"I hope this doesn't sound weird..." That was the tentative text Drew Norris sent to Tatum Russo that marked the beginning of what is now electro-pop duo Prep Rally. Shortly after the disbandment of another local Denver band Tatum was a part of, Drew began sending Tatum bits and pieces of riffs and progressions he wrote on the piano. Tatum would then write lyrics to these snippets, prompting both to build on them and eventually arrange them into full songs. This eventually led to the duo playing local shows around Denver in 2017, and the release of their first EP "Passing Notes" in early 2018. Although it took some time for this dynamic duo to find their stylistic home, they eventually settled into a poppy, electronic vibe that draws from 80s synthpop but quickly diverges into its own, quirky sound. Their music has drawn comparisons to CHVRCHES, Grimes, and Marina and the Diamonds.
Prep Rally released their stimulating hit titled “Break In”. This transporting and trailblazing record takes you through a tunnel of multiple eras of pop music in the most structured and charismatic journey possible. The atmospheric environment it creates is unforgettable and hypnotizing. The production to “Break In” had classic elements of synth-drums with bubblegum pop-like vocals in this eclectic tune. The danceable rhythm to the record calls for a great mood of grooving and vibing. “Break In” has this sensational energy that gets you sucked into the music and undeniably enjoying the presence of Prep Rally. The delightful sound and well-arranged vocals has a gravitating effect on its listener. The quirkiness was attractive. They weren’t afraid to make “weird” look “cool” and “cool” look “weird”. It was authentically presentable with just a charismatic delivery. “Break In” will be a nice summer jam that many people will find themselves obsessing over this season!
Listen to "Break In" here and get to know more about Prep Rally below!
Welcome to Buzz Prep Rally! What were some challenges you faced in the start-up of your journey to where you’re at now?
Drew and Tatum met in a previous band called Jiinx, based in Denver. Tatum was co-lead vocals and flute, and Drew was in the process of auditioning for guitar when the group disbanded. A multi-instrumentalist, Drew was really interested in getting into production, so he reached out to Tatum to see if she’d be interested in staring a new project as a duo. The result would eventually become Prep Rally, although we weren’t really sure in those days what our music would sound like or where it was going. Over time it developed into the instrumentally dense synth pop you hear on our latest EP. Once we had overcome the challenge of finding our musical niche, we then had to figure out how to translate that into a fun love show, which was it’s own set of challenges. It’s been a great experience, though, and we’ve both grown a lot, musically.
In what ways do your personal personalities fuse well with each other to create a unit?
Tatum has always been an introverted extrovert and this has helped a lot with networking and social media promotion. She is also able to pack a punch of emotion in everything she writes, being a bit of an empath herself. Drew is more introverted and fascinated with composition and any sort of DIY project, and channels that into music arrangements and the stage lighting the band uses for live performances. We complement each other pretty well in that we often offset each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s talk about the music! Thank you for sharing “Break In” with us! What was the main theme behind this song?
Tatum got the initial idea for the song while visiting Oregon one summer. Feeling frustrated with how she has not taken control of how past relationships came to be, she wanted to empower herself to be in control of her own destiny both as an individual and in future relationships. This song isn’t about how much you’ve been hurt, it’s about learning from the past and not letting that happen to yourself again.
How would you describe the lyrical arrangement to “Break In”?
Tatum outlines how things typically start out in a relationship: they tell you what you want to hear, and you believe it. If you aren’t in control of yourself and don’t know who you are as an individual, things can go awry. The chorus is a reminder of how many times this has happened - how many times you have agreed to be a doormat, and a determination to be in control and guarded.
What’s next for you Prep Rally
Prep Rally has been working on our ‘Summer Cover Series’. We are planning to cover a few songs over the next couple months and release them as an EP at the end of the Summer. Currently we are working on our cover of “Little Lies” by Fleetwood Mac.
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Photography: Ej Carr