- Arts & Life
Party Supplies, the headliner for WQAQ’s “Music for Meals” concert benefiting the Hamden Food Bank, is an indie pop musical project with rap roots. But before the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based duo perform at The Space on October 26., Party Supplies wants us to know who they are.
Spearheaded by singer/songwriter/producer Justin Nealis, Party Supplies has garnered a lot of success from its remixes of songs by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Arcade Fire. But front man Nealis, 23, and his band mate, Sean Man, 24, are determined to establish Party Supplies as a multi-dimensional, electronic pop project that is more than “the guy[s] who remix,” Nealis said.
Party Supplies is a collaboration between Nealis and Man. Somewhere down the line, Party Supplies was labeled as a one-man project, Nealis said, but it’s definitely a team effort.
“Sean helped me write all of the music,” Nealis said. “He’s been doing it with me from day one. I don’t know what happened. People started looking at me as a one-man act. But what I really wanted from day one was to be playing onstage with me and Sean.”
Nealis is a jack-of-all-trades, acting as songwriter, producer and singer. Man works the keyboard, organ, drums and sings chorus. And while Party Supplies originally came on the scene as a rap project with with rapper Action Bronson, Nealis said Party Supplies’ new album “R.M.D.N.I”—an acronym for Real Men Don’t Need Instructions—isn’t in the same genre.
“I know I can make rap. I know I can have a career as a rapper,” Nealis said. “Really, at the end of the day, I want to be on stage singing songs, so I’m going with the gusto on this album.”
Nealis described the songwriting process as very organic, and said he mostly writes while at the piano.
“I literally sat down at a piano and wrote a whole song with nothing but me and the piano,” Nealis said. “And then I turned the songs into electric. Then I got drums.”
“R.M.D.N.I” will be released in February 2013. Nealis said that until Party Supplies releases a music video, people will have their own ideas about what the band actually is. He said he’s constantly telling people that it’s him singing in the remixes.
“People can think whatever they want until me and Sean drop the first video where I’m actually singing in the video,” Nealis said. “I think when that happens people will be more hip to what’s going on. People need to see it for themselves.”
Nealis cites being on stage as what he really enjoys. He produces and remixes, but his talents extend beyond being a producer.
“Everyone was sleeping on [the album] because they thought we were just rap producers,” Nealis said. “But I got signed for the music I make on my own. I didn’t get signed for being a producer. I like being a stage guy.”
Quinnipiac can see Nealis be the “stage guy” at WQAQ’s “Music for Meals” event Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“I’m really excited for Music for Meals,” Scotty Wong, WQAQ co-music manager, said. “The bands we have playing are a lot of fun and each of them bring a unique sound that I think everyone would love. Everyone should come because it’s for a good cause and it ends at 9, so people can still go out after.”
Nealis said he and Man plan on bringing the heat to show what Party Supplies is about.
“It’s going to be really fun. You’re gonna hear some really good songs that you can dance to. We’re going to come out and shut it down,” Nealis said. Nealis attributes the energy of Party Supplies’ performances to his rap background.
“I come from the rap world,” Nealis said. “If you have good music, you really don’t have to worry. We have really good songs, so I’m not worried.”
Other bands performing at “Music for Meals” are The Hiya Dunes, a rock n’ roll quartet, and Trollllort, a folk-punk rock band. The event is at The Space, located on 295 Treadwell Street in Hamden. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $5 at the door, or free if you bring two canned food items to donate to the Hamden Food Bank for its Thanksgiving Holiday.