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408 Press Photo

As a DIY act, Orlando’s 408 were in rarified air, earning cosigns from the likes of Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn, Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie and even blink-182’s Mark Hoppus for their prolific blend of turn-of-the-millennium pop-punk and modern pop, hip-hop, and EDM that swirls to create a chameleonic, state-of-the-art sound.

And while million-plus-streamers like “We Don’t Get High Like We Used To,” “Backfired (ft. Taylor Acorn)” and, yes, “Mark Hoppus” introduced 408 to a worldwide audience, it’s their next chapter – a global record deal with Big Noise and a forthcoming full-length, Hot Mess – that’s poised to take them to the next level.

Since forming in 2016, Mark Faroudi (vocals/bass), Nick Hanus (vocals/guitar), Nick Roque (vocals/guitar) and Jake Cerretani (drums) have never been ones to stay in their own lane. On releases like 2022’s Out Of It and 2023’s Generational EP, the quartet have embraced the playlist generation, bridging the gap between genres and eras while racking up nearly 500,000 Spotify listeners and viral TikTok moments that have reached millions more ears.

“We talk a lot about not wanting to sound stale,” Cerretani explains. “I think the diversity of our sound comes from us all having our own creative itches to scratch. When someone brings an idea to the table, no matter how out of the box it might be, we’re down to go on a ride to chase something that makes us feel good.”

Look no further than “Break Up With Your Girlfriend,” a sun-kissed slice of bouncy, late-’90s pop/rock written with Kyle Fishman (Dan + Shay) and Nick Bailey (Machine Gun Kelly, jxdn). It’s the sort of anthemic, elastic songwriting that fills Hot Mess, which was produced by John Feldmann, Andrew Wade and Andrew Karpovck and bridges the romantic and sarcastic with earworm melodies and a wry smile. The band wrote more than 50 songs for the album, narrowing them down to a baker’s dozen calibrated to highlight their every strength, from the sludgy excess of “666 In The Morning” and Weezer crunch-stomp “Hot Mess” to the longing “Life Goes On” and hazy, nostalgic “Remember Her Like That.”

“To us, writing songs is all about feelings,” Faroudi says. “When people hit play on this album, we want them to feel how we did when we heard blink or Jimmy Eat World or Third Eye Blind for the first time.”

That sense of musical escapism has been a true guiding force for 408, named after a Florida highway Faroudi frequented in his youth. “Growing up in a small town, getting on the 408 and heading to Orlando was a big deal for me,” he says. “I had a lot of life moments on that road – getting broken up with, losing a job, heading back home to visit family – and all of them are tied to songs I was able to lose myself in.”

And as 408’s songs become that soundtrack for future generations of listeners, the band is able to sit back with immense pride knowing they’ve built the foundation of their success with their own hands. “We’ve been working so long by ourselves, and to have Big Noise believe in us is so validating,” Cerretani says. “Whatever comes next, we’re ready to embrace it.” XX