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ANDY BIERSACK // VOCALS // BLACK VEIL BRIDES

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“EVERYONE BELIEVES IN SOMETHING WONDERFUL.”


NKD NAKED MAGAZINE

PUBLISHERS Ariella Mastroianni Catherine Powell

EDITORS Ariella Mastroianni Nicola Pring

PHOTOGRAPHER Catherine Powell

DESIGNERS Ariella Mastroianni Catherine Powell

WRITERS

CONTACT

Katie Amey Isaac Bate Tara DeVincenzo Alex Lane Stacy Magallon Ariella Mastroianni Nicole Mazza Shina Patel Stephanie Petit Catherine Powell Tanya Traner Kiki Van Son Luis Vazquez

Publicity » Catherine Powell catherine@nkdmag.com Writing » Nicola Pring nicola@nkdmag.com Advertising » Silvia Orozco silvia@nkdmag.com

Is your favorite band not featured this month? Tweet us! @nakedmag

IN THIS ISSUE OUR LAST NIGHT

FEATURES HOLLYWOOD ENDING [06] WALK THE MOON [12] CUTE IS WHAT WE AIM FOR [16] OUR LAST NIGHT [20] OUTASIGHT [32] TIFFANY ALVORD [38] LAWSON [54] ALLSTAR WEEKEND [58]

EDITORIAL OP-ED [04] WHY FALL OUT BOY’S REUNION IS PERFECTLY TIMED

BAND WRITE-IN [05] STEPHEN GOMEZ, THE SUMMER SET

FEATURED PLAYLIST [24] BRIAN DALES, THE SUMMER SET

ALLSTAR WEEKEND

WALK THE MOON

PHOTO FEATURE [25] MUMFORD AND SONS, GEORGE STRAIT, FALL OUT BOY

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WHY

FALL OUT BOY’S

RETURN IS SO

Perfectly

TIMED BY CATHERINE POWELL

AS

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someone who loves Justin Bieber more than life itself at times, I can’t really deny my appreciation for mainstream pop music. But I also can’t deny how excited I am to see rock bands on the Billboard Top 40 again. Over the last few years, popular music transformed into this weird, electronic, auto-tuned mess and I saw that as a sure sign the world would end in December 2012. But the apocalypse didn’t happen and all of a sudden bands like Imagine Dragons and The Lumineers were huge names. And that’s why Fall Out Boy’s first new song in over three years sat comfortably at No. 3 on the Digital Songs chart in its first week of release. It isn’t a coincidence that the band remerged at the same time that playing instruments became cool again. A few hours after their new single, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up,” was released it went to No. 2 on iTunes. Two days later it was getting airtime on radio stations across the country. Fall Out Boy were huge before they announced a break in 2009, so it’s no surprise their dedicated fans gravitated to new material. But it wasn’t just old fans, or even fans of the band in general — it was with the help of a new generation of band lovers that the song became an instant success. It seemed like everyone on my Facebook feed was talking about Fall Out Boy the morning the reunion was announced, myself included. Social networking was not what it was three years ago — it has become an absolutely necessary tool for artists to promote themselves. Fall Out Boy practically invented viral marketing when they were in their prime — they created an Oregon Trail-type game to promote their 2009 release, Folie à Deux. When they came back, they came back with a bang. After months of planning, venue holds, hyping and secret clues hidden on the Internet, Fall Out Boy officially announced their reunion on Feb. 4 at 8 a.m. EST. And the Internet imploded. The band crashed websites, they shot up the charts and they got people talking. But this wouldn’t have worked a year ago. At this time last year, One Direction were the kings of the world, which created a trend of boy bands, teen icons and cheesy melodies. But that hype has gone away and in true Fall Out Boy fashion, they struck while the oven was hot and lit a fire that shook the music world. And it’s great to have them back.


ASK THE ARTIST At what point does music become a career? DAVID GLYNN

SAM TRAPKIN

[TREES ABOVE MANDALAY]

[DIAMOND YOUTH]

“Music becomes a career the moment you decide to make music. Whether you want to do it for fun or you want to do it forever, you invest so much of yourself in what you do. Some may be lucky enough to make a living off of it and most may not. But, a career isn’t always measured in how many dollars it made you.”

“Well, a career tends to carry some kind of financial implication. Let’s talk about finances. If you took all the money I’ve ever earned playing music, it would probably be less than what I would’ve made if I got a summer job at Taco Bell. I’ve been playing in bands for 10 years now. Maybe some people would call that a career in a third world country. The difference is that most careers suck, and playing music is sweet.”

STEVEN McMORRAN [SATELLITE]

MATT JALBERT [TAUK] “Anybody who spends enough time making music to see it progress has a career in music. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing at a bar for 50 bucks or at an arena for thousands of dollars. Careers can lead to success or can go through hard times, but as long as you keep at it for long enough, you have a career.”

STEPHEN GOMEZ [THE SUMMER SET] “I think once you can provide a steady income for yourself solely from your musical endeavors over a good period of time, that’s when it becomes a career. It could take years to get to that point, or possibly never at all.”

“There’s a point where you have to weigh out the consequences of believing in yourself. Ultimately, you either believe you have the talent to live on or you don’t. Deciding to go for it not only means that no day job is going to change that belief, but also forces you to bet a large enough audience will feel compelled to support you. The way I see it is that once you’re comfortable enough with that gamble, music becomes a career.”

HOWI SPANGLER [BALLYHOO!]

“It’s when you realize you’re more broke than when you started. You have these big opportunities that help move the band forward but the paydays aren’t so frequent. Sacrifice. At that point, you’ve gone all-in. For us, there’s no going back, it’s a definitely a career.”

ANY QUESTIONS? Have a question for your favorite artist? Tweet us: @nakedmag 5


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HOLLYWOOD ENDING Words & Photos by Catherine Powell

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TWO YEARS AGO, HOLLYWOOD ENDING WERE A VERY DIFFERENT BAND. then five-piece teen-pop group was formed in the summer of 2011 and quickly found success after placing third on the fourth season of Radio Disney’s N.B.T. competition. They toured the country with bands like Action Item and Allstar Weekend before parting ways with their drummer, Mike Montalbano, in June 2012. The band continued on as a four-piece before bassist Chris Bourne left the group a few weeks into the New Year. The remaining three, Tyler Wilson (vocals), Dan Geraghty (guitar) and Cameron Boyd (vocals/guitar), are still going strong with no plans on stopping anytime soon. I meet up with the band in Chelsea on an unusually warm February afternoon. After walking around The High Line and talking and fooling around, the four of us squeeze into a table for two at a crowded Starbucks on 8th Avenue. After Dan orders an Iced Passion Tea (his second one today), we dive into a more serious topic: the current state of the band. The guys have gotten used to life without Mike in the band, but Chris’ departure is still fresh in their minds. Being stationed in England didn’t make it easy for Chris to commit fulltime to the New York/Maryland based band, and in the end distance won the battle. “He wanted to be a part of it so badly,” Tyler explains. “The distance just made it hard for him.” The group assures me that they’re still friends

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and wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to play with Chris in the future. With two original members out of the band, it’s up to the remaining members to create a strong follow-up to their 2012 debut, Always 18. The six-song EP took over a year to release but the end results were worth the wait. The record reached as high as No. 56 on the iTunes overall charts and No. 11 on the pop charts. “I remember scrolling down and Katy Perry was number ten and we were 11 and all I could say was ‘Oh my God!” Dan recalls. The results were especially rewarding for the guys because they wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. They found a solid writing team who produced the EP and are fortunate to have “struck gold” so quickly in the game. “So much of a band is their songwriting team,” Cameron says. “We go in two or three at a time with professional songwriters and mix ideas.” With the success of their debut combined with their dedicated following, it’s surprising a record label hasn’t swooped Hollywood Ending up yet. But inking a record deal isn’t on the band’s mind at the moment. “Nowadays you can do just as well independently,” Tyler says. “We’re not looking for a label right now.” As they’re still considered a relatively new band, the guys are hesitant to commit to a contract that would limit their creative control. “We’re


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“WE’RE GETTING OLDER, OUR FANS ARE GETTING OLDER, AND IN TURN, OUR MUSIC IS GETTING OLDER.” TYLER WILSON

open to labels, but you need a label to want you and to do things for you,” Cameron says. “If not you might as well get shelved.” Staying an independent band has proven to be beneficial for Hollywood Ending as they begin work on their follow-up record, which they hope to have out by this summer. Half the songs on Always 18 were written while the boys were only 16, and they’ve grown up since then. They don’t want to make the same record twice, and they definitely don’t want to be considered a Disney band forever. “We’re getting older, our fans are getting older, and in turn, our music is getting older,” Tyler says, citing Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake as major influences in their current writing process. They’ve completed six songs so far, but are unsure which, if any, will even make it onto the album. “We’re hopefully releasing a full-length,” Cameron says. “We just want to make sure it’s ready before we put it out.” While most kids their age are off at college figuring themselves out, the boys of Hollywood Ending are not missing out on the chance to reinvent themselves. They’re in a pivotal time in both their careers and their lives, a point where change and growth are encouraged. “We’ve matured a lot as musicians,” Dan says. “This group of songs will reflect that.” The group stresses that their sound isn’t changing that much and that their current fans will still like the songs, but they hope to reach a wider audience. “It’s still universal,” Dan says. “We’re not cursing or singing about bad things, it’s just way cooler.” We’ve been chatting for what feels like ten minutes, but we realize is an hour when Tyler’s vocal coach calls to remind him about his lesson later that afternoon. “Just trying to improve,” he says, laughing as he begins packing up his stuff and scanning the street through the window for an empty taxi. If Hollywood Ending continue at their current rate, all three of them will keep improving. “These songs are next level,” Dan says to no one in particular as we head outside to find Tyler a cab. “It’s different, but in a very good way.” I’ll take his word for it. NKD

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WALK THE

MOON

Words by Kiki Van Son

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A

fter seeing WALK THE MOON at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last month in Brooklyn, I could hardly come down enough to speak with guitarist Eli Maiman after the show. But we were standing on equal ground, because Eli was high off the energy himself. “Did you feel that?” I shouted, my hearing impaired as I staggered over to him. He hadn’t quite, since the guys were wearing noise-canceling equipment during the show so they could hear themselves. “But I could see something good was happening,” he said with a smile. The energy still only seemed to mount as people began filing out of the venue. Their performance wasn’t going to dissipate into the night so quickly. Cincinnati-based band WALK THE MOON don’t depend on the sound alone to get the job done. With their dance moves, slick improv (which came in the form of the Super Mario song to preface “Shiver, Shiver” at the Brooklyn show) and their visual aesthetic, this four-piece group has been rocking the indie scene since they signed with RCA Records last year. Although lead singer Nicholas Petricca started the band in 2008, it wasn’t until after the final member, Eli, joined in early 2011 that it fully took form. “It was very much a trial by fire situation,” Eli says of the band’s formation. “We didn’t know each other well, but we were put through a very intense year where we were on the road and in the studio together all the time.” Nick and bassist Kevin Ray were childhood buddies whose moms had been best friends in college. “They had play dates as little kids,” Eli says, laughing. Drummer Sean Waugaman was a band mate of Kevin’s at the time he and Nick reconnected after college. “I was just a guy Nick knew from playing in the scene,” Eli says. Their original debut album, i want! i want! was independently released in 2010. “The major difference when you’re with a label is with the label there’s a [marketing] plan,” Eli says. “When it’s

independent, the plan is we’ll finish the record when we have enough money to pay for it.” The music video they shot for “Anna Sun,” their first single off i want! i want!, with just a $500 budget served as a sort of business card on tour after their album release. “That’s one thing they like to talk about,” Eli says of record companies not known for frugality. “We knocked those label people back in the chair.” WALK THE MOON seem to have a special knack for unofficially official music videos. They rereleased i want! i want! as an official self-titled debut album, Walk the Moon, after joining RCA Records in 2012. “Two weeks before the record came out, VEVO contacted us and said they wanted to stream it in the form of videos a week before its release,” Eli says. The band made seven music videos in seven days while they were on tour. The product was a series of unofficial videos called “7in7.” The video for their second single, “Tightrope,” is most representative of what WALK THE MOON are about. It was shot up close in a hotel room much too small for the number of people raging in it. “We were playing a festival with Of Monsters and Men in San Diego,” Eli recalls. “We got in the car after, drove to L.A., checked into the hotel, called a bunch of friends and shot the video that night in our room.” In the video they mirror an out of control excitement similar to the excitement they produce on stage. “It was a lot of sweat and Jack Daniels,” Eli says, laughing. Signing with RCA was a huge leg up for the band. “Having the major label budget and the major label push lets us do more of what we were doing before,” Eli says. WALK THE MOON spend a lot more time making music now that they’ve delegated many of the arduous tasks, like booking shows and paying bills, to the label. “We’re making more than we’ve ever made before,” says. “It’s fantastic.”

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When they rereleased their debut album, several songs were added to the original track list which were specifically written to reflect the energy the band produce live. It’s an energy you can’t help but resonate with, one that can be described as twirly and berserk at the same time. Their upbeat vibe is meant to trigger the kid in you, when being of the nothing-but-fun persuasion made you feel invincible. “We try to rediscover things from our youth and incorporate them into who we are musically as adults,” Eli says. “We try to make it about youth, and not being afraid to play.” Their sound is influenced by ’70s and ’80s rock music, especially Talking Heads, Prince and Electric Light Orchestra. Eli reveals that they listen to Electric Light Orchestra’s 1981 concept album, Time, endlessly on the road. The album is the story of a man from the 1980s finding himself in the year 2095. The concept centers on his struggle to adjust to his new surroundings, as he’s wired for a different time. The guys say Time is shockingly representative of the current phenomenon shaking our culture. “The Internet has made things really weird for the music industry,” Eli says, noting how, because people are overstimulated and besieged with information from every platform, it’s not just about the music anymore. “The visual is so tied to the beat,” he says. “You’re always constantly being fed the visual as well as the audio.” Eli is fascinated by this trend because it doesn’t only impact the industry, but also the artists. Technology has changed the way an artist goes about his craft and, in turn, the way an audience receives it. Music is molded differently in the Internet age. “I think we’re inspired by attractive visuals,” Eli says of WALK THE MOON’s approach. “I think we also write in a way that tries to invoke a very visual and colorful feeling. We try to make all the visual aesthetic represent the music, so hopefully it’s not just a connection to that but also the image we’re conjuring musically.” Their bright, enthusiastic music is often supported by face paint and jungle-like backdrops at shows. “The presence of an animal is easy to create

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on stage,” Eli says, explaining the curious prominence of wildlife in both their visual aesthetics and their music videos. The jungle mentality they promote isn’t a savage one though, it’s more like what you’d picture a rendezvous at Pride Rock to be like. Their confident, animalistic image is further supported by their band name, which was originally a reference to the song “Walking on the Moon” by The Police. “It worked out better than we could have imagined,” Eli says. “It has this commanding quality to it, it’s almost a call to some action.” Last month WALK THE MOON released a new EP, Tightrope EP, which features an acoustic version of “Tightrope,” a live Talking Heads cover of “Burning Down the House,” two new songs and a B-side to the record. Their new material is composed of the same loud, infectious choruses, but the music is rooted in older styles of rock. “There’s a lot of variety to the way we write,” Eli says. “Nick writes all the lyrics, but the music is a mixed bag. We don’t have a set process yet, which may be a function of being such a young band.” Eli expresses interest in collaborating with Swedish electro group Little Dragon moving forward. “We’re taken with everything they do in the studio,” he says. “We’d love to see what their creative process is like.” On the other hand, they have their rehearsal process down to a science. “We meet at Nick’s parents’ house, spend a couple hours setting up, break for lunch,” Eli says. “Then we’ll take a couple hours to watch cat videos online, take a nap and sometime in the early evening we’ll start playing.” Although they try to adhere to a strict practice schedule once they start a set, they usually end up jamming wildly and writing new stuff 10 minutes in. “We’re lucky enough that we’ve been given endorsements from certain companies so we have better toys than we’ve ever had before,” Eli says, referring to the new instruments and amps that add to their distraction. “It’s hard to keep us focused,” he says. “We’re just too excited to be playing together.” NKD


Q&A WITH ELI MAIMAN

Which music legend would you bring back from the dead? “I would selfishly resurrect Jimi Hendrix in some kind of weird Frankenstein situation. But it’s hard to think about, you know. Would he have gotten old and stopped making good stuff, and would his whole legacy be tarnished by the later stuff? Or would he have gone pop and been singing ‘Teenage Dream?’ Who knows.”

Most embarrassing moment as a band? “One of our harder moments to work through on stage was in Arizona on Nick’s birthday last year. A couple of the guys from Young the Giant came up and threw a cake in Nick’s face. Cake was everywhere on the stage and Nick had so much on his hands that he couldn’t play keyboard. He had to run off and get cleaned up so Kevin and I were left to do a comedy routine. It was really awkward for us.”

If you were to write a jingle for a candy advertisement, what would it be for?

Which five people, living or dead, fictional or nonfictional, would you invite to a dinner party?

“I’m a huge, huge supporter and fan of the Pretzel M&M, and I feel like it gets shit on a lot. Chocolate and pretzel is great, how could you be mad? I don’t think we should stand for it, and I would like to stand up for my beloved Pretzel M&M’s.”

“Whoa, whoa. Whoa, man ... David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust, see what happens there. Willy Wonka and Robin Williams.”

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SHAANT HACIKYAN of

CUTE IS WHAT WE

AIM FOR By Nicole Mazza // Photos by Catherine Powell

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ute Is What We Aim For were once on top of the world — they had two successful record releases and they toured the county non-stop. Then, in 2009, their nearly 10-year career came to a halt and the original members went their separate ways. Now after several years on hiatus, they are back and not going anywhere anytime soon. And this time around, frontman Shaant Hacikyan isn’t dealing with any bullshit. “I have such a firm belief this time around is [about] being sincere, being genuine,” Shaant says. “I’m just going to tell you how it is and you can use your own discretion or filter [as] opposed to painting something prettier than it really is. Cause that’s the world we live in now and it’s bullshit. Everything is PR and I can’t handle it. At all.” After a number of lineup changes, Cute Is What We Aim For are back with three of their original members. They know exactly where they want to be and what they want to be doing — focusing on music instead of demanding record labels and publicity. Shaant didn’t speak to his former band mates, drummer Tom Falcone and guitarist Jeff Czum for nearly two years after their split. It was two days before a travel date when Shaant realized part of his new crew couldn’t clear customs to leave the country. “I found myself in-between a rock and a hard place,” he says. That’s when he decided to pick up the phone and give Jeff a call. “He answers the phone like ‘What’s up dude?’ Like nothing ever happened,” Shaant recalls. “And from that point I knew, or I felt, ‘Oh wow,

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we can be friends again.’” The rest was history. They hung out nonstop last summer and decided to do a reunion show and really go for it. “After the show we sat down, Tom, Jeff and myself and just said ‘We have to do this,’ and that’s the way it’s been for the past five or six months.” Not only did they take on a comeback tour (opening for pop-rockers Allstar Weekend this winter), they’ve also been writing together once again, which has been just as fluid as it was years ago. “All of our influences have changed but once we’re together again, just for some reason, the sound comes out,” he says. Another thing that hasn’t changed? The feeling Shaant gets when the trio is on stage. “It’s incredible. It’s so comforting. There’s not much like it because we were together through everything,” he says. “All of our achievements were with one another. It’s difficult when you play with someone else in front of a couple hundred people after playing in front of 15,000 people with your best friends. There’s a bond in that. So I would be playing and looking around and seeing strangers in that element. But now it’s one of the coolest, most comforting things there is and I’m really really lucky. And I hope they feel the same way.” So far, the tour response has been incredible for Cute Is What We Aim For. They’ve stayed true to their roots and fans, playing the songs they know fans want to hear. Their tour set has primarily been full of songs from The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch, (released in 2006) even though they’ve been working on new. “I’ve gone to shows and some bands would just play half a set of new stuff that no one knows about them,”


“ALL OF OUR INFLUENCES HAVE CHANGED BUT ONCE WE’RE TOGETHER AGAIN, JUST FOR SOME REASON, THE SOUND COMES OUT.”

SHAANT HACIKYAN

Shaant says. “With this one we just want to keep everything that people would know and then on the next headline we can afford to throw in some new ones and start working that.” For Shaant, the tour experience has also been about fans’ responses. “[It’s] been overwhelmingly amazing and hearing all the stories of how we were a part of people’s lives … I can’t really think of another occupation where you have that type of impact,” he says. “I treat it with a big responsibility now and just trying to inspire people like they do me every single time I get to talk to people.” However, Shaant couldn’t ignore the nerve under his skin — the thought that the band’s time might be over. But fans still care, and they have been nothing but loyal. “Having the luxury of [fans] telling me exactly what they went through is unreal because we had to stop because even [we] went through some really serious stuff. We’re all people and we all have flaws so being able to find that stuff out is pretty incredible,” he says. “The amount of tattoos we’re seeing is mind numbing. And it’s not album artwork, it’s all lyrics. It’s like something you dream of when you’re a frustrated kid, scribbling in your journal even though no one’s gonna see it.” Going on tour with Allstar Weekend was definitely different from what the band was used to — in terms of both music and fans. “I’m in a situation I’m not used to and maybe if I were 20 or super cheesy I would try to cater to and appeal to this demo,” Shaant says. “I’m not here to get these fans.

I like having conversations and I’m really fortune with a lot of our fans or supporters. They latch on to the words. The words are there to make you think and it gives me hope that after the show I can talk to my people and we can talk about the words. The people that just talk for no reason whatsoever, I think it might stem from insecurities. It’s like the antithesis of where I want to be.” Cute Is What We Aim For are eager to put out new (and in some cases, free) material for their fans. They are working with a new management team led by David Conway from the Working Group, and Shaant has freedom he never had before. “He totally gets what we’re trying to do,” Shaant says. “Even though he’s working on all these incredible projects [Man Overboard, Never Shout Never, The Ready Set, For The Foxes], he still makes us feel like we’re his number one even though we’re not. Not at all. We’re just starting.” The freedom to choose their own label is also an exciting. “It’s exciting to be like, ‘Who can we pick potentially?’” Shaant says before quickly backtracking. “You know what, slap me in the face. Maybe in two months everyone [will be] like, ‘Not interested.’” But in two months, Shaant knows the band will be focusing on their music, maybe a little bit more than they ever were. “I have a feeling the three of us are just going to go to town, we’re going to give you more new stuff because we’re closer as a unit and I really feel like we’re firing from all cylinders and are on the same page,” Shaant says. “I can’t wait for a future based on the tour response.” NKD

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OUR LAS 20


ST NIGHT Words by Ariella Mastroianni // Photos by Catherine Powell

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OUR LAST NIGHT AREN’T INTERESTED IN PLAYING IT SAFE. NO MORE COOKIE-CUTTER MARKETING PLANS. NO MORE WRITING MUSIC FOR RADIO PLAY. NO MORE WAITING FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN ON SOMEONE ELSE’S TIME.

A

fter roughly six years of releasing music through their label, Epitaph Records, the guys of OLN have decided to move forward on their own, and will not renew their contract with Epitaph, or any label for that matter. “We want to do more,” guitarist and vocalist Matt Wentworth says. “When you have a label you sit there thinking [the label] is doing certain things, and they’re probably not. In our case, they weren’t doing those things.” Matt explains OLN’s departure from Epitaph while sitting in his in-home studio in Nashua, N.H. with bassist Alex “Woody” Woodrow and his brother, Trevor Wentworth, the band’s lead vocalist. Matt usually records and produces music for artists in his studio, the Impact Studio, on his downtime from touring, but now he’s focused on writing new music with his bandmates to release as part of their Indiegogo campaign, which they plan to launch in the next few months. “Indiegogo is giving us an opportunity to interact one on one with fans,” Woody explains. “They donate to us personally and it goes directly to the cause, not a record label, not for anything but this project.” Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform that allows arists to interact with fans by exchanging personal prizes for donations made to their project. OLN’s campaign will be to raise funding for their next EP, which they will self-release after June, when their contract with Epitaph ends. “It’s definitely a lot to handle on our own, but it’ll be more satisfying,” Matt says. “We’ll be more in control.” OLN are following in the footsteps of bands like Protest the Hero, who raised $341,121 on Indiegogo in one month, which was well over their pledged goal of $125, 000. “We probably won’t get that much,” Matt says of Protest the Hero’s recent campaign. “But even like, one-fifth of that would be pretty crazy.” “We’ll be able to interact with [our fans] on a more personal level,” Woody continues. “Someone could donate $100 and go on a group date with the band or something.” An important factor in the band’s decision to release music unsigned is the ability to have freedom in creative marketing. Since their next release will rely heavily on gaining exposure

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through the Internet, specifically YouTube, the guys want to be able to determine how much content they want to produce and when to release the content. And they plan to release as much content as possible. “We want to keep people updated,” Matt says. “Not necessarily release new songs all the time but maybe covers, or new videos. We just want people to have a reason to just keep checking back on us.” Last month, OLN released an acoustic version of their track “Fate,” which is the opening track on their most recent full-length, Age of Ignorance. The video has already reached over 85,000 views. “We always wanted to do more acoustic songs,” Trevor says. “And ‘Fate’ got such a good response from our fans that we decided we want to do more.” The guys plan to release an acoustic album to follow their next EP, which they say will “bring back more of the aggressive, faster and technical sounds” that were mostly featured in their sophomore release, We Will All Evolve (2010). “It was cool to try something different but it was really drastic, almost to a point where we completely abandoned our sound,” Matt explains of Age of Ignorance. “I like all the songs we wrote but they were a little too safe. We had ideas and end goals in our minds that weren’t necessarily creative goals. We didn’t take as many risks as we should.” “There are no boundaries with the newer stuff,” Matt continues. “If we want to write something heavier, we can. If we want to have a song with weird structure, we can. Our goal isn’t to be on the radio.” “We want to give our fans a different dynamic of sound,” Woody says. No matter what happens, OLN are going to work hard, and play heavier. “We’ve learned,” Trevor says. “We’ve gained certain expertise. We know how to do it the right way because we’ve seen it done the wrong way.” “If this fails it’ll probably be the end of this specific project,” Matt says of OLN. “We hope it won’t fail, and we don’t think it’ll fail. We’re going to give it our all.”


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THE PLAYLIST Brian Dales of The Summer Set takes us through his current top tracks.

TRACKS

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3 1. “WONDER” - EMELI SANDÉ

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2. “TEN THOUSAND HOURS” - MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS

3. “HOW COME YOU DON’T WANT ME” - TEGAN AND SARA

4. “TIME TO RUN” - LORD HURON

5. “MY SONGS KNOW WHAT YOU DID IN THE DARK” - FALL OUT BOY

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6. “I LOVE IT” - ICONA POP FEAT. CHARLI XCX

7. “SUIT & TIE” - JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FEAT. JAY Z

8. “COLORS” - APRIL SMITH AND THE GREAT PICTURE SHOW

9. “THANK YOU” - MKTO

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10. “SEX” - THE 1975

11. “DON’T SAVE ME” - HAIM

12. “FALLS” - AMBASSADORS

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13. “LIFE IN COLOR” - ONEREPUBLIC

14. “FUCKIN’ PROBLEMS” - A$AP ROCKY

15. “ALL EYES ON YOU” - ST. LUCIA

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NAKED EYE BEST OF FEBUARY LIVE PERFORMANCES


FALL OUT BOY Feb. 5, The Studio at Webster Hall


GEORGE STRAIT Feb. 23, The XL Center


MUMFORD AND SONS Feb.6, Barclays Center


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OUTASIGHT Words by Isaac Bate Photos by Catherine Powell

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“LOOK, I WAS STRUGGLING, I WAS BROKE, COMPLETELY. IT WAS DEFINITELY [A CASE OF] TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW EXACTLY IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.” OUTASIGHT

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utasight is apparently completely imperturbable. He’s in a pretty weird situation right now. He’s having his hair cut in a studio prior to a photo shoot, which isn’t so odd in itself except that the whole ordeal is being watched by more people than anybody could be reasonably expected to be ok with during something as awkward and personal as a haircut. The only light available is a powerful studio lamp that quickly starts giving off an uncomfortable amount of heat directly into his face, and all the while he is being interviewed for this feature. Each answer is punctuated (snip) by the sound (snip) of the hairdressers scissors shearing off hair which, he tells the hairdresser somewhat shamefacedly, has not been cut since November. It’s fair to say that this would phase some people, but it’s good to know that Outasight isn’t one of them because with great musical success comes well, a lot of weird situations. One of the most immediately appealing things about Outasight (born Richard Andrew) is his ability to turn those situations into neat self-deprecating stories. For example: our photographer mentions that she saw him at Bamboozle, which brings on this gem. “I was actually the last artist on before Bon Jovi … on a different stage but right across the beach. You think you’re the man, but really you’re getting fucked, because of course it’s gonna run late, it’s a stage. And they’re just like, [Outasight puts on a mean sounding voice] ‘Yo, here’s the thing. Your set’s been cut from a half hour to 15 minutes, and you got two minutes to set up, ‘cos at 8:30 we gotta turn the power off for Bon Jovi, this is his thing.’ Bon Jovi literally let Bamboozle use his stage: the main stage of Bamboozle was Bon Jovi’s stage and it was incredible. So 8:30 came around and they legit turned the power off on me. The crowd was like, mad kids and they’re all screaming and yelling. So I went in the crowd and took pictures of everybody. I felt really bad, but Bon Jovi one-upped me.” He doesn’t seem at all irritated, just mildly bemused if anything, so I ask if he ever got an apology. “Yeah,” he says, jokingly. “I went backstage and I was like ‘I demand an apology, Jon Bon Jovi, where’s Sambora?’ No, not at all. I hung out, had a couple of beers and sang “Cowboy,” saw a couple of friends then got the fuck out of there and beat the traffic.” Chances are you know Outasight because of his song “Tonight is the Night,” which debuted in November 2011, and has since been certified platinum. It’s an immediately catchy tune that with hindsight seems like an obvious hit, though Outasight claims that he had “no idea” that it would become as popular as it did. “I was just like putting out videos and music,” he says. “The videos I was putting out before “Tonight is the Night” would be super low budget, just having fun. We were just building a fan base kind of organically and gearing up to put out a lot of music and we had a lot of plans… and “Tonight is the Night” was just one of these songs that we believed in that could be like a possible single later down the road.” What happened next would completely transform his career – for the better. “My management pitched the song to Pepsi and then when that commercial happened it just spawned off a whole new kind of adventure that I hadn’t even foreseen at all.” That Pepsi commercial was one that celebrated musical icons like Britney Spears, Ray Charles and Kanye West and their Pepsi partnerships, ending with the on-screen question, “Who’s Next?” It was without a doubt the catalyst for the song’s exceptional performance. “You can never predict that. And then it went from the record label being like, ‘Yeah do your thing, here’s $2000 for a video and just build it yourself,’ to being on television and record labels and big budget videos and it was a total 180.” Outasight

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pauses, and says with no small amount of understatement, “It was kind of a trip.” It wasn’t just Pepsi that used the song in its commercials, either. “It got a bunch of big ones, it was on this Pizza Hut one that was just on non-stop.” He doesn’t mind being known predominantly for one song as of right now — he appreciates the change in demographic that its success has brought him. “My shows used to be complete bro outs,” he says. “So it’s nice to have some ladies in the crowd. The girls have way more fun. I did Highline [Ballroom] and it was just an absolute party, because once the girls are having fun, the dudes are gonna have fun.” Nor is he tired of hearing and playing the song. “[I’m] never sick of hearing it, no, I don’t care. Kidding me? This song changed my life and it’s my song, so I’m never going to be one of those people who’s like ‘Come to my show but I don’t do ‘Tonight is the Night’. His easygoing lack of affectations makes him a genuine pleasure to be around. Although commercial placements are probably as important if not more so in getting a song off the ground than radio is now, there is for some people still a stigma attached to it. “Back in the day guys would be like, ‘No way my song’s going to be in a commercial, I don’t care,’” Outasight explains. But things have for the most part changed, and it can be wonderful for artists looking for some kind of outlet or showcase. “The label wouldn’t even put [“Tonight is the Night”] out, but once I got the Pepsi commercial the label was forced to put it out. Syncs [music in commercials] are huge. They just completely changed the game. My songs have been synced a lot and it’s an amazing opportunity for people to hear your music. I mean look at the Black Keys. Their songs are in every fucking commercial. Why not? The days of self-righteousness are way over.”

“AT THIS POINT I’M JUST GLAD TO HAVE AN ALBUM FULL OF SONGS THAT I WROTE, OUT.” OUTASIGHT

Although it can sound all a bit easy (write hit song, have hit song picked up by commercial, rake in money), Outasight was, like many artists toiling in obscurity for some years prior to the release. Only a few years ago he was dealing with the same depressing reality so many young people deal with: student debt, from his stint at Iona College. “Look, I was struggling, I was broke, completely,” he says. “It was definitely [a case of] trying to figure out how exactly it was going to happen.” He had only gone to college, he says, “To please my parents because I didn’t have the balls to be like, no I want to pursue music.” Though he had fun, he was not making much progress in academia. “Finally after a couple of years of fucking around and smoking too much pot and partying all the time, I started living in the studio. And I was just like, ‘Let’s stop putting myself further into debt for something that doesn’t make any sense.” His parents fully came around to the idea of their son as a working musician when he signed with Warner Bros Records in 2009. “They were like, ‘Oh shit. That’s pretty legit.’

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“I GOT MY DAD A PLATINUM PLAQUE FOR CHRISTMAS, SO I THINK HE’S ALRIGHT.”

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They’re so proud, and so supportive. They’re not together, so it was two different conversations always. And then eventually they gave up in terms of trying to get me to go back to school. They were just like, ‘Let’s see what this guys does.’ And I got my dad a platinum plague for Christmas, so I think he’s alright.” The next challenge, obviously, is to stay at the top of the game. Just as he is semi-public haircuts, Outasight seems ready to take this in his stride. “There’s always been flash[es] in the pan. It’s always interesting to see who sprouts up out of nowhere and who is going to be a career artist,” he says. “Because of how many people are out there putting out music, how many media there are, it happens quickly. It’s like wildfire, things go viral and it’s on. I mean, my homie Macklemore has the number one record in the country, three straight weeks, ‘Thriftshop.’” Outasight sounds a little amazed at the success of his acquaintance’s song. “To see his growth… I know it didn’t happen overnight but just to see how it started with a spark and this dude didn’t even have a label behind him, and he has the number one song in the country. It’s incredible. Now I know he’s been working his ass off for years. He’s built it with hard work.” Outasight himself is reflective about the experience, and shrugs off any mention of pressure to churn out successive hits. “I never feel pressure,” he says. “Honestly, I write pop music. I definitely want to continue to try to push it forward but I don’t really feel the pressure. When it comes down to that hit stuff, that more is pressure on the corporate side because it’s their radio, it’s their publicity, I just give them the songs and go out on the road

and tour my ass off and just continue to try to build what I’m doing. Record labels want hits, for me at this point I’m just glad to have an album full of songs that I wrote, out, so now I just want to get as many people as possible to hear it.” The next step for Outasight is a tour with The Ready Set, followed by the entirety of Warped Tour, which lasts for two months. He’s a performer above all else, and clearly lives for the stage. “Sometimes the driving and the food sucks but then you’ll get on that stage and it’ll just be that kind of crowd [that] can literally lift your spirit for an entire week. It can just change how your thinking and feeling, everything. Just that one crowd.” While on tour, he will have a chance to be in the studio as well. “My band, that I’m on the road with, are all amazing musicians so this time around I’m just really going to focus on writing new material and then having these guys play it. I’m kind of excited about that.” You get the sense that appreciative though he is about his sudden success, Outasight is most excited to have a chance to focus on music again after a wild year. “The opportunities that ‘Tonight is the Night’ have presented for me are incredible,” he says. “I’ve been able to travel the world and make a bunch of money and do things that I never thought I’d be able to do. And it’s this song that I wrote, you know? Nobody wrote it for me, nobody forced me to write it so I’m very proud of it. But now that you know, it’s kind of calmed down and it’s back and I’ve put out my album and it gives me an opportunity now to kind of reconfigure how I want to do it. You can get back to a little more of that organic side, because it just moved so fast, everything moves so fast.” NKD

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TIFFANY ALVORD Words by Stacy Magallon // Photos by Catherine Powell

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ith so many aspiring artists taking their music to the Internet, it’s tough to be different. Competition is fierce, discoveries are rare and nowadays, everyone’s doing it. Among the millions who take their talents to YouTube, only a few make it big. Singer/songwriter Tiffany Alvord is one of the few.

It’s Sunday night, and New York City’s Gramercy Theatre is crowded. Tiffany and I sit on a dirty backstage staircase, far from the chaos created by shrieking fans.The 20-year-old is just over half an hour from her set on the main stage upstairs. She expresses her excitement through smiles, admitting that she’s a little nervous, but excited overall. I assume one might be anxious for a live show when her usual audience consists of over a million YouTube subscribers. Impressive statistics aside, she assures me that on some days, all she needs are a pair of sweatpants and some chocolate. “I really wish I could wear sweats and T-shirts all the time, but I’m not sure how that would fly on stage,” she says,

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glancing down at her black and gold performance ensemble. For the second night in a row, Tiffany is about to warm up the crowd for Allstar Weekend and Cute Is What We Aim For, but right now she’s calm, collected and poised. When the California-native began her songwriting career at the age of 10, she wrote about her elementary school crushes. Now Tiffany’s music accurately reflects her current, more mature lifestyle. “I write about my life,” she says. “A lot of my songs are about guys, but also about experiences I go through. Songwriting is like my personal journal.” At 15, Tiffany took her music online and she’s been experiencing stardom ever since. She didn’t consider the potential for success on YouTube when she uploaded her first video. Tiffany explains how convenient the site was at the time — it was an easy way to connect with an audience who could both see and hear her. She never expected the website to eventually launch her career. Today, the social networking site is her number one outlet for spreading her sound. “YouTube will always be my home,” she says. “I could never abandon it.” Through the viral video site, Tiffany has built


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“YOUTUBE WILL ALWAYS BE MY HOME.” TIFFANY ALVORD

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a name by posting original music and filming catchy covers and collaborations with fellow YouTubers including Dave Days, Jason Chen and Alex Goot. Tiffany’s siblings may have teased her for her silly songwriting skills when she was younger, but now they show nothing but love and support for her. She grew up in a family with six brothers, so it’s no surprise she’s handling this male-dominated tour like a pro. “I think I’m a little tougher than most girls,” she says. “I was quite the tomboy back in the day.” I admire Tiffany’s chic fashion sense, and find it difficult to picture her decked out in T-shirts and skater shoes. “Forever 21 changed my life completely,” she says, laughing. Her brothers, a few of whom are currently on tour with her, are protective and loving of their sister. The same can be said for her mother, who doubles as her manager. Though her fan base varies in location, Tiffany finds her biggest fans live overseas. After a trip to Singapore last year, it became evident that the response from them was the most active reaction she ever received. “I seem to have a wider audience in different countries,” Tiffany says. “That’s why I’m touring the U.S. now. I want to expand my fan base here.” Tiffany may be 20, but most of her “Tiffanatics” are much younger — younger teens and pre-teens look up to her as both a role model and inspiration. Tiffany was raised to have good morals and values, and though she hopes to spread positive messages to

her younger fans, she doesn’t act a certain way because she knows they’re paying attention. “I don’t need to act this way or that way because my fans are watching,” Tiffany says. “That’s just who I am.” Her motto, “Always Sm:)e” has become a trend among the members of her loyal fan base. However, Tiffany knows that constantly smiling is close to impossible. As humbling as it is to be called perfect by her fans, she guarantees she isn’t perfect. Tiffany has off days, and she isn’t going to lie about it, especially on Twitter. She uses her voice for more than just singing — she uses it to speak her mind. “I’m just a person,” she says. “I always tell my fans to smile, but they should also know I’m real. I’m not always happy. Life happens. Whenever I tweet something negative, my mom always tells me to delete it. But the thing is, I can’t. I’m human. I have emotions.” Tiffany is now about 20 minutes away from her set time upstairs. Before she has to run, I ask about her hopes for the future. Selling out the Staples Center in Los Angeles is definitely on her bucket list, but as for smaller goals, she wants to record more music, put out an album and improve her presence as an artist overall. Tiffany is set on these goals, even if people try to stop her. “You’re definitely going to get haters along the way,” she says. “All you can do is accept it and go with it. You can’t let someone decide how you feel or what you want to do with your life. I definitely don’t let them.” NKD

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BLACK VEIL BRIDES Words & Photos by Catherine Powell


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ndy Biersack’s first memory is in in the small house in Cincinnati, Ohio where he grew up. He was rummaging around his basement and found a shoebox of KISS trading cards and Mötley Crüe stickers. “I saw the pictures of KISS and I thought they were superheroes,” he says. From that point on, it was all rock and roll for Andy. In a way, he wasn’t wrong about the members of KISS being superheroes. They became heroes for Andy and jump-started his future as the lead singer and primary lyricist of costume rock band Black Veil Brides. Andy and I sit backstage at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square where Black Veil Brides will headline a sold out show in just a few hours. Andy, now 22, nurses what smells like a red bull and vodka and smiles when a door opens and the crowds’ screams filter in. His already tattooed skin has black body paint added in various places and his eyelids are filled in with black as well. His shirt is ripped and suspenders hold up his tight jeans. Half of his head is shaved and the other half falls at his shoulders. Hoops loop through his ear, lip and nose. Despite what could be considered a frightening appearance, Andy is all smiles when he shakes my hand through his fingerless glove. “When I was in kindergarten I would come home and dress up like members of KISS,” Andy recalls. “Make up and all.” He would make his father film him performing in their living room in Cincinnati, which “probably drove him crazy.” Mixing ketchup and Kool-Aid together to look like blood and spitting it out was typically part of his performances. As he grew older, Andy’s interests shifted to songwriting and he got into punk-rock bands like Alkaline Trio and The Misfits. His first band, which Andy formed when he was 13, performed in basements and art galleries in the Cincinnati area. Andy then formed Black Veil Brides with “a bunch of random dudes” when he was 15. “The band was mostly just a back-up band for my solo project,” Andy explains. When he was 17 Andy met

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former collaborator Chris Stewart and the two became fast friends. The two wrote the band’s first single, “Knives and Pens.” Shortly after, Andy dropped out of high school with intentions to move to California with Chris. “He comes from a military family and had to finish school, so I went by myself,” Andy explains. He took the songs the two had written together and the idea that he wanted to be in a band, and left for Los Angeles. He spent his first year in L.A. homeless, living out of his car. “I would meet girls so I could sleep on their couches,” he says. “Or in their beds, whatever,” he adds with a sly grin. He met Ashley Purdy (bass) and Jinxx (guitar) in L.A. and formed the foundation for present-day Black Veil Brides. Andy soon signed to independent label Standby Records. Fast forward four years and Black Veil Brides are now signed to Universal Republic Records and have just released their third studio album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones. Unlike their previous records, We Stitched These Words (2010) and Set the World on Fire (2011), their 2013 release is a concept record. “I’ve always been interested in comic books, and I write short stories in my off time,” Andy says. On the way home from a European tour in 2012, in the middle of writing a new record, Andy realized he was not satisfied with the direction it was going in. “It didn’t feel interesting, it wasn’t great and it felt like it would be a super logical follow-up to Set the World on Fire,” Andy says. On his flight home, Andy wrote out the short story that would become the foundation for Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones. “When I wrote it, it had nothing to do with music. I was just writing a story,” he says. The band returned to L.A. and began recording. Andy still felt the new music wasn’t right. He met up with producer John Feldman (The Used, Panic! At The Disco, All Time Low) with no intentions except to have lunch together. The two hit it off immediately and

started writing songs together. “They weren’t even Black Veil Brides songs, we were just writing together,” Andy says of the material the two produced. While writing, John asked Andy what he had been thinking about and Andy brought up the short story he wrote on the plane, which he and a friend had been developing into a screenplay. The two began to write songs around that idea and came up with the song “We Don’t Belong.” Andy called Jinxx and Jake Pitts (guitar) into the studio and completed a demo for the song in three days. Once Andy got the demo back he shut down production with the other producer and went into the studio with John to turn his short story into an album.

“WHEN I WAS IN KINDERGARTEN I WOULD COME HOME AND DRESS UP LIKE THE MEMBERS OF KISS. MAKE UP AND ALL.”


ANDY BIERSACK


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BEST BUY THEATER, N.Y.

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“IT’S EASY TO ACHIEVE SHORT-TERM GOALS, AND I JUST CONTINUE TO LOOK AT THE OVERALL GOAL WHICH IS TO CONTINUE TO GROW AS A BAND AND ACHIEVE MORE FEELINGS OF COMMUNITY WITH THE FANS.” ANDY BIERSACK


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n addition to the record, the band assembled a team to create a film to serve as a visual for the songs. The film Legion of the Black, has not yet been released for home viewing, but fans were able to attend screenings in various cities, as well as preview it for one day only on Black Veil Brides’ Facebook page. Originally Andy wanted the film to be a screenplay with dialogue, but after finishing the record the logistics no longer made sense. “For budgetary reasons we couldn’t make a full movie,” Andy says. “And none of us are actors,” he adds with a laugh. Legion of the Black took about a month to shoot. The film features cameos from William Francis of Aiden and Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter. “We didn’t even have the mastered album yet, we worked off of rough demos,” Andy says. “But I had so much fun doing it. It was a great experience.” Andy has always been a fan of 1984-type stories, so the concept and film are set in a futuristic society where there’s an omnipotent, church-run government. “It’s sort of if the Pope and the president got together and said, ‘We’re going to make this into a thing,’ with initially the idea that it would make everything unified,” Andy explains. The story takes place 20 years after the initial unification and things are no longer unified and the church government is all about keeping people in the dark. “Any political

“EVERYONE BELIEVES IN SOMETHING WONDERFUL.” ANDY BIERSACK thing or any religious thing is always teetering the line between cultism or being something that’s about hope,” Andy says. Andy grew up in a religious family where “everyone believes in something wonderful.” Though he no longer considers himself religious, he grew up around it and sees the merit in it. “I also know many people who are religious and are awful, evil people that are using something as a vantage point to get to Heaven or exclude gay people,” he says. His interest in the concept of the album is considering how long the world’s most important political and religious giants could work together before everything implodes and the world’s citizens become prisoners. In the film the five band members (Andy, Jake, Jinxx, Ashley and Christian Come [drums]) play rebels

fighting against F.E.A.R., which stands for “For Every and All Religion.” The band plans to release the film in a DVD format. Right now, Black Veil Brides are thriving off the success of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 1 on the iTunes Top Albums charts. In the next six months, the band will head out on a sold out tour that will take them across the United States and eventually all over the world over the next six months. A new music video (which will be for a fan-chosen single), Warped Tour and beginning writing for another record are all on the agenda for this year. “I don’t set short-term goals for records,” Andy says when I ask him what he hopes to achieve with the latest release. “It’s easy to achieve short-term goals, and I just continue to look at the overall goal which is to continue to grow as a band and achieve more feelings of community with the fans.” In an ideal world, Andy would be playing music for the rest of his life. “I don’t know how much longer that’ll be … My life, that is,” he jokes. Andy continues joking, adding that he’ll be onstage with a walker one day. The opening band begins their set and we can hear more screaming. In the main room, the “BVBArmy” as they’re called sport similar face paint to Andy’s and have the band’s lyrics and logos tattooed on their arms. Things have come full circle for the KISS fan-turned-rock star, and he’s just getting started. NKD

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LAWSON


Words by Tanya Traner Photos by Catherine Powell

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out can’t call Lawson a boy band. But, as the four piece, U.K. based pop-rock band step on stage at the sold-out Bowery Ballroom in New York City, I think to myself, “Why not?” They have all the makings of boy bands past — the boyish good looks, leather and cut-off tank tops, perfectly done hair and screaming fans.

But then they begin to play. Unlike other boy bands, they actually play their own live music. Vocalist Andy Brown’s clear melodies reverberate through the room as he strums an acoustic guitar. Bassist Ryan Fletcher and guitarist Joel Peat create three-piece harmonies for each song, and drummer Adam Pitts gets so into the songs he sometimes stands up to beat the drums, all while the crowd — some of them have traveled all the way from South America just to see Lawson play — cheers and sings along. Lawson formed when Adam and Andy met several years ago. The pair instantly got along. The other members came as mutual friends were introduced into the band, and the group eventually moved to London. But it took some time for them to being selling out shows. “We played small gigs around the U.K. for a long time,” Adam says. “We grew as a band until we had 50 people at a venue, and that grew to 100 and so on.” “We did YouTube videos in the beginning,” Joel adds. “So before we even did any gigs we had a loyal following.” The band then scored two supporting gigs touring with The Wanted before they signed to U.K. label Polydor Records. Since then, Lawson have put out four singles from their 2012 album Chapman Square (2012), all reaching the top 10 on the U.K. charts. Andy says the band has been able to tour with some of their idols, citing a festival with Bruce Springsteen and gigs with Coldplay, The Script and Jesse J. “We learned a lot as a band playing these shows,” Andy says. “You really pick things up along the way,” Ryan says of the influence these performers have had on Lawson. “When you watch Bruce Springsteen on stage and his personality when he is up there, it’s like a secret.” The guys say that apart from aspiring to perform like their idols, they have learned other important lessons. Jesse J offered some guidance on her tour, giving them some pointers on taking care of themselves while on the road and not staying out until all hours of the morning, however tempting that might seem. The guys say they took these lessons and applied them on their recent North American mini tour, which started in Los Angeles and ended in Canada, while still managing to have some fun. But even with all of the fun that comes with being in a band,

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family life can suffer. Lawson are lucky to have supportive friends and family back home. “Our families have always been really, really supportive,” Adam says. “And they’ve even all become great friends.” “We miss our families,” Joel says, “but we talk to them quite a lot and they come to shows all the time.” In fact, Ryan’s father came to the New York City show tonight to support Lawson. “It’s a special occasion and he just wants to be a part of it,” Ryan says of his father.

“WHEN YOU WATCH BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON STAGE AND HIS PERSONALITY WHEN HE IS UP THERE, IT’S LIKE A SECRET.” RYAN FLETCHER

The guys are particularly excited about their stop in New York City because it’s their first time in the city as a band. “It’s amazing how what you see on film is actually how it is,” Joel says. “Smoke coming out of the drains, the cold, Rockefeller Center, we absolutely love New York.” It’s apparent that this excitement transfers to their show at the Bowery Ballroom for both the band and their fans. As the guys play they keep looking at each other, almost in awe, with huge smiles plastered on their faces. Andy mentions again and again to the crowd that this is the best show they have had in a while. A pair of hand cuffs flies through the air, nearly hitting Ryan. He lifts them up and says jokingly to the crowd: “I am not a piece of meat!” While the last song draws nearer to an end, one girl jumps on stage and starts dancing and singing next to Joel. Security does not immediately remove her, so another girl jumps on stage, and another, and another until there are about 20 people on stage singing and dancing alongside Lawson. The guys burst into laughter and continue playing while security ushers everyone off stage. As the last note sounds through the room and the blue lights dim, each band member takes one last look into the crowd waving and thanks them generously. Maybe you can’t call Lawson a boy band, but you can call them the U.K.’s next big thing. NKD


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ALLSTAR WEEKEND Words by Shina Patel // Photos by Catherine Powell

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he future can be scary. Most of us don’t like jumping into new things. We’re afraid that things might not really go the way we plan. But this can’t be said for the guys of Allstar Weekend. As most fans of the California-based pop band know, Zach Porter (vocals), Cameron Quiseng (bass) and Michael Martinez (drums) are planning to put the band’s alias on a shelf and begin writing a new chapter in their story. “We just want to start fresh and have no expectations and kind of do something totally different,” Zach says. “We’re stoked.” This is not to say they’re throwing Allstar Weekend away completely — they are planning to reinvent themselves under a new name, with a new style of music. In February the guys wrapped up their last Allstar Weekend headlining tour. “[We had] fun remembering all the great

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memories from Allstar Weekend,” Zach says. As they began to write and record a new album in October of last year, they realized the sound they were producing wasn’t Allstar Weekend. Instead of potentially disappointing fans with not-so-Allstar music, they decided to go in a new direction. Zach says he was in denial about the whole thing up until a few days before making the big announcement. “I thought, ‘Yeah, this is Allstar Weekend. Just different,’” he says, recalling how he tried to convince himself the new sound could work for the band. But as it started to form he realized it wouldn’t. The guys say the change happened naturally. They even admit to not having any set goals with the new band so far. “[The] purpose is to challenge ourselves musically and as writers and as performers,” Zach says. “Grow up with ourselves.”


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“THE PURPOSE IS TO CHALLENGE OURSELVES MUSICALLY AND AS WRITERS AND AS PERFORMERS.” ZACH PORTER

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Their new record will definitely sound different than anything they’ve put out before. “It’s just a departure from pop,” Zach says. “There’s really not any pop songs on it. It’s just more organic, more based on lyrics than music and beats, and stuff … it’s cool.” Although it may seem like Allstar Weekend are driving full speed into the future, they haven’t forgotten their roots and how they came into the pop scene. The band, like most garage bands, formed because of their love of music. “When we formed it was just for fun,” Cameron says. “We just wanted to perform and make music.” “When we first started we really didn’t have a genre,” Michael adds. “We had 10 songs we had written when we were kids and they were all different.” Th songs were influenced by the bands the guys were listening to at the time. Being signed to their old label, Hollywood Records (which they departed from last year) had major influence on their sound. “When we got signed, we just kind of got stuck,” Michael says. “We weren’t really like forced into it because we were stoked on getting signed and everything [but] we kind of just got stuck in pop [that] way.” There’s no denying that moving away from Hollywood Records also had a major influence on the change in the band. The boys were in constant battles with the label over the creative aspects of their project. They got very frustrated because they weren’t able to retain creative control, and it became a struggle for them. They were happy to move away from the label, and they’re not necessarily looking for a new deal for their next band. Michael feels that being signed to a label is not a necessity for them to put out their music. “We just want to branch out and do more organic stuff and play with each other on stage and be more a more organic live band,” he says. “We love playing now. We’ve been doing this for five years and we discovered more

things we like about music, like live performance and different types of music.” Most bands would worry that their loyal following would disappear if they made this sort of announcement, but not Zach, Cameron and Michael. They know their fans are emotionally invested, not only in Allstar Weekend’s music, but with the guys themselves. Quickly after the band made the announcement, confusion did arise between fans who believed that the guys were just done making music all together. But when fans learned the truth things became clearer. “Once they realized that the three of us would still be making music together, they were kind of just more excited,” Cameron says. This summer, Allstar Weekend will play the entire Vans Warped Tour. It will be the last time fans will be able to hear their favorite Allstar songs performed live. The guys feel that after Warped Tour, when they announce the details of their new project, it will hit fans that Allstar is over and it’s time for something new. It just hasn’t settled in yet for anyone. But they know that they have die-hard fans who will always be there. “One thing about our fans is that, over the years, they’ve kind of grown up with us,” Cameron says. “A lot of people that come out to the shows now are, the majority of them, are freshmen and sophomores in college. I think the new stuff will affect them a lot differently than it would have affected them when they were 15. I think it will make more sense to them.” For the boys, it’s a challenge to bring their fans on their journey with them — a challenge they are more than willing to accept. “Whatever happens, we’re not going to be hurt,” Zach says. The guys aren’t expecting fireworks with this new project quite yet — they just want to see what they’re capable of. NKD

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NKD Mag - Issue #21 (March 2015)  

Featuring Black Veil Brides, Allstar Weekend, WALK THE MOON, Our Last Night, Lawson, Cute Is What We Aim For, Hollywood Ending, Tiffany Alvo...

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