They may only be 20 years old, but Jack Staffen and Eliza Callahan aren’t beginners when it comes to music: In fact, they’ve been playing since before they could even read. Staffen started singing and playing piano when he was six, and Callahan was already mastering the classical guitar by the age of 3. They may joke that it has been a “steady decline” since their days as baby music geniuses, but their EP No Wonders suggests anything but.
Although Jack + Eliza have only been churning out tunes together for a few years, they have been family friends “forever.” At the age of 14, Callahan joined Staffen’s garage band as the drummer, and, eventually, with the encouragement of friends and family, the duo realized they were a match made in songwriting heaven.
As for the kind of music they’re making now? There is a psychedelic sun-drenched vibe to their songs that makes you want to go surfing…in the 1970s. Staffen jokes that their genre is “soft-core naked psych-pop,” or, as Callahan suggest, “I think the genre should just be naked. Why isn’t that a genre already?”
Both Callahan and Staffen are admittedly true oldies fans: “I listen to 80% music from before 1978,” Callahan admits, citing The Beatles, The Mamas and the Papas, The Zombies, The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground as huge influences on their music. They also note Motown as being highly influential on their simplistic presentation: “Two guitars and two mics. That’s all we need. I guess we’re kind of basic bitches,” jokes Staffen.
As students at NYU’s Gallatin School Of Individualized Study and Columbia, the college sophomores thrive on staying busy. Callahan says, “I think it’s a myth that people when you that you have to drop out in order to pursue music.” Staffen backs up Callahan, explaining, “I feel like school would honestly be so boring without music and music would be so boring if I didn’t have school.”
Already signed with the independent label Yebo records, their EP No Wonders is available on iTunes. And a with tour on the horizon, Jack + Eliza are certainly a band to watch.