Tempe band Breakup Shoes makes strides in local music scene and beyond

The band, which features an ASU graduate, will open for Soccer Mommy at an upcoming Rebel Lounge show

Local alt-rock band Breakup Shoes is taking big steps toward a bright and shiny future in the music scene locally, and hopefully soon, nationally. 

From having one of their songs blare across the state on Arizona's alt-radio station 93.3 to releasing their first music video and recording new tracks, the Tempe-based band is moving closer toward their goal of becoming a nationally recognized group. 

Amongst many exciting upcoming shows, Breakup Shoes will open for Soccer Mommy at The Rebel Lounge on April 22. Breakup Shoes also recently finished recording a seven-track EP, which they aim to release in a couple months. 

Formed in 2015, the band consists of singer and guitarist Nick Zawisa, guitarist John MacLeod, drummer Matthew Witsoe and bassist Derrick Lafforthun. 

Zawisa, who graduated from ASU with a psychology degree in 2017, said they are very excited to open for one of their favorite artists, and they hope that this will be their first sold-out show. 

The band has had many opportunities to open for big artists within the indie genre, such as The Buttertones and Dreamgirl. They also recently shared a stage with a variety of local and national acts at the Flying Burrito Festival in Phoenix. 

Witsoe said that sharing a stage with bigger acts is good for the band because those shows draw their biggest crowds. 

"It kind of makes the whole night a lot more exciting because there's just more energy in the room," he said. "It's a lot of fun."

Zawisa said it is exhilarating to be in a green room with acts that the band loves and get a chance to hang out with them.

"They're literally just the same as us, and they're down to hang," he said. "And they're always super nice."

Breakup Shoes will play in San Diego for the first time at the Che Cafe on April 20 with over ten other artists including Hate Drugs, a band they became friends with while on tour.  

Zawisa said one of the main goals the band has is to expand regionally, starting by playing more shows in California and working their way to national touring. 

MacLeod said that he enjoys reaching new audiences and that out of town shows can feel more relaxed. 

"I feel like when I'm anywhere else, I know for sure I don't know anyone," MacLeod said. "I'm just like, 'ok I'm just going to play (and) have as much fun as I can.'"

The band recently released a music video for their song "Playing With Fire," which was directed by June Hucko, who graduated from ASU with a degree in filmmaking practices in 2018 and is a friend of the band. The video was also completed with the help of other ASU film students. 

"It was cool to work with a friend," Zawisa said. "I couldn't really imagine working with a company to do a video like that; it would feel ingenuine [sic], I think."

The music video was filmed in Tempe and features all four members of the band. Although they admitted they were reluctant to be on camera, they said in the end it was fun and are happy with the way it turned out.

The song "Playing With Fire" was also recently aired on the public radio station 93.3 ALT AZ during a segment called Homegrown with Mo, which airs music from local artists and chooses a "Song of the Week" based on listeners' votes. 

The band members said they were excited to be voted for Song of the Week and have their song aired on the radio. Zawisa said that even though the music industry has been shifting more and more toward online streaming, radio is still "a very powerful tool when used to promote an up-and-coming band." 

Reach the reporter at mswhitey@asu.edu or follow @MarissaWhitey on Twitter. 

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