FREE SHOW! B3SCI.Com presents Zak Waters, TeamMate, Phil Beaudreau, Wise Cub, $2 drink specials 6-9pm

Triple threat Zak Waters always leaves a mark. Ever since he first formally began performing in high school, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter and producer never failed to make a lasting impression on his audience, and it’s always three-pronged. Unlike his contemporaries, he can do it all from constructing a track to writing the lyrics to performing it live with his band or in a DJ set. His impact is about to expand immensely with the release of his full-length debut album, Lip Service—available exclusively now via a unique deal with Spotify.
Zak’s always been driving his own music. In 2011, he broke on to the scene with his independent debut EP, New Normal. He served as both the featured writer and singer on Madeon's hit dance single "The City," which hit #1 on Hype Machine and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Dance Chart, where it stayed for nine months. Meanwhile, his single with Candyland, "Not Coming Down," topped the Beatport charts as #1 track for two weeks. He's performed on AXS Live, Last Call With Carson Daly, and on KIIS FM. Meanwhile, he’s not only been personally sought out by Flo Rida and Benny Benassi for their upcoming 2014 tracks, but also by the likes of legendary songwriter Diane Warren and Atlantic Records artist Francisco for his production talents. He's produced official remixes alongside Benny Benassi, R3hab, Pharrel Williams for All-American Rejects, Adam Lambert, and Foxy Shazam Moreover, famed Los Angeles venue The Satellite in Silver Lake tapped him for a high-profile residency as well in September 2013.
On Lip Service, shimmying between soulful funk savoir faire and fresh dance floor-ready pop, he cultivates an immediately seductive, soaring, and shimmering style of his own. Zak puts it best though, "My music is definitely meant to make people dance. I like to think of it as disco at its core. There are elements of EDM and R&B at the same time. You could call it neo-funk-pop. I'll take that as mine."
His personal panache punctuates the first single "Penelope." The song tells a cheeky little tale that's as vivid as it is vivacious. "I kept listening to the track and going back to a vision of a young kid obsessed with his baby sitter and wondering where she's at now," he explains. "I think we all had that babysitter. My friend's sitter was so hot. She was 'Penelope' for me. Now, you wonder, 'Would she look at me differently now that I'm grown up?'"
Elsewhere, “Dear John” featuring Audra Mae is a smart rumination on breaking up, while “Over You” examines the some darker moments post-relationship. Waters tapes into real tangible emotion, extending beyond the feel good pop.”
There's one pervasive thread throughout. "It's all about wanting to have fun," Zak concludes. "The majority of my songs are upbeat. They're meant to be the soundtrack to somebody's wild night. I love when somebody tells me I made it onto their workout or sex mix. If I can encapsulate a time for the listener, I feel like I will never be forgotten.”

There are the cheesy, tender love stories and the boring, static ones; the heartbreakers and those head-shakers that never even make it past that cringeworthy pickup line. Scott Simons and Dani Buncher know theirs doesn’t fit easy description. Perhaps it’s because it’s still being written. Sure, several years ago, when Buncher came out to Simons, they stopped referring to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. The music however? That unspeakable connection that bound them together all those years, carried them through rough patches, and made things work even when everything felt in wild disarray? That, Simons says, was the singular element of their partnership that not only survived, but blossomed. “It was our therapy,” Simons says of his and Buncher’s decision instead to forge ahead on their winding road of a relationship. Rather than lose the other, they chose to embrace their unparalleled connection, forming the synth-pop duo TeamMate. “Part of the healing process for our romantic relationship ending involved us playing music together,” Simons, who shares vocal duties with Buncher and plays synths and keyboards in the band, declares. “Still existing today as a partnership is our best achievement.”

Well, that and TeamMate’s effortless unleashing of ear-wormy nuggets of pure pop precision. The breakout band’s debut LP, TeamMate, is stuffed full of massive choruses, bright, shimmering melodies, arena-scale drums, and the sort of anthemic choruses not easily removable from one’s brain. “We’re shooting information off each other and the result is this collaborative piece,” Buncher, who plays drums in the group, says when assessing the duo’s seamless integration of musical talent. “We always just want to see where the sound goes.”

“Looking back, we never said, ‘Let’s start a band together,”’ Buncher adds with a laugh. Though when two people understand one another on such a human level -- additionally having shared their most personal songwriting with each other for years -- it’s far easier to fight past the nonsense and attack each song with pulsing vigor. “We got to a point where we had matured and we had grown and we had been through so much shit together and we still made it out,” Simons says. “We could then look at our story and say, ‘Yeah, we have something to say in our songs now!’”

And so, even on their most instantly catchy tracks, like “Don’t Count Me Out,” where chiming synths and pulsing drums give way to a shout-along chorus, there’s a definitive, sincere message bubbling beneath. “Lyrically, the song is an anthem to ourselves,” Simons says of TeamMate’s infectious first single off the new LP. “We've been through a lot of things together, but we're still a version of together.” The Eighties-inflected “Nothing’s Ever Over,” by comparison, Buncher adds, “really helped us find our direction for the album” and “set the tone for most of the new songs moving forward.” It also helped the duo manage the occasional hurdles involved in the songwriting process, like on the bombastic pop gem “Something Simple,” which proved anything but. “That was a song that took a lot of work to get it to where it is now,” Simons explains. “It started as a melody and music sketch I made and then sat on because we initially didn't think it was going to work for us. But, as we collaborated, it started to take shape over a few writing sessions. The story comes from a personal experience in a relationship of trying to force expectations onto something rather than just accepting it for what it is.”

Winding up in Los Angeles together as a band was hardly a foregone conclusion for TeamMate. Having first met at West Virginia University, Simons stayed in West Virginia after college; Buncher took up shop in New York and then her native Pittsburgh. Both were pushing hard with their respective former bands, and yet, much as they’d always done, the pair continued swapping musical advice with each other. “For years and years Scott would send me music, and I would give him my brutally honest criticism or support,” Buncher explains. It was only after Simons asked Buncher to back him on drums for some solo gigs that the two realized their talents were best utilized as a unit. “It felt like something new was happening,” Buncher recalls of an early joint songwriting session with Simons. “We just knew where our musical Venn diagram overlapped,” he adds, while Buncher says everything immediately “blended quite nicely.”

“Even when we started playing some shows, it was more of a laptop-bedroom project,” Simons admits. “It was just a very cerebral thing.” Gradually though, as both musicians began sharing lead-singing duties -- not to mention when Buncher’s drum was moved to the front of the stage and was now equal with Simons’ microphone -- the musicians started to feel like a legitimate band -- one in which both members literally and metaphorically stood on equal footing. “In a lot of our songs now the message is ‘we,’” Buncher explains. “It’s universal but also a very personal message from the two of us. We’re both singing together in unison. You can’t necessarily tell whose voice is whose.”

Having grown as musical collaborators, partners, and, most importantly, friends, TeamMate are finally at a point of being realistically optimistic and excited about their future. “We’ve finally figured out who we are,” Buncher says. “It’s time to put out a record that represents our growth as people and our growth as musicians.”

“If we had told each other back in college: ‘You are going to date for 10 years, break up and then start a band and tour,’ we would have never believed it,” Simons says. “The whole story that’s led to this moment is so convoluted and crazy, but I wouldn’t change it. It’s led to this incredible collaboration.”

Phil Beaudreau

A New England native, Phil Beaudreau grew up playing violin, eventually switching over to trumpet by the time he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. It was there Beaudreau discovered his passion for composition, triggering his metamorphosis into a singer-songwriter. It was also at Berklee where Beaudreau would meet the multi-platinum selling super-producer, Dawaun Parker. Collaborating on songs like “Until It’s Done,” which features Phil’s vocals and arrangements, Beaudreau eventually signed with Parker’s High Renaissance imprint in 2012. A true multi-instrumentalist, Beaudreau also produces and records with Parker under the moniker, AoE [All or Everything/Ambassadors of Earth] and self-penned and arranged his up-coming EP, Ether, in it’s entirety; playing piano, guitar, bass and even live horn and string arrangements. Influenced by classic legends including The Beatles and Stevie Wonder, while drawing inspiration from current greats, Thom Yorke and Kanye West, Beaudreau crafts a stunning soundscape that feels both unique and familiar. Phil credits Bill Withers for inspiring the stomping rhythm in the track, “Buried Alive.” In his retro-soul styled tune “Spark,” Beaudreau chronicles the struggles of a woman at her lowest point, while in “Take It High,” the first single from Ether, Beaudreau urges the listener to elevate themselves, whether metaphorically or literally. “The first time I heard Phil sing over one of my beats,” says Dawaun, “I knew I wanted to collaborate again. By the time we finished song #2, I knew I had to sign him. It’s not often you meet someone so talented, who can do so much… His potential is limitless,” exclaims the 3-time Grammy winner, who executive produced Ether. Musically rich and intoxicatingly catchy, Ether documents the process of an artist discovering his creative potential. One listen, and it’s evident that Beaudreau’s future home is the stratosphere.


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