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DailyBoom Your Old School Music Authority

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Currently Booming: Exclusive Interview: Nu Shooz

(BagTown Cover Art: Malcolm Smith)


Valerie Day and John Smith, the masterminds behind the music of Nu Shooz, are always looking for creative ways to involve their fans in whatever they're doing and that certainly includes an active presence on social media. The band was first formed way back in 1979 and they were playing live gigs for years before that big breakthrough finally came. Back then Nu Shooz found it self working several nights a week onstage as part of Portland's pre-synth raging music scene. While the synth sound eventually was the catalyst that brought the bands' music to the masses (and earned them a Grammy nomination in 1987 for Best New Artist), their love for organic music and using real instruments runs deep. 1986's Poolside may be considered the most successful album for the Shooz, but their journey certainly has encompassed decades.

(Photo: Phil Isley)

While on paper it may seem that Valerie and John dropped off the radar for years, just the opposite is actually true. Valerie has performed with the Oregon Symphony Pops, several celebrated jazz artists and she has co-created a show called Brain Chemistry for Lovers beside Darrell Grant. John has been equally busy and his musical genius has kept him working in the commercial industry for more than twenty years. The 80's are one of the hottest genres out there right now and last Christmas Target decided to use "I Can't Wait" as part of their holiday advertising campaign. Admit it, you were singing along every time the commercial came on, weren't you?

The only thing bigger than the 80's right now are the tours circling the country that feature large roster's of some of the biggest names in old school music and so when the Freestyle Explosion show came knocking, Day and Smith were thrilled to jump on board. "It's amazing how strong the love for music from way back then still is. Social media also helps to keep us connected with our audience on a regular basis. It's neat to see fans from the 80's at our shows and they're now bringing their kids with them. We actually have different generations of fans waiting for autographs at meet and greets- that's a little surreal! We were told about a fun little tour (Freestyle Explosion) that would reunite Nu Shooz with a whole roster of other performers from the 80's and it's something that we've really enjoyed doing." explained Day in a recent interview with The Daily Boom.

(Photo: Mike Hipple)

Ironically enough, according to Smith, reconnecting with the diehard 80's fan base is what helped to breathe life into their latest album. "It was doing that tour that actually made us want to consider coming back with another Nu Shooz album. The love for that era of music is pretty amazing and the rush for us is still the same as it was back then. We decided that it was time to take ourselves maybe a little less seriously. We're definitely more confident both as artists and as people. Plus we have a really great band to play with. We have alumni band members now that have played our style for years. The cohesive mix makes for many “Life is good” moments. It was fun to have radio hits but nothing beats playing live."

"After making ourselves miserable musically we decided to make a record aimed at having fun and it has really worked for us. At one point John and I went to dinner with our good friends, Marv and Rindy Ross (of Quarterflash) and we were all feeling similarly about where we were at musically at that point in time. They were coming off the release of a more serious record (as were we) and Marv mentioned wanting to create an album that was just fun to play live. That idea really clicked with us and it felt like exactly what we needed to do as well." explains Day while contemplating why making this record has really worked for them.

(BagTown Cover Art: Malcolm Smith

The key to the magic that has unfolded really seems to be the fact that they have absolutely enjoyed the process.  According to Smith, "BagTown is the funnest (yes, 'funnest' and 'funner' became the descriptive words for BagTown)  album that we have made, maybe ever. With every record, the process of creation is different. Sometimes it's lyrics first, other times the music is written first. We made a city of bag people and started drawing on them and all of a sudden these bags were partying. The songs from BagTown actually came from creating this city and bringing it to life in our minds. Of course music for us is a two-way relationship and so the audience ends up being an equal partner in the whole experience."

Connect with Nu Shooz below so that you're kept up-to-date on everything that they're doing!

Nu Shooz Official Website

Nu Shooz on Facebook

Nu Shooz on Twitter

Nu Shooz on Instagram

Nu Shooz on YouTube