FUN SUCKR: from best friends to bandmates

Starting as ludicrous notes about band names to pass time in class, FUN SUCKR, an electro-pop music duo based out of Southern California, came to life with college students, Samantha Short and Zoe D’Andrea. Bestfriends bandmates, and self proclaimed “theater kids,” D’Andrea and Short lead a life of fun, experiencing college and creating music together simultaneously. 

Samantha Short, singer-songwriter and student at the University of Southern California from Bend, OR, has been singing as long as she can remember. Starting musical theater at age five and classical piano lessons at age six, Short was surrounded by music in her youth. With a theatrical background, her lyrics have an organic theatricality to them. This allows Short to create an entire narrative in just under five minutes. Although inspired by iconic lyricists/composers such as Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift, Short is ultimately inspired by the people around her. 

Zoe D'Andrea, a musician from Santa Monica, CA, started playing piano and even studying musical theater at the age of six. Surrounded by classic rock such as Journey and Kansas as a child,  D'Andrea is naturally drawn to music of the 70s and 80s. However, D'Andrea is also inspired by modern artists like Dua Lipa, who play with genre and time period in today’s pop music. 

Short says, “The descriptor “fun sucker” was originally inspired by a mutual friend of mine and Zoe’s. This person sucked the fun out of everything and was always in a bad mood, just one of those people. So, Zoe and I started referring to him as a ‘fun sucker.’” However, it wasn’t until about a year later, their sophomore year of college, that “FUN SUCKR” as a band name came alive. As Short and D'Andrea sat next to each other in a musical theater class, they started passing joking notes, scribbling different band name ideas that would potentially work if they one day decided to start a band. The name “Fun Suckr” was passed along in the notes, yet they laughed it off and walked out of class. An hour later,  D'Andrea called Short in all seriousness and said, “Sam. We should actually start a band. And our band name should be FUN SUCKR.” 

When it comes to their songwriting, the best friends try to take everyday anecdotes of being young adults growing up in a confusing world, but add a twist. Something that sets them apart from the other people their age. Short adds, “Our entire philosophy behind FUN SUCKR is: take the pedestrian things in life, and make them fun.” D’Andrea says that what makes their band work is that none of their band members are, what they like to call, “fun suckers.” 

However, being in a band doesn’t always come so easily. Both being full-time students, Short and D’Andrea  often jump from class, to voice lessons, to rehearsals, back to class, back to rehearsals… all while writing and creating new music. But what makes it work is the way each member clicks within the group. D’Andrea says, “All of our band members are friends and I’d rather be with them rehearsing than doing most other things.” Their current members, aside from the lead vocalists, include Liza Kaye on keys, Jack Maitra on drums, Eli Bramnick on guitar and Jack Severino on bass.

Thus far, Fun Suckr has played a variety of shows in Los Angeles such as at El Cid and Hotel Cafe, as well as a MadHat Live session on the USC campus. On their own, Short and D'Andrea have played at other USC fundraisers and concerts. On November 15th, 2019, their first debut single “Can’t Keep Me Away” was released on Spotify. They also have other songs in the works, including two of their personal favorites, “Pretty” and “Fever Dream.” Talking about her favorite song the duo has written, D’Andrea says, “My favorite song that Sam and I have ever written is a song called “Pretty.” It was one of the first things we wrote together after “Can’t Keep Me Away.” “Pretty” was a song we wrote so fast and so passionately that the song just felt right. It’s a song that injects a playful element into an otherwise hard pill to swallow: that your best friend has ruined all the fun.” Sam’s favorite, “Fever Dream,” on the other hand, wasn’t written with such ease. Trying to write about “fever-dream-like” relationships, sicknesses, etc. for over an hour in a writing session, the duo called it quits when they still had nothing. Walking home, they decided to give it one more shot for the night. This time, they asked themselves, instead of writing about having fever dreams, what if we wrote about us being the fever dream? Short explains that the song pegs her and D’Andrea as both protagonists and antagonists all at once, “In this song, Zoe and I paint ourselves as these hot, brutal, inescapable, nightmare-inducing, irresistible femme fatales. We depict ourselves as being wicked in an almost endearing way, which is why people always come back for more. And that’s what I love about this song.” Within 15 minutes, the song was finished and hasn’t changed since. 

 In the future, FUN SUCKR wants to continue to make music that reflects their personal narratives while incorporating their spunky style. To FUN SUCKR, “fame” is a very layered, distorted and ambiguous term. Although they one day plan on playing at Coachella, the duo ultimately wants to continue to make music with their best friends and one day have the opportunity to tour or work with other artists that they look up to. However, Short states, “I think I will really know I’ve “made it,” however, when I’m offered a role in a Broadway musical. What can I say? I’m a theater kid at heart.”