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While thinking I was going into another traditional interview, through my questioning of Trace he really opened up my eyes to the process of Metro Station be how fast they were signed to the miniscule amount of songs that they actually wrote and produced as a band. Talking about his involvement with his dad's music video for Achy Breaky Heart to the first show he ever went to, I gained a new vision of Trace and hope that you'll do the same after reading this interview. Check out my exclusive interview with him and keep your eyes peeled for much more coming from him soon!
You've been doing this tour for a while. Ashland High has done a few tours. What are the three things that you must have with you while on tour?
I miss my puppies at home.
You wish you could bring your puppies?
Yeah, I brought my first dog on the tour when I was on tour with Miley for four months and I brought him with me. We were lucky. We had two tour busses. A lot more room and a lot more people. So I wish I could have brought my puppies. I miss my family. This sounds horrible but I miss weed. In California, weed's like legal.
Is it fully legal?
You just have to get a medical card.
You can do that here now too.
Yeah but they'll give it to like anyone in California. Like they have a little map of statistics of how many people have their medical card in California and there's about like a million people. It's like everyone there does it. I don't smoke weed on tour just because I don't want to get arrested or anything so those are the things I miss but friends and weed. I mean dogs and weed. I don't miss my friends. I got my best friend right here (points to tour manager).
Then I know you released the two mixtapes for free.
'Geronimo' was my first album. I just released on January 1st a new album called ' Drugstore Cowboy' which is up for free on my website. You can download 'Geronimo' and 'Drugstore Cowboy' for free. I have like over a hundred songs recorded. I have songs I still want to put on a future in store album. Like when Metro Station dropped, the label was about to drop us and stuff. Then, finally, just by like, they got 'Shake It' on the radio. We weren't even really pushing that song as a single then the label started kissing our ass. Like we were the greatest thing ever. We were like 'You were about to drop us like six months ago' so I don't want to release a record on a label and have that same scenario happen. Like when I drop a record, I want it to sell like fifty thousand copies in the first week you know. I don't want to mess it up, I just want to do it right. So, we're going to release the album when the time's right but we're looking at anything we're doing as promotional right now. We're just trying to get it out there and try and let people know that I'm in a new band. So, I'm always recording. I just think when I have the right songs and the right promotion, I think we'll do all the things. I've been doing everything myself now so if I can go at this with out going through a label again, that's cool.
Then I do want to ask you because obviously it happened pretty quick the first time around. How do you think going into Ashland High doing this yourself and it being just you, how do you think that experience helped you? Did you take anything from that experience?
Like in the transition?
Like you're saying you're so much more DIY now.
It makes me want to work more. I feel like with Metro Station I got lazy. I worked my ass off to get a record deal. It was actually easy to get a record deal with Metro Station I don't know why. We just naturally found a place like that. I think that this is something that I feel like that I've made. With Metro Station, I didn't even appreciate it because it happened so fast. When I start playing arenas again, just doing big things, I know that I'll be at the top again. Like I'm going to be really happy because I know I've worked my ass off for it. Metro Station, like we almost got everything a little too easy. So I think this has really put me in my place and has told me that I really need to appreciate what I have. That's why I do everything I have now because I know that it's going to turn into something much bigger. I just can't wait to see it. I'm so much more happy now then like I said with Metro Station. We pretty much only made the songs that were on that record. Like ten songs ever.
That's crazy to think about.
Yeah! Like now I've made over a hundred fifty to two hundred songs with Ashland High. So that's all I'm saying is like we got lazy. We were like 'Oh, we have a song on the radio and now we can just party and do drugs like it's nothing'. Now it's like when I'm on stage, I'm thinking of my next plan. Like how I'm going to make my next move and with Metro Station, they kind of did that for us so it's a lot different.
Then speaking of writing, you've said you've written like over a hundred and fifty songs. Does the writing process still change every time or does it stay pretty similar?
I like to record at home now. I've recorded with a lot of different producers but my favorite thing to do is be in my home studio. I have my puppies there and drink and not have to worry about driving home drunk. I don't like to have anything written until I hear the actual music because I don't care about the music I care about the lyrics. I get motivation from that and then I start to freestyle stuff. To just do what comes natural. I think that's when I'm not being fake at all. Of course I get a pen and pad and I like listen but if I like a word here and there, then I'll write it down and make a song out of it. So, with recording I just love being in the studio. It's so much fun. I love touring as well. I love the whole process of doing it on my own.
Then obviously coming from a musical family, how did you first get started in doing music? With everyone in your family's styles being pretty different from each other.
Well, I knew as soon as I saw my father playing shows when I was like four years old that I wanted to do it. I remember the first like performance that I had was when my dad was shooting the video for 'Achy Breaky Heart'. He brought me out and I had like a little guitar. I still remember like all these lights and cameras and all this shit. He had already filmed his parts and he left and I was just singing Achy Breaky Heart and not really being able to play. I was just crying because I wanted my dad. I was like 'No, no I can't do it with out my dad'. They were like 'He's done for the day, he already left'. So that was like my first experience with music but I knew I saw how cool my dad was. Just being in a different city every night. I would always tour with my dad and just seeing that rubbed off on me. I remember him with his band, my mom, everybody they were all like 'This is not the business you want to get into'. Now I understand why they told me that. It's so like one day you can have a hit like that. You're on the radio and you're making millions. Then the next day, it's gone. It's not like I haven't been through everything like that myself. That was the same way with my dad's career. 'Achy Breaky Heart' is still one of the biggest hits of all time I believe.
So I don't know. I'm kind of in the same position as him but I wouldn't trade this career for anything. I love the challenge of it. If it was easy, it wouldn't even be fun. So that's what makes it all worth while. Doing what you do to make it to the top.
Then I actually want to ask you about your clothing line which you're obviously wearing right now. How did you get the inspiration to do 'Southern Made Hollywood Paid'?
Well, with Metro Station, I had a line called 'From Backseats to Bedrooms'. I had a bunch of great designs lined up then Urban Outfitters pretty much stole every design idea. Like I went into the store and every design idea I had was like out on their shelves. Metro Station was really popular at the time so they were trying to rip me off. So, I just want to started fresh. I don't really know how it came about 'Southern Made'. I just came up with it one day. Before I was even dealing with it as a clothing line, I had it tatted on my body. It was just kind of a motto I was living by. Just 'Southern Made, Hollywood Paid'. We moved from the South to California and we were making a living out there. Honestly, I wasn't doing it to make money or anything. I mean I've made some money off of it but I feel like a very unique person and I like my clothes to represent me. I don't like to wear other people's clothes. Like today, my deejay was like my friend's coming to the show and he wants to bring you a bunch of clothes. I was like, no offense, I just don't want to wear other people's lines. I like to wear my clothes because it's so personal to me. Every design I have represents like my own stuff. I made it for me and sell it online. If kids like it, that's great. Most of all, I do it for myself and really not for other people. I just like to wear my own stuff and I don't like to support those other brands. It's something I do for fun. It's just so I can be creative. Music's what I do for a job, clothing line is what I do for fun but I love doing it. It's fun! I do it all myself too. I have the warehouse at my house. I do the ordering myself. I put Ashland High Cd's in a couple of orders so it's a way to get the music out there too. Everyone that buys something gets a free album of songs so music is always going to be the main focus but my dad has always said you can't keep all your eggs in one basket. So the clothing line is kind of just like a fall back. Just to put a little bit of money in my pocket if I need to one day.
Then a little softer one to kind of end it off! The first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying as a kid then the first concert that you ever went to, maybe that wasn't your father's.
We actually talked about this today. The first cassette I had was Trisha Yearwood. I couldn't remember the album right away. She was a country singer back in the day and I think she's still around doing it. I don't know the name of the album that I had of her's but my favorite song off of it was this song called 'She's In Love With The Boy' and I was obsessed with that song. I had a little walk men thing that I would listen to that on. I was like four years old singing her songs. The first CD I ever can remember my parents getting me, besides my dad who I loved to listen to when I was growing up, was actually Shawn Mullins. He sings that song called "Rock and Roll Lullaby". You would know if it you heard it though. It was a big nineties smash hit and that it was his only hit though. The whole album is like really laid back and just emotional music. Just stuff that you could just really relate to on an emotional level. It's not upbeat or anything. All acoustic songs. Then like I was saying, I always listened to my dad's music. First concert of course was my dad's concerts. For one that's not my dad, this is embarrassing but it was Hanson.
I loved them. I went with my older sister Brandi. It was kind of weird for guys to like Hanson but I loved Hanson so much. I honestly had like blonde hair down to here.
I had a mullet! Still the fact that they have like the long blonde hair. It finally made me feel cool. They went out of style pretty fast and then I loved them. Like I got to go to the show and just through like my dad's connections and stuff, we got to meet them and everything. So I was freaking out. It was alright, it was a good show though! Like they were talented kids. I feel bad for them though. They got so big. I'm not shit talking on them but at the time, they were the greatest thing ever. They wrote good songs, they make great music.
They still tour which is great!
Yeah, they tour with some bands I've toured with which is crazy. It was a weird thing because they always seem to be making a comeback. They'll be in style, go out of style, be back in style. It's cool that they still do it because they wrote good songs. They're talented guys.
Then maybe to end it off, I know you still have quite a few dates to go on this tour. What's coming up after this?
After this tour? I don't really know because like I said, nobody really on a record label, no management, no booking. Really the only person I have on a team like that is a publicist. Just to get the name out and everything but I never stress about it because I've been busy since Metro Station split up. I just always say that I work hard then God opens the doors for me. I believe that when the time's right, I'll get another tour or maybe I'll get a reality show. I don't know what it's going to be. I just kind of play it by ear and the pieces always seem to fall into place. So, I can't say exactly what will open. The goal is to just keep touring to the end of this year but I didn't even know how I was going to tour this year. The Millionaires just played a show with me last year and then they were like 'Yo, we're going to book a tour' and I didn't believe them because it's hard to book a tour without a booking agent. They had to call every venue, every Booker and then I know a lot of bands and stuff so we're just going to try and tour. Use the connections that we have and see what we can go about.