Interview with Diane DiMemmo

May 3, 2021

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Everyone knows that in order to “break through” in the music industry, musicians have to authentically distinguish themselves in a way that’s impossible to ignore. Enter the New Jersey synth-pop band, DUMMY. The group, formed in 2019, recently released their first single “Suddenly” which has already racked up 51,800 streams on Spotify ... a count that’s increasing every day. What’s the allure, you ask?

Ben Nelson (vocals / bass), Jeff Fetzko (Guitar), Carlee Ahart (Guitar, Vocals), Matt Nace (Keys), and Cris Nace (Drums) have found a way to take the new wave sound of the 1970’s and 80’s and put a modern, energetic, pop-punk stamp on it that will transport anyone from my “seasoned generation” right back to that timeframe; making you feel like you’ve dipped yourself in magic waters. Think Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Animotion, or A Flock of Seagulls. The band all agreed that they want “take that energy from ‘back in the day’ and bring it to a new level.”

But it isn’t only my (ok, I’ll say it) "older" generation that’s drawn to their unique sound. The band has garnered quite the following of younger fans from all over the world. When asked why their music resonates with people in that age group as well, Jeff said, “When we play, we just really let our emotions out. The lyrics resonate [with the younger crowd] because our songs are about all the feelings you have when you’re growing up. If they're having a tough time or anything, they can relate to the lyrics and just grow with us … as a band or even just as people. We have the 80’s influence, but we also have [current] hardcore and punk backgrounds. We really want to bring that energy and something new to the music.”

When listening to “Suddenly” you realize the group is definitely not short on musical chops. The weaving, lyrical guitar lines and solos between Carlee and Jeff are intricate yet calming and pleasing to the ear. Matt, who recently learned to play the keyboard (because many DUMMY songs had key parts that needed playing) adds a rich, foundational layer upon which all the other instruments rest. Cris drives their music forward with a crisp, driving, technically advanced beat which gives "Suddenly” the pop and energy sure to make every fan dance when listening.

Then there are those goosebump-producing, standout vocals of Ben. His tone is genuinely unique in that there are literally no other current vocalists that sound like him. He can move from a velvety smooth tone to a gritty, passionate high note effortlessly but with an energy and presence that’s captivating. He also drives the song home on bass, exuding impressive stamina by holding long notes while jumping and playing. He shared that his music and lyrics are born from a “humbleness inside myself when I'm alone, and then I just let my personality come through. I can really feel it when I hear it.”

Listen to our podcast with the band, DUMMY!

Neon colored Limestone brick wall

DUMMY has tried to make the best out of the trying times of this past year by getting everything in order - from new music, artwork, videos, and their website (which Matt created). Carlee explained, “I think it kind of gave us all some time to really lockdown and be creative together. Just express our music in any way we could and really communicate with each other. We bring all our ideas to the table to show you [fans, listeners] what we have.”

Without yet playing a live show together, it’s incredibly exciting to think what this band could achieve. Ben shared, “We envision our live shows with, let's say, lots of lights, lots of great, psychedelic jams. It’ll be a really good experience, a really fun time. Everyone is encouraged to be open about who they are, to dance, and have an awesome time.”

DUMMY admitted they currently have “waaaaaay too much music to release all at once” but are excitedly anticipating the release of their second single and video “Afterthought” on May 21. A “bigger, melodic, dreamy, atmospheric, epic” song is the way they described it. Jeff summed up the band’s mission perfectly toward the end of our interview when he said, “At the end of the day, we make music that WE want to hear. Something to fill the void of this kind of genre that isn’t out there right now. Even though we love other bands, they don't quite make exactly what we want write.”

DUMMY is that band you’ll want to keep on your radar and catch when live shows return. I, personally, will be following their progress and new music which has struck a chord and filled a genre that was sorely missing in today’s musical landscape. Make sure to follow this group on socials and stream “Suddenly” on Spotify and other platforms ... while watching their streaming number grow. Wait! The number just went up again. The count is now 53,650! Onward and upward! Go get ‘em, DUMMY!

Pre-save "Afterthought!"

Listen to our podcast on your favorite streaming platform!

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Diane DiMemmo stumbled into and fell in love with Asbury Park and photography a few short years ago. An avid concert fanatic and former musician, she recognized the need for a Jersey Shore music publication to highlight the accomplishments of local and national musicians through photos and press. Asbury Park Vibes has been her labor of love ever since, along with her Golden Retriever – Cooper – who you’ll often see walking Diane through the streets of Asbury.


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