As Rock Duo Diplomacy, Actor Jack Falahee And DJ Elephante Embody California Cool

After six years on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” Jack Falahee is ready to lay his heart on the line. 

The actor is a brooding balladeer on “Iris,” his second single as one-half of the Los Angeles-based indie rock duo Diplomacy. Released Wednesday, the ambient track finds the Michigan native in a reflective mood, exposing a vulnerability that may surprise listeners who know him only as the hard-edged (and sexually voracious) law student Connor Walsh on “How to Get Away with Murder.”

“Obviously there are markers of my personality that you see in my portrayal of Connor, but I’m not actively giving myself over to that role in any emotional way,” Falahee told HuffPost. “I write these songs from my journals and these vignettes of my memory. It’s been a really invigorating outlet.” 

Listen to Diplomacy’s “Iris” below

Diplomacy united Falahee with Tim Wu, known professionally as DJ Elephante. The two men met as classmates at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and became best friends, bonding over their shared love of the performing arts. 

After college, the pair briefly shared an apartment in West Hollywood, California, but their professional trajectories took them in opposite directions. Falahee began pursuing acting full time, landing parts on teen-centric shows like “The Carrie Diaries” and “Twisted” prior to his breakout role on “How to Get Away with Murder.” A classically trained musician, Wu found his niche in electronic dance music, remixing tracks by Jason Derulo, Calvin Harris and Katy Perry. 

The men finally joined forces last year, winking at their camaraderie by adapting the name Diplomacy from a board game that would leave them in “screaming matches,” Wu recalled. Though they drew inspiration from the Black Keys and Australian future-bass artist Flume, they envisioned Diplomacy as “more than just a band,” Falahee said.

“One of our goals was for it to be a dynamic, multifaceted project for our audience,” he added.  

The duo stayed true to their Wolverine State roots with their anthemic debut single, “Silver Lake Queen,” released in October. That song was inspired by a woman Falahee and Wu met in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles; dancer Sadie Yarrington, who was Falahee’s high school girlfriend, embodies the character in the song’s video. 

“One of our goals was for it to be a dynamic, multifaceted project for our audience,” Falahee (right) said of Diplomacy.  

Both “Iris” and “Silver Lake Queen” will be featured on Diplomacy’s forthcoming EP, due out next month. In March, they’ll embark on a three-city tour, playing intimate venues in Ann Arbor, as well as New York and Los Angeles.

With the series finale of “How to Get Away with Murder” set to air May 14, Falahee is aware that his bid as a singer-songwriter marks a professional juncture. Early signs are promising, with the video for “Silver Lake Queen” racking up more than 194,000 YouTube views as of Wednesday and garnering buzz in Billboard and other music outlets

Though time will tell if fans will embrace Diplomacy’s music, the duo is more concerned with maintaining a cohesive artistic vision than streaming numbers or defending themselves against online snark. 

“I’m sure trolls will come out, but … we’ve put everything we have into it,” Wu said. “Of course, we’d love to win a Grammy and host ‘Saturday Night Live’ and all that, but I’d rather it have more impact with fewer people. It’s about focusing on the creative aspects … I look at the number of people it really means something to.” 

Added Falahee: “I think any day you can feel content in making art is a win.” 

Diplomacy kick off a three-city concert tour March 12 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Diplomacy kick off a three-city concert tour March 12 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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