By Camilla Ffrench
High school bands are often a cliche, consisting of a few friends who can play three chords on the guitar, playing cover songs in their garage—but Laundry Day (IG: @daundrylay) amps up the game. This Beacon High School-based band creates their own beats and original lyrics. Because they have serious aspirations, they know that they have to showcase everything they've got, which in a way, as they say, "proves our abilities." With a completely genuine approach, the six boys in Laundry Day all listen to their own music alongside their daily playlists. As one of the vocalists, Jude, said, “If I don’t like it, why should I expect anyone else to?”
From a few onlookers at impromptu street shows to their first live performance at the Sidewalk Café on Avenue A, Laundry Day has grown to 38,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, including those from Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. As soon as their first album, Trumpet Boy, came out on March 23, I listened to it on repeat—and have been ever since.
Laundry Day is able to capture the teen experience without making me feel like a stereotype—I’ve always had difficulty taking 5SOS or Blink-182 seriously. In addition to the song writing, the band has incredible musical talent. Laundry Day doesn’t define themselves as one genre, as their music is a mix of alternative, pop, and hip-hop, derived from their own creativity and other inspiration.
They agree that their music, especially Trumpet Boy, embodies teenage spirit because, as Jude said, “we are teens, what else would we write about?” The first song they wrote, which would eventually be a part of the Trumpet Boy album, was created for Jude’s now-ex girlfriend. Laundry Day wants their audience to be able to relate and, most importantly, are writing for themselves—so songs about relationships and frees are expected. Yet Laundry Day’s new EP Light Up Shoes demonstrates their versatility in terms of lyrical and musical style, and keeps us on our toes as to the direction of their next release.
When I first started Concrete Mag, Laundry Day was one of the motivating factors—a fantastic example of the incredible art being produced by high schoolers in New York. They graciously accepted an interview once the platform was launched, excited to share the details of their work. Nikki (the interview photographer) and I met them at Smash Studios, where they practice every Sunday, most recently in preparation for their show at Rockwood Music Hall (it’s tomorrow!).
We walked into the small studio. It was about ten degrees warmer than the hallway and had a very distinct odor, but it wasn’t bothersome to us—or them—rather it added to the magic of the performance. They offered us each earplugs, which we declined, but immediately understood the reason once they began playing. But I had no regrets, the loud vibration was energizing, and I knew we could all feel it within us. Their passion was evident in the way they danced around, sweat dripping down their bobbing heads. They were each lost in the music, playing or singing only for themselves.
As we walked down 38th Street, hoping to find a spot to settle and talk, I began chatting with Etai and Sawyer about the origins of the band. They were both friendly and relaxed, happy to recall the beginnings of their project. Five boys were fatefully brought together in one of Beacon’s band classes freshman year. Sawyer already had a band with kids from other schools, known as The Cookout, so the idea wasn’t unfamiliar. Etai joked that he used to sit in on practices, never playing but with the hidden desire to become a member. A friendship grew first, then the band followed. Over time they went from playing together to producing a full album, but in the words of hp (aka Henry Pearl), “every time we work it just feels like we are hanging out.”
With no cafes in sight, we settled on an empty parking lot at the Javits Center as the interview location—though this doesn’t seem professional, it embodies my goal for Concrete mag, as it became part-interview part-adventure. I spotted some concrete towers and decided to start with a quick photoshoot. The boys of Laundry Day had a great vibe, enthusiastically agreeing to every request Nikki and I gave them (including the climbing of walls and jumping off of poles). Hanging out with them was the best way to understand the group. They clearly enjoy each other’s company. The name “Laundry Day” was even derived from an inside joke between the boys: if one of them was wearing a wack outfit, they would tease, “what is it, laundry day?”
Laundry Day is a group of boys, but they don’t exactly consider themselves a boy band. When I asked them about this label, they all laughed, probably because they immediately pictured One Direction in their heads, as you and I just did. Though Laundry Day meets the requirements—including the teenage girl following—they don’t want to be restricted by definitions. One of their biggest inspirations, Brockhampton, considers themselves a non-traditional boy band. In their modest nature, Laundry Day didn’t directly compare themselves to their idols, and instead said that they “hope to reach that status one day.”
Laundry Day's versatility is evident in Bagels, a rap accompanied by a music video posted on their YouTube account. The song bridges the two albums, proving that Laundry Day can experiment with various musical styles while still staying on brand. Bagels was inspired by Tyler the Creator’s Ziploc, another one of the band’s favorite artists. (Jude, who wrote and raps Bagels was wearing green Golf Le Fleur Converse as we spoke, an accidental nod to the icon.) When I asked Laundry Day about this song, Jude told me, “we had a feeling no one would listen to it. But we thought it was so cool and just wanted to do it.” The boys love hip-hop and wanted to do it as a side project. Jude had written the lyrics in December, before Trumpet Boy was in the works, and once they finished the album they thought, why not? Laundry Day’s goal clearly isn’t fame—though they do admit, it would be pretty sick—it’s because they have fun.
Just a few weeks ago, Laundry Day came out with their second major release, an EP called Light Up Shoes. It consists of four songs: Ginger, Lavender, Honey, and Velvet. As Etai told me, the band decided to focus on sonics in this production, breaking from the traditional song structure that they followed in Trumpet Boy. Also different from their Trumpet Boy routine, the boys began the EP with a plan—whereas their first album just came together over time. With an impressive release date just two weeks after Trumpet Boy, Laundry Day wanted to keep their momentum going and prove their abilities. They also felt that since Trumpet Boy was such a long project, they were in a different state of mind (no pun intended) by the time they released it.
Camaraderie between the boys of Laundry Day is strong, as they are friends first and bandmates second. Like all group collaborations, of course they often disagree, but they always come to a compromise. The band is against voting because “someone would win and someone would lose which would ruin the dynamic." Jokingly, hp said that if they ever get to a seemingly unresolvable disagreement, each side will play on the subway and whoever makes the most money by the end of the day would win the argument. (Not that I encourage conflict, but this competition sounds pretty epic.) Though they have no leader, Sawyer and Jude are the voices of the group, both literally and in terms of the message their music communicates, since they write all of the songs. Laundry Day believes that “it wouldn’t be the same if we had a leader. Our motivation would no longer be there.”
In addition to their releases on Apple Music and Spotify, Laundry Day plays live shows. Based on the fun they were having in the studio during practice, I can only imagine the energy that Laundry Day will have onstage, which I can't wait to see tomorrow. As they described the feeling of playing live, their eyes lit up, telling me, “In the studio, it’s hot and we feel gross after practice. When you are up there onstage, you get really sweaty—but this time, it’s a good sweat.” Laundry Day will be playing at Rockwood Music Hall Friday, May 11th at 6:30pm (buy tickets online or at the door) as well as on June 10th at the Mercury Lounge with another Beacon High School band, Quarters of Change. To show your support, merch will also be available for purchas
Laundry Day plans to stay together until senior year, and hopefully in the future beyond. They agree that “we would drop out of high school right now—” hp added, “if our parents would let us, that is.” Between music videos and varying music styles, there’s no telling what is coming next from Laundry Day.
Laundry Day's favorite music:
Etai - Close Your Eyes (LD) / Australia (The Shins)
hp - Work Out (LD) / Shut Up (Stormzy)
Henry - Close Your Eyes (LD) / OKAGA, CA (Tyler the Creator)
Jude - Close Your Eyes (LD) / The Chain (Fleetwood Mac)
Satchel - Lavender (LD) / Paranoid Android (Radiohead)
Sawyer - Lavender (LD) /Bed I Made (Allen Stone)