My first encounter with LA band, Sweet Bump It was at their live show in Echo Park. They are a delightful mix of rock and roll, funk, and soul. I just couldn’t get the stupid grin off my face the entire set. The acoustics, vocals and visuals blended together in a kind of musical wonderland. I found myself bumpin’ to the spunky, funky, punky beats along with the rest of the crowd. Sweet Bump It is a feel-good kind of band that keeps you wanting more and more of that sweetness...
When I asked how they came up with the name, Sweet Bump It. The answer I got was "The name pretty much decided on us. it means whatever you want it to mean" There you have it. I'm obsessed...And you will be too.
Don't miss these cool cats November 8th for their Night Dive show in Long Beach at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Until then...lets get to know the story of Sweet Bump it:
the love story...
Sweet Bump It formed in January 2013, but is a product of years of friendship, hard work, trust, and commitment.
Chapter 1: Paco & Jenna
Paco and Jenna started playing music together when they were in high school. After many long days of goofing off, eating ice cream, and learning how to play instruments, they formed a band called The Studiofix, which existed in its original form between2003-2009. In 2009, Paco and Jenna had a very pointless falling out and did not speak again until 2012. During this time, Paco continued with The Studiofix, while Jenna joined LA band Big Whup.
In mid-2012, Paco and Jenna each realized that life was exponentially less meaningful without the other. They decided to bury the hatchet and rekindle their friendship. After casually playing music together at a birthday party and a charity event, Paco and Jenna decided to give the band thing another go. But, they needed a few more members.
Chapter 2: Enter Jay
A friend introduced Jenna to Jay at a party in downtown LA in November2012. Obviously, Jenna was immediately sold [see Jay’s friendly smile, perfectly toned surfer body, amazing sense of humor, intellectual depth, etc.]. After jamming together one afternoon, Paco, Jay and Jenna all realized that they were sporting embarrassingly large music boners for each other. Hearts, stars, dolphins and flaming guitars were nearly spilling out of their pants in an awesome display of true music love. These three were obviously meant for each other.
Chapter 3: Along Came Bill
In a shameless effort to win a law school talent show in January 2013, Jenna invited campus heartthrob, Bill Bittner, to join the still nameless trio on guitar. Bill happily abandoned his law school textbooks for a pair of signature shades and killed it on stage with daring acrobatics and the attitude of ten dead rock gods. Bill continues to surprise the group with his colorfully creative visions and artwork, and constantly works to refine Sweet Bump It’s overall aesthetic. On top of his many creative endeavors, Bill still managed to take the bar exam in July 2013. Seriously.
Chapter 4: The Divas
Marlaine, Cecca, and Lisa are the most recent (and most gorgeous) addition to Sweet Bump It. As Sweet Bump It’s biggest supporters early on, they spoiled Paco, Jenna, Jay, and Bill by hanging out/having fun and tapping their feet to Jay’s sweet beats during every practice. Before anyone knew it, the ladies had learned the choruses and were singing in harmony like a beautiful flock of angels (if angels travel in flocks?). It made perfect sense to give them microphones. The divas are the sweet, soulful, bubbly icing on top of a moist, delicious rock and roll cupcake. You’re going to want to lick us off your plate.
Sweet Bump It released First Slice (EP) in early September 2013. You can expect a full-length album to follow by winter 2013.
See Sweet Bump It in action...
"We are possessed by music. We exist to entertain. We are passionate, confident, and self-aware. We strive for greatness, but we will never be better than you. Our beliefs and values do not inhibit us from being carefree and irresponsible. We take everything in moderation, including moderation. We live to live. Come party with us!"
-Sweet Bump it
Getting to know the band members of Sweet Bump It:
Nicole "Paco" DeLeon (Guitar, Vocals)
Background: I was born and raised in Southern California. I've been in LA for 5 years working in finance and most currently, playing music with Sweet Bump It. My spirit animal is a wild dog.
What inspires me: The world, and all its beauty…natural and man-made. And people who get something positive from what Sweet Bump It is doing. Thank you to all of those people.
What I stand for: We should all take fun very seriously and ourselves way less seriously.
Who influences me/Who do I admire: My parents both worked really hard and did the absolute best they could for my sister and me and I really admire and appreciate that. I admire my girlfriend; she almost never lets circumstances compromise an outcome. Influences include but are not limited to: The Beatles, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jordan, Noam Chomsky, Jimi Hendrix, Kobe Bryant, Jay-Z, Tupac, The Supremes, Etta James, all Olympic athletes ever. People who bust their ass and are relentless in their pursuits inspire the hell out of me.
What I hope to achieve: I hope to help as many people as I possibly can. I hope to continue to work with my friends, creating things with all of them for the rest of my life.
Something interesting: I'm a financial planner and I like economics. I also like to ride my bike really, really long distances- it's almost unhealthy.
Jenna Eyrich (Bass)
I was born in Santa Ana, CA. I attended Rosary high school in Fullerton, USC for undergraduate school (majored in English and minored in Sociology and Peace and Conflict Studies), and am currently a student at Loyola Law School. Between undergrad and graduate school, I worked for two years at a small environmental nonprofit organization and for two years at a restaurant in Brea, CA called Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen. I’ve had completely unparalleled experiences at every stage in my life, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting the most life-changing and supportive people throughout my educational and professional careers. I’ve been playing music since I was 7 years old. My mom signed me up for piano lessons and made me practice for an hour every morning before school. After a while, I actually started to enjoy it (but don’t tell her that). Funny enough, I can’t play keys for shit now, but I love bass guitar and I have an ear for tunes. I met Paco my first day of high school in Spanish class…that’s actually where I gave her the nickname Paco. We’ve been playing music together for the better part of the past decade.
What inspires me: The people in my band and the people in my life inspire me. Paco inspires me to follow my dreams and be happy. Jaydoo inspires me to let loose and take chances. Bill inspires me to work hard, but to make time for the things I love. Marlaine inspires me to be silly and free. Lisa inspires me to be myself. Fran inspires me to embrace the things I didn’t even know I liked. Champ (Paco’s girlfriend) inspires me to see beauty in everything. Andrew (my boyfriend) inspires me to get weird, to experiment, to have fun, and to accept and love the things that I create. My family inspires me to love unconditionally, and to learn from my mistakes. I am so lucky to have these people in my life.
What I stand for: I stand for love. Not free love hippie bullshit. Just love. Consideration. Gratitude. Appreciation. Doing nice things for other people for no reason. Paying attention to people out of genuine interest. If there’s a message I would like to convey as an individual and as a band, it’s love. Love yourself and be confident. Own your actions. Be consistent. Be generous. Be nice. That’s the way we try to live, and that’s the way we want to be treated.
Influences: Musically, I listen to everything. I like things that are well crafted, well thought out. I like songs with a creative hook. I like musical surprises. In life, Joss Whedon. He wrote incredible narratives about strong, smart women. I owe a lot of my strength as a woman to him. To this day, I watch Buffy and Veronica Mars whenever I feel self-conscious or incapable. If Joss Whedon reads this (which would obviously be my dream come true), I owe you one, buddy.
Who you admire: My parents. For so many reasons.
What you hope to achieve: Success. And I know what Paco is going to say…everyone measures success differently. So what is my definition of success? It’s partly financial. It would be nice not to have to worry about whether I’m going to sacrifice food or an oil change this month in order to pay a parking ticket. It’s partly reputational. It would be nice to have the ability to “grace people with my presence” once in a while. But mostly, I think success is being comfortable with who you are. The hardest thing in life is to admit that you’re not the best, that you might never be the best, and that all you can do is be comfortable in your own skin and have enough faith in other people to accept that. When you’re stripped of your ego, that’s when you’re most inclined to truly be yourself.
Lisa Deines (Vocals)
Background: I grew up in southern Cali and from a very young age there were two things I fell in love with; music/singing and fashion. I've set out on various music ventures throughout my life and I finally feel like I've hit my stride being involved in Sweet Bump It! I went to school for fashion design and I really enjoy styling as well.
What inspires me: I love the outdoors. Being in nature is always inspiring to me. I love any outlet that is creative. My friends and family inspire me and the members of Sweet Bump It surprise me with something new every single day. I've never met so many people that I can be 1000% myself with and that accept me exactly as I am. Acceptance is really important to me and it inspires me when people are able to be open and free to the max.
What I stand for: I won't take no for an answer and I strive to be the best I can be with every move, while having the most fun of course!
Who influences me/who do I admire? I admire my parents for everything they have done for me and my sister. I admire everyone in Sweet Bump It wholeheartedly for their hard work and tenacity. Influences: When I was little, Stephanie Tanner and Stacy Ferguson (Kids Inc. days) were my idols. Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin..the list goes on.
What I hope to achieve: I want to continue to be successful in creating things with those around me to share with the world, and hope that the message is heard loud and clear. That would make me happy.
Something interesting: I love doing voices and accents, it's pretty much my favorite activity. Thank god I've found plenty of people to do that with. When I was little, Stephanie Tanner and Stacy Ferguson (Kids Inc. days) were my idols.
Bill Bittner (guitar, vocals)
Background:I was born and raised in northern California. I moved to Los Angeles for undergrad (USC) and have been down here ever since. I met Jenna at Law School, and started jamming with her and Paco.
What inspires me: The chance that what I create, whether it's music or any else, will find its way to someone who will appreciate and enjoy it.
What I stand for: working hard, but making time for the things I love.
Who influences me/who do I admire?
Artists that convey to the emotional power of music like Neil Young, Jack White, Annie Clark, and Wayne Coyne.
What I hope to achieve: write music that will impact people the way my favorite music impacted me, and put on performances that are a party everyone will remember.
Something Interesting: When I'm not playing music, I'm writing a daily cartoon. (www.Naptoons.tv)
Marlaine Reiner (vocals)
Background: I was born in New York. Long Island to be specific, but grew up in Orange County, which has spared me an embarrassing accent. I went to school for film, ended up working for one of the biggest producers in Hollywood for a couple of years, chewed Xanax like Altoids, then realized that this was not the life for me. Thenceforth pursued my actual calling as a makeup artist and backup singer in Sweet Bump It, and now you couldn't pry the smile off my face with a crowbar.
Inspiration: I'm inspired by people who are happy with their lives, people who love their family, people who work hard but know how to enjoy a 2 hour lunch involving wine.
What you stand for: I stand for honesty, openness, and acceptance. Bettering oneself and having fucking awesome friends that help you be a better person; people that you want to be better for.
Influences/Who you admire : The Wilson sisters of Heart, Queen, Steve Perry, (Singers whose voices so effortlessly reach unbelievable heights) Paul Simon (who can change my mood the second I press play,) Michael Jackson (for making me want to write another edition of the bible from seeing his glory,) Joan Jett (for wearing her guitar slung low like a dude and paving the way for badass female musicians everywhere.) People who dont consider fear as a deterrent. I admire that.
What you hope to achieve: Musically, I'd love to impart some of the happiness and euphoria I've felt in a truly synergistic music moment. Also, to be on somebody's sex playlist.
Something Interesting: I've arranged to fly a miniature pig on a private plane. By himself. Just the piglet and the pilot. I may never come to terms with this.
Jason (J-Doo) Doolittle (Drums, Vocals)
Background: LA native. Born in Hollywood hospital on Sunset, blvd. Raised in Hermosa Beach, the South Bay, Hawaii and South Pasadena. Played music since I was 10 years old. Grew up with an affinity to all things nature, mainly involving water, and all things music, mainly involving everything. The education system in this country failed to engage me, resulting in boredom, which lead to delinquency, which carried over into the first few years of my adult life resulting in major and minor occurrences with the judicial system. I have a massive family, for which I am eternally grateful for, and I am one of seven siblings. Not Mormon. Amazing friends.
What inspires me: The ocean, surfing, music, psychedelics, women, long drives alone
What I stand for: “Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Who Influences/Admire: Anyone who lives their life exactly how they want to. The Beatles, Pennywise, Johann Sebastian Bach, John Williams, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, The Meters, Ravi Shankar, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Brotha Lynch Hung, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Bradley Nowell, Al Green, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, The Mars Volta, Of Montreal, Deerhoof. Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Louis C.K., Jello Biafra, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rick Rubin. All the members of Sweet Bump It, my family and friends. Nihilists.
What I hope to achieve: I want to make music that moves me; I am not focused on attempting to please others. Should someone connect with the music then brilliant, wonderful, but that is not my concern. In terms of success, I want to reach a level where I have recording equipment and capabilities at my disposal at any and all times, so that when an idea, rhythm, sound, or melody swims into my head, I am able to make it perceptible, thus being able to elaborate and collaborate upon that idea further, instantly.
Something Interesting: Jenna introduced me to Bill and Paco; had I not torn my ACL, surfing, and playing basketball, I would have never meet Jenna. Drums are the most recent instrument I learned to play. I love kale. I produce hip-hop instrumentals. The plot of Blue Lagoon is a fantasy of mine.
Francesca-Marie Gala Salac (Vocals)
Background: Virgo. California native. Private school girl. UCLA grad. Studied the interconnectedness of the world and lived in Shanghai. Post graduating during the worst economic recession, I have been on a constant path towards self-discovery full of adventure. I’ve worked in fashion, in toys, for a corporate giant and now spend my weekdays with Hello Kitty. My night job has become hanging out with 6 other crazy kids while dancing and singing into a microphone.
What inspires me: People, eating at new places, traveling, music festivals, reading, watching movies, juicing, the internet, my morning Instagram feed.
What I stand for: Lines for cronuts.
Who influences/admire: Most of my influence comes from my mom. She was my first fashion icon. She taught me how to be kind, how to cook, and after her passing the biggest thing I learned from her was strength. I admire my Dad, also for his strength as a man, being a single Dad. He taught me generosity, values, and how to manage my bank account. I admire my best friend, Christian, who is killing it as a chef in New York City. Watch out for him.
Some of my musical influences are: Michael Jackson, Nile Rodgers, Bobby Caldwell, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Solange, Blood Orange, Coco of Quadron, Little Dragon, Muse, Edward Sharpe, Alabama Shakes, Postal Service, Superhumanoids, Avan Lava, Iggy Azalea.
What I hope to achieve: A good ass time, all the time.
Something interesting: When I was younger I aspired to be a Fly Girl. Still half true
Catch Sweet Bump It November 8th for their Night Dive show in Long Beach at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
More info and performances at:
Photo Credit: Sabra Moallem and Jenn Pablo.