“People may not like to hear this but sing”


People may not like to hear this but sing. That’s right, sing. I believe every musician on the planet should be able to use their voice to some extent. It’s the closest instrument to your brain, heart, liver, kidneys, spine, skeleton, eyes, soul, wants, needs, fears, etc. It helps immensely with songwriting and “honesty” in your execution. You’ll feel connected to music more than ever!


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Derek Day.

In an era where algorithms decide what’s on your screen, it’s easy to feel like the people behind the glass are designed for you — but what if instead they were destined for you? For the members of Classless Act, a bright new band from all over the globe, this seems to be the case.

Formed in 2019 and consisting of five former strangers who met via TikTok and Instagram, the members of Classless Act, Derek Day (Vocals), Dane Pieper (Guitar), Griffin Tucker (Guitar), Franco Gravante (Bass), and Chuck McKissock (Drums), quickly formed brotherhood bonded through a series of double-taps, DM’s, and tagged comments. They are united on a mission to be the next great, generation-defining rock band drawing inspiration from classic rock acts of the ‘70s and alt-rock groups from the ’90s through today. Their music echoes the hallmarks of previous generations — anthemic rhythms, shredding guitars, soaring vocals — but punches its way into the future with clever arrangements, sharp musicianship, and great songwriting.

Already making noise in the industry, the band has been in the studio with world-class producers who have helped craft hits for the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Soundgarden, The Killers and The White Stripes. And the band recently landed a deal with Better Noise Music, Billboard’s #1 rock label for 2020. Their electric debut single “Give It To Me” perfectly represents the group’s deft ability to take a vintage tone and inject it with new, modern energy, bringing life back to a time-honored rock n roll sound.

What stands out about Classless Act is their cohesiveness as a group, despite each member hailing from a vastly different walk of life, both culturally and physically. That singular vision, embedded with a diverse sense of self, is evident on their forthcoming debut EP. On each track, their talent and honesty ring through, as does the group’s respect for one other as artists, giving them space to make music that’s timeless. Bonded by the unique connections of the digital age, and further connected by creating art together and delivering great live shows, the result is a singular sound that is destined to be heard by all.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank you so much for having me! I was born and raised right here in Los Angeles, California. The youngest of four — first-generation boys whose father migrated from Communist Poland and mother from dangerous Honduras. We were all very close, Not just metaphorically but quite literally — the boys and I shared one bedroom in small houses for many years while listening to rock ’n’ roll music during the weekdays and disco on the weekends.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I heard the intro to “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos at a very young age and I thought the sound was fascinating. I had to make it! After that, I picked up the electric guitar and learned all sorts of psychedelic/soulful tunes. At age 12 I entered a talent show to do an instrumental song but decided to sing last minute. I realize the combination of spontaneity and creation was something that spoke to me healthily…. I later took to the streets of Santa Monica to perform every weekend for years to try new things, meet people and learn about what this fun talent can be when you add certain elements like an audience and payment. That was it for me!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I think the overall experience of going on a tour opening for Ted Nugent, coming home for a week’s rest and immediately going on a tour opening for Living Colour was a very clairvoyant experience to say the least. I saw two different sides of this nation all at once. And of course: goofing off on the road was endless.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It’s not really a funny mistake … But it’s an extremely important lesson. When I first started writing lyrics/composing music, I immediately showed my siblings, friends and parents some of the unfinished material I had created for the first time ever because I was so excited. I received all sorts of feedback, each one different from the last. Each one moving further away from who I was and how I wanted the piece to turn out. I realized I permanently spoiled the material by revealing it before its completion. It turned into something I really disliked. I learned that you must keep your incomplete ideas to yourself, they are safe there. This keeps pressure off and allows for endless experimentation. It also keeps your individualism intact. Once you finish it, edit it. Then edit again. Make sure it’s perfect and try all avenues you want. This is a lesson I find myself re-learning even today. I’m a strong advocate for following your heart and listening to your gut. Collaboration can come in handy when the song still isn’t how you like it! I also find that collaboration works best when you don’t come in with any pre-written material, you just create something on the spot.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The most exciting project I’m working on now is with my band Classless Act! We’re working on our debut album and have just released our first track called “Give It To Me.”

Classless Act is a conglomerate of very artistic people who come from all different walks of life. The possibilities of creation just feel endless. Some compositions are very intricate and some are simpler than a sack of dirt. It’s that wide spectrum range that keeps it interesting.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music? How can that potentially affect our culture?

1. It’s spiritually progressive. Different flavors and different ideas can expand the mind/soul to many universes of thought/feeling. Diversity in music can start a movement or can change how one feels about a concept.

2. It’s a game-changer. A new style of management or a different kind of A&R representative can bring about modern solutions to ancient problems. I believe there is more passion within a more diverse institution. That kind of company can focus on the right and righteous characteristics of the music they are promoting or want to represent.

3. It’s exciting! We continuously long for something new, fresh, even if it’s been around for centuries, it can be new to our aural perspective. Different cultures, people or styles of execution can turn us on without us even knowing why! It’s what keeps us young.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Make it as fun as you possibly can! Make up your own rules. I remember taking classes that were focused heavily on aspects that differed from what I loved about music and why I started getting into it. Just learn what YOU wanna learn FIRST and get to the more theoretical things later!!

2. Throw everything you got into that fire at the very beginning. Learn as much as you can to give yourself an abundance of tools to chisel and define yourself afterward. To me, it doesn’t matter what age you are — life is infantile at the very beginning of any new relationship. You’re a sponge!!! Soak it all up.

3. Do it every day. Any amount of time helps. I remember there were a couple of years where I fell out of music because I didn’t make the time for it and that made me quite depressed and lost as a being. It’s important to give it some attention daily. Music and the feelings it gives you are like plants. Water it, baby.

4. Once you get comfortable/proficient with one instrument, start learning another one, then another one and then another one! Give those instruments the same love and attention. This is important because it makes you a more versatile player/artist even within your first instrument! You’ll come back to instrument number one with a new perspective on how to play, keeping it forever fresh.

5. People may not like to hear this but sing. That’s right, sing. I believe every musician on the planet should be able to use their voice to some extent. It’s the closest instrument to your brain, heart, liver, kidneys, spine, skeleton, eyes, soul, wants, needs, fears, etc. It helps immensely with songwriting and “honesty” in your execution. You’ll feel connected to music more than ever!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Be kind, positive, uplifting and grateful to everyone you work with. It leaves a strong impression and will get you hired again. With this work consistency, you’ll only feel spry and never burnt out.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Fight with Love. Be annoyingly nicer. This means giving yourself a moment before taking your next step and saying your next word. I use the term “fight“ because I believe we should be aggressive and organized about our kindness. Being kinder actually makes you feel better, makes you feel grateful, and gratitude holds the door open for abundance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

One particular friend I was fortunate to make is Vernon Reid (guitarist, founder of Living Colour). After a tour opening for his band in 2017, I begged him to let me come to Staten Island, NY to write a few songs with him. He’s an extremely busy man but he made time for me. During an intense week of getting up at 7 AM every day during a harsh January winter and writing music while discussing life as we knew it in its entirety, the man took me into his home, befriended me and shared so many pieces of wisdom to prepare me for what kind of industry this was. I will be forever grateful to him. He also made me a much more honest songwriter.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy — the joy of being Salvador Dalí — and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things this Salvador Dalí is going to accomplish today?” -Salvador Dalí

This quote speaks directly to me because it teaches me to love myself and to go on living life with great gratitude. It makes me excited to be me and pushes me to try new creative things every single day. Art can be equal parts self-deprecating and highly egotistical, but Salvador knew most of all that the journey must be fun!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Jeff Goldblum. Don’t ask me why… He’s just a delightful character and I feel like breakfast with him would be exquisite. I’m a big fan of his work as well, theatrically and musically.

How can our readers follow you online?

Www.Classlessact.com! Go there and find all of our socials; we have tons of fun with TikTok and Instagram, it’s borderline madness!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank you SO MUCH! Love you guys.

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