|Photo by Laura Means http://tinyurl.com/mousertimeallstarweekend|
How has your first headlining tour gone so far?
Zach: The tour has been going great! This is the first time we have headlined ever, and the first time we have been out on the road for more that a couple of weeks. The turnouts have been amazing, and some of these shows have been really amazing.
Nathan: It has been cool to see the turnouts as our fan base is slowly growing, and more people come out to our shows. More and more people are coming out, singing our songs and even decorating t-shirts. It is really dope, and the fans have been amazing this tour.
Cameron: We actually promised our fans that we would have a meet-and-greet after every show, and we have stuck to our promise. Sometimes the meet-and-greet will go on for three or fours hours, but its really cool that they will stay there and come and meet us. Its cool for us too, because we get to talk to them and see what they think about things!
Wow, that is really rare these days... I guess my next question would have to be how did four such good-looking dudes get together and form a band in the beginning?
Nathan: (Laughs) Well, it definitely wasn't planned. Cameron, Zach and I went to the same high school, while Mike went to school ten minutes away. We were all friends and had one thing in common, which was music. In the beginning, Cameron didn't really play anything. Didn't you play a little guitar?
Cameron: I knew how to play a little bit of guitar, from some guitar lessons a few years back. I had been friends with Zach since seventh grade, and Zach and Nathan were writing a lot of songs. They wanted to start playing live, so Zach asked me if I would join the band and play bass. Nathan then taught me how to play bass and Michael sent us a message on Myspace, asking us if we needed a drummer.
Michael: I went back in time recently and viewed the actual message that I sent them. I literally said "Hey guys, are you looking for a drummer? Hit me up."
Nathan: Exact words.
Cameron: Yeah, then a couple weeks later we sat in our room and practiced together. The rest is history!
How long ago was that exactly?
Michael: It was almost three years ago.
Cameron: I remember the first practice was in my garage and we practiced the same song over, and over again. We probably sounded really, really bad. A cop actually came because we were so loud, but luckily we were friends with the cops son. He was just like "rock on guys!"
Nathan: "Just turn it down a little bit."
For the new album, Suddenly, how did you approach the writing process?
Zach: It was a really interesting process, and great learning experience because we had written it over such a long period of time. Even before the band started, we had already written some of the songs that were on this record. Nathan and I have been writing together for years, and some of the material keeps coming back. Some of the tracks are really old, and some of the tracks are really new. It has been a very interesting process, where we have been writing in tons of different situations. The production happened with multiple producers. We have learned so much from all of the different styles that we were put it.
Nathan: It was cool how we got the chance to work with multiple producers, as Zach said, and expand our sound. We got to try some different things. Most artists these days only use one producer for their album, but we had the opportunity to work with a bunch of different people. We got some great songs out of it and we are really proud of it!
How was the recording process? Was it intimidating for you guys at first?
Zach: No, not really. We had been recording by ourselves and spent so much time learning how to record things like guitar tones and vocals. We were kind of comfortable in the situation, and had a sense of what it was like to record. I was a little bit nervous singing for the first time, but it wasn't that big of a difference.
Nathan: It was definitely a lot more fast paced though. You go in there and they are on a tight schedule, and sometimes you only have a couple of hours to get something down.
Zach: When you are in a studio, there is of course better equipment to work with. We spent five days trying to get a guitar tone right in our computer. It was nice to be creative and be able to focus on making the music sound good.
I think that the story of you guys getting discovered while passing out fliers in front of a Jonas Brothers show is so cool. What kind of advice would you have for artists that are working from the ground up, like you guys?
Zach: First, I think it is important to have a strong catalog of work. We put a ton of work into the promotion side of the business, but without the songs to back it up, it wouldn't have meant anything. On the otherside, I think it is really important that you find a way to connect with people/fans. A record lable isn't going to make you big or sell your records, its you guys connecting and making fans. I think that that personal connection is just as imporatnt as the songs.
Nathan: Yeah, and work even harder when you get signed.
Cameron: To connect with people these days, it is really easy. You have YouTube, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to use to put your name out there.
Going along those lines, how do you guys feel about social networking?
Cameron: I think it is great! It helps us out a lot. We use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace daily. We even have a phone number, where people can call up and talk to us.
Zach: It is a huge part in everything we do. Our lable did a study and found out that just as many people bought our album because of Facebook, as the is the Disney Channel.
Who are some of your biggest influences invidually?
Nathan: I like a lot of indie rock and U.K. artists, like La Rouxand the Streets. I also, like electronica sounding stuff and I love incorporating some of those synth sounds into our music. Like in "Dance Forever" and " A Different Side of Me."
Zach: Well, I was raised on Bruce Springsteen, Elton Jon and Fleetwood Mac. They have always stuck with me, as great writers, performers and rock stars, so they have always been huge influences. Growing up I was also heavily influenced by Pop-punk and all of the different bands that played in the local clubs in the San Diego area. I think those have definielty had a major impact on our sound too.
Michael: I listen to a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop stuff, like Drake, Trey Songz and The Dream. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson and Prince. I grew up on the radio. When I was a kid, I was always in the car with my mom and I would put on the cool rap stations, and start rapping.
Cameron: I got all my music from my Dad, and he was into a lot of Prince, Michael Jackson, Jimi hendrix and other old-school rock. But, I also listen to a ton of Blink 182 because they were from our area. As a group, we can all say that we were heavily influeced by pop-punk too!
Is there any clashing, when you bring those together to create your sound?
Zach: We value variety, and I think that it is a big part of our sound. I can't stand listening to record, where every song sound the same. There is room for tons of different stuff.
Nathan: As far as music goes, I think that we are very open-minded. You cannot deny a good song. Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers have some great songs. If it is a good song, its a good song. No matter who the band is, who they are assoicated with...
Zach: I think that we have written songs that are influenced by so many different generes, but still kept our sound, kept our guitar tones, kept our keyboards sounds.