Review + Interview: All Under Heaven's Nick DeFabritus and Michael Cucci on Their New EP, "Collider"


(Photo credit: Alanna Harrington)

I'd like to introduce you to All Under Heaven - a shoegaze band from Freehold, NJ that just released their new EP, "Collider," on Friday. 

Formed in 2017 under a different name by vocalist Nick DeFabritus and friends, the band was revisited approximately a year and a half ago, at which point they started working on their new EP, “Collider.” Nick, who also drums in New Jersey hardcore band Shackled, recruited his bandmates Michael Cucci and Andrew DiCamillo to form what is now All Under Heaven.

The EP is one of my favorite things I’ve heard this year. Taking heavy influence from classic shoegaze bands like Starflyer 59, as well as bands like Team Sleep and Title Fight, their sound is dreamy and contemplative, while still packing a punch with heavy-hitting guitar and drums. DeFabritus sings softly and solemnly over a hazy, atmospheric musical landscape. Each song is well-formed, while still flowing beautifully into one another. 

Conceptually, the lyrics come across very abstract and up to the interpretation of the listener. What stays constant is the emotion conveyed by the instrumentation and words in each track. Personally, my favorite track is "Afterthought," with "Desperately Seeking Answers" coming in as a close second, but the entire EP is fully worth your time - “Cerulean” has been on repeat for me since it was released earlier this year.

If you’d like to hear Nick and Michael discuss the inspirations behind All Under Heaven, as well as what went into creating “Collider,” keep reading!

AA: Introduce yourself with your name, what you do in the band, and a random fact about yourself.

MC: My name’s Michael and I play bass… Um… A fun fact… I don’t know!

[all laughing]

ND: Yeah, that’s the fun fact. Nothing. Um, alright, my name’s Nick, and I don't really know… I think I sing, and I might do something else, but I don't really know yet. A fun fact… I recently moved out of my house, that's a fact that sucks though. It’s a bad fact. But, hey, I moved out, and I'm livin’ life.

AA: [laughs] No fact for you, Mike? You good?

ND: Mike worked at Lush for a little bit! That’s a fun fact! But that was, like, years ago.

MC: Yeah, I worked there for three years.

AA: How was… Uh… Helping people wash their hands?

MC: Ohh… Yeah… I wasn’t very good at that. [laughs] But besides that, it was sick.

AA: You guys have been involved in some other bands, most notably Shackled. What made you want to start a project like All Under Heaven?

ND: This was a band I started in high school with my friend Aaron and another one of my friends Isaac, shoutout both of them, and… It just never really went anywhere, kinda sucked, but it was fun and I think the songs were good. And one day, when we were recording "One Way Out" [by Shackled], Mike just straight up approached me and was like, “Yo, let's just do this.”... So… it’s been in the works for more than a year. We’ve just been trying to do this, but really have been lazy about it. And then, over quarantine, it was just kinda like, alright. Let’s fuckin’ do it for real.

MC: I was supposed to be in it originally, and I thought it was sick, and I had been trying to do a band like that but never did, and I was like, "Nick, we should just make that a thing again."

ND: Yeah! And that’s basically how it started.

AA: How does it feel to write such different music with the same people?

ND: As far as writing, I wrote most of this alone. Mike definitely helped a lot with this shit, but it was kind of different because it was just demos I've had on my phone for years… Songs that I've written in the past and kinda brought back to life. It was a lot different than something like Shackled, where it's in a group setting, more organic - this was a lot more private. Me and Mike got together a few times and worked out lyrics and structures but… I don't know, [it’s] just different, yeah. [laughs]

MC: Nick would send me demos and I'd just give feedback on it, and I wrote some of the lyrics, but for whatever we do next, I'm trying to have more of a hand in the writing.

ND: A lot of it was trying to get it off the ground and run it so we can have something out - even though it still took a fuckin’ year and a half to get out - but definitely a lot of the problem of starting this was just trying to get everybody together to write. So, at some point, I just fuckin’ made it, and Mike definitely helped a lot too.

AA: What are some of your musical influences, for this band and in general?

MC: For this, I would definitely say Starflyer 59. They’re one of my favorite bands, they’re sick. Honestly, that’s probably the biggest one.

ND: Musical influences, overall, I like a lot of different drummers. I would say Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies), Nate Smith, there's this kid named JD Beck who's like 17 - I've been watching a lot of videos of his. He’s a crazy drummer. Zach Hill (Death Grips, etc.). Louis Cole, Stan Bicknell, Dennis Chambers, Travis Barker (Blink-182),  John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Bernard Perdie, Mackie Jayson (Cro-Mags), Dave Grohl, especially when he played in Queens of the Stone Age. Just a lot of drummers. 

As far as this project, I would say, for me, Starflyer for sure. I was listening to a lot of Deftones… I mean, Title Fight I can’t not say, because they taught me a lot of those chords [used in this project]. Oh! Team Sleep. It's like a Deftones side project. That’s pretty influential on this too, I would say. That's kinda what I was going through when I was thinking about this.

Cover art for “Collider”

AA: What made you choose “She Only Knows” by Starflyer 59 as a song to cover?

ND: Mike put me on! He showed me that song, I really fucked with it, and I wanted to make it a part of this. But that cover was also very spur of the moment. 

MC: We recorded it a day or 2 before we were supposed to have it in. Shoutout Mikey Rosen, who recorded that for us.

ND: He really hooked it up, and he killed it. Did a great job.

AA: Where does the band name come from?

ND: Aaron! He found it in a book he was reading. 

[Nick texts him to find out which book]

MC: I remember Aaron posting pictures of philosophical-ass books and I was like, damn, this dude’s smart.

ND: The original name of the band was supposed to be Collider - we made it the name of the EP, because I still like it. But there was another band called Collider, and they were honestly pretty sick, so I didn’t wanna just take the name. But they’re sick. Shouts out to Collider, thanks for the EP name.

Oh! He answered. So he just thought it was a cool name from a book I’m pretty sure. He was reading… Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Yeah. he was reading a book about the history of humanity and saw that, thought it was a cool name, and sent it to me, and I was like, yeeeah. That’s a cool name. [laughs]

AA: How did you guys end up working with Sunday Drive Records?

ND: So, we mass emailed the EP out to like, 50 people, and Jonathan [Lee Gonzales, founder of Sunday Drive Records]  - shoutout Jonathan, for real. He hooked it the fuck up, doesn’t know us at all, and just took us on, like, yeah. No questions asked. It was really sick, and I’m really appreciative of him. I thanked him like a trillion times and I feel like I literally could thank him even more. We’re very grateful that they helped us with this and are putting it out for sure.

MC: Sunday Drive... they put out this band Glare from Texas, they’re another shioegaze band - check ‘em out, they’re fuckin’ awesome - but when I was trying to think of labels, I was like, “Oh, Glare. Wonder what [label] they’re signed to,” and it was Sunday Drive, and I was like - cool, let’s give it a try.

AA: What’s your favorite song off your new EP and why?

ND:  I think it’s the 4th one, the last one, “Afterthought,” because I just like how the beat changes, and I like the chords in it. That’s it. [laughs] I just think it sounds nice.

MC: For me, honestly, it's kind of hard to say, cause I love them all, but if I had to pick one… I think I’d say “Cerulean,” yeah. I just think it’s really good. It just has a cool vibe to it.

AA: Alright, hard question incoming, take your time thinking of an answer if you have to. If you got to book a 5-6 band show after quarantine ends - with absolutely whoever you want, any genre, any time period, whatever - who would you put on it, and where would you hold it?

MC: I would say Red House Painters, Starflyer 59, The Sundays, The Cure, Lowlife and The Smiths. At the old Asbury Lanes. Can you imagine? 

ND: Old, you have to be specific. The new one sucks. Actually, it doesn’t suck, but it’s not the same. [laughs] I don’t wanna shit on them.

MC: I was gonna say Cousin Danny’s, but that would be crazy.

ND: Um, fuck, okay, all time… Holy shit, this is hard. [laughs] Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I'm gonna make this a weird show, just because, it’s gotta freak me out.

AA: Thank you. Use the question to its fullest. [laughs]

ND: … I want Green Day on there, because that’s the band that got me into music. But, they have to make a promise that they can only play stuff from 21st Century Breakdown and before. Next... I’m gonna go with Pinback, because I honestly really like that band and I think that would be so sick. So Green Day, Pinback, after that… I’m gonna say Radiohead, Team Sleep, and Sweet Trip.

AA: Where at?

ND: Hmm. … Madison Square Garden. [laughs]

(Photo credit: Alanna Harrington)

AA: Any future plans you’d like to mention?

MC: The EP comes out Friday on Sunday Drive. The next day, on Saturday, this label Shore Dive from the UK, they're releasing the EP on CD. Then on March 5th, Harness Records, also from the UK, they’re doing cassettes for the EP with an alternate cover. We don’t have much besides that, we’re just trying to start writing some new stuff.

AA: Any last words? … We gotta get in part 2 of the Romeo’s shoutouts. [laughs]

ND: Alright, umm, shouts out Romeo’s, shoutout every single Romeo’s. Romeo’s Italian American, Romeo’s Express, Romeo’s Chicken and Ribs, shoutout to Court Jester, Freehold borough. Shoutout Bruce Springsteen. Shoutout legal weed in New Jersey, thank you for that. Shoutout… I don’t know. Shoutout coffee. Shoutout coffee. Coffee’s really good. I've been drinkin’ a lot of coffee. Yeah, alright, I’ll leave it at that. All the Romeo’s and the Court Jesters honestly. I don’t wanna put anything else. But you need to list them all. Like, list Romeos Chicken and Ribs, Romeo’s Express, Romeo’s Italian American, every single Romeo’s. 

AA: Shoutout Romeo’s social media manager Jake Rubin.

MC: [laughs] Yeah, he’s killin’ it! … Okay, but seriously… Shoutout to Wyatt Oberholzer for killing it on the recording. Shoutout to Ridge Rhine for the artwork. Shoutout to Fake Eyes, Eyeball and Leaving Time. Eric Antico forever.

I want to thank All Under Heaven once again for letting me help get their name out there! If you want to keep up with their future plans, you can do so by following them on social media:

Twitter | Instagram | Bandcamp

Additionally, you can listen to “Collider” via Spotify below.


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