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Illuminati Hotties leader Sarah Tudzin describes her music as “tenderpunk,” a self-constructed genre that fuses the energy of pop-punk with the melodic smarts of indie rock and a lyrical outlook that ponders the joys and calamities of being a grown-up under the age of 30. A successful producer and engineer, as well as a songwriter and recording artist, Tudzin writes songs that are deeply personal and witty at the same time, and her studio skills help give her music a subtle sophistication. She introduced the Illuminati Hotties to the world with 2018′s Kiss Yr Frenemies, escaped from record label turmoil with a set of jagged pop gems on 2020′s FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For, and 2021′s Let Me Do One More pushed the emotional boundaries of both joy and self-doubt.
Honing her chops in the Los Angeles music scene, Sarah Tudzin worked as a producer and engineer alongside a whole host of A-list stars including Coldplay, Barbra Streisand, and Lady Gaga, as well as indie stalwarts such as !!! and Porches. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music, Tudzin also worked with engineer and producer Chris Coady, as well as having sound design credits on the Grammy-winning musical Hamilton. While she was a talented musician and songwriter, Tudzin initially wanted to focus on building her resumé as an engineer and producer. However, when it occurred to her that she had plenty of credits assisting Coady and other producers but didn’t have much work to point to as her own, she created Illuminati Hotties as a vehicle to show off her studio skills with her own songs.
Primarily recorded during studio downtime from projects for others, Tudzin created 2018′s Kiss Yr Frenemies as a calling card for potential production clients, but when work took her to Nashville, several of her musically inclined friends (including singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus and Jacob Blizard) urged her to give the material a proper release. Tudzin partnered with the indie label Tiny Engines to issue the album, but while she was working on her next LP, Tiny Engines was having severe financial and organizational problems, and rather than give her next album to a label about to go under, Tudzin bought out her contract. Instead of finishing the record she had begun work on, she quickly put together a 12-song mixtape titled FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For. The release was well received, and she started working with other musicians to play occasional Illuminati Hotties live shows.
Rather than finding another label to support her career, Tudzin founded her own label, Snack Shack Tracks, in association with the indie punk imprint Hopeless Records. Together they released Illuminati Hotties’ third full-length, Let Me Do One More, in late 2021. ~ Rich Wilson & Mark Deming