Nashville based pop-country duo, SixForty1 is comprised of Austin Gee and Brooks Hoffman, who met in the small town of Murray, Kentucky, that same town that has US-641 running through it, which is where the duo got their name. SixForty1 bursted into the country music spotlight this year, even already performing their first arena show with Brantley Gilbert just a few weeks ago. With their anthemic, infectious sound and their lyrics that get caught in your head for days after hearing them, they are guaranteed to be one of our favorite sets at this year’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN! We had a chance to sit down the the guys of SixForty1 to discuss their upcoming performance at CMA Fest, their debut album and much more, check out the interview below.
We recently caught you guys supporting Brantley Gilbert in Atlantic City, NJ at the Hard Rock Casino’s Etess Arena, which happened to be your first arena show and you guys were incredible with a very infectious sound and we are still jammin’ your music on Spotify since. But what was that first arena show experience like? Did you ever think you’d get the chance to perform in an arena this early in your career?
Austin: It was a surreal experience. I remember 4 years ago sitting in Brooks’s basement in Louisville, KY writing our very first song picturing what it would be like to play it in an arena for thousands of people. But actually doing it this soon surpasses every expectation I had.
Brooks: Ever since we moved to Nashville, we’ve been taking every gig opportunity that we’ve been offered. There are some nights when we play in front of 20 people, so for us to play an Arena with Brantley a little over a year after we moved to Nashville was incredible.
On the topic of live shows, You guys have quite a few tour dates coming up including a few dates with Jameson Rodgers, supporting Michael Ray in June, performing on Brantley Gilbert’s ‘Kick It In The Ship’ Cruise, CMA Music Fest and several others. What are you most looking forward about these performances and what can fans expect from them?
Austin: I like meeting the artists and chilling before the shows backstage. We get to learn the ins and outs about the industry and how to better our careers from their experiences and struggles. And I can only sum up a SixForty1 show in two words… High energy.
Brooks: I look forward to showing these crowds what SixForty1 is all about. We bring a unique show they won’t forget and are grateful that these artists are giving us a shot to perform. We get the chance to learn from the best in the industry and get better every time we go on stage.
CMA Music Festival is just around the corner and you guys are performing this year on the Acoustic Corner Stage on June 8th at 11am. What are you most excited for about your CMA Music Fest performance and who are you looking forward to seeing perform at the festival?
Austin: Just the fact that we’re on the roster is incredible. Last year I was watching from the crowd and now being able to be a part of this event is great. I’m most excited to see Luke Combs this CMA Fest. I’m anxious to see how his show has evolved since seeing it on the Brantley Gilbert cruise back in October.
Brooks: We’re definitely looking forward to playing our first CMA Fest. It’ll be great to meet new artists and make new connections and see the festival from an artist’s point of view. We’ll be on the cruise with Tyler Farr so Im lookin forward to his set.
What is your favorite thing about the CMA Music Festival and did you ever think that you would play the festival?
Austin: I love how it brings people together. Regardless if you like country music or not, the atmosphere this Fest creates is unbelievable and there’s something for everyone to get excited about.
Brooks: CMA Fest highlights what Nashville is all about- Country music and the fans. Its an amazing time for the whole genre so to be a part of it is an honor. I’ve been a couple times, but never thought I’d be an artist to be honest.
If you had to recommend 5 other artists performing at the 2019 CMA Festival, who would you recommend fans to check out?
Austin: Levi Hummon and Stephen Carey are incredible dudes. We played with them at the Tin Pan South Festival this past year and they have some great stuff. Faren Rachel’s, Ray Fulcher, and Drew Parker are also some must see artists this year. We love our River House fam and support them 100%.
Brooks: I’m just gonna have to go ahead and agree with Austin on this one. If you follow those artists around you’ll discover even more amazing talent.
If you had to recommend 5 places to visit (food or entertainment) what places would they be and why?
Austin: The Grand Ole Opry is a must see for visitors, or even locals. Prince’s Hot Chicken, me and Brooks’ go to spot for hanging with friends was ML Rose or The Sutler on 8th Ave. I’m saving the best for last… Broadway. There’s nothing like it.
Brooks: Listening Room, The Ryman, Go to Whiskey Jam, Hattie B’s (Fried Chicken), walk down music row.. Definitely put these on your list if you’re a first timer in Nashville. You will get a good idea of the culture and the hidden talent down here. If you’re looking for some local talent, go to some writer’s rounds on Demundreum.
Your latest single “Next Kiss” is amassing hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify rather rapidly, which was released back on March 8th and is just about 180,000 streams short of a million. Can you tell us how this song came about and did you ever think that this song would grow to be so successful, so fast?
Austin: Whenever Brooks told me the idea I immediately thought there was something special behind it. We can all relate to that feeling of wanting someone and knowing you can treat them better than the person they’re with. It was a no brainer to write. We’re extremely fortunate to have a team behind us that believes in what we’re doing and amazing fans that ride or die with us. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be anywhere close to this point in our careers.
Brooks: This song was one of those that was easy to write. We wrote it with our buddy Aaron Scherz, who has written a few tunes you may have heard of. I started to hum the melody one day, then the words “ex-list” and “Next Kiss” came to mind. I texted Austin immediately because i thought it was something. It has grown rapidly which is awesome to see.
You currently have two EP’s out including Picture This (2018) and your Self-Titled EP 641 (2016), along with some amazing singles like “Next Kiss,” “Plane Crazy” and our personal favorite song of yours “Maybe I Might.” When can fans expect a debut full-length studio album from you guys and is there any collaborations in the works with you and any other artists?
Austin: Let’s just say it’s in the works haha. Our goal right now is to get as many people to hear the music we release so it makes the most sense at this point to keep putting out singles. Put an EP is in the near future so be on the lookout. We have some very talented friends that we write and play shows with that we are working on collaborating with in the near future.
Brooks: Those EPs were great stepping stones in our career. Those were the first songs Austin and I had ever written. However, with the last 3 singles, I think they are a guide as to whats to come. I think a full length album isnt too far away. We just want to get a couple more singles under our belt to set the tone, maybe even another EP. There are some potential collaborations in the mix. Like austin said, we have talent friends that definitely need to be on your radar.
If you had to debut your music to a fan from any of the music that you have released as SixForty1, What song would you choose to showcase your music to a new fan who hasn’t heard of you before and why?
Austin: I would have to say “Maybe I Might” because it shows every side of who we are as people and as artists. The lyrics have meaning, the melody will get stuck in your head after one listen, and the music is modern and tip toes the lines of country. That’s SixForty1 in a nutshell
Brooks: Thats easy.. Maybe I might. It truly showcases our entire team working on this project. Our goal is to make music no one has heard before and to turn heads. I think we accomplished that with “Maybe I Might.”
What is next for SixForty1 after CMA Music Fest and those aforementioned live shows?
Austin: We’re in the studio recording more music for 2019 and into 2020. Playing in front of as many people as possible is one of our main goals right now so we’re excited to be hitting the road in 2019 with some of Country music’s biggest artists.
Brooks: We are hitting the road and plan to get in the studio. More songs are coming soon and we think its important to get them out ASAP.
Anything else you would like to mention that we have not discussed in this interview?
Austin: Follow us on our socials to keep up with what we’re doing. We get pretty entertaining so it’s in your best interest to do it. (@sixforty1)
Brooks: Definitely keep up with us on our socials. We love when fans engage with us. Its makes this whole process worth it.
Keep up to date with everything SixForty1 by keeping up with them on social media (@SixForty1) and via their website.