WRGW: If you could have your dream collab with another band or your dream co headliner, who would it be?
Etai: Wow, you’re gonna have to give me a second. Claire.
Henry: I’ll do the headliner. Um, us and Stevie Wonder.
Etai: Wait, I was gonna fucking say Stevie Wonder for the song, I literally was.
WRGW: Sounds like you have to make it happen now!
Henry: Okay, so we’ll do this. We’ll do that. We’ll do the collab album and the joint tour with Stevie.
Etai: Yes, sounds good. Well, if this is a studio project and anything is possible, I would like Stevie Wonder to produce it and sing the hook. And then I want Snoop Dogg to do a guest verse, and then playboi carti can do the ad libs. Okay.
WRGW: I think that sounds perfect.
Henry: Yeah, that’d go stupid.
WRGW: With COVID so much of music had to go online. And obviously, social media is such a huge thing in the music industry right now. What are your thoughts on how music and the internet are interacting? What does that mean for you guys as a band?
Etai: I mean, it makes us appreciate shows so much more, because you’re so right, that it’s transformed in a way we had never seen before. And the feedback loop is so different online. It’s really intangible. And our first shows back from COVID, we played four shows this summer. And it was really just amazing to really get that energy in person, I had totally forgotten what that was like. And I’ve been deprived of it. Honestly, the social media thing is interesting, it sort of feels like wearing a different hat. And it’s a totally different job and battle in a way than making music, just figuring out how to get it to translate online. But we care about these songs so much, and we’re so confident about them, so it’s just another way we have to work, another thing we have to figure out and it’s been a very fun challenge. And even that just kind of comes back to hang out with your friends at the end of the day, just like making the music does. Because that’s really, that’s really all we are
Henry: Yeah, I completely agree. I have nothing else to say, you said that perfectly.
WRGW: To kind of wrap it all up, if you had to choose, what would you say has been your favorite moment or thing that’s happened to you in your career thus far?
Henry: Well, my favorite moment. I mean, there are a lot. Most of them are different shows that we’ve played. I think my favorite show we’ve ever played was Bowery Ballroom, which we played at the end of January 2020, right before COVID. But another one that came to mind first was when we played in South Carolina with the 1975 in this huge arena, and that was one of the most amazing, amazing shows we’ve ever played. I mean, it was thrilling.
Etai: Damn, you took all the good ones. Yeah, there’s so many. You’re so right there. I mean, there’s an endless stream. We met Nicholas Braun last night. That was pretty great.
Henry: Oh, yeah. We met cousin Greg yesterday.
Etai: Yeah, cousin Greg was really really supportive of the project. Honestly, he had only nice things to say.
WRGW: What about the Bowery Ballroom makes that your favorite show you’ve done?
Henry: We hadn’t played in New York in like, six months or something, and we had just gotten back from touring with Clairo in Europe, and we hadn’t really seen any of our friends. It was just a hometown show. It was the biggest show we had ever played, biggest show we’ve ever headlined. And it was two sets, we split it up into two halves. And it was just, I don’t know, it was like, the most amazing thing. We got to step out and just go home afterwards. I don’t know. It’s sort of hard to explain, but like, it was pretty amazing.
Etai: The energy in the room of a headline show is really, really unique because like, you know, everybody’s in there because they just share a passion and like when that just erupts, it’s very contagious. And that was the biggest show you’ve ever played. So it really is just as simple as that. It was most people with all that passion.
WRGW: Well, thank you guys so much. I’m so excited for the 11th.
LAUNDRY DAY is playing a sold out show at DC9 on Friday, March 11, and is touring through the rest of this month. Stream their newest album, We Switched Bodies, here.