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Arriving at the Hard Rock Hotel, I decided it all seemed apt that the Colorado rock quintet OneRepublic would be hosting their press conference in this quintessentially American rocker hangout. The evening's rain had just let up, and the dim lighting in the venue made for a cosy hideout whilst awaiting the arrival of the band members, including Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Eddie Fisher and Brent Kutzle. The press conference however, was a little too short, and not many of us could actually get a word in, partly due to the long answers given.
The mouthpiece of the band was largely Ryan, although Drew quipped in with anecdotes once in a while. The rest of the guys looked comfortable to hand the reins over to their frontman, and sat patiently as Ryan answered questions from the press. I felt however, that the band felt a little lacklustre in this case, because the other personalities did not manage to shine. Perhaps a one on one interview might have felt more relaxing for them to come out of their shells?
In any case, the hosts, Shan and Cheryl, kicked things off by asking the boys about their "One Night In Bangkok" trip, and Ryan explained that they had a couple of days off and "jammed everything into one day" and "hit all the top attractions".
They even managed to get onto a "tuk-tuk", but didn't do so for long because of the pollution. Ryan went on a spiel about a country's culture, saying that for some bands, it is "just another hotel", and from the start OneRepublic "vowed never to be that kind of artistes", and it was actually quite endearing, it gave the band some sense of humanity, that they were interested in each destination's culture and people.
On Singapore, the band expressed their amazement, saying that "so much has changed in Singapore, it's almost like your country went on a building spree! We couldn't believe it, we were driving around and going 'that wasn't here, that wasn't here, that wasn't here'".Fans should be glad to know that Drew mentioned, "Our keyboard player felt very much like we were in Jurassic Park, which in America is the highest compliment!" What particularly caught their eye was the giant tree-like structures at Gardens by the Bay, where Ryan commented it looked like something out of Avatar.
Four questions in total were asked in this roughly 20 minute press conference, of which included a reference to Swedish DJ Alesso's remixed version of the EDM-fused single If I Lose Myself. Ryan admitted goodnaturedly that the original song on the record didn't connect as well as they wanted it to, saying that the record label had rejected an earlier version that was more "live-sounding", but it was "something that I hope we can put out someday". The band also acknowledged Alesso's version of their 2013 hit, even saying it was better. What do you guys think?
With super-songwriter Ryan Tedder on the panel, the band was asked if there were any songs that Ryan had written and given away that they thought would have worked for the band. To that, Drew commented that while that had not happened yet, they almost lost a song on their current record, Native. The James Blake / Prince-inspired Can't Stop apparently was written for no particular artiste, but Ryan affirmed, "I didn't hear it for the band," but lucky the band members rallied and convinced him that it was a great one. He went on to say that with the "biggest challenge" for them was trying to find the right songs, because of their "diverse musical tastes". The one common thread between the five guys? "British bands of the 90s", quipped Ryan, "if not, we would probably be 5 guys in 5 different bands".
Photo credits: Universal Music Singapore/ Ryan Tedder
Seeing that it was the fourth time the men of Boys Like Girls were stepping foot onto Singaporean soil, you’d think that they’d feel pretty much at home by now. Yet frontman Martin Johnson still claimed to be the butt of durian experiments, reprising his imperative role as “the American guy” falling prey to the locals who simply insist on letting him try the “stinky food.”
Johnson however, has found a profound love for Dim Sum next to his usual breakfast serving of bacon and eggs.
Dressed to the nines with their sharp, new G-Star outfits, the chirpy vocalist was in jolly spirits as he led the quartet up the spiralling walkway, 55 floors up in the (ION) Sky. Determined to get the ball rolling, he promptly pointed to yours truly, announcing something along the lines of “I wanna hear what he has to say.”
In a distant past, a thirteen year old version of me might’ve pooped in his pants.
Strangely calm, I managed to inquire how the different side projects of Boys Like Girls, ranging from guitarist Paul DiGiovanni’s production escapades, to Best of Friends, the Americana-influenced band composing of drummer John Keefe and bassist Morgan Dorr managed to provide inspiration for the Boston-based band. Brows furrowed, Johnson simply stated that collaborations had definitely been an integral part in their BLG career, continuing that there were “always plans to make new music,” but his observation of a more “singles-based market” made any future plans hazy.
Given Johnson’s work with huge names like Avril Lavigne, Daughtry and Jason Derulo, the band was “always open to collaborations with somebody super outside their genre of music” not necessarily excluding EDM to which Keefe mysteriously added, “You never know…” Answering a question about the things BLG has picked out from a widespread international audience, Johnson described the crowd in the States (some of which might’ve hit Keefe with a shoe out of sheer zest) as harder to win over whereas the Asian passion for music was “still amazing.” In a rather sweeping statement, he then proclaimed that "bands aren’t as relevant” as fans gravitated to different scenes of music.
A statement controversial enough, coming from a band who at their early zenith, toured with the likes of Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte so I ask, do you now consider BLG a mainstream act? Despite tales of 400 pairs of flip flops emerging on stage at the 2007 Warped Tour, Johnson confesses that he “never really considered (the band) to be part of that scene.”
“If you listen to the debut album, it’s a pop record. You know we came out in 2006 where it was like the emo scene or the pop punk scene. We got affiliated with bands like that and some of our great friends in All Time Low and We The Kings, bands we’ve toured with, are awesome guys but I don’t know if we’re the same type of band or if we ever have been. Every album has been a natural progression; I don’t like to think that we’re part of any type of genre. We put out a pop record and because it had distorted guitars on it, we got called an emo band. It’s cool with me, when I listen to a new artist, I wanna put it in a box, I wanna see this means that and I understand people did that with Boys Like Girls but I don’t like to think about it twice.” Still, when asked about the possibility of them returning to Warped Tour, Johnson, an attendee at the Ventura stop last year had no hesitations replying, “Absolutely. In a second. We had such a great time at the ’07 Warped Tour.”
Constantly brimming with energy, the remnants of the press conference included Johnson’s ardent proclamation of his undying love to be “At the ION mall, hanging out, shopping full time” if they were ever stuck in Singapore, an impromptu musical burst of “What you got, what you got, what’s your question??” and promises of a striptease courtesy of John Keefe.
In a separate but brief interview, BLG tackled the problem of writer’s block to which Johnson believes the artist and the businessman within one’s creativity ought to be taken out for dinner, a surf or just out of the studio to “re-fuel the tank” concluding that “fresh inspiration is the best.” Finally, we got round to interrogating them about the departure of founding member, Bryan Donahue who’s now a touring guitarist with All Time Low. With varying tales of how Donahue was kicked out and “just didn’t want in anymore”, it was still heartening to hear Johnson say that “We always wish him the best, we had an amazing, amazing couple of years in the band with him and we’ll never forget where we came from. We always wish him the best for his endeavours.”
Somewhere in the cramped bowels of TAB, we managed to snag a few precious minutes with three-fifths of The Maine before they exploded on stage to a rabid sold-out crowd of their first ever Singaporean show. We covered a lot of ground, delving deep into the interpretations of Forever Halloween, their entrance to the European Warped Tour and finally getting a chance to pick John O’Callaghan’s brain for a bit, right off his band mates’ mouths. Also, was a stunt double involved in his seemingly athletic leap of a two-storey building? Find out in this exclusive interview below!
What inspired the change in style from the first album to Forever Halloween?
Jared Monaco: I don’t think there was a change... I’m just joking.
Kennedy Brock: I think there were a lot of inspirations. I don’t think we did anything on purpose. I think we just kept listening to new music and absorbing it and so on... Eventually it started to reflect on our writing, so it wasn’t a conscious maneuver and as far as the outfits go, we just changed our clothes.
John isn’t here but do you feel that his voice has dropped (over the years)?
K: I think we just kinda found the right range for him. When we first started writing songs, we were writing all over the board.
J: Plus he’s actually singing now. I mean back in the day, some of the stuff you might hear on those albums were definitely products of manipulation. Especially if you listen to the harmonies, some of that stuff was literally done by a robot, they pitch shift your voice and put in a machine, making it sound like so.
Garrett Nickelsen: I feel like that’s kind of the norm now, so when people hear the actual singer not being fixed, they get confused.
J: It’s lower but it’s real.
Forever Halloweenwas recorded live and put to tape and I think that’s really impressive. A band which immediately comes to mind that recently did the same thing is of course, the Foo Fighters on but not many of your peers have dared to go down that route yet. While this approach definitely kind of honed your raw sound, what were the challenges faced, seeing that while it led to a great album, there were probably certain limitations to this process?
J: There were definitely limitations. Part of it, it’s real!
K: A lot of times in the past, we’d go into the studio and we wouldn’t have things completely figured out yet and we would just kinda craft the song on the spot. We didn’t have that option this time. What we recorded was what it was gonna be. We did overdubs but drums, bass, two guitars and vocals were all recorded at the same time. So there’s not really a lot of room for error but if you do err, it’s kinda cool because you have those subtle nuances and whatnot. It definitely took away the ability to go in and perfect everything, but I think if you look at that as a limitation, you’re looking at it wrong.
The Love & Drugs video just came out so I checked it out and together, what was the song and video meant to portray?
K: For the song, John can really speak more for what the lyrics pertain to. But I think for the video, I don’t think there isn’t really much hidden meaning in it and I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. Jared was noticing that people were looking way too into it and trying to see something that was..
J: I don’t think that’s a bad thing! I just think whatever you take from it, just take from it and like, if you wanna make whatever big influence or music talk about it, go ahead, it’s fun to that. Like, treat it however you want to.
K: Yeah, same with music! It’s the same thing like you always make your own kind of what-you-think-it’s-about and then you picture that in your head. With the video, we laid it out a little more and like, “This is what we were thinking!” but if people wanna make some crazy interpretation, it’s up to you.
J: I think for us it’s more important how our fans think of a song. I mean it’s important for us to have an opinion on it or feel a certain way about it, you know, it wouldn’t get made otherwise. But we really like the fact that our fans connect their own personal meanings to the songs.
You just got off tour with Anberlin and William Beckett. Any embarrassing or memorable stories?
K: It was really awesome; I mean we knew William beforehand but we just met Anberlin so it was really cool getting to meet all those guys.
G: We haven’t hung out with William for five years or something.
K: For me it was really awesome, I got to sing with William on a song, he was asking me to sing some harmonies with him and that was really cool for me.
J: And for us it was just getting to know the Anberlin guys because we’re about to do basically the rest of the year touring with them. It was kinda like breaking the ice and getting to know each other so we didn’t get to that point when things were getting really crazy but the next time we come back we’ll have more stories for you.
What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
G: I mean the whole Pioneer record was a beast of its own. It definitely was a challenge but we really got to learn how much we can fight as humans to do what we want and it was a cool experience just for ourselves. Like, down the road of our lives, that’s a cool story to have: we fought a big company and we won, that was a challenge!
J: Getting off a major label is no easy task so…
K: I think figuring out how to record and release the record; and do everything on our own has been a big challenge but it’s been rewarding as well.
The concept of Forever Halloween can be interpreted that people tend to wear masks and hence they conceal themselves or pretend to be someone they’re not. Are you guys simply making a commentary and stating a fact or are you more for being advocators in the sense that you’re telling your listeners hey, you should be true to yourselves? Because sometimes we do alter ourselves unconsciously to adapt to our surroundings.
J: Yeah I mean… Yes, you said it!
G: I think no matter what you do, there’s always going to be some kind of mask you put on, there’s always people that’re influencing you and whatnot and maybe y’know, that’s life.
J: Situational. You have a mask for different situations like you watch a rock band on stage; nobody walks down the street looking like that.
G: Or even sound check, we’re not like rocking out in sound check, we’re goofing off and not playing good and you get on stage and it just clicks.
J: But I think it’s important that you own all those masks and you’re not trying to be something that you’re not. That’s kind of the bottom line. And for our band, finding that it was a challenge in its own: Finding who you are as a band so it’s like a salute to our identity as a band too.
G: But it is nice to try things on every once in a while, you know? Just mess with it a little bit and if it’s not you, you’ll quickly realize it. [LAUGHS]
Do y’all have any songs you’re addicted too right now?
G: Paul McCartney’s record, his whole record, Ram, is awesome! But a song, Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue - I seem to have to listen to that song every day. It’s so good.
K: I’ve been listening to Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run a lot, that song.
J: I’m listening to a singer-songwriter named Gregory Alan Isokov, he has a song called The Stable Song, it’s really good, I listen to that a lot. That Haim band is really cool. Don’t Save Me I think? It’s a great song. We’re kind of all over the board.
K: That’s a lot of songs.
G: Music’s cool…
What have been your strong influences to continue performing?
J: Especially lately, we’ve had the privilege to be out on the road with some really awesome bands and watching certain bands has given us insights on how we can be become better as a live performing band. We toured with a band called Augustana and they kind of blew us away with their musicianship, so that was kind of a kick in the butt to pull off our set even better live. So I think it’s that drive to always have a better show and give our fans an experience, a unique experience every time.
G: Yeah, the big goal we learnt is not to do the same thing every night like, it’s kind of cheating. I mean for some people like Lady Gaga, people like that, I’m sure it works really well but for us I feel like people can smell if it’s not true and if you’ve said the same thing every night. We try to avoid that as much as possible and keep it fresh. John always says crazy shit.
J: Yes, nothing we can do about that, there’s no stopping that.
The Maine is returning to the Warped Tour this November but in Europe this time. How different do you think this tour will differ from your stints on the American leg and what are you guys most looking forward to about it?
G: Temperature-wise it’s going to be completely different.
K: I think it’s going to be interesting, we’ve been a part of the normal Warped Tour over in the States but I don’t know how it’s gonna go as far as a weekend, festival setup like that.
J: It seems more like a European festival to me. I feel like it’s still gonna be Warped Tour so similar bands but I think the vibe of it is gonna little bit more, kinda like Reading and Leeds. We haven’t been able to really get into the festival circuit over there so for us, it’s kind of a nice foot in the door.
K: Really excited to go to all the places the Warped Tour is stopping at.
G: Like Switzerland?
K: And Austria, we’ve never been to some of these places so it’s really awesome.
What criteria do you have for The Maine to have “made it”?
J: I mean I don’t know if we’ve made it... That’s quite relative.
G: If my 16 year old self was sitting here, then like for sure I feel like we would. We’re in Singapore, we would never even thought that we would be able to do that. As you grow, you make more goals for yourself and you wanna do more and I don’t think there is that criteria.
K: I think being able to still be in a band for us is awesome, that is an achievement in itself and we’re happy to do everything we can to keep that alive.
J: When we started this band I don’t know if any of us thought we would make it outside of Arizona, let alone the country and tour around the world. There’ve been milestones along the way but the international stuff is really what drives it home. The fact that we can go around the world to play shows is really cool.
Fans have also been going on about how you guys now possess a more mature sound but lyrically have you ever worried about seeming too jaded or bitter with the likes of Happy or Birthday in Los Angeles in mind?
K: I don’t think we’re worried about sounding jaded.
J: We’ve always talked about how the goal as a songwriter is to give enough of yourself away but not too much and finding that sweet spot. And that’s all on John, because lyrically we don’t write anything, it’s mainly all John. But what I have noticed is that on this recent album he’s gone inwards with how he’s writing.
G: Stories that like, we were there kind of seeing it happen. On all the other records, I never really know what he’s talking about. There’re certain people that I know he’s talking about on this record. For me, listening to the record the whole time, it’s really unique and cool to actually see the inside of his head and he’s really letting himself out there. I don’t think he’s jaded or anything like that, he’s just being that honest and not being so vague that everyone can understand. This is an actual story of what happened.
So it’s more personal I guess?
TM: Yeah, definitely.
Speaking of John did he really jump from the second floor into the swimming pool (in the Love & Drugs video)?
J: Oh he did. That was like the big moment because he had only one shot to do it cos he was gonna be all wet and it was kinda cold out. We were all standing inside; we didn’t know when it going to happen and we had to be quiet because they were filming. You just see him drop after looking out of this doorway and he comes flying down into the pool. That part was really fun to watch and I’m glad it wasn’t me. John always seem to get doused in liquid in the music videos.
“Robin, so what really rhymes with hug me?” teased a radio DJ during the Robin Thicke Press Conference held at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa last Sunday. It’s been the question on everyone’s lips since Robin Thicke's massive hit single Blurred Lines (featuring T.I. and Pharrell) has become this year’s Song of the Summer.
At 36, Thicke’s big crossover year has introduced him to a bigger and wider audience than he has ever had before. His instinct to ditch the serious tracks in favour for poppy dance grooves with erotic lyrics proved to be a smart move. Blurred Lines has given Thicke his first No.1 album, while the title track led the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 impressive weeks.
In this interview, he talks in length the success of his mainstream breakthrough, his musical progress since his last record and on his musicality being a reflection of himself. Although he wasn’t willing to go into detail about the Marvin Gaye controversy, he was more than happy to talk about involving his entire family in the process of recording this album.
Now, no interview session would be complete without bringing up that controversial MTV VMA performance with Miley Cyrus. “What was controversial about it?” joked the Blurred Lines singer. Thicke explained that both he and Cyrus knew exactly what they were doing.
“Celebrity is a crazy thing… I’m just happy to be getting all this attention because it gives me a chance for people to hear my music and when I die, the only thing that will matter to me is the music that I’ve left behind, not some performance on MTV that everyone will forget,” said Thicke.
No one knows the importance of sex appeal in the music industry better than the white R&B singer himself. Thicked even attribute his sex appeal to his wife, Paula Patton. “She always tells me what women don't want to hear or see, and how they want to be treated.”
There were a couple of light-hearted moments including one when a question that touched on his “big dick” – referencing his Give It 2 U music video – to which he replied: “You can't have a family without it!” When asked to choose between rappers Pharrell Williams or T.I. if he were a girl, the entire room erupted in laughter.
Check out the full interview below:
Selling more records takes higher prominence than credibility and Grammy awards:
Because that means you have fans. Credibility is all individual perception. I think the most important thing is that you are selling records, that people are hearing and sharing your music.
On the success of Blurred Lines:
The great thing about music is sometimes you can’t describe why you like something. I think the reason this song connected [so well] is because I hear all the time “it’s my grandma’s favourite song”, “it’s my 5-year-old’s favourite song”, it seem to cross age, and racial boundaries. I believe it is the first song ever to reach No.1 on all five different formats. So I think it showed that it connected to all ages and groups. I don’t know how it happen, I wish I can do that every time. But it just doesn’t always work that way.
On his musical progress since his last album:
To me pop is just popular and Blurred Lines is no different than anything it was on my first album, in fact it sounds like this song would’ve been right in the middle of my first album. The difference is that it has a sense of humour which I hadn’t had for the last four albums. My first album had all different genres of music, but the core of all my music is my voice. I have no desire to make pop music, I just want to make popular music. I want it to be my music.
On his writing style or musicality:
I would say all of my music; the centre of it is soul. I consider myself a very soulful person and a soulful singer. My favourite artist whether it’s Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley or Stevie Wonder or even John Lennon or Bruce Springsteen… These are all very soulful people who sing from their hearts and sing with passion. And that’s always been the kind of music that I want to make.
On the Marvin Gaye lawsuit:
I can’t comment on that. All I can say is that I have the upmost respect for Marvin Gaye and his family. It’s always tough when it comes to creation and inspiration and what lines are blurred. [Notice the sarcasm?]
The biggest growing pains from growing up with such famous parents:
You know, I think it’s just wanting to follow in their footsteps and be as successful as they are, but to do it my own way. You hope you can be as good as they were but you also want to be better. I think the greatest challenge was trying to find my own way and not depend on them to make it for me. They always told me that the only way that you will have respect for yourself is if you do it on your own. Even though they supported me and encouraged me, I still had to make it on my own.
On whether it was a conscious decision to include his family in the album-making process:
It wasn’t conscious at all. I am a very family orientated guy. My wife and my son are the most important things in the world to me. They are always there. My studio is my house, so my son would come in all the time and check on daddy. He’d ask “Daddy whachu doing?” I said I’m working on a new song call Ain’t No Hat For That and so I put his voice on that song.
My father was working on a song that he was writing, and he started telling me some lyric ideas that he had on the song (Ain't No Hat For That) that I was writing. And he nailed it. He had some great ideas. So it was the first time that we got to work on a song together for my album.
Ingredients for a successful marriage:
Respect. And you have to listen. As you changed individually, you have to change together. I’m not the same person when I was 20-years-old and neither is she. The most important thing is paying attention to what does she need today, how does she feel today, and really focus in on trying to make each other happy every single day.
The importance of sex appeal in the music industry:
The number one thing is you have to want to be sexy and I want to be sexy. I think being sexy is being kind, being funny. Sexy is always confidence and kindness. Those are the two things I try to exude as much as possible.
His brand of sexy, soulful and fun:
What’s fresh about the show now is that I have these three female dancers. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but now I also want to be an entertainer, which is why my videos have become more entertaining, less brooding, and less serious. Right now, I just want to have fun and be happy, and my music is a reflection of who I’d like to be.
What rhymes with hug me?
There are naughty things that rhyme with hug me. But love me also rhymes with hug me.
His responce towards the backlash against the Blurred Lines music video's nudity and its lyrics:
My music and my identity has always been about love. That’s the one thing I’ve always written about is love and equality and fairness. Here I am, I do a video with naked girls and now I’m a sexist. So I’m dealing with that and I’m trying to figure out how it happened.
When Marilyn Monroe posed nude for playboy magazine, that was controversial, that was racy, that was over the top. And now, it is one of the most revered pictures of all time. For me, I can’t please everybody, I have to please myself as an artist first, and I’ve to make sure that my friends and family love and support me.
I feel bad if it didn’t connect to their sensibilities, but for me I’m an entertainer. So it’s not about who doesn’t get it, it’s about who does get it and I just hope more people get it than not.
On trying to top Blurred Lines:
If you make Titanic and you are James Cameron, you gotta come back and make Avatar. It’s my job to challenge myself, to keep raising the bar and make people come together and dance and smile and laugh.
Favourite song to sing in the shower:
Normally the song that I sing the shower is the newest song that I’m working on.
If he were a girl, who would he choose – Pharrell or T.I.?:
Finally, a question I have never been asked! Brilliant! You know what? I’d probably pick Pharrell, just cause I’ve known him longer. It’s more of a comfort level there.
Flying all the way from Melbourne, Australia, the five friends that make up A Sleepless Melody managed to slot in a few minutes before their sensational set in support of The Maine to give us a glimpse into their lives as a band. We managed to get down to the nitty-gritty of one of Australia’s hottest bands while gushing about their peers in Tonight Alive and discussed the possibility of them appearing on the bill of this year’s Australian leg of the Warped Tour. Digging even deeper, we uncover certain dark secrets that lie in front-man Matthew Seymour’s iPod which might or might not involve One Direction…
Welcome to Singapore! How have we been treating you so far?
(AD) Andrew: Everyone’s been really lovely.
Matt: Some fans even came to the airport when we touched down! That was so crazy! It was really heart-warming dude.
(AT) Anthony: Yeah it was really nice. We’re looking forward to meeting them, let’s put it that way. After the show, we wanna make sure we get out and meet everyone who wants to be met for sure.
For those who haven't heard of you before, how would you guys describe yourselves and the sound of the music you play?
AD: If you wanted to put a label on it, I guess it’d be pop-rock but I feel like our live sounds a little different? So if you come to a show it’s definitely a different sound but on record I suppose it’s a nice, clean pop sound, very honest and from the heart. But live, it gets a bit greedy, a bit dirty and more rock ‘n’ roll. Bit more wild. ‘Cos who likes to come a show and be tamed? Everyone likes to be themselves at a show and be crazy.
What's the story behind the band name then?
AD: Basically me and Matt were just writing a few songs together and we demoed a few songs and wanted to put in on MySpace (back when it was cool) and we didn’t have a name, you had to register a name to actually make a MySpace. So we were throwing around names for hours and I was falling asleep so we just jumbled words up and were like,”Alright, let’s just do it as (A Sleepless Melody) and we’ll change it later, we’re gonna come up with something better.” And then we started playing shows, kids started coming, everyone knew the name and we never came up with anything better. (laughs)
That seems to be the case for a lot of bands.
AD: Oh, absolutely. The name’s the hardest part of being in a band!
Brad: I don’t think any band likes their band name.
Yep, the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam just to name a few. Did any of guys go to college/university or did y’all go straight down the music route?
B: I’m a high school dropout; Dave’s a high school dropout.
M: I finished Year 12 and attempted to go to university and study but then music became my priority so I dropped out of that.
Ok that’s cool but for that to happen you guys would have to have a lot of passion for music so who or what was the inspiration that led to the formation of the band?
B: I mean like when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to play the drums. (Music) takes over your normal life. You have your normal life, your music life and then eventually one takes over the other. One feels better. It feels right and I don’t think I can put it in words.
M: I was just singing from a young age and just thought hey, I do it ok I guess? And then I met Andrew in high school and we started jamming and that was it, we’re just kinda like let’s do something about it.
It was originally a two-piece so when did the rest of you join in?
AD: Well it’s funny, like Brad only joined the band about a couple of months ago, Dave joined a month ago-
AT: Two shows ago!
AD: Two shows ago, Anthony’s been here for a bit. I think we started going full band just over two years ago maybe?
I heard a member left you guys quite recently.
M: Yeah, our bassist. Brendan our bassist left so that’s why Dave’s been playing for us.
M: We love Dave, he’s great.
Ok then, but who inspired you guys, or what were you listening to?
AD: When I was playing drums, Aaron Gillespie was a massive influence. As a songwriter, I’m more influenced by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab Cutie and Ryan Adams, just a lot of artists like that as far as songwriting goes.
There's been a couple of Australian bands making it quite big in the US and other parts of the world recently, Tonight Alive and Hands Like Houses to name a few. What would you guys personally like to achieve when it comes to A Sleepless Melody?
AD: Yeah, totally. I suppose we all wanna play music. We’ve sacrificed a part of our lives, our education and we wanna be able to play music and live comfortably because we can’t imagine ourselves not playing music at this point of time.
AT: For it to be big enough that we can keep doing it.
M: We don’t wanna be the next Queen, it would be nice, but we just wanna get by.
This band called Fall Out Boy was in town recently, and like you guys, an Australian band called Empra flew here to open for them. Turns out, the lead singer for that band was a local from Singapore but moved to Australia to make music. What're your opinions on the Australian music scene, like do you feel that you and your peers are able to grow and thrive sufficiently Down Under or is a shot at a sort of American exposure essential?
AT: That’s a good question, probably is.
AD: Let’s put it this way: the Australian music market is only 1% of the world’s music market so Asia has a much bigger market that we do. You can tour Australia to death, but at the end the day I feel like international success would be much more beneficial.
AT: I think all the Australian bands that’re doing really well, really deserve to be that way? Hands Like House and Tonight Alive, they work really hard and they’re legitimately really good bands to start with. I also think the best usually rises to the top. Well hopefully.
But Australia’s much bigger than Singapore obviously. And that’s why I think, that even compared to us, you guys have a better scene and stage to expand and grow.
AT: The problem with Australia is that the travel kills you.
B: It’s a long way in between each city that’s what it is. It takes a 12-hour drive just to play one show at another town. We drive everywhere but in Singapore it’s like we hardly drive at all.
M: We’re getting a bus to Kuala Lumpur and what’s that, a couple of hours?
About 4 hours.
B: Yeah that’s nothing!
M: That would get us not even halfway to Sydney and that’s another country so.
Speaking of KL, you're heading there with The Summer State after this, and even this show with The Maine in mind, how do you guys engage an audience who have probably never heard A Sleepless Melody before and who're foreigners who might not speak even English? What’s that extra spice?
M: I have to say that when we first talked about playing this show, we wanted to create a set that was really energetic and big and flowing you know? Transitions and things like that, we talk about where we’re from and I guess we’re Australian.
AT: I think as far as connecting with them, I feel like just letting them know that they’re part of our band, we’re not better than them, we’re equal and we want them to share the moment with us. Because it’s especially cool for us to be playing for someone, as it hopefully is for them to be sharing our music with each other. It’s not for us to give to them or anything because we enjoy playing and we want them to enjoy hanging out with us and listening to music.
So you guys try to include them is what you’re saying?
AD: Yeah, of course. I think consciously we specifically try and do a lot of crowd interactions. We put ourselves across the best we can like how we rehearse and prepare ourselves.
AT: And it’s not just on the stage, when we get off the stage we wanna hang out, talk and get to know everyone as people.
Warped Tour will be returning to Australia this year. Will you guys be involved?
AD: Um, no but we would like to be. They haven’t fully booked WT at the moment but I don’t think we’ll be involved.
So which bands are you excited to see at Warped Tour?
New Found Glory’s pretty cool…
D: Yeah but we’ve seen them so many times…
AT: Anarbor’s never came out to Australia so we’re stoked to see them.
So The Maine then. Have you heard of them before this?
AD: We quite enjoy The Maine, we take a lot of influence from them especially they left their major label and went off to do their own thing. We like to take influence from bands like such, people who want to do things themselves, for themselves.
Before we end, what’s one song on your iPod that’d you’d be embarrassed to name?
D: I’m gonna say, (Robin) Thicke, the song is called When I Get You Alone! *Proceeds to sing When I Get You Alone complete with passionate finger snapping*
AT: I’ve got Backstreet Boys on my phone…
B: I do too!
AT: I think we’ve all got Backstreet. I can own that though.
M: I just love music! Love it all!
Even One Direction?
M: One Direction? I used to have them on my phone, yeah.
D: Matt listens to a lot of embarrassing music…
AD: I’m embarrassed by his iPod…
M: I had an intense pop stash about 6 months ago.
AT: Matty crossed to 1D and the Biebs.
M: Not so much anymore but yeah sure.
AT: He moved on to The Wanted now.
M: Ugh, who is that?