Sixforty1 - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Brooks Hoffman and Austin Gee of Sixforty1. We discussed how they met at Murray State University, their early interest in music, writing and recording new EP, ‘Started Right Here’, how the EP takes the listener through the relationship process from the honeymoon phase to eventually moving on, which song was the easiest to write and which song was the most challenging, some of their favorites tours, and more. Check it out below. 

First, thanks for the interview.

Thank you for having us.

Can you tell me how you got together and formed the band for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

We both attended Murray State University in Murray, KY. But it wasn’t until our Sophomore years that we ran into each other at a local sorority philanthropy event on campus called “Mr. MSU”. In a nutshell, it was a male pageant style competition with a talent portion as well. During a dress rehearsal, Brooks heard Austin playing the guitar backstage and asked what song he was thinking about performing. I said I was considering playing an original song and Brooks said “no way I was going to do the same… we should write sometime." 

But it wasn’t until the following summer when I was in his hometown of Louisville, KY for an internship that we started writing. We spent that entire summer writing in his room and putting the finished products on Soundcloud. Soon after, we got a call from an industry person in Nashville saying they liked our stuff and could help us if we wanted to record an EP. So that’s what we did. Before starting our Junior year, we decided to form SixForty1.

Austin- I’ve been in music since I was little. I was in my school/church choirs as well as being involved in the community theatre program. I didn’t pick up a guitar until around 7th grade and took lessons for about six months then taught myself the rest on YouTube. 

Brooks- I first started playing instruments when I got a drum set for Christmas at age 8. Then I started guitar lessons at 9 - I was hooked. My teacher told me I had to write a song and play it that upcoming summer at my grandpa's 4th of July party. So since my mom had always said that I was going to "move to Nash and be a country star", I thought I'd write a song about driving my truck to Texas. That's as country as it gets. But it was that experience that made me want to start writing songs.

You recently released your EP, ‘Started Right Here’. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for it?

From the very beginning we knew this project was going to be different for us. We wanted to have a full body of work from start to finish and not just 6 individual songs. With touring coming to a halt in 2020, we basically lived in the studio with our producer to capture what we had to say the best way we could. From track 1 “Bad” to track 6 “All Night”, we painted the picture of how our past relationship experiences played out.

Have you been pleased with the initial response so far to the songs? What do you hope listeners are taking away from the EP? 

It's always good to finally get your work out into the world for fans to listen to and connect with. This EP has been received very well so far and we know our fans will keep the ball rolling! Our streaming numbers are the best they have ever been thanks to everyone who has been taking in this EP that’s so personal to us. It’s very relationship driven, which we feel everyone can relate to. There’s a song on it for every emotion you could have during a relationship, from the honeymoon phase, to the breakup, to the moving on. We wanted to give fans something from us to show we’ve been there too and they aren’t alone. 

What was the easiest song to write and which one was the most challenging?

All Night was the easiest song to write coincidentally. We’ve been wanting to write our version of a “feel good song” for awhile and All Night flew onto the page the day we wrote it. We weren’t even planning on writing it. We finished up another song that morning with our producer Matt Geroux and our good songwriting buddy Mason Thornley, and Mason started playing the intro lead guitar riff you hear on the track as we were wrapping up. We wrote it in an hour tops and it’s one of our favorites. 

The most challenging song on the EP to write was Me & Your Memory. With it being so personal to us, we wanted to get the lyrics 100% right. That song took two different writing sessions to finish and we still were tweaking it throughout the recording process but it turned out exactly how we envisioned it. 

You’ve had the chance to tour and play with a lot of great artists. Who were a couple of your favorites to play with in the past? Why? 

We’ve been fortunate to play alongside some of our country music heroes. Brantley Gilbert has taught us a lot about touring and how to connect with our fans. Being able to learn the "in’s and out’s" of building your artist brand from the ground up has been a huge help for us over the past two years with a big thanks to BG. Playing a couple cruise ships with him and other acts like Luke Combs, Michael Ray, and Diamond Rio was an incredible experience.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you again for having us. Keep streaming our latest EP “Started Right Here” wherever you listen to music and be on the lookout for some new songs and tour dates coming in 2022!

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