Matt Sanchez & Zac Barnett of American Authors

It wasn’t long ago that US music fans had to travel abroad for a decent music festival. However, in recent years, the amount of music festivals in these United States has grown exponentially leaving fans many options for monthly excursions to see their favorite artists. If you’re having trouble deciding where to take your vacation, may we recommend BottleRock Napa Valley? Returning for a third year on May 29-31, BottleRock Napa Valley will host Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, No Doubt, Public Enemy, AWOLNATION and more. BottleRock is very unique music, food, wine and brew festival located in the heart of California’s wine country. Each month leading up to the festival High Voltage will interview someone from BottleRock’s impressive line-up, starting with this month’s pick American Authors.

Hailing from New York City, American Authors’ are only one album into their pending repertoire featuring their hit single “Best Day Of My Life.” We got a few minutes with drummer Matt Sanchez and lead singer/guitarist Zac Barnett:

High Voltage: Hello there, nice to meet you both! Well actually we met briefly at a brunch during South By Southwest last year [watch our recap here]. Speaking of, we recently realized that American Authors was previously known as The Blue Pages, a band we saw at 2011’s South By Southwest! Why the name change?
Matt Sanchez: Wow, that takes me back [laughs]!
Zac Barnett: It was time for a fresh start.
Matt: When we moved to Brooklyn, we had already been The Blue Pages for years, so we figured it was time for a new identity.
Zac: Living in a new place and being influenced by new surroundings and a new city all played into changing out [our band] name.bottlerock_lineup
Matt: It shed the old and sparked the new!

HV: Cool! Will American Authors be back at SXSW this year? And even if not, do you have any SXSW survival tips for newcomers?
Matt: As of now there are no plans for SXSW! Last year we ended up playing 12 shows so I don’t think any of us are really disappointed [laughs]. Survival tips? Drink lots of water, and wear sunscreen. Texas is hot!
Zac: Yeah, SXSW is always a good time. My tips for new bands? Be fun and take advantage of as many open bars as possible.

HV: And open bars are aplenty during SXSW! Any other upcoming festivals you guys are looking forward to playing?
Zac: Stoked for BottleRock Napa Valley. We’re playing on the same stage as No Doubt who we love.
Matt: Yes, BottleRock Napa Valley is going to be amazing. The lineup is crazy, and it’s always nice being in wine country.

HV: Have you developed any pre-show rituals?
Matt: We have individual and collective ones.
Zac: We do sexy dances and cheer each other on.
Matt: We can’t tell you more specifics though, cause they’re secret.

HV: Tell us about the day you wrote “Best Day Of My Life,” did it end up being the best day? What happened that day?
Matt: “Best Day Of My Life” actually came from a place of frustration with our lives at the time.  We had been playing music together for years, we were struggling with jobs and money, and we were all living in a shitty apartment. If you listen to the lyrics it’s really about escaping and falling into a dream world you never want to leave.
Zac: It was a pretty regular afternoon [when we wrote it]. We all thought the song was strange and set it aside for like a week. We didn’t realize we had something special until we revisited it.

HV: Do you feel compelled to constantly have a the best day of your life every time you perform it?
Zac: I feel compelled to have the best day of my life even when my flight is cancelled and have to rush to catch the last train back to New York knowing I only have two days home.
Matt: No one can have every day of their lives being happy and amazing. It’s more important to accept the fact that we’re human and we will have bad days. Embrace the down, it makes the up much better.

HV: Great advice. So, when do we get a new American Authors album?
Zac: We are working on our second album right meow!
Matt: Hopefully this summer, but later this year for sure.

HV: What new music has inspired you lately?
Zac: Lots and lots of trap.
Matt: Not much honestly, but I just listened to the new Bjork album. It’s a true inspiring work of art!

HV: If you could be any other member of your own band, who would you be and why?
Matt: I would be Dave [Rublin, bass]. His view of the world is unique and spectacular.
Zac: I’d be Matt. He gets a full body work out playing drums every show.

HV: Excellent. Well, thanks for giving us a few minutes. We look forward to seeing you at BottleRock in May!

To purchase tickets or view the full BottleRock line-up visit