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Meet the Music: Breakup Shoes

Since forming in 2014, Phoenix based band Breakup Shoes has been gaining attention in their local music scene and around the nation. The four-man band is composed of frontman/songwriter Nick Zawisa, guitarist John Macleod, bassist Derrick Lafforthun, and drummer Matthew Witsoe. Check out our interview with the band.

Rapid fire questions 1. Is there not a term limit for mayor McCheese? At this point it’s starting to look more like a dictatorship. Frankly, there seems to be no end in sight to his tyranny. However, I have to admit that his massive overhaul of the state dairy council has been nothing short of extraordinary. 2. Do they still make 3 Musketeers candy bars? I think only in those Halloween variety packs… but they should just stop. Really. 3. Who would win in a fight? The Phoenix Suns or all the characters Joaquin Phoenix has portrayed? This year’s team? Cuz I mean, we lost our home opener last week by an NBA record 48 points… so even just a squad of Joaquin Phoenix’s character from “Her” would probably kick the shit out of the Suns. 4. Can you guys do a cover of Dancing Queen and post it on youtube or something? Working on it. Will keep you posted. 5. What albums have you guys have been into lately? The recent LCD Soundsystem record, Blood Orange’s “Cupid Deluxe”, Ruby Haunt’s “Sugar” and Black Marble’s “It’s Immaterial”. Lots of synth. 6. My friend Seth just got back from living in Bolivia for two years. Can you tell him the top 3 things he’s missed out on in these past 2 years? Well, it’s not pretty but here’s what he’s missed: Trump. Fidget spinners. Crippling cynicism backed with low self esteem and anxiety in the nation’s youth that has made scrolling through my Twitter feed insufferable. 7. What cancelled TV show would you bring back? Seinfeld. Hands down. I don’t know if it was actually cancelled, but I love that show. 8. What band are you sure that you could beat up in a fist fight? Twenty One Pilots. There’s only two of ‘em so our odds are good even for us lanky boys. Plus I just would love to fight that awful, awful band. 9. Where would you hide a dead body? The trailer my landlord keeps in my backyard. Honestly though, there more than likely are already bodies in there… he’s pretty terrifying. 10. Favorite movie soundtrack? Not a movie, but I love that Stranger Things soundtrack. Those dudes in S U R V I V E just kill that 80s sound. (Real interview with not as many dumb questions) Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser.: Can you introduce yourselves and tell us about how you guys met, where you’re from, how the band formed etc.? Nick Zawisa of Breakup Shoes: Breakup Shoes is a 4-piece indie band from Phoenix, AZ consisting of me, Nick Zawisa, on vocals and guitar, Matthew Witsoe on drums, Derrick Lafforthun on bass and John Macleod on guitar. We actually all met in high school at this church we went to at the time. We played together a lot there and then after I figured out the whole Jesus thing wasn’t for me, we wanted to keep playing music. So we started writing and Breakup Shoes was formed in the fall of 2015. Isaac: Tell us a little about the EP it has five tracks, and includes the single, “Nicotine Dream” How would you describe it?

Nick: Overall, I’d describe that EP as rough. It’s the first group of songs I’d written in my life and we were all just trying to figure out what we wanted to sound like. We recorded the whole thing in my garage with a two-mic setup and I just had no clue what I was doing so I used Youtube tutorials to figure out how to work everything. I’m not particularly proud of the EP in its entirety, but Nicotine Dream is definitely a jam and I’m glad to have learned the basics of recording. Isaac: Your single nicotine dream has gotten over 230,000 listens on spotify so far. Is audience responding how you hoped they would? Nick: Honestly, I had no idea that the song would reach even close to as far as it has. Still pretty shocked. Isaac: What do you hope your music evokes from listeners? Nick: In general when I write lyrics, I’m kinda just journaling with a rhyme-scheme. So when someone listens to my music I want them to be able to insert their experiences into the songs and know that someone relates to their thoughts and feelings, and that it’s okay to be melancholy or contemplative or whatever. So I guess I’m not really trying to evoke feeling, moreso just create a space that validates the feelings of the listener, if that makes any sense at all. Isaac: I’m going to take a guess on how you got your band name, and then you guys tell me the actual story to see if I’m remotely close. You guys were raised in an orphanage. The thing that brought you together was your mutual love for basketball, but you were horrible. One day you guys found pair of Jordans that you absolutely fell in love with, but a bully threw them up in the air and got them caught on a powerline. That same night lightning struck them and they became magical. You guys were still horrible at basketball, but the shoes caused you to never be able to maintain a relationship. And that’s where the name “Breakup Shoes” originated. Nick: Holy shit… No one has ever guessed that correctly before. I am Lil’ Bow Wow. There were quite a few creative liberties in the bio-pic “Like Mike [the story of Breakup Shoes]”. On the real though, the name Breakup Shoes is rather meaningless. We were writing songs and we had a show coming up but we didn’t have a name… so we hit up our friend Bates who notoriously keeps a list of band names for future use, and we just picked this one. His other suggestions were “Brandon and His Legos”, “Lenny and the Shits”, “Darth Maul of America” and “Breakup Shoes”. The choice wasn’t too difficult.

Isaac: Do you guys have any preshow rituals? Nick: Nothing in particular, I just chain smoke cigs while the boys goof around.

Isaac: I know that performing has its ups and downs. What has been the best show you guys have played, and what has been the worst? Nick: Best show has gotta be opening for Hazel English at Rebel Lounge in Phoenix. Huge turnout, my banter was on point, our drummer took his shirt off. Good, wholesome fun. Worst show is easily this house show we played a year and a half ago. It’s the middle of an Arizona summer and the A/C in the house had broken. Everyone in the room was was uncomfortable, and needless to say, I sweat through my khakis. Like the knees of my khakis. For real, even my knees were sweating. It was wild. And gross. Isaac: What is the dynamic in the band like? If you were on a desert island and one of you had to be killed and eaten, who would be the first to go?

Nick: These dudes are some of my closest friends. We’ve known eachother for years, and playing with music with them is an honor. But we’d probably kill and eat Derrick. I mean, he’s the bassist after all. Gotta take one for the team. Isaac: Do you have a favorite venue or city that you guys like to play at? Nick: We’ve actually never played a show in any city besides our own… (hoping to change that soon) but we love Valley Bar in Phoenix. It’s also just one of the raddest spots to get drinks in Phoenix, you can catch me there almost every weekend. Isaac: Do you have any good or funny onstage moments?

Nick: Our friends come out to shows all the time and yell at us to take our shirts off. We never do. Isaac: Who would you consider your major musical influences? Nick: I find Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys immensely inspiring. So much so that one of our songs that we’ll be releasing soon is named “Brian Wilson Is My Dad” (dropping that single tomorrow 10/27!!). Lately I’ve been super influenced by New Order though. And of course, Mac Demarco. I love that man. Isaac: What is something most people don’t know about you guys, but you’d like to share with everyone? Nick: Most people don’t know how young we are. I’m freshly 21, our drummer is 20 and the other two babies of the band are a wee 19 years old. Isaac: What have you guys been working on lately, and what can we expect to see from you in the near future? Nick: We recently finished our first full-length record that we hope to release in December or January, so that’s tight. I think our sound has grown a lot since our first two EPs, so we’re stoked to put that out there. And we hope to organize our first tour in the spring which is exciting. So big things!

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