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Cute Is What We Aim For (often shortened to CiWWAF) are a power pop band, formed in 2005 in Buffalo, New York and currently signed to Fueled by Ramen. In 2006, their Billboard 200-charting debut album The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch was released by Fueled by Ramen.
The band was formed in January 2005 as a side-project by Cherry Bing singer Shaant Hacikyan (born November 7, 1986) and lead guitarist Jeff Czum. The band's name originated in which the singer used the phrase in search of a "cute" band name ("cute" had become his trademark expression in high school as a synonym for "cool"). Laying to rest their previous endeavors' ska and pop punk notions, the quartet created a lyrically accentuated brand of power pop, that relies heavily on such poetic devices as alliteration, assonance, pun and metaphor, vocalized over radio-friendly clean guitar harmonies. When they decided to devote themselves fully to Cute Is What We Aim For, parting ways with their other bands was less than amicable. Some members of Shaant's former band, Cherry Bing, blamed Shaant for the demise of the group. Despite their efforts to start anew, Cute Is What We Aim For was criticized for negligibilities such as their past engagements and their band name, amongst seemingly more important complaints such as allegations of plagiarism. Nevertheless, the band went on to record demos with multi-platinum producer Shep Goodman and Kenny Gioia, and managed to rapidly build a fanbase. A considerable amount of the band's swift success is likely thanks to the large amount of coverage received from online magazines. One such webzine, Absolutepunk.net, featured band on their "Absolute Unsigned" feature, only to have the website's founder, Jason Tate, openly harass the band via the site's message board, accusing them of being marketing marionettes of their label and excessively using Auto-Tune on their debut album.Hacikyan and the album's producer, Matt Squire, admitted to using some Auto-Tune but denied the other allegations in the following Absolutepunk interview.
However, the drama surrounding the band was further fueled when lead singer Shaant Hacikyan announced that he was engaged to England native Polly Reynolds and the band was firing their manager, who accused them of unethical business practices, and underwent several line-up changes: In an effort to compensate for the absence of temporary bassist Don Arthur at a concert, Cimato permanently swapped his six-string for a bass guitar, while rhythm guitarist Chris Flury completed the quintet in November 2005. Although already suspected by fans due to several indications on the band's part, on November 29, 2005, their signing with Fueled by Ramen was officially announced. Shortly thereafter, another line-up change occurred, when Flury and the band mutually agreed to part ways and Cute Is What We Aim For went on as a four-piece.
On June 20, 2006, Cute Is What We Aim For's debut album The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch hit store shelves, debuting at #75 on the Billboard 200. With 13,651 in first week sales, the album broke the label's internal record set by Panic! at the Disco's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out (2005) by almost 4,000 copies. As of January 2007, the album has sold 94,410 units. The Academy Is...'s William Beckett lent his vocal talents to the album's first single "There's a Class for This", which openly addresses the band's ever-surrounding drama (culminating in the song's chorus "Drama doesn't follow me, it rides on my back/I may be ugly, but they sure love to stare"). The music video directed by Jay Martin premiered on mtvU on July 17, 2006. On February 26, 2007 the group's second single, "The Curse of Curves", was released. The video was directed by Lex Hallaby. For the band's third single, "Newport Living", the video was edited by Dylan Steinberg using various footage (over 15 hours) of the band members on tour plus a live show at The Metro in Chicago. The video was released on October 29, 2007.
Ciamato would reprise his role as a bassist temporarily. In early 2007, it was revealed that the group has signed with Atlantic Records. For the 2007 Vans Warped Tour, singer-songwriter Dave Melillo joined the band as a backup guitarist. He will also join them on the Young Wild Things tour with Fall Out Boy, Plain White Ts, and Gym Class Heroes.
After their current stint on the Young Wild Things Tour, the band will take some time off to continue writing for their second release. They will be heading into the studio with producer John Feldmann