Los Angeles indie/pop band, DWNTWN, consisting of Jamie Leffler (vocals) Robert Cepeda (vocals/guitar) Chris Sanchez (bass/keyboards) and Dan Vanchieri (drums) first graced my ears a couple of months ago with their catchy single, “Til Tomorrow.” After devouring their entire (small yet lovely) catalog on Spotify, I knew I had to put them on your radar and get you guys buzzing about them!

After going through a minor sound transformation, DWNTWN have released their self-titled EP to rave reviews and major blog buzz. I had the opportunity to interview the band on their new sound, opening up old wounds and what they hope to accomplish as a band.

Tell us how you guys formed and the meaning behind your band name.

Well I have known Robert since I was 17, but I was a fan of his music even before that…stalker right? I know.. I ended up dating his brother for a long time, and begged Rob for awhile to write music with me. He finally agreed, and we started writing songs about how his brother broke my heart. Kinda awkward at first, but we’ve moved on from that topic long ago. Robert came up with the name DWNTWN because we call our group of friends the “Dream Team” and we wanted to have the “DT” initials and it just seemed to fit well.

Your sound has beautifully progressed from your previous material. What inspired this change and is it something you want to explore further?

– Thanks! We definitely have been more focused on how the songs will translate live. Robert doesn’t like to play anything other than guitars at live shows, and a lot of our earlier songs were more electronic and didn’t have any guitars at all. For this new EP we wanted to sound more like a band and have the songs be something that would work well live as a four piece. We used some instruments we had never used before like banjo and slide guitar. The way we work is always try everything until we are happy. The new songs all went through many revisions, but we are really proud with the way they turned out.

“Til Tomorrow” hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard it, and I think a lot of people are going to resonate with this one. What do you hope people take away from your music? What message does DWNTWN represent, if any?

– I think with music it’s all about how the listener relates to the song. That’s how it works for me at least. I hear a song and instantly adjust it to fit my own personal situations. We wrote “Til Tomorrow” at a time when we were feeling like everyone around us was moving forward and we were stuck in the same stale routine. The song goes on to reveal that life is much more gratifying when you follow your dreams regardless of how long they may take to achieve. Don’t just settle for that job at Starbucks… Mmmmmm, Starbucks haha. I hope that people can hear it and relate it to their own lives. 

Jamie, you got pretty personal in the song “Heroine.” How do you decide what to share and what is off limits? Is there a certain balance that you like to maintain?

– I tried for a long time to keep that part of my life private, but at the end of the day we are writing music, and what better place to draw from than your most vulnerable. When writing a song I have decided that I should try to be as honest as possible, even if that is sharing secrets or dark moments in my life. Really it is also kind of therapeutic to spend time thinking about those times and finding the words to describe them. Something I had worked to keep hidden, doesn’t feel so scary to talk about after writing “Heroine”.


We’re all about discovering new talent here on Buzznet. What are you guys listening to at the moment?

– We can’t stop listening to “Red Eyes” by The War On Drugs. Also really into our friend, Baths new EP. “Voyeur” is a great song.

When can we expect to hear your full-length debut?

– I’m not exactly sure. Personally I kind of like releasing EPs. It’s sad to say, but I don’t feel like people give whole albums a chance anymore. Asking for someone’s undivided attention for over 30 minutes is a lot nowadays. I think releasing 5 songs every six months or so is easier for listeners to digest, plus we take foreverrrr to finish songs so it works better for us haha.

DWNTWN is available now HERE.

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