Exclusive Interview with We The Commas

Emerging San Diego-based band We The Commas is comprised of three brothers: Lenny (the oldest who recently graduated college where he studied film), Jordy (the middle sibling and current psychology major at the University of San Diego) and Cam (the youngest who is still in high school). As Black men, they hope to change the visual and musical narrative of what the world thinks kids from a beach town look and sound like.  

Photo credit: Chris Rosa

I got the chance to talk to all three brothers about what it’s like working with siblings, where the band name came from, their first single “Sherry”, the music video process for their second single “Custom Made” and so much more. Keep reading to see what they had to say!

For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what it is now?

All: We are three brothers from just outside San Diego, California. When we were kids, our parents exposed us to a wide array of music. Everything from Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Michael Jackson to Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Green Day was constantly on rotation at our house. The three of us fell in love with music after playing the video game Rock Band. Our parents encouraged us to take actual music lessons and we ended up being a part of a small musical school for 6 years. This molded us to start creating original music at a young age that was inspired by our favorite artists and our coastal environment. We wanted to create music that embodied all of our favorite genres. 

What’s it like working with your brothers? Do you guys ever feel like you spend too much time together?

Jordy: Working with my brothers is amazing. We are honestly best friends and I could not imagine making music without them. There’s mutual understanding that maintaining a healthy relationship comes first and foremost. This enables our musical chemistry to be incredible. We all take our space when needed and have an equal voice and role in the band that makes spending an abundance of time together a surreal experience. 

Where did the name We the Commas come from?

All: Comma is actually our last name and we wanted to tie in “we the commas” to show unity between us brothers and we would like to aid in unifying the world. “We the people.” 

I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. So if you guys had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?

Jordy: We would describe our music as nostalgic, familiar, and vulnerable yet modern. We hope our music relates with many people experiencing various phases of love and heartbreak.  

Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?

Cam: Some of my favorite artists that I am heavily influenced by are Santo and Johnny, Mac Ayres, Daniel Caesar, and Dave Mathews.

Jordy: I’m heavily influenced by the styles of artists like Justin Bieber and Sameer Gadhia. 

Lenny: I get inspiration from Eddie Vedder, The Fleet Foxes and Frank ocean. 

All: That being said, our biggest inspirations are definitely each other. Bands such as Young the Giant and The Head and the Heart have been huge inspirations for us all as a band too. 

Let’s talk about your debut single, “Sherry”, which I absolutely love by the way. What does it mean to you guys for it to finally be out?

Cam: Thank you! We are all super excited about the release of “Sherry.” We have been putting in a lot of work and have waited a very long time for this moment. All three of us are beyond stoked to finally properly introduce ourselves to the world. “Sherry” is the very beginning of a very long, beautiful journey. 

Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you guys know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Sherry” or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?

Cam: All of our songs come together super organically. We don’t do a lot of discussing as far as what we should write about. We all spend our own individual time writing down our thoughts and experiences. When we come together in the studio we bounce ideas off each other, and next thing you know a couple of hours have gone by and we have created a cohesive story. “Sherry” started from a chord progression I had created during the week. I showed the guys my idea in the studio and we birthed “Sherry”.  

Were there any major changes made to ”Sherry” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?

Lenny: When we first showed the song to our producer Chris Rosa, one of his ideas was to switch it up and have Cameron play the Rhythm guitar with a “boom chuck” strum pattern instead of what we were originally doing and then he had me play a finger picking pattern on top of Cameron’s chords as well as the melody line. In the studio we added some lead guitar licks, trumpets, organ, piano and more. It started off very stripped down acoustic. We are in the studio recording a live version of everything so you all will get to hear that version soon too!! 

You guys also shot a music video for ”Sherry.” What was your experience shooting that video like? Was that your first time shooting a music video?

Lenny: Shooting the “Sherry” music video was such a fun experience. We woke up on the morning of the “Sherry” shoot hoping for perfect weather. What we actually got was rain wind and clouds, haha. It was the first day of rain in Carlsbad in like three month!! Little did we know that the rain would end up being a blessing. The beaches in Carlsbad were empty; it was like we rented out the entire coast. It was cold and rainy but we made a summer song music video, [laughs]! There was such a peaceful vibe the entire day and the shoot went on without a hitch once we got used to the rain. Fun fact though – this wasn’t my first time working on a music video. In college, I worked on music videos and short films because I was a media communications major, but it was Jordon and Cameron’s first time.

What was the inspiration behind the “Custom Made” music video? 

All: The inspiration for the video came from a conversation with our producer Chris Rosa.  We were discussing how we are so fortunate to just be ourselves in an industry that has a lot of produced and branded artists. So the video shows us in all sorts of outfits that aren’t exactly a fit for us. In the end, we had a lot of fun and what we wear naturally ends up being the most comfortable fit for us. Though to be honest, we loved rockin each fit in the video! 

How was it for Cam and Jordy to film their second music video ever? 

All: It was really the second music video for all of us because the experience of shooting a music video from start to finish about us as a band was nothing any of us had experienced in the past. We feel like we have grown so much between the first and second video and now we’re planning for our third. We want to shoot one for every song we put out!

Why did you guys choose “Sherry’ and “Custom Made” as your first two releases ever? 

All: It’s kinda like when someone gets in a pool after a long time. You first dip your toes. It’s a small part of you yet still you. Then you get that whole leg in. It’s a bit more body. Now we’re about to go up to our chest with the next single! So “Sherry’ and “Custom Made” were the best tracks to warm people up to us and our style overall, but there’s a lot more coming!

How do both these tracks represent you as brothers and artists? 

All: Every song we make represents us as brothers because it’s such a collaborative effort at the end of the day. As artists these songs are the tip of the iceberg. These songs are just enough to say hello and hopefully get some people to like it enough to listen deeper. We feel like these songs are like when the sun peeks out at 5am on the horizon which is when we like to surf!

I know these are weird, uncharted waters and there’s a lot of uncertainty and plans being rearranged/canceled/etc. But what can fans expect from you in the next few weeks/months? Any plans for an EP or an LP?

All: With everything that is going on, our plans for playing up and down the coast have been squashed but we have started doing a “Five Song Friday” on our Youtube Live and IG live. Just search for “We the Commas”. We are following up with more singles, an EP, and then our first album. Hopefully all by the end of the year. 

Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about? 

Lenny: We are all very interested in the idea of extraterrestrial life! We think that if the universe is infinite, there’s gotta be some other intelligent life out there! Or maybe not, I don’t know. It’s fun to think about it though! 

For more information, make sure you visit We The Commas’ website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Feature Photo Credit: Omar Guerra

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