The Prenups are a wedding band guaranteed to deliver “barely controlled pandemonium” on the dance floor. Hand-picked by New York Magazine as one of the best wedding acts in the Northeast, these “indie heartthrobs” approach the event like a no-holds-barred rock concert.
At Ketuv, we’ve got a theory that, when it comes to weddings, “artists do it better.” We’ve already profiled StereoWaltz Films, the cinematic wedding video project of filmmaker Andrew Bowser, and of course, you know how we feel about chuppahs and ketubahs. On that note, meet The Prenups, a New York-based band whose various members are responsible for a good deal of awesome music, through a host of diverse solo and band projects, and who nonetheless find time to get together and rock the nuptials. We recently talked to frontman Matthew Rudnicki about how they got into the world of weddings, what they love to play, and where good weddings can go awry.
Ketuv: How did you get into the wedding band business?
Matthew Rudnicki: I had a band I played with, Meowskers, and we were super close with a band from Boston, The Slip. The bassist in The Slip came down to New York and we wanted to throw a cover band together for a friend’s wedding. It went really well, we had a ton of fun, and we started getting referalls based on that one wedding gig. After a few house parties and a New Year’s Eve show at Pete’s Candy Store, we had some buzz and started getting regular offers to play.
K: What’s your approach, and how does it differ with others wedding bands out there?
MR: We approach every gig like a concert event. That’s the main difference. We have a gritty selection of 80s hits, modern classics, and music people generally love to dance to, but we play them like a rock band who owns the tunes. It’s the opposite approach many glossy, slick 12-piece bands take.
K: Who’s on your repertoire? Do you choose the music you play, or do the couples?
MR: We choose the music, but we’ll always take a few suggestions, and we’ll always cater our set to a client’s needs. We love to play Whitesnake, Toto, Modest Mouse, CCR, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Van Morrison, Blur, just to name a few.
K: What’s your favorite song to play at a wedding? Is there a least favorite, something the couples ask for, but that you’re not big fans of as a band?
MR: If we don’t like the song, we don’t play it. That’s one benefit of being in a band that doesn’t need to take every gig. But we usually end up playing for people who have the same taste in music we do, otherwise they wouldn’t have heard of us. One song I love to play is “Where The Streets Have No Name” by U2. It’s an epic one, and we give it hell. We just don’t get to play it that often.
K: Having seen a lot of weddings, in your opinion, what makes a good wedding?
MR: The best weddings are the ones that are relaxed. I’ve seen a ton, and when there is a strict schedule and people are stressing out to hit every point on some itinerary, that’s when the wedding starts to suffer. When people are relaxed, and savor the moment and allow people to unwind and truly celebrate, that’s when special things start to happen. Every wedding is pretty great, but we’ve seen some amazing ones. We do everything we can to help a reception get to a holier place, especially on the dance floor.
K: At Ketuv, our motto is that when it comes to weddings, “artists do it better.” What’s your non-wedding work like, and where can we find it?
MR: Our bassist Mike Cheever has an amazing band called Avan Lava, and is a DJ as well under the name Narcisse. He’s also a great producer under the name Le Chev. Our guitarist has a studio in Greenpoint called Spacebar Studios and has done a ton of work with LCD Soundsystem and a bunch of the DFA bands. Our drummer Mike Riddleberger plays in a ton of bands, notably Ravens & Chimes, The Defibulators and Krystle Warren & The Faculty.
The Prenups can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.