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“Entertaining, energetic and fun,” “Down in Front” is a San Francisco Bay Area-based duo consisting of Japa Kaur & Julie Andrews. These talented musicians are true performers bringing humor and originality to the stage. Their songs are unique and engaging with an indie pop style, hint of bluegrass and a touch of the blues. “Mostly we just like to call it Rock’n’Roll”
Down in Front was born on a beach in Baja, California on New Year’s 2013 when Julie and Japa, who had been playing music together for over 12 years, decided to quit their existing musical engagement and start fresh. They brought on board veteran drummer Deona Parfet to the group and the magic was born. During their first year together, the band performed regularly in and around the Bay Area, and even squeezed in a mini “Tahoe Corridor Tour” that included stops in Sacramento, Kirkwood and Sierraville, CA. In addition, they had a standing monthly gig as the house band for an event called “Charlie Horse” at the Eagle Tavern in San Francisco.
In the fall of 2013, Down in Front began recording their first album, “Down in Front does the Donut Shop.” Rehearsing, recording, mixing and fundraising began! The following spring, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign that was successfully funded shortly before the release of the album in April, 2014. During that time, the band made a radio appearance on SF station, “Radio Valencia,” made a repeat performance of their “Tahoe Corridor Tour” and also added a mini “Northcoast” tour to their schedule, which included shows in Point Arena and Gualala, CA.
After a short hiatus that summer, the band came back to host a CD Release Party in San Francisco at the Hotel Utah in September, 2014. With a packed house full of fans and supporters, plus stickers, magnets and CD’s on hand, the band celebrated the release of the new album with two strong sets that included a hint of things to come.
In 2015, after finishing up their “Spring Hot Springs Tour” that included stops in Sacramento, Sierraville and Ukiah CA, the band is hard at work preparing songs for their second album.
Japa Kaur is the primary songwriter in the band, as well as true all-star having graduated from Stanford University with a degree in communication and a minor in studio art. During her time there, she was a nationally-ranked waterskier as well as captain of the Stanford Waterski team. In addition, she played trumpet & sousaphone for the Stanford Marching band, performing in field shows and parades on her unicycle, as well as recording on one of the band’s album’s, “Mirth Control.”
After graduation, while playing bass with her Stanford-born rock band, “Eating Like Truck Drivers,” Japa met drummer Deona Parfet who asked her to join her on a couple musical projects that she had brewing. Together, they recorded two albums, “Give it Love” and “Don’t Call me Hilary”.
Soon after, Japa picked up the accordion, the guitar, began playing piano again and embraced her role as a songwriter. Thanks to rich experiences over the next few years traveling in Brazil, India, Vietnam, Egypt, with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers as well as with members of the Native American Church, she began composing rich narrative songs reflecting colorful experiences of love, life and mysticism that now contribute to the band’s growing songbook.
In August, 2001, Japa was featured in National Geographic Magazine as part of an article that included a mention about Burning Man, a large art & music fest in the Nevada Desert.
That year at Burning Man was also the year that Japa bumped into a chick at the port-o-potties who declared, “You’re Red, aren’t you?” “Yes I am. And who are you?” “I’m the new drummer for your band.” Enter Julie Andrews.
Julie “The Rocker” Andrews was born and raised in Michigan where she made her own guitar out of a shoe box and some string when her parents wouldn’t agree to buy her one. Years later she hitched a ride with some friends to San Francisco, and when their van broke down on the Golden Gate Bridge, she decided to stay and make the Bay Area her home. Through a friend of a friend, she heard word of someone named “Red” looking for a drummer for her rock band. Indeed, with her mad rhythmic chops and incredibly good looks, she got the job.
“But wait – I thought Julie played bass and guitar and banjo and stuff – not drums?” Ah yes, after a good run of drumming with Eating Like Truck Drivers, Julie and Japa decided to branch out and explore other musical endeavors together. Their next project was a Guitar/Accordion (and Piano/clarinet) duos in a band they called SuperNova. Over the course of 4 years, Julie and Japa put out two albums together, “SuperNova Gold” and “SuperNova: A Christmas Album.” (and by the way, you are a super lucky human if you have one of *these* gems…)
Julie and Japa pursued different musical stylings for a while, during which time Julie continued her studies, getting a degree in psychology at Cal Berkeley then later earning her masters at Cal State Hayward. The two reunited at an auspicious birthday party at Japa’s house in 2012 when the gathering around the fire turned into an all out music jam with Japa on guitar and Julie jumping in on bass. A new musical era is born.
From that fateful birthday party, Julie and Japa played shows together, open mics, as well as gigs at shelters, retirement homes and recovery centers through the non-profit organization, Bread & Roses. At the start of 2013, Julie and Japa started fresh, set new goals, and asked flash-from-Japa’s-past Deona Parfet to join the group.
Vetren drummer Deona “STX” Parfet hopped aboard and the trio, “Down in Front” was born. As a professional studio drummer, Deona has performed on hundreds of recorded tracks as well as countless live performances with musicians from all over the world.
Together, they recorded an album, and played out regularly in the Bay Area at parties, bars and festivals.
March, 2016, Deona steps down and the band returns to its status as a duo. Julie and Japa continue to play out regularly while focusing on new material for their next album. Down in Front!