Megan and Liz

I find myself at shows at least two to three nights a week and recently I got the kind of rare opportunity to actually interview a girl musician, even two of them this time around. The touring world is completely dominated by boys these days and two girls that are trying to break into that scene are twins Megan and Liz Mace!

Getting their start off Youtube, the duo has quickly moved on to the fast paced world of venue tours and recently found themselves playing their first show in Boston. With a crowd of over three hundred, it's clear that they won't be coming to a lull anytime soon and that will only be assisted by their debut full length coming out later this year. Working with big time producers and having plenty of years under their belt, the band dropped their debut single from the album to radio "Release You". The duo is only going up from here and I was lucky to grab some time with them on the climb up!

You guys have toured before but this is your first headlining tour. What were three things that you had to bring with you?
Meg: We have these cat blankets that a fan made for us.
Liz: They're like super nice fleece blankets.
Meg: It's like this flannel material that you can tie at the ends and they have our initials on the corners so we had to bring those.
Liz: About a million pairs of fake eyelashes.
Meg: Yes!
Liz: And red lipstick!
Meg: Yeah, red lipstick!

Crucial! Then obviously you guys have been doing this for a while, you're sisters so how has this first headlining run been going? You have toured some of these cities before, maybe even Boston.
Liz: We haven't actually done Boston before!
Meg: It's been really, really fun this tour. Definitely a lot of work but in the best way possible.
Liz: Yeah, our band, our crew is just the best and always fun. Always a good time. It's so fun!

Perfect, then obviously you are now doing radio and have released 'Release You' to radio. You're kind of taking this a step further but how did you first get started doing this as sisters? Did you perform together a lot before? How did you start doing youtube, really how did this get started?
Meg: Yeah, we definitely performed together when we were younger before Youtube was around. Like standing in my driveway and trying to dance. Teach ourselves these dances and sing at the same time. Like I would always get mad at Liz, be like 'You're not doing it right!' and you'd be like 'Well, I can't dance!' I would make her dance anyway.
Liz: Yup!
Meg: So needless to say, we stopped dancing and just got into singing.

Then maybe how is it to have a sister as a rock while going on tour and now that things are starting to pick up. Like having 'Release You' on the radio and your full length album coming out later this year. How is it to have your sister with you the whole way?
Meg: It's definitely the best. Today, even she was not feeling so great so I had to do a radio thing by myself and I was like I don't know how people do it by themselves. We are so lucky that we have the other one. She's my best friend. We're very lucky.

Then for this album coming out, I know you worked with a lot of really big producers. How did the writing/recording process go for this album? I know you guys started out doing like Youtube covers but how did you go about the process for this album?
Meg: Well, this one we had a lot of fun with it. It was just kind of put together over two, two and a half years. We got to work with a lot of people that we've always dreamed of working with. It was surprisingly not as hard as I though it would be. It would be like 'Hey, do you think we could work with this person?' and they would be 'I don't know, let me find out'. All you have to do is ask! You can always get told no. I mean, you'll never know if you never ask. We've been really lucky and we're really excited to have a full length album.

Then for "Release You" being the first single off the album, maybe the story behind that track?
Meg: That song was actually written almost a year ago and we went into the studio with Max Martin and we came up with this "Release You" thing and the song was born.

Then I know you're currently with a big management firm who also represent some guy named Justin Timberlake and many other big artists. Maybe what's been the best part of that experience because obviously that's a huge deal for you guys?
Meg: Yeah! Well, Sonia is like honestly the head honcho. She's great. I love her laugh. She's so funny and she's so powerful. She doesn't take any crap from anybody.
Liz: Tons of respect for her and Carlos.
Meg: Carlos just started working for Sonia.
Yeah he worked at labels in the past.
Meg: Love Carlos. He's so funny and he's so good.

Then maybe the first CD or the first cassette both of you ever bought as a kid? Then the first concert you ever went to?
Meg: First concert we went to was Kelly Clarkson and we were like twelve. Then the first CD I remember going to the store to buy was Britney Spears' 'Oops, I Did It Again' CD.
Same for you? Kind of shared your album purchases?
Meg: Oh no, I think yours was probably the Christina one.
Liz: I was more Christina and she was more Britney.

And do you think those obviously like influenced you today? I mean there are no real like strong girls coming out, like new ones. Maybe for you guys as a girl duo, did those experiences really inspire you?
Meg: For sure! I mean look at Liz, she's blond!
Liz: Christina was blond! No, it's true! I think definitely.
Meg: Yeah!
Liz: Certain vocal ticks that both of us have. If you listen to Britney and Christina's older tracks, you'll hear similarities. Also, in how we practice singing.
Meg: Yeah, that's just how we practice singing because that's what we grew up listening to.

Then you still have a while to go on this American Rag tour but what is coming up for you guys after this run? I mean, the album's coming out, the songs are doing well. Are you just going to be touring, doing like a lot of radio stuff. What's going to be going on?
Meg: Boy! We'll be touring. The goal is after this tour to get an opening spot on a bigger tour and just keep touring and keep touring. Obviously finish up the rest of the album. Get that out and we've got a lot of other stuff like in the works that we can't talk about yet. Yeah, we're really excited for it!
Then to end it off, obviously a lot of younger girls are coming out to this show and I'm sure the other shows as well. Clearly look up to you and what you do so maybe advice to maybe female musicians just getting start? Since obviously because your success level is picking up.
Meg: Work really hard. I feel like it's not something that girls do that often as in like the touring scene. It's more of a boy thing to do.
Liz: Yeah, we were just thinking about that. We're the only girls on tour right now. It's just like don't be afraid of your dreams because obviously your dreams are big.
Meg: If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough. That's what it is.
Liz: Oh yeah!
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We Came As Romans

It's crazy to think that I've been interviewing bands for over four years now and I still haven't gotten sick of it. I've interviewed everyone from radio favorites like 3OH!3 to The Ready Set to Frank Turner and Mona but one that always is a must have interview for me are the guys in We Came As Romans. Since February 2010, I've been steadly interviewing the band and have watched them come so far. We've talked over the span of three album cycles and have watched the band go from being one out of five on a tour to now headline rooms that hold thousands of kids.

Our most recent conversation with the band happened at this year's Warped Tour where the band found themselves as one of this year's headliners as well as being on the cusp of dropping their new album 'Tracing Back Roots' which dropped less then a week ago. We caught up with lead songwriter/guitarist Joshua Moore and discussed how the recording process went with legendary producer John Feldmann for this album as well as what is to be expected from the band with in the next few months!

Obviously this is not your first time around on the Warped Tour. How has this summer been so far?

It's been cool! It's like a huge difference from when we were on the Monster stage compared to the main stage. After Warped Tour, we were on the road for forever again. Just being on the main stage, there's the prestige that comes with it so it's really cool. Kids stick around to watch, no matter what band is playing, because it's main stage. At the same time, I think that we are gaining a lot of new fans because there are kids that will be left over from like Black Veil Brides set and Sleeping With Sirens, who with the new CD, genre-wise we're not that close anymore either.

Then maybe obviously the new record 'Tracing Back Roots' is less then two weeks away.
Yeah it comes out on the 23rd. Today is the eleventh, it's my cat's birthday which is really nerdy of me to say but so yeah now it's in twelve days.

Obviously you having a large part in the writing process, how do you think it's changed from the last two albums?
I guess, like writing this CD, just like the things I have been able to do on it are completely different from the older stuff like musically. Not that there was ever a time where I wanted to write a song that was different and the rest of the band was like no. It was just a lot more working with the genres that encompass our band. Writing stuff that's way more over on the radio side. At the same time, there's a song that I think is a bonus track that's one of the heaviest songs that we've ever written as well. So there are songs on both ends of the spectrum. We have music that will keep our fans happy so it wouldn't feel like we've completely changed but then we have songs that show that we have changed. A lot of people feel that change isn't a neccessary thing. People may be surprised. It's not something that we're doing for the money because there's so much of that in the music industry. I don't know if you know that but it's just filled with money everywhere (laughs). It's just what we've been wanting to do and this album we were able to kind of do more of that direction and working with John Feldmann was awesome too. He's a really good dude like on a friendship level as well as a professional level. He's just great to be around and great to work with. So being able to do that was great. To see what we could write. It wouldn't have gone nearly as well as it did if we went with somebody else. Just working with John kind of opened my mind to the different ways to write and maybe a little stylistic help but very few people can do that. Not that John didn't help in writing. John and I wrote five or six songs together. I think we ended up only using four of them. Well, there's a tangent for you.

Then do you think that obviously affected the recording? Like working with some one like John and being a band for this long. Do you think it affected it considering you talked about going a new direction?

It didn't at first. I mean we went into the studio with ten or eleven songs. I've said that in every interview. I don't want to say ten then have some kid be like it was eleven! You're a liar! So it was either ten or eleven songs that I had done on my own. About five of them were done back home in Michigan and then another five or six I did when we were on tour with The Used in the back lounge with my computer and everything. So we already went in with truly a CD's worth of music and then from there, John and I did about six. So then we had about seventeen or eighteen songs then we crossed off a couple of them and then we ended up doing thirteen songs. Two of them are on the special release that will be available at Target. Exclusively. There's two bonus tracks on that one and then I'm sure they will surface on the internet somewhere. Yeah, being able to write with Jon was a completely new experience for me. I had written about half the songs with another person. On 'Understanding', 'Cast The First Stone' was something Joey and I wrote together-ish. It was more he wrote some parts, I wrote some parts and we just kind of put it together. With John, it was actually more together and collaborative on like all the aspects of the song. Which was just awesome. It was cool that it wasn't a pressure thing. I was joking around with saying I just had this image of him where John and I would have a conflicting opinion and he would just be like 'Well, my friends think you're wrong' and he just points at his wall of gold records and I'd be like 'Oh god'. Okay, you win John Feldmann. You and your forty gold records but it was never like that at all. If there was ever anything that we both had an opinion on, we would just say why we would go this way because of this. It would be either I'm right or you're right. That was it. It was like a one minute discussion and we'd just always move forward and I think we both just had the complete best interest of this CD at heart so it was really easy. I mean that was that.

So it was a pretty easy process?

Yeah, it was a long process. I think Kyle, Dave and I were there for about two and a half weeks and then the rest of the band flew out after that for about three weeks. We actually got finished early which was really cool since we were planning to be there for another nine days then we got done really early so that was nice. I guess that's what happens when you work hard in the studio. Not that we didn't work hard previously but every other studio time, we were working until the last possible day. Like for 'To Plant A Seed', we actually had to buy an extra week of studio time.

Oh really?
Because the studio time ended and we were like, we have six songs.

But that was your first full length, right?
Yeah. Then we did 'Understanding' and we got like eight weeks of studio time and I was there literally until the last day. Then with this record, we finished early so that was awesome.

Got it down pact!
Finally, eight years later!

Obviously you have a lot coming up with the album being out so soon and you're almost half way done with Warped Tour, what is going to be coming up?
Actually we have a lot coming up. We have eight days off before we go to Europe for the rest of the month then we're in Europe all of August then we have a full tour planned for October and then in November we're going back to Europe again. Early December, we're going to Australia. I think that got announced, I'm pretty sure it did. Not a hundred percent sure but pretty sure I just saw it in my email. I kind of wandered through the crowd trying to find my phone but I think I saw it. So yeah that's basically about it.

Non stop, really.
Yeah, pretty much. We started this year off with the Take Action tour then a week later we were literally in the studio for a few weeks. So we're seven months into the year already doing so much. It's pretty normal though unfortunately. Not that we don't like touring but it is nice to be home. We'll be at home for a bit in September then we'll be on tour for the rest of the year.
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The Ready Set

Over the past few years, I've steadily sat down with this next guy Jordan Witzigreuter also known as The Ready Set! I've watched him progress from a Myspace presence purely to now be a radio mainstay and constantly be touring and selling out massive shows. At our latest meet up with each other, I picked Jordan's brain about his new album considering we haven't had a new one from him since his radio break through album in 2011! He let me know that he has a full album finished and even the fact that he had received the fully done album the very day that we sat down for our new interview!

While he currently finds himself out on tour with Breathe Carolina and We the Kings on the Summerfest tour, he assured me that the band will be back out on the road in the fall. Hopefully post album release because fans definitely deserve some new tunes from this songwriting machine! Read on for our latest exclusive and be sure to check back for a new interview soon!

It has been a while since you've released like a EP or full length. Is there something that you're working on right now?
Yeah I actually just put out this free acoustic EP kind of as like a bridge to the album and actually today, I just got the whole new album delivered. All completely done. Everything is finished and pretty much just going to have an explosion of new stuff coming out pretty soon. I'm pretty pumped.

It's fully ready to go?
Yeah. Everything is a hundred percent done. Just waiting on a release date then we're off!

Perfect! Then you have been releasing a lot of singles over the past few years but will this album be all new material, are you putting some of those songs on this album?

It's all new which is very exciting.

Maybe how did you go about the writing for this album considering it's all new material?
I've pretty much been writing for the past two years since the last full length release came out. It was kind of like pick a couple of those songs that stood out from that era. I just wrote a ton. I had like sixty something songs left over that are just kind of there. I'm constantly writing while on tour. Most of the songs on the album are the newest ones. I kind of just scrapped everything. Being like I'm just going to write these eleven songs and this will be what it is. It's nice.

Then you've been touring a lot lately. You've played Boston itself multiple times with in this past year. How has this tour been going considering it's a bit more eclectic?
It's been really cool. The benefit of it is that everybody is playing to people who aren't necessarily your fans right off the bat. There's going to be We The Kings fans, Breathe Carolina fans, Ready Set fans, T. Mills, it just really benefits everybody. Nothing on the tour doesn't fit. It all kind of works together but it does kind of have that like little miniature festival vibe but that was kind of the intention of it.

And the big rooms have been going over well?

These really big spaces.
Yeah, it's been cool. I mean like tomorrow in New York City, there only a few tickets away from selling out. Presale today was good. I'm excited, I can't complain.

To end it off, what is coming up for you? You said the album is completely done. Is that just going to be the focus? Like getting that album out and doing all the promotion?
Yeah, pretty much. After this tour is done, we're doing video stuff and getting the whole storm going then probably by October, November we will be back on the road probably. Just touring forever as always.
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Trace Cyrus

Sometimes I get the pretty interesting opportunity to do an interview with some one who is kind of in re-start mode. Not to say that they aren't on an excellent career path, it's just something incredibly different from maybe what fans of them from the past would be expecting. One of those artists and one I was exceptionally interested in interviewing was famous frontman Trace Cyrus currently known as Ashland High and formerly as the lead singer of scene favorites Metro Station.

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.

Still is.
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.

Oh really?
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.
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We The Kings

There are few bands that have the lasting power that We The Kings does so I was grateful to have the opportunity to catch up with lead vocalist Travis Clark. We spoke with Travis hours before the band took to the stage to about two thousand kids and discussed the current spot the band finds them in. Which is probably one of the best spots they've been in in their whole career! After the third album, the band walked away from S-Curve Records which had been their musical home since practically the inception of the band. Post that success, they have had multiple tracks put in huge motion pictures, have sold over one hundred thousand singles of the first two tracks on iTunes with in a week and are on a huge room tour called Summerfest. We talk everything about the going ons of this past year or so as well as where they currently stand songwriting wise for their new album. Read on for our exclusive!

It has been a while since a proper headlining tour in the US for you, the last kind of being Warped Tour.
Yeah but Warped Tour, that's like the festival tour. It never really is your tour. You're part of the tour where as like this, I think the last time that we headlined was the Friday Is Forever tour which was last year. It was really, really awesome because we played really, really small rooms. Every room sold out immediately. This tour, we decided to play like the biggest rooms we could possibly fill so we've been playing rooms that are two, three thousand, four thousand, five thousand people. It's awesome just to try and to see how many people are actually coming. We've sold out the majority of these dates.

Oh really?
Yeah and we didn't even mean to. We just tried to play venues that could get everybody in versus having to turn away people at the door.

Maybe how has it been going over then? I know, just from interviewing them really recently people like T. Mills maybe three months ago and Ready Set and Breathe Carolina that it's a pretty eclectic tour. How did it come about?
Well, that's kind of the Warped Tour as well because it's a summer tour that we're on right now so the tour that we battle is Warped Tour. The tour is so cool because it does have that eclectic scene. You can listen to a rock band and then listen to a indie band and then a metal band, a hardcore band, a screamo band, a piano band. It's all on Warped Tour and that could be one after the other. There's really no rhyme or reason. It's all music. We wanted to do that on a smaller scale so we decided to have an electronic band with Breathe Carolina. We wanted to have T. Mills who's a hip hop and rap act. We wanted to have Jordan who's a pop artist. Keep It Cute is like a rock artist and we're kind of the alternative so it was a really cool thing for us to do. To try to do a mini Warped Tour. Every new band or artist that comes on stage, it feels like it's new. You're not listening to the same thing over and over again.

Then considering it has been about two years since the last full length, where are you in the process of making a new record? Are you guys working on a new one, is it already done?
The new record is almost done. I think we're at song maybe eleven or twelve and I know we want to have sixteen. Not to say that all sixteen will make it. We had like a really amazing opportunity, as we were writing, a bunch of big movies were coming out. We're off a label now. Without a label and our first song that we released in April called "Just Keep Breathing" sold over a hundred thousand singles in the first week which is something that we've never ever done. It's really difficult for a band to do and without the label, it says even more about like our fan base. Our fan base just stuck together so we're like "Let's do this!" We ended up selling like a hundred and four thousand singles that first week and then we were like well if we don't need a label, let's do this. Let's keep releasing singles. So we released "Find You There" and it went the same way. We were like, what is happening? It obviously caused like all this attention then in June, we had a song that we had written for the Ironman 3 soundtrack. The people over there kind of just hit us up and they were like 'Hey, you guys are blowing up. Do you want to do a song that could be for Ironman 3?' 'Uh, yes'. So we just wanted to send them anything. We had a song that we actually wrote just for the soundtrack. We sent it over and they were like 'This is weird but it would be perfect for the soundtrack' and they were like 'How did you guys come up with it?' We were like 'It took two hours'. So we submitted that and they loved it. It was really, really cool to be a part of that whole film and then we have a song that we wrote for The Hunger Games movie Catching Fire. That was a little more tricky. Do you remember that Alicia Keys song 'Girl On Fire'? That was written for The Hunger Games and they said it was too literal so they didn't want it. So you have to write a song for the movie but it can't be clearly for that so we did a song and it went awesome. It could be for Hunger Games but it could also just be a good song. So that comes out with that movie and that's really, really cool. We have all these songs that are kind of being distributed through out other forms of media like the movie industry. I know that we have ten or eleven that are really meaningful to us and I would really like to do a couple more. Then we'll put it out hopefully this year.

So you're planning for this year?
Well, I mean our very first record came out in October of 2007. Our second record was December 7th of 2009. Our third record was July 5th of 2011 so we've released pretty consistently an album every two years. 2007, 2009, 2011 so it's only right that we get our record out in 2013. That's our goal and it's only because we're really OCD. Like we have to put it out in 2013. Probably November, December we'll have it released.

Then considering you have been the singer for the length of this band and this being your fourth album, how do you feel the writing process has changed? Do you feel it's changed or has it become a rhythm?
I've definitely gotten into a rhythm writing. As far as like the musicality goes. The sonic portion of it but I think a lot of the lyrical influence from this record is from our fans. We've been a band for five, six years and it's really cool to see these fans grow. They come out to every single show that you play and they tell you stories about their lives that are very intimate and are very close to them and personal. It makes you feel really attached to these people and it's really nice sometimes to hear that they went through problems but your music helped them. Your music kind of saved them. There are a couple songs on this record that I wrote in hopes to save somebody's life and one of those songs was called "Just Keep Breathing". It was a song that I really wanted to write for a really long time but it was all about me getting bullied as a kid. I know a lot of people can relate to that. Even if you're the cool kid. People are still really cruel and they find ways to put you down. I wrote this song "Just Keep Breathing" to have an anthem for all these unsung heroes that are out there that feel like they aren't worth anything because they are beautiful people like everybody else. So I've been writing more for like a hold on, hang on type vibe. Still upbeat, a sing along feel but more like it feels like the right thing to do.

Then a lot of bands are kind of doing this off the label thing. I know that The Maine is kind of on the smaller one that they first got started on but The Cab not being on a label anymore currently. A lot of bands are leaving their labels. What are the biggest pro's of that? Especially considering you've been on a label for pretty much your whole career up to this point.
Yeah I mean I think it's really difficult. I think you would have to put bands in different categories as far as like where they are in their career. We The Kings, without a label, has sold out a tour and we're writing new music. We sold a hundred thousand singles and for those songs, we got a song in Ironman and Hunger Games. We have our Youtube channel going crazy. We have all these things that we're still able to do without a label. Some bands don't have that ability. They haven't fully gotten to that point in their career to be able to say 'Oh, we don't need a label.' Just because it makes it hard for them. I guess to say it in lameman's terms, there are bands that can be like we don't need a label and they can still make it for the rest of their lives. Not to say names but a couple of the bands that just release one album with a label and then they get dropped from their label. That's not really the same thing as saying like we don't need a label. It's like you actually got dropped and it's going to make it really difficult for you and because you got dropped, it's going to make it difficult for any other labels to want to resign you. Just because we don't have a label, I think in the last six months alone seven different record labels have been like 'Are you guys ready to sign?' 'Do you guys want this?' and it's just not worth it to us. I think eventually we may go back to a label. I mean we're a radio band. We've had five songs that have charted at Top 40 Radio. So it would be cool for us to continue that for our fans. If we're not actually playing in that city at that exact moment, they can still turn on the radio and listen to us so it feels like we're still there. I think there's a time and place for being on a label but it would be very difficult for bands that aren't necessarily at the We The Kings, I'm not even saying like level but us not having a label hasn't affected us and it will for a lot of bands.

Like bands that have less records out?
Bands like that, it's good for. They've released four or five records. They have a huge following and now they can go without a label. That's fine. If you release one record and you get dropped, it's going to be a really long road for you. I know my friends in The Cab and The Maine, it's really difficult for them. They're still doing it, they're still coasting on that twitter following, Facebook following that they've gained from a label but it's very difficult to get good tours. Labels when Fueled by Ramen and Decaydance always had Fall Out Boy, Panic at The Disco, The Cab, The Academy Is, Gym Class Heroes and some smaller bands. So it was always really easy to get tours. Now without a label, it's really difficult for those bands to get those tours.

For example, I interview William Beckett a bunch and he's in that position where he's really having to regrow. Like doing smaller tours and not headlining.
That's even different because he's not using the name 'The Academy Is'. He actually just sent me his new record yesterday. He was like I want people to hear the new stuff and I've only sent it to a couple people. He was like I would genuinely like to hear what you think. I think it's great. It's a really good direction for him to go. I remember The Academy Is. I was such a huge fan of them and I was like the MTV generation. When MTV was actually playing music. I would get excited to hear a band like that. Play MTV's Spring Break. So I was always a huge fan. We did a couple tours with Academy Is and the whole time that they would be on stage, I would be like 'This is so great'. So when he decided to go solo, I was kind of bummed at first like a lot of the other fans of Academy Is and it really makes it difficult to try and regrow and have that thing that has essentially been your baby from the very beginning. Even though you're still the same songwriter and you're the same face, it's way different. People are so attached to the band. So it's difficult but I think his new record is really very good. It will definitely set him apart from other people.
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Frank Turner

Being a journalist, there is a rare act that everyone can agree on in this music community but one of those rare acts is this next artist I interviewed, Frank Turner. Fresh off a stand out performance at Newport Folk Festival, I was able to grab a few minutes with Frank on a not so "day off" from his current US tour where he was playing an intimate set at Newbury Comics. While it is a while before he returns to Boston November 30th being the last night of his fall tour, he has two full US tours before then in support of his new hit album "Tape Deck Heart"!

Being his first album that was released on a major label, Interscope, it is sure to bring sell out talk from the punk rock community but really he feels that you can't judge him till the next one. He was first called a sell out though because he toured in a van that had seats so it won't matter at all to him, ' I mean if that's the bar? Then fucking whatever.' For his new record, he told me about his more left-field songs as well as letting his true music tastes shine a little bit more on this album. Doing this, he also strayed away from past lyric topics and only plans on doing that again in the future. Always a pleasure to interview, read on for our exclusive with Frank!

You just came off of Newport Folk Festival, you played Maine last night. You have so much touring come up in the US with this new album. How was Newport and maybe that show last night?

It was great! I mean first of all, it was kind of an honor to be there for such a historic festival and all the rest of it. It was cool. I mean we played earlier in the day and we came out and listened to other bands playing. I had a moment to think to myself and be like god, we're so much heavier then all these people. Even if we were to do kind of a more folky set which incidentally we didn't do. We just did what we usually do. I don't want to kind of like trick people into liking my music, do you know what I mean? But it was fun! There were a couple kind of old people in the crowd going 'Jesus Christ' but we had a really good show and made a lot of new friends. So it was good! Then Maine was great apart from the fact that it was the single hottest gig I think I've ever done ever.

Single hottest?
Yeah, oh my god. I really nearly had to kind of stop the set at one point because I couldn't breathe but I mean it was fun. Good crowd. First time I've headlined Portland, Maine. Sold out so that was great.

Despite all the touring, that was the first show you had done in Portland headlining?

Yeah, we've been to Maine as a support act before but that's it. Never have headlined up there.

Then I wanted to ask you, obviously with the record being so new, how do you feel it's been going over?

I think it's been going well. I mean, it's sold lots of copies so that's good. I like that. That's nice. That makes various people in my organization very happy which is good. I mean it's not really how I judge success. For me, the main thing is when I'm playing shows and people are coming down. If there's new people coming to the shows. People calling out for the new songs. Singing along with the new songs. It's kind of like validation in that way. I mean that makes me pretty happy.

Perfect then I know you did this record with Interscope. You being on a major label, do you think that affected the process for you?
No, only because that signing came about after the record was already done. Yeah, it's funny. For any band coming from the punk rock scene, if you move from the indie label to a major, there's a certain constituency of people who call you a sell out. It's like the weather. You just kind of deal with it. I think that part of it that amused me was it was kind of like wait for the next album to come out before you can say how being on a major has affected my album. We kind of did the record and then did the deal.

Yeah, we'll see how it goes.
Yeah, exactly. Then you can call me a sell out. The first time I ever got called a sell out was when I first did a tour in a van that had seats in it rather then just lying on the ground with the equipment.

Are you kidding?
Not kidding and that person was not kidding as well. He was deadly serious. I thought it was kind of cool because we got that out of the way. I mean if that's the bar? Then fucking whatever.

Then maybe how did the writing process change for this one? Do you think it changed considering how long you've been writing?
Yeah, I mean it changes. I try really hard to not over think. For me, writing is something that happens kind of naturally. When I kind of go I'm going to write this song this way and I'm going to write about this it doesn't work. I just kind of let it come. I mean obviously, the Sleeping Souls and I are kind of a closer unit then before. A huge component of the sound is the band. I'm still kind of writing by myself but I'm writing for them. We arrange it together collectively. That didn't just begin with this record considering we've been a unit for five years but every passing year, it becomes a closer deal. Then the other thing is that having said everything I just said about trying to not push the music into any one direction, I don't want to repeat myself. I'll have people that come up to me and say well this new record doesn't sound like the last one. Yes, that's the point but I didn't want to write any songs about England this time around and some people were surprised by that. I'm just like I just did that. You know the next record will be different things again.

Then maybe for this question, it may not even apply to the new album. What song do you think like screams Frank Turner, something fans would expect and then maybe the most left-field, like something new you tried?
I think that 'Broken Piano' is pretty left-field on the new album. I'm really proud of that song. I think it's my favorite song on the album but if I had to choose, simply because it is kind of outside of my comfort zone as a songwriter. But as a songwriter, it also nods to my taste of music which I never kind of publicly acknowledged before which is post rock and ambient and stuff like that. I really like that one but there's lots of stuff on the record. I really like 'The Fisher King Blues'. It just doesn't really make any sense on any level. Just structurally and musically. Or indeed lyrically but it kind of is an interesting piece. What I like about it is when you listen to the beginning, for the first time, you'd never guess how it's going to finish with the intro. I think it's really cool and still every time I listen to it or play it through, part of me is kind of slightly like 'How did we get here?' We started with acoustic guitars and now we're in this kind of giant hale storm of weirdness. Anyway!

That's good, that's great! Then you have been touring a lot this year already and now you're about to go on tons of touring. I know you have so much touring before you even come back to Boston. I think it's at the end of November.
It's the last show of the tour.
Then maybe what are you most looking forward to during these next few months?
Well, I mean being on tour is a great way to be. I mean this tour and that American tour in the fall as you guys say is an exciting one just because we're playing bigger places headlining then we've ever done. It's kind of cool because you see things going in the right direction or however you want to put it. Particularly because I think for anyone who's from England or just outside the US in general, there is something about touring America that is slightly mythical because of the history of rock and roll. Like 'Almost Famous' and all that sort of thing. The idea of being on a bus. There's something slightly kind of unlikely about it in a cool way. I never tire of touring.

Then considering you have been touring for such a long time maybe advice for bands. You did some dates with Architects for example who took a break from touring the US for like two years. Advice to bands just going out and starting to tour here?
(Laughs) Well I think that the thing about touring America is that it's a lot harder then the UK or Europe is. It's just a lot harder and I know a lot of bands, this seems cliche, that kind of get broken by America and how big this place is. How much work you have to put into just getting a tiny bit of fraction. Personally, I kind of thrive off that because I want to work hard so it's fine by me but yeah just kind of be prepared for it to be fucking crazy. I have a great story about this actually. Friends of mine were in a grind core band many, many years ago. They famously booked a tour of the east coast in the USA. Kind of doing, because they're a grind core band, just spot shows and bar shows and stuff. Pete got miles and kilometers confused and partly because he couldn't believe it was miles between venues. This was planned before Google Maps. This was like in like '98 or somewhere around there so he booked this whole tour and it turned out that the drive times between shows were so insane that you would have to drive twenty three hours every single day. Just unload, play and drive. It actually broke the band up. They got to the end of the tour and the drummer was like 'Fuck you I'm never playing with you ever again' but yeah I love that idea of him refusing to believe that venues could possibly be that far. Like from Atlanta to Orlando. It can't possibly be that far.

Then you have lots coming up in the next few months.
Yeah, I have lots of touring. Writing a lot. You see I've got this kind of idea of trying to do another record quickly. Whether or not that will actually happen. Whether or not that is actually a good idea. Whether or not the record label will be into that is a different question. I guess we'll see but then I also have a side project which includes Matt and we have been working on an album and hopefully that will be out at some point. If I finish writing lyrics for it which I will!
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