NYC pop punk outfit Dizzy Bats have spent almost a decade finding their core sound. Suffice it to say, they have done just that with their self-titled LP.
The band has gone through numerous lineup changes and countless tours. It was an evolution that saw the band morphing between college indie rock, nerd rock, alternative punk and punk pop. That journey produced two albums and five EPs but with the production prowess of Such Gold’s Jon Markson — his perspective on high energy pop punk hearkens on a sound reminiscent of Alkaline Trio and The Mezingers — while Connor Frost’s songwriting and earnest vocals give the vibe similarly to Remo Drive. It’s a perfect marriage of old and new, making Dizzy Bats a must-listen.
With the release of the album, Frost wanted to give fans of the band — and readers of American Songwriter — a glimpse at what went into each track. Push play, and read along.
Cut Me Loose
Connor: We went back and forth for a while about whether or not THIS should be the LP opener. After quite a bit of conversation, we decided that the guitar hook on top of a full-band entrance screamed “opener”, so we finally committed. Lyrically speaking, we aimed to develop a dialogue between two parties. Adding Dave’s vocals brought the concept together in a real way.
Connor: I came up with the beginning guitar riff during a band practice, when I was waiting for members to get back from wherever they were at the time. That classic percussive eighth note double hit has always been a favorite of mine, so I decided to lean into it and eventually write a melody over it. I don’t really remember how the melody came to be – it sort of wrote itself after that.
I don’t remember how exactly we came to the conclusion that this should be our first single, but I think we always knew. The poppy melody mixed with the mid-tempo feel felt like the right fit to be the introduction to the album. So we went with it.
Connor: This is one of those tunes on the album that felt like a departure from past songs and records. The series of major chords that you hear in the verses felt almost grunge/Nirvana-like which I was really into. Because of this introduction to a new sound, after much hemming and hawing, we ultimately decided to make this our second single.
We workshopped the bridge for a while, and wrote the guitar solo in the studio. That was a huge moment to bring the energy to its highest point.
Connor: This was the first song that we wrote for this record, and we actually played it live for quite a bit before releasing the album. I think this was the only song that really didn’t see much of a change from the first demo to the final product. It was always a straightforward, high-energy tune that we all really liked. Adding the strings really elevated the tune as a whole.
Connor: This tune was inspired by a messed up dream I had about a mass shooting. I took every detail I could about the dream and ran with it when it came to writing the lyrics. I didn’t mean for the imagery to end up as dark as it is, but considering the subject matter, it was kind of inevitable. The whole ending was worked out in the studio during pre-production, and it felt fitting to have Dave take the vocal part.
Connor: I first started writing this song back in 2014. I knew that I always wanted to write a tune to speak to my friend Michelle’s incredible journey as a cancer survivor and older sister who lost her brother to a drunk driver when she was just fifteen years old. I couldn’t get the song right, though, so I put it on the shelf for years. Then one day, I was inspired by some other song that I had just heard that was also in 6/8 time. So I shifted things around and tried it in that time signature, and for the first time, it clicked (no pun intended).
Not Like You
Connor: A coworker back in 2019 made a racist comment about a student that we both worked with at the time. It pissed me off to no end. I called her out on it, but it was still very much on my mind, and the result was this song. There was a whole chorus that we had going into the studio that we completely scrapped. Our producer basically told us that he thought it sounded way better without it, so took a machete to it. It’s hard for me to imagine the tune with that chorus now.
Connor: When we were on tour in 2019, Zach and I had a conversation with a bar owner in Nashville who very clearly had different political views from our own. It was a civil conversation, but I remember thinking that this white dude we were talking to ACTUALLY felt like he was a major victim of society, when in reality, he wasn’t. Or maybe he was, but it certainly wasn’t because of the color of his skin. I was both relieved that I could have the conversation without getting too anxious, but annoyed that our new friend could still have the views he did in 2019.
Connor: This song started with the guitar riff for the verse. I knew I wanted a heavy song, and something that veered from a vocal melody. That’s when the screaming and talking style came in. It was uncomfortable, because it’s not how we generally approach our songwriting process, but we were stoked on how it sounded all together.
Let Me Be Free
Connor: I was honestly shocked that this song made the record, simply because it was not at all ready when we got into the studio. Our producer really liked it, so we kept it in the rotation with the understanding that we would basically need to write it from scratch. It was scary, but we basically wrote it on the spot, then recorded the parts. It made sense as a closer because the song speaks to entering a new chapter in my life. So sticking this song at the end almost felt like a fool “to be continued”. I guess we’ll see where we go from here.