Naked Magazine 19

The Naked Magazine Issue January 2013 features Stories of Austin Mahone, Boys Like Girls, Anthony Green, Kevin Devine, Hellogoodbuye R5, Tyler Ward, Every Avenue, Conditions, Kingsfoil, Sheppard and Lacey Caroline.

The Naked Magazine Issue January 2013 features Stories of Austin Mahone, Boys Like Girls, Anthony Green, Kevin Devine, Hellogoodbuye R5, Tyler Ward, Every Avenue, Conditions, Kingsfoil, Sheppard and Lacey Caroline.


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NKD<br />

N A K E D M A G A Z I N E<br />


Ariella Mastroianni<br />

Catherine Powell<br />

EDITOR<br />

Nicola Pring<br />


Catherine Powell<br />


Katie Amey<br />

Isaac Bate<br />

Olga Khvan<br />

Stacy Magallon<br />

Ariella Mastroianni<br />

Christine O’Dea<br />

Stephanie Petit<br />

Catherine Powell<br />

Nicola Pring<br />

Tanya Traner<br />

Kiki Van Son<br />


Catherine Powell<br />


Anthony Green<br />

Photo Finish Records<br />

Austin Mahone<br />

PMK*BNC<br />

Boys Like Girls<br />

Columbia Records<br />

Conditions<br />

eOne Music<br />

Every Avenue<br />

Fearless Records<br />

Hellogoodbye<br />

Stunt Company Media<br />

2<br />


Kevin Devine<br />

JMManagement<br />

Kingsfoil<br />

Master Key Management<br />

Lacey Caroline<br />

Absolute Management<br />

R5<br />

Hollywood Records<br />

Sheppard<br />

Big Picture Media<br />

Tyler Ward<br />

EMC | Bowery<br />



4-9<br />

22-27<br />

46-53<br />




10-13<br />

54-55<br />


28-31<br />


14-<strong>19</strong><br />


56-59<br />

R5<br />


42-45<br />

20-21<br />

60-65<br />







It seems inherently appropriate that Boys Like Girls<br />

drummer John Keefe would be working in the studio<br />

only moments before our interview.<br />

The 29-year-old has been making music for as long<br />

as he can remember, and for the last six years, that<br />

has most often taken the form as drummer for<br />

the pop-rock band. Boys Like Girls skyrocketed to<br />

stardom in the later half of the last decade, and then<br />

shocked fans when they announced a very unexpected<br />

break in late 2011. Though music history<br />

has proved that exiting members and solo attempts<br />

have steered most bands off course irrevocably,<br />

Boys Like Girls’ members always stayed strong<br />

individually — and ultimately reunited for a new EP<br />

and album in late 2012. “We’re all best friends,” John<br />

says. “We talked to each other every week no matter<br />

what.”<br />

Boys Like Girls — known by their fans as BLG — was<br />

formed in 2005 in Massachusetts, but John’s love for<br />

music began much earlier. “When I was 12, the band<br />

instructor brought a snare drum to school and told<br />

people about drums,” he says. “I was hooked ever<br />

since. John played in several local bands during high<br />

school, before ultimately meeting would-be Boys<br />

Like Girls lead singer Martin Johnson in this mid-<br />

2000s. “I met Martin on a DIY tour,” John says. “It kind<br />

of just came together organically.”<br />

The pair found lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni and<br />

bassist Bryan Donahue soon after. “I had played in<br />

a folk-y project with [Paul] and I had also been in a<br />

post-hardcore emo type of band with Bryan,” John<br />

says. “We all just played in and around New England.”<br />

And while the foursome’s interesting band name,<br />

Boys Like Girls, seems like it should have a lengthy<br />

backstory behind it, John insists that there isn’t one.<br />

“It just kind of made sense at the time,” he says. “It<br />

was like, ‘Oh yeah, this sounds pretty cool. There’s no<br />

band called Boys Like Girls. Why not give it a whirl?’”<br />

Shortly thereafter, the band started a PureVolume<br />

channel to get their sound out there, and eventually<br />

uploaded rough demos of two songs that would<br />

later become two of their biggest hits: “Thunder”<br />

and “The Great Escape.” The channel took off with<br />

fans and industry executives alike and the band<br />

soon began touring — including slots on tours with<br />

Cute Is What We Aim For, All Time Low and Butch<br />

Walker.<br />

In 2006, their eponymous Boys Like Girls record was<br />

released, selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S.<br />

alone. The success of the album catapulted BLG<br />

into stardom and landed them spots on countless<br />

6<br />


tours over the next three years. After being asked<br />

what the moment was when he knew things had<br />

changed for the band, John hesitates. “Doing MTV’s<br />

Total Request Live and hearing your song on the<br />

radio,” he says. “Those moments are just crazy.”<br />

The first radio success John is referring to is none<br />

other than BLG’s breakout hit “The Great Escape,”<br />

which the band heard on the airwaves for the first<br />

time while traveling on tour. “We were in the Midwest<br />

and Martin was driving during a late overnight<br />

drive,” John remembers. “All of a sudden, he just<br />

started screaming and yelling. I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ I<br />

thought we were crashing.”<br />

But ‘crashing’ couldn’t be further from the band’s reality.<br />

BLG would soon embark on their first co-headlining<br />

tour — with Good Charlotte, no less — for<br />

the Soundtrack of Your Summer Tour in 2008, which<br />

they would follow up with their 2009 sophomore record,<br />

Love Drunk. The album included the massively<br />

successful “Love Drunk” — Martin’s then-girlfriend<br />

Ashley Tisdale even appears in the music video,<br />

which has been viewed over nine million times on<br />

YouTube — and a melancholic yet sweet duet with<br />

Taylor Swift, “Two Is Better Than One.” John says that<br />

even now, those songs receive some of the warmest<br />

receptions on tour. “[The crowd] always goes nuts<br />

on ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Love Drunk,’ but it’s really<br />

cool to see all the cell phones and lighters go up on<br />

ballads like ‘Two Is Better Than One,’” John says.<br />

In late 2009 and into 2010, it seemed like Boys Like<br />

Girls were on the top of the world, even making<br />

international news as one of the first acts to perform<br />

at Asia’s very first MTV World Stage Live concert in<br />

Malaysia. But in early 2011, the band surprised fans<br />

by announcing that they were taking some time<br />

apart to work on individual projects, with Martin<br />

even debuting new solo material on the radio in<br />

June of that year. “We were just tired,” John says of<br />

their decision to take a break. “We needed a minute<br />

to try some other stuff. We’d been on the road for so<br />

long, for six years straight, so it was time to hang it<br />

up for a minute.”<br />

But John had never really considered an alternative<br />

career path to music. “What would I be doing?” he<br />

mused after being asked what he would’ve done<br />

had the band never reunited. “I don’t know…” After<br />

several minutes, he ventures, “Maybe I’d be fighting<br />

mixed martial arts or something. My brother’s a<br />

trainer for MMA fighters so I imagine I’d probably be<br />

doing that. I actually love that stuff. I go and see some<br />

of those guys when I’m home and screw around.”




Thankfully for John, the band’s break was shortlived,<br />

and Martin began tweeting the hashtag<br />

#boyslikegirlsisback in November 2011. However,<br />

bassist Bryan Donahue used the time apart to<br />

develop multiple side projects, and by November,<br />

had decided that he would be leaving the band<br />

completely. Fellow New England-based bassist and<br />

friend of the band Morgan Dorr quickly stepped<br />

in to take his place. “Morgan and I had been doing<br />

some stuff together,” John says. “Martin had a bunch<br />

of songs and he called me up, sort of like, ‘Okay,<br />

what’s everyone doing?’ It just felt right. Music is<br />

all about vibes and feelings and that’s how we’ve<br />

always treated it.”<br />

The band spent the better part of 2012 in the studio<br />

recording their comeback record, Crazy World. “We<br />

did a lot of [the recording] at Martin’s house,” John<br />

tells us. “It was a very different way of doing things<br />

because you don’t ever have to stop. If we wanted<br />

to, we could play all night. We literally spent six<br />

months at his house, we lived there together, ate together,<br />

and worked out together. We did everything<br />

together.”<br />

Still, there was no denying the elephant in the room.<br />

Would the fans respond to new music after almost<br />

three years of no new material from the band? “It felt<br />

like we had to start over because we waited so long,”<br />

John says. “I think the music shows a natural progression<br />

for us. We’re a little bit older and the music<br />

is reflective of that — of our travels and experiences.<br />

It’s not like, ‘Oh we’re this new band and we’re trying<br />

to do this different thing.’ We’re just doing what<br />

comes naturally and what comes out. I don’t think<br />

we left any stones unturned, so hopefully it reacts.”<br />

8<br />


Frankie joins singer and guitarist Jordan Davis,<br />

Tristan Martin (guitar and piano) and Tim Warren<br />

(bass) in this band hailing from central Pennsylvania,<br />

who have shared concert dates with the likes<br />

of The Goo Goo Dolls, OAR and The Neon Trees.<br />

Frankie fits right in with the guys, who are<br />

constantly poking fun at and teasing each other.<br />

They have a great dynamic even though Frankie<br />

just joined Jordan and Tristan, childhood friends<br />

who have been playing together in different<br />

bands for most of their lives.<br />

“Our families grew up together so at a pretty<br />

10<br />







young age we started Kingsfoil as a duo,” Jordan<br />

says. After years of writing, recording and playing<br />

together, the two began adding more members<br />

to Kingsfoil about six years ago.<br />

The entire group is excited and eager to be<br />

getting their music out after releasing their<br />

sophomore album, A Beating Heart is a Bleeding<br />

Heart in September, which was no simple task.<br />

“It feels good to finally have it out because it’s<br />

been a while in the making,” Jordan says.<br />

The guys released on their own label, Holiday<br />

Heart Records. While recording in Nashville, Tenn.

they were dealing with the departure of band<br />

member Joe Cipollini, which left them without a<br />

drummer. Jordan explains that while some songs<br />

on the album were recorded with Joe, Tristan<br />

ended up filling in on drums for a few songs.<br />

Frankie had been in another band, the<br />

unsigned You Hang Up, which broke up in August<br />

of 2011. He got word from the shared manager<br />

of You Hang Up and Kingsfoil that Kingsfoil were<br />

looking for a drummer.<br />

“My band had split up, they were looking for a<br />

drummer, I came in and auditioned and it was a<br />

good fit for all of us,” Frankie says. “I’m so excited<br />

to be part of the band.”<br />

Despite changing members and dealing with<br />

some health issues that kept them from touring,<br />

the guys keep a positive attitude. Jordan says<br />

that they’ve stuck it out, and they’ve been<br />

through less members then most bands.<br />

“Setbacks are part of it,” Tristan says. “Life happens<br />

and you’ve just got to keep wanting to push<br />

12<br />

forward and we all do. It’s cool to be in a band<br />

with four people who want to do everything they<br />

can to make it happen. We’re all ready to go. We<br />

want this more than anything.”<br />

Kingsfoil have been busy playing lots of shows<br />

to get their name out there. The band estimate<br />

they played around 40 shows this fall.<br />

The guys all agree they don’t have a lot of<br />

down time while touring. Recently, they enjoyed<br />

a five-week break, but they’re excited to be back<br />

on the road.<br />

The guys say they are pretty ordinary, boring<br />

people outside the music life.<br />

“I like to exercise, I like being outside… It’s like,<br />

wow, so does everybody else!” Tim says.<br />

Although they’re focused on getting exposure<br />

by touring right now, they’re wasting no time,<br />

already thinking ahead to writing more music.<br />

Jordan says they do not have a strict writing<br />

process. For A Beating Heart is a Bleeding Heart,<br />

there were many times when he and Tristan

would come up with a song on piano or guitar<br />

and arrange the rest of the music around it. Other<br />

times Jordan would write over music they came<br />

up with while playing together.<br />

“It’s really important that [a] song can stand<br />

by itself if you just play it on acoustic guitar or<br />

piano,” Jordan says of all Kingsfoil’s music. “You<br />

can really get the song and it sounds and feels<br />

good.”<br />

Though they’re planning to work on new<br />

music, the guys aren’t jumping too far ahead.<br />

They are going to give this album the exposure<br />

they feel it deserves before looking into new<br />

songs.<br />

“The album is still so new to all of our fans,”<br />

Jordan says. “We already feel like we’re ready to<br />

write new music, but we’re really going to spend<br />

some time in the next year and just push it and<br />

keep touring as hard as we can.”<br />

Kingsfoil are calling on their fans to help<br />

spread the word.<br />

“If we can write a song that really affects<br />

somebody, they’re going to tell their friends<br />

about it,” Jordan says. “It’s kind of as simple as<br />

that. I think that’s the most important thing as far<br />

as actually getting the word out.”<br />

Although it likely won’t be long before<br />

Kingsfoil are playing to huge crowds around the<br />

country, they are clearly loving everything they<br />

do. As Jordan very humbly puts it, “I feel very<br />

lucky to be able to play for any amount of people<br />

in any town.”<br />

They plan to continue touring across and the<br />

country and possibly overseas to Europe in the<br />

new year, although no official plans have been<br />

set. They would love to get a spot opening for a<br />

larger band to get some exposure. Some plans<br />

are in the works, but for now, the boys are tightlipped<br />

until things are set in stone. What they can<br />

say is, “We’re going to be busier than busy.” NKD<br />



R5<br />


A<br />

ccording to the pumped<br />

up fans I spoke to outside<br />

Highline Ballroom in New<br />

York City, tonight’s show<br />

is supposed to be great.<br />

They’re shivering in harsh,<br />

windy winter weather, but<br />

for these fans, any kind of<br />

weather is worth enduring<br />

for a performance by<br />

pop-rock, California-based<br />

band R5, even if it means<br />

waiting two more hours<br />

until show time.<br />

I walk into the venue, and with the exception of<br />

musicians, their roadies and some equipment, the<br />

Highline Ballroom is pretty empty, but the warm red<br />

and orange lights create an atmosphere that is just<br />

as cool as a packed house. The members of R5, Riker<br />

(bass), Rocky (lead guitar), Rydel (keyboards, tambourine)<br />

and Ross Lynch (rhythm guitar) and (Ellington)<br />

Ratliff (drums), file out of their upstairs green<br />

room to greet me with handshakes and high-fives.<br />

The Lynches settle down on a black leather couch in<br />

a far corner, and Ratliff takes a seat beside me on the<br />

wooden floor.<br />

The Lynches certainly look like siblings. For one,<br />

with the exception of Rocky, their platinum blonde<br />

hair is impossible to miss. For another, they’re<br />

dressed in similar black and white studded ensembles.<br />

Ratliff is dressed a little differently — he’s rocking<br />

a simple burgundy polo and a pair of jeans. From<br />

the corner of my eye, I watch brothers Rocky and<br />

Ross playfully shove each other to move over, followed<br />

by a retaliation of snarky comments behind<br />

one another’s back. Yes, this is definitely a family.<br />

“It was one of those things that just happened,”<br />

Ross says of their career in the industry. The Colorado-born<br />

Lynch siblings were always infatuated with<br />

music. Their early arsenals contained air drums and<br />

air guitars, but whatever the instrument, they wanted<br />

to play it, whether it physically existed or not.<br />

After the family migrated west to California,<br />

Rocky’s obsession with playing the guitar began to<br />

blossom, and it all started with a video of Fall Out<br />

Boy’s live performance of “Beat It.” Soon after discov-<br />



Name: Ross Lynch<br />

Position: Vocals/Ryhthm Guitar<br />

Name: Rydel Lynch<br />

Position: Keyboards/Vocals<br />

Name: Ellington Ratliff<br />

Position: Drums/Vocals

FOLLOW R5<br />

Name: Riker Lynch<br />

Position: Vocals/Bass<br />

Name: Rocky Lynch<br />

@rikerR5 » @rockyR5 » @rossR5 » @rydelR5 » @ratliffR5<br />

Position: Lead Guitar/Vocals<br />

@officialR5<br />


ering his younger brother’s newfound passion, Riker<br />

picked up the bass, Ross took up rhythm guitar and<br />

Rydel put her past piano lessons to good use. They<br />

met family friend and drummer, Ratliff, in California<br />

and the fifth and final piece of the R5 puzzle was<br />

completed.<br />

“When we were younger, we’d have our family<br />

come down to our basement and we would charge<br />

them a dollar to watch us play. We were such little<br />

schemers,” Rocky says laughing, causing his siblings<br />

to join him in a reminiscent moment. Their mother<br />

walks into the green room to say hello, and the<br />

Lynches, Ratliff included, all jokingly call for security<br />

to escort her from the area, then burst out in unison<br />

laughter. “We still charge her to watch us too,” Ross<br />

whispers to me, smirking.<br />

R5’s beginning was<br />

small, but nonetheless<br />

fundamental. They<br />

took their first steps as<br />

a group by performing<br />

for small crowds<br />

at festivals they were<br />

fortunate enough to<br />

book. “Our father was<br />

really great and supportive<br />

with helping<br />

us book shows when<br />

we first started,” Rydel<br />

says, explaining that he<br />

would use the Internet<br />

— especially Craigslist<br />

— to search for Southern<br />

California venues<br />

or events that were<br />

seeking performers.<br />

“We would play absolutely any show we could get,”<br />

Riker adds, noting how crucial it was for the band to<br />

get their hands on any kind of exposure.<br />

Once the band started to take off, Riker and Ross<br />

pursued acting roles on music-themed hit television<br />

shows — Riker, a Dalton Academy Warbler on Fox’s<br />

Glee, and Ross with a lead role on Disney Channel’s<br />

sitcom, Austin & Ally. For Riker and Ross, the balance<br />

between a band and a successful television career<br />

doesn’t come easy. “It’s pretty hard, actually,” Riker<br />

says. His younger brother agrees. “I’m acting during<br />

the day then rehearsing at night,” he says. “I try to<br />

get as much sleep as I can.”<br />





Australian indie-pop band Sheppard is making<br />

a big splash in the U.S. Formed just last year,<br />

the family-based group has already played<br />

shows all over Australia, and has been featured<br />

in a horror film. Just before setting off on their<br />

first U.S. mini-tour, Sheppard talks about how<br />

they got started, what they’re doing and where<br />

they’re headed.<br />





AMY SHEPPARD (VOCALS) It started off with just me,<br />

actually. I was just an acoustic<br />

songwriter but I was kind of going nowhere so I<br />

added in my brother (George), who I heard singing<br />

in the shower. I got him to do some harmonies and<br />

then we recorded some songs and it all just went<br />

from there. We realized that we sort of needed a<br />

band and next thing we got Jay, who’s the third<br />

songwriter, and we started writing our own songs.<br />

It just sort of had this unique sound so we did some<br />

tracks, and that’s that.<br />


AMY Once the band had formed we went to the<br />

recording studio and actually did our album<br />

first. We had all these songs we’d written. Jay’s from<br />

Sydney and we’re from Brisbane so he was living<br />

with us at the time. We went into the studio and<br />

recorded about 20 tracks and it’s only now that<br />

we’ve released our first EP, and things are sort of<br />

coming along. Our little sister Emma joined the<br />

band because she decided she wanted to play bass,<br />

so the family band happened.<br />


AMY<br />

It’s been this year that we’ve started really<br />

gigging and touring. We’ve doing a couple of<br />

shows down in Brisbane. Each time the audience<br />

gets bigger and bigger. It’s really exciting to see new<br />

people every time, and people who we haven’t met<br />

before as well. It’s definitely getting there.<br />

GEORGE SHEPPARD (VOCALS/PIANO) We had a reggae<br />

station in the U.S.<br />

pick up one of our tracks first, and they were the first<br />

radio station in the world to play us. So we’ve actually<br />

got quite a big fan base in the U.S. It’s probably<br />

bigger than we’ve got in Australia right now. Because<br />

of the success in the U.S., it’s starting to filter back into<br />

Australia. We’ve had to leave our own country to have<br />

success there, if that makes sense.<br />



GEORGE<br />

The New York show we did was on a<br />

massive scale. It was in Central Park with<br />

this massive stage. We’ve never played on anything<br />

like that before. In Australia we usually play small<br />

venues like clubs and that sort of thing. It’s good to<br />

come and have a massive crowd all into it. I guess<br />

that’s really a kind of special thing we get to do.<br />




I think America is more open<br />

to listening to all different<br />

music, whereas I find Australia really hones in on<br />

one type of sound.<br />

GEORGE Australia’s got this one radio station called<br />

triple j, and that’s like the tastemaker radio<br />

station. Everybody in Australia will listen to that<br />

radio station to get their new music. If you’re not<br />

on that, you don’t have any credibility there. In the<br />

U.S.A., if there’s something new, they want to hear it.<br />

They’re more open over here.<br />



Jay bovino (guitar)<br />

Our songs were passed on to Big<br />

Picture Media by the distributer<br />

we had in the U.S. and they thought that the songs<br />

were perfect for this film they were producing. They<br />

got in contact with us and decided they needed to<br />

have us on board which was really nice, and we got<br />

to come and film a scene. We’ve never been on a film<br />

set before, so that was really interesting to see. They<br />

have three or four of our tracks featured in the film, so<br />

it worked out really well.<br />

what do you have planned for next year?<br />

jay<br />

We’re going to have a new single which is going<br />

to be released early next year. We’re going to<br />

play at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament,<br />

which will be good. Hopefully that will be on<br />

TV and we’ll get to broaden our fan base. And then<br />

we’re going a regional tour of Australia. We haven’t<br />

done anything like that, so that’s what we’ll be<br />

focusing on.<br />

NKD<br />






GREEN<br />



It’s a little after 7 p.m. on Dec. 5, which means Anthony<br />

Green has already been away from his home<br />

in Philadelphia for half a day. It also means he’s been<br />

away from his wife and kids, which, as he puts it,<br />

sucks.<br />

“I fuckin’ miss them incredibly. A day is a lot of<br />

time, they change really fast,” Anthony says of his<br />

sons, James and Luke. James, his oldest son, is two<br />

years old. Luke is six months.<br />

“Right now it’s this moment in our lives when<br />

they’re tiny and little and they need all of you,” he<br />

says. “It’s a really magical, special time and it’s hard<br />

to miss it. I wouldn’t want to have a bunch of it go<br />

by, which it will inevitably do, and know I spent it<br />

doing stuff I could have done whenever.”<br />

Anthony sits on a chair in the green room at<br />

Irving Plaza in New York City with his acoustic guitar<br />

to his left and a shopping bag filled with small gifts<br />

for his wife and sons to his right. Not only is it the<br />

first night of his 11-day tour with Thursday singer<br />

Geoff Rickly, but it’s also Shoemas — a pre-Christmas<br />

tradition he’s been talking up to his kids for<br />

weeks.<br />

“When I was growing up we always celebrated<br />

the feast of St. Nicholas on the fifth of December,” he<br />

explains. “You put your shoes out at the front of your<br />

door and Santa’s elves would come and put candy<br />

and things in there. I always loved the idea of Shoemas.<br />

Today, even though I’m gone, my wife’s putting<br />

our shoes outside.”<br />

Eleven days isn’t a long time to be out on tour,<br />


but it’s the longest Anthony will go without visiting<br />

home. While out on the Violent Waves tour with his<br />

band Circa Survive, Anthony flew home nearly every<br />

five days. The guys were on tour for a little over a<br />

month, from September to October, to promote<br />

their self-produced album, Violent Waves, which they<br />

released in August. Now that he’s a father, Anthony<br />

has two great loves: his music and his family.<br />

“I just can’t do it anymore,” Anthony says. “I think<br />

we’ve gotten to a place where we’re going to do<br />

shorter tours, but I’ll travel 10 months out of the<br />

year if [my family] could come with me.”<br />

Anthony, now 30, has been singing with Circa<br />

Survive since their formation in 2004 and released<br />

his first solo record, Avalon, in 2008. Anthony has<br />

released four full-length albums with Circa. Their<br />

most recent, Violent Waves, which was released a<br />

few months after Anthony’s second solo release,<br />

Beautiful Things, peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s top<br />

Independent Albums chart and No. 15 on the Billboard<br />

200. He released Beautiful Things in January,<br />

and it spent a week at No. 27 on the Billboard 200,<br />

No. 6 on Billboard’s Alternative Albums list and No. 3<br />

on Billboard’s Tastemaker Albums.<br />

“We’re not like Cee-Lo, you know, we’re not making<br />

lots of money,” he says. “But I could probably be<br />

making just as much working full-time somewhere<br />

else. This is just way better.”<br />

Before the Violent Waves Tour, Anthony toured<br />

twice to promote Beautiful Things. The first Beautiful<br />

Things tour ran for a month, from mid-January to<br />

mid-February, while the second lasted only 10 days<br />

at the end of June. Needless to say, it’s been a busy<br />

year for Anthony.<br />

“When you do what you love for a living, you’re<br />

always working,” Anthony says. “I love this, this is my<br />

passion. I live it. I breathe it. I’m writing all the time,<br />

I’m thinking about music and poetry and art all the<br />

time...it’s everything I do and everything I am.”<br />

Anthony always knew he was an artist.<br />

“I knew when I was young it didn’t matter who<br />

you are or what you did, it just mattered how you<br />

did it,” he explains. “I was always really attracted to<br />

the arts. Writing, poetry...just stuff about the soul. I<br />

was never really good at school or anything like that.<br />

I never got good grades. But I was really interested<br />

in writing and music and stuff that was fun, you<br />

know? I was like, I don’t want to learn that other shit<br />

no matter how slow you teach me. I just want to<br />

listen to metal. Fuck you.”<br />

As the youngest of four boys in his family, with<br />



nine years separating him from his youngest sibling,<br />

Anthony always felt out of place. It wasn’t until<br />

grade school, when people began to compliment<br />

Anthony on his poems that were featured in his<br />

school’s publication for poetry and writing that he<br />

started to gain confidence in what he was doing.<br />

“I was the baby,” he says. “I was sort of the black<br />

sheep for a really long time. I didn’t feel like a part of<br />

my family. I didn’t feel like a part of the world.”<br />

He wrote poetry every year, and every year his<br />

school’s publication would feature his work.<br />

“I was really excited about it,” he says. “It was always<br />

something I was proud of. And my Dad would<br />

say, ‘You’re published now.’ It was a very important<br />

thing to him.”<br />

As an artist, Anthony always thought he’d live a<br />

vagabond life. He never wanted kids. Not that he<br />

didn’t like kids, he just never thought he would want<br />

to settle down.<br />

“I always thought I’d be some crazy nomad<br />

person,” he says. “I was off and on with my wife for<br />

a long time and then all of a sudden we were just<br />

super on. And then married, on. And then one baby,<br />

on. It just happened in a very natural, incredibly<br />

perfect way.”<br />

With the releases of Violent Waves and Beautiful<br />

Things Anthony is far from settled down. But music<br />

is just as much a part of him as his kids, who Antho-<br />


ny considers to be his greatest works of art.<br />

“I know that’s an odd example,” he says. “But I’ve<br />

known James for two years and Luke for six months<br />

and every day I just look at them and think, fuck<br />

man, these fucking things are perfect. They’re so<br />

cute.”<br />

James grew up around touring. “He was taken<br />

on tour when he was very, very young,” Anthony<br />

says. “Now he wants to play drums all the time. Even<br />

when he builds with blocks he’s like, ‘I’m going to<br />

build a stage. This is backstage and this is the barricade.’<br />

Like, weird, specific things. He’ll say, ‘Where’s<br />

your laminate? You got your laminate, Dada?’ He’s so<br />

cool, it’s not normal.”<br />

Having kids hasn’t changed much about Anthony’s<br />

writing, unless he’s writing a song about them.<br />

But he does feel a sense of urgency when writing<br />

now that he’s a father, whereas before he felt like<br />

he had all the time in the world and would record<br />

whenever. The most important thing to him now,<br />

his main priority, is to see his kids grow and to love<br />

them unconditionally.<br />

“[Having kids] makes me view everything in a<br />

different way. I start thinking like, ‘Why the fuck did<br />

I get a tattoo on my fucking head?’ You know, silly<br />

things like that,” he says, laughing. “Everything in my<br />

life is different now. And thank God. I love it.”<br />

NKD<br />






M<br />

ost eighth-graders are still zeroing<br />

in on their definition of love. When<br />

I was in eighth grade, I wasn’t sure<br />

how to define love either, but whenever<br />

I heard the word, I thought of<br />

hellogoodbye.<br />

They were my band of firsts —<br />

the first I ever saw live. Their album Zombies! Aliens!<br />

Vampires! Dinosaurs! (2006) was the first I ever<br />

bought with my own money. Their merchandise was<br />

the first I ever purchased at a concert. They were my<br />

first unhealthy obsession. It wasn’t just me, either.<br />

My friends were just as hooked as I was. At the time,<br />

all I ever wanted was to spend five minutes with<br />

the band members. But when I arrived at the sad<br />

realization that my dream was far too complicated, I<br />

started to care less about their music, and eventually<br />

my friends and I fell out of our naïve idea of love.<br />

It took six years, but today, my eighth grade<br />

dream is coming true. Cozying up beside frontman<br />

Forrest Kline in Webster Hall’s green room, I can hear<br />

the thumping sound of bass drums sound checking<br />

on the nearby stage, but my inner 13-year-old’s<br />

silent shrieking is even louder.<br />

“It’s easier to be sick in California,” Forrest first says<br />

to me. After a six-hour flight from the sunny coast of<br />

Huntington Beach, Calif., I thought he’d prefer a nap<br />

instead of an interview. But even though he’s feeling<br />

under the weather, he assures me he’s stoked.<br />

He’s dressed in khaki pants, loafers and a mustard<br />

yellow sweater, smiling and joking around, trying<br />

to present himself as if he weren’t actually sick. “My<br />

skull feels congested and there’s a bunch of different<br />

colors coming out of my butt. Do you know what<br />

melted Crayola crayons look like? Yeah, like that.” he<br />

says, laughing.<br />

When Forrest formed hellogoodbye in 2001, he<br />

was a high school student, experimenting with all<br />

the different bells and whistles on music-producing<br />

computer programs behind a closed bedroom<br />

door. Eleven years later, his production process is<br />

much, much easier. It’s been a long four-year period<br />

between Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, the<br />

band’s first full-length, and their most recent album,<br />

Would It Kill You? (2010). My question is — other<br />

than their split from Drive-Thru Records, what has<br />

changed since then? “I guess things are run a little<br />

bit differently now,” Forrest says. “But it’s still me<br />

recording and writing alone. That’s what I’ve always<br />

done. But more importantly, I grew up. It was actually<br />

a substantial chunk of growing up during that<br />

time period.”<br />

Forrest’s personal and musical maturation is<br />

evident in both his physical presence and sound.<br />

hellogoodbye’s well-remembered 2006 hit, “Here<br />

In Your Arms” is a pop-driven, feel-good love song,<br />

while their current material is oriented around soft<br />

acoustics.<br />

But even prior to the release of their infectious<br />

single, the band gained exposure through participating<br />

in events like South by Southwest and by being<br />

featured on MTV. When I bring up the memory<br />

of seeing hellogoodbye’s 2005 appearance on MTV’s<br />

The Real World: Austin, Forrest pauses me to say<br />

something. “But do you know anything about the<br />

past three years?” he asks me, curiously. At this point<br />

in our conversation, I’ve already mentioned how<br />

much I truly loved them when I was younger, but as I<br />

hear the question, I realize I really did fall out of love<br />

with this band. As I answer “no,” I watch his face fall<br />

with disappointment.<br />

There was a year when hellogoodbye reached<br />

their peak of popularity. For me, that point of my life<br />

was middle school. Now, as a college sophomore, I<br />

have slowly come to terms with the fact that hellogoodbye<br />

is not as popular as they once were with<br />



their audiences. With a tremendous amount of radio<br />

play with their first album, there has been a noticeable<br />

decrease in hellogoodbye’s activity in the arena<br />

of mainstream music. “That was never our goal,” Forrest<br />

says. “It’s never been a goal. I mean, who would<br />

have thought that something like that was going to<br />

happen? Radio play is helpful and it would be nice<br />

for something like that to happen again, but at the<br />

end of the day, it’s always because I want to keep<br />

hellogoodbye alive for as long as possible.”<br />

The band’s last album was released without a<br />

budget, so they relied on word of mouth to get their<br />

music out. Forrest put in a great deal of effort, tweeting<br />

and posting about their work on Facebook.<br />

However, the band didn’t seem to receive as big of a<br />

reaction as they had hoped for. “I guess we didn’t do<br />

a very good job because no one knows about the<br />

last three years. We failed,” Forrest says, cracking a<br />

small smile. “It’s kind of frustrating to talk to people<br />

who seemed to care at one point, but don’t have<br />

any idea with what has happened with our music, or<br />

what’s happening now.”<br />

The minor setback hasn’t stopped Forrest’s passion<br />

and drive to keep the music alive. hellogoodbye<br />

is currently halfway done with tracking and<br />

recording their next upcoming full-length, which is<br />

likely to be released in early 2013. When I ask Forrest<br />

about a possible album name, he smirks and<br />

says, “I don’t want to spill the beans.”<br />

While the members of hellogoodbye have come<br />

and gone multiple times over the years, Forrest is<br />

still loyal to his project, and plans to remain loyal.<br />

“I’ve never had an interest in trying to start another<br />

side-project,” Forrest says. As far as he’s concerned,<br />

there is no point in beginning a new musical<br />

endeavor under a different name. “It would be the<br />

exact same thing. [I’d] rather just let hellogoodbye<br />

meander on its little path,” he says, laughing.<br />

As Forrest and I wrap up our conversation, I<br />

begin to wonder where that path will lead. I’m not<br />

in eighth grade anymore, but maybe that’s a good<br />

thing. “Everything is very different now,” he says<br />

with a smile. “But at the same time, nothing has<br />

changed.” NKD<br />




AUSTIN<br />

WORDS &<br />


MAHONE<br />






I meet Austin for breakfast at the Royalton<br />

Hotel in New York City where he’ll be spending a<br />

much needed off day from his holiday tour. His<br />

seven-person entourage joins us. It’s extremely<br />

chilly for December and the lobby’s fireplace is<br />

comforting, as if Austin’s warm, boyish smile isn’t<br />

comforting enough.<br />

A few days ago I took a train up to Poughkeepsie,<br />

N.Y. to see Austin perform for K104.7’s annual<br />

Not So Silent Night Festival. As I arrived at the<br />

Mid-Hudson Civic Center before doors opened<br />

I saw clumps of girls with custom-made Austin<br />

34<br />


Mahone shirts, some plastered with his face and<br />

lyrics, others with the word “Mahonie” (what his<br />

fans call themselves) across the front. I’m not<br />

entirely sure what I got myself into.<br />

Fast forward to Austin’s set and I really don’t<br />

know what I got myself into. Considering how<br />

many times I’ve seen Justin Bieber in concert,<br />

you would think I’d be used to screaming girls<br />

by now. Wrong. When Austin walked, or should<br />

I say danced, on stage I swear I went deaf for a<br />

few seconds. Every girl in the room sang along<br />

to his hit single, “Say Somethin,’” and all their

hearts melted when he picked up his guitar for<br />

an acoustic song. Even his dancers caused a riot<br />

in the lobby when they tried to exit the building<br />

after the show. I was impressed.<br />

When we sit down at a booth in the hotel’s<br />

restaurant, I notice Austin is dressed head to<br />

toe in Trukfit, rapper Lil Wayne’s clothing label.<br />

He hesitates before deciding to leave his flatbrimmed<br />

hat on and settles into the cushioned<br />

seat to look at the breakfast menu. Though the<br />

last six months have been non-stop music for<br />

Austin, prior to that he had no intentions of a<br />

superstar career.<br />

Austin originally got involved in music when<br />

he and his best friend Alex began posting<br />

random, silly videos on YouTube. He then noticed<br />

other people on YouTube posting cover songs<br />

and Austin<br />

decided to follow<br />

suit. Though it<br />

did not catch on<br />

immediately, the<br />

more videos he<br />

posted, the more<br />

views he got.<br />

Music wasn’t<br />

something Austin<br />

originally wanted<br />

to pursue. He<br />

received his first<br />

drum set when he<br />

was six years old,<br />

but playing was<br />

never more than<br />

a hobby. “When I<br />

started posting [on YouTube] it was just because<br />

we were bored,” Austin says. Before music eventually<br />

took over his life, Austin played football and<br />

basketball in school. Though he doesn’t have as<br />

much time for it anymore, he still makes an effort<br />

to shoot hoops on his off time.<br />

Considering a music career was never in the<br />

plan for Austin, it’s extremely impressive that a<br />

world-renowned artist like Flo Rida didn’t hesitate<br />

to lend his vocals on Austin’s newest single,<br />

“Say You’re Just a Friend.” Having always been a<br />

big fan of Flo Rida, Austin was honored to have<br />

the rapper featured on his track. As Austin’s name<br />

becomes more well known it’s safe to say more<br />

collaborations will come about.<br />

As his career grows, Austin has been getting<br />

recognized in public. He’s starting to get used<br />

to girls approaching him in malls or shopping<br />

centers. Thankfully, he isn’t at the point where he<br />

can’t leave his house without being noticed, and<br />

he makes himself so available to his fans at his<br />

shows there’s no need to approach him elsewhere.<br />

Back in August he performed at a festival<br />

in New Jersey and stayed outside until every fan<br />

had gotten a picture and autograph.<br />

Those fans who do make it out to his shows<br />

know they’re in for a treat. In addition to Austin’s<br />

killer vocals, they get to experience a full-on<br />

production when it comes to his dancing. “When<br />

I went in to have dance taught to me I sucked,”<br />

Austin, says laughing. After weeks of rigorous<br />

training he nailed it and continues to learn new<br />

moves to perform for his fans. He’s also known<br />

to throw new songs<br />

into his set as a<br />

special surprise for<br />

fans who attend his<br />

concerts.<br />




to be released in March or April. Fans can expect<br />

a lot more collaborations and big singles from his<br />

Universal Republic Records debut.<br />

With a major label backing you, it isn’t too<br />

far-fetched to imagine hearing your song on the<br />

radio. But in Austin’s case, it’s still a shock every<br />

time it happens. “I was driving to Panera and<br />

‘Say Somethin’’ came on and I was talking about<br />

it,” he says. “It’s so weird hearing my own voice<br />

on the radio, in my car.” Radio was never a goal<br />

of Austin’s, considering his career started from<br />

him just trying to entertain himself. The YouTube<br />

world caught on to Austin before he caught on to<br />

himself.<br />

He signed to Universal six months ago, shortly<br />

after posting his first cover video a few months<br />

40<br />

prior. After inking the deal, he picked up his life<br />

in Texas and moved to Miami with his mom to be<br />

closer to his manager. The now home-schooled<br />

high school junior still keeps up with his friends<br />

in San Antonio through Skype and texting, and<br />

will occasionally fly out to see them, or fly them<br />

out to visit in Miami.<br />

Austin prefers home schooling to his regular<br />

school back in Texas because he can work at his<br />

own pace and focus more on his music. At this<br />

point, he isn’t sure if he wants to go to college,<br />

but right now he’s hoping he won’t have to. One<br />

of his biggest goals is to have longevity in his<br />

career and not be a flash in the pan like other<br />

YouTube stars. He plans to stay humble and<br />

grounded, and stay intelligent about the busi-

ness. He sits in on a lot of meetings with his label<br />

and managers and knows “a lot more than [he]<br />

did six months ago.”<br />

What keeps Austin going is his fan base.<br />

“When I’m waiting to go on stage and I hear them<br />

chanting ‘Austin, Austin’ it’s like music to my ears,”<br />

he says, grinning. His fans are extremely attentive<br />

and thoughtful — one girl noticed he’d been<br />

complaining about his desk chair and had a new<br />

one delivered to his house. He’s extremely grateful<br />

for all the things they’ve done for him and<br />

their endless support. “I can’t wait to give back to<br />

them more in 2013,” he says.<br />

As our conversation winds down I catch Austin<br />

yawning. It’s no surprise, it’s 9 a.m. and he’s been<br />

working non-stop since June — I’d be tired too.<br />

I have to give him a lot of credit— while most<br />

16-year-old boys are studying for a math test or<br />

playing video games with their friends, Austin<br />

is doing the same while balancing an extremely<br />

demanding career. After various press obligations<br />

in New York City, he’ll continue his holiday tour<br />

and perform at various radio shows across the<br />

country before winding down just in time for<br />

Christmas. Almost immediately after the ball<br />

drops on New Years he’ll continue work on his<br />

album before heading back on tour. After we hug<br />

goodbye he flops back into the booth and lets<br />

out a sign of relief, grateful to have at least a few<br />

minutes to relax before he’s on to the next thing.<br />

NKD<br />




Words: Olga Khvan<br />

Photos: Catherine Powell<br />

When the rock band Conditions entered the<br />

studio to work on their second full-length album,<br />

guitarist Alex Howard found himself faced with a<br />

challenge.<br />

While he, vocalist Brandon Roundtree, drummer<br />

Ryan Tinsley and bassist Corey Thomas were ready<br />

to create a follow-up to their 2010 full-length debut<br />

Fluorescent Youth, the band’s second guitarist, Jason<br />

Marshall, had other plans.<br />

Jason left the band to go back to school, leaving<br />

Alex with a lot more responsibility in the creative<br />

process.<br />

“It was definitely challenging. Every band I’ve<br />

ever been in, I’ve had another guitarist with me,”<br />

42<br />


Alex says. “I’d work on a part and they’d either do<br />

the rhythm to it or add something on top of it, but<br />

this time we’d be writing a song and get through the<br />

rhythm, the basics of it, and I’d be like, ‘Crap. I’ve got<br />

to write all the leads to this song, too.’”<br />

But with the help of producer Brandon Paddock,<br />

who pushed Alex and the rest of the guys to do their<br />

best despite the shift they had just gone through,<br />

Conditions were able to create something they are<br />

truly proud of.<br />

“We think it’s a step in the right direction for us,”<br />

Alex says. “I think it’s a little more dynamic and a<br />

little more diverse than the stuff we’ve put out so far.<br />

We’re really pumped to get it out.”

It’s been six years since Conditions first formed<br />

— they’re an assembly of members from various<br />

local bands in Richmond, Va. — and since the very<br />

beginning, the band have tried to maintain a do-ityourself<br />

approach to their music.<br />

“With the first couple of EPs, we had people telling<br />

us to try this and try that. We had a producer<br />

tell us one time, ‘I don’t get you guys. I think you<br />

either need to go fully hard like Slipknot or fully pop<br />

like Boys Like Girls,’” Alex says, taking a long pause<br />

before speaking again, as if to let the absurdity of<br />

the suggestion simmer. “I was like, ‘I don’t think we<br />

sound like either of those. Can’t we just be a rock<br />

band?’”<br />


It was while working on Fluorescent Youth that<br />

the band learned to really drown out the outside<br />

voices.<br />

“When we first started out, we thought we knew<br />

what we were doing, thought we had some sort of<br />

goal,” Alex says. “Then over the first couple of years,<br />

we had people pulling us either way, whether it was<br />

management that didn’t quite work out or agents<br />

and producers who would mess with our heads a<br />

little bit. But when we were writing our first fulllength,<br />

that was the first time that we were like, ‘We<br />

don’t give a shit.’”<br />

The band approached their second full-length<br />

with the same sense of authority, but also worked<br />



off of the criticism they had received in the past.<br />

“I think people will be very surprised with the one<br />

we’re about to put out,” Alex says. “It’s a little more<br />

mature for us, I think, and every song is a little bit<br />

different, whereas in the past our biggest criticism<br />

was, ‘I like their songs, but a lot of them just sound<br />

really similar.’ I get that. I know where people are<br />

coming from when they say that, so it was a conscious<br />

effort this<br />

time around to do<br />

something different<br />

in every song<br />

and I think we did<br />

a good job.”<br />

As of now,<br />

the album is due<br />

to come out in<br />

March. Meanwhile,<br />

the band have<br />

been focusing on<br />

their live performance,<br />

adjusting<br />

to the new dynamic<br />

since Jason<br />

left.<br />

“It was a lot at<br />

first, to just relearn<br />

all of our old songs<br />

and know which<br />

part I should play<br />

where and also<br />

singing on top of<br />

it, but now that I’m<br />

comfortable with<br />

it, it’s really fun,”<br />

Alex says. “We’re<br />

just rolling with<br />

the four of us and<br />

trying to fill it out<br />

the best we can.”<br />

The guys<br />

haven’t completely<br />

ruled out<br />

bringing in another<br />

guitarist down the line, but as of right now, they<br />

seem quite content with how things are going.<br />

“There’s just so much more room on stage now<br />

and hotel rooms aren’t as packed,” Alex says, chuckling.<br />

“It’s great. I’m very happy with it so far.”<br />

The band are also happy with the variety of their<br />

tour mates, which have ranged from heavy rock<br />

44<br />


bands like letlive. to pop rock acts like Every Avenue.<br />

“When I go to see a show, I want to see a little bit<br />

of diversity,” Alex says. “I don’t want to see five bands<br />

playing four-chord pop songs and I don’t want to<br />

just be screaming.”<br />

When it comes to their own music, the band<br />

regard themselves as belonging somewhere within<br />

a happy medium.<br />

“I feel like we’re<br />

that band that<br />

could pass as just<br />

a rock band with<br />

some pop sensibility,<br />

but when<br />

we play live, it’s<br />

just a little more<br />

passionate than<br />

can be captured<br />

in a recording, so<br />

it comes off a little<br />

heavier,” Alex says.<br />

But with live<br />

performances, it<br />

can sometimes<br />

be more than just<br />

about the music<br />

— and that’s the<br />

most rewarding<br />

part, according to<br />

Alex.<br />

“I think, more<br />

than anything,<br />

we’re just humbled,”<br />

he says.<br />

“Even if you’re<br />

having a bad day<br />

and you don’t<br />

want to play and<br />

you’ve got crap<br />

going on at home<br />

and you’re broke,<br />

whatever the case<br />

may be, you’ll play<br />

a show and it’ll<br />

kind of put the life back in you. And someone will<br />

come up and be like, ‘I was going through this really<br />

rough time and your music was the only thing that<br />

helped me through. I just want to thank you.’ Then<br />

it’s like, let me take a step back from whatever my<br />

problem was. This is something bigger than just me<br />

and I’m really thankful to be a part of it.”<br />


KEVIN<br />

DEVINE<br />

Words: Isaac Bate<br />

Photos: Catherine Powell

No matter the topic, he remains intensely softspoken,<br />

and always absolutely precise.<br />

“I grew up in Bay Ridge, which is like South<br />

Brooklyn,” he says, before pondering the exact<br />

logistics of his upbringing. “I moved to Staten Island<br />

when I was 11… I lived there until I was 18… I’ve<br />

lived back in Brooklyn since 2000, so I guess it’s 23 of<br />

32 years have been there. But I spent formative years<br />

there, so I’m from Brooklyn with an asterisk. A Staten<br />

Island shaped asterisk.”<br />

It was in Brooklyn that Kevin first began learning<br />

to play “Feliz Navidad” on the guitar at McKinley<br />

Junior High School. He was writing his own songs<br />

48<br />





not long after. “I would say that I wouldn’t stand<br />

by much of the song writing I was doing at 13 or<br />

14 now,” he remarks, as if a little concerned that<br />

someone might try and make him. “At that age you<br />

are mimicking much more openly rather than trying<br />

to incorporate influence into something hopefully<br />

developed as your own… There is a purity to the<br />

emotion but there is also a purity to the ripoff…<br />

Unless there are those people who are sort of fully<br />

formed out of the womb. I was not one of those<br />

people.”<br />

Kevin is apparently incapable of finishing a statement<br />

without adding some kind of counterpoint, or,




50<br />


if he is talking about himself, a little self-deprecation.<br />

Each time he stares down into his coffee to consider<br />

if he means exactly what he has said, I think what a<br />

wonderful diplomat he would have made.<br />

I meet the acoustic singer-songwriter and<br />

guitarist in the restaurant of the Wythe Hotel, in<br />

Williamsburg. The hotel is in a beautiful, newly<br />

renovated ex-factory building. Currently surrounded<br />

by rundown, low-level, graffiti-covered warehouses<br />

it stands as a symbol of the ever more gentrified<br />

Brooklyn, utterly different to that of Kevin’s childhood.<br />

This slow upward creep clearly grates on Kevin a<br />

little. He is one of those Brooklynites with concerns<br />

about the Atlantic Yards Project and the Nets’ move<br />

to Brooklyn. “I’m of conflicted mind about [the<br />

Brooklyn Nets] even existing because of the way the<br />

stadium came to be,” he says, ever thoughtful. “There<br />

was something rotten at its core, they displaced<br />

a lot of people. I actually went there on opening<br />

night because I accidentally lucked into a ticket to<br />

the Jay-Z concert… it’s beautiful and it’s kind of<br />

amazing, and sort of a modern marvel. But I also feel<br />

like there were a lot of people who had lived and<br />

worked in those places forever and it was just like,<br />

‘scram, get out of the way’, and that’s kind of the<br />

march of progress. It’s happened a lot around this<br />

neighborhood too.”<br />

Regardless of the ethical concerns, Kevin has<br />

never been tempted to embrace the fresh-look Nets.<br />

“There’s good things and bad things about it, but I’m<br />

definitely not going to be rooting for their team. I<br />

like the Knicks too much and it’s the first year we’ve<br />

been good in 12 years.”<br />

Though to a casual observer Kevin is obviously a<br />

sports fan (he even played in a band called Miracle<br />

of 86, after the championship winning Mets team of<br />

<strong>19</strong>86), he is strangely equivocal about this passion,<br />

as if it is something he shouldn’t enjoy. “I am a sports<br />

fan, I guess, especially for a musician… I know I used<br />

to [think music and sports were conflicting] when I<br />

was younger.” He reflects on this point for a moment,<br />

then explains why: “Maybe that was a product of<br />

growing up when I grew up – like a Nirvana baby? I<br />

didn’t really like jocks, and understandably. A lot of<br />

those punk rock kids got their asses kicked. Jocks<br />

didn’t love me at my school, but I didn’t have that<br />

experience either. But I love baseball, and basketball<br />

especially. I enjoy them as much as I enjoy plenty of<br />

other more intellectual and artistic pursuits. I think<br />

there’s an intellect to them too. I love the outsized<br />

emotional potential and communal aspects of<br />





sports. There’s a poetry to it. So I guess I am a sports<br />

fan.”<br />

It’s hard to imagine the intensity of the culture<br />

wars in high school of the ‘90s — in an era when the<br />

word jock seems almost quaint and flannel shirts are<br />

the mainstream, a world in which music and sports<br />

are at odds is not immediately recognizable. But<br />

for a young Kevin Devine, Nirvana and the culture<br />

and attitude that surrounded them was enormously<br />

important, even defining. “I was like, 12 years old<br />

when that record [Nirvana’s Nevermind (<strong>19</strong>91)] came<br />

out, so I was the person it was directly going to hit<br />

like a lightening bolt. And it did, and it kind of recast<br />

every thing about wanting to play music or listen to<br />

music or how I wanted to exist as a musician or even<br />

like a person on some level in it’s wake.”<br />

Those genuinely familiar<br />

with Kevin’s music might<br />

not find that so strange,<br />

but though his work is not<br />

easily put into a genre, it is<br />

certainly not immediately<br />

recognizable as influenced<br />

by Nirvana. But underneath<br />

Nirvana’s grunge production<br />

values Kevin simply<br />

sees a genius songwriter.<br />

“I always liked songs, and<br />

by that I mean I like things<br />

that take chances and I like<br />

things that are risky but I<br />

also like if the guts of it are<br />

a song. Verse, chorus, verse.<br />

Good lyrics, a melody.<br />

I’m always drawn most<br />

to those, whether it’s the<br />

Beatles or whatever. I think<br />

that’s why Nirvana was such a big deal to me. They<br />

were an abrasive, risk taking, electrifying band but<br />

he ultimately wrote a weird version of pop songs.”<br />

Though Kevin is no longer the age at which it is<br />

possible to be utterly consumed by a band in the<br />

way one can be at 13, he still feels Nirvana were<br />

something special. “I still like a lot of the bands I<br />

liked at that age but I don’t listen to music the same<br />

way now, I think you are more voracious about it<br />

when you are that age. There’s a lot of bands from<br />

that time period that, when I hear their songs now,<br />

it sounds like that time period. When I hear the best<br />

Nirvana songs it sounds like it could be any time<br />

period. And that’s the best thing about great music.<br />

52 NKDMAG.COM<br />




NOW.”<br />


A singer-songwriter can write a song about<br />

anything. Most share an especially monogamous<br />

relationship with their material, being the one who<br />

writes, composes and performs their own music.<br />

This sort of control is what Lacey Caroline, 22-yearold<br />

singer-songwriter from Sparta, N.J., finds most<br />

appealing about her newly launched solo career.<br />

“I wanted to write songs on my own, without<br />

so many other people involved,” Lacey says.<br />

She describes her musical experience as having<br />

snowballed after she received her first guitar at age<br />

14. She began writing songs almost immediately<br />

and played with multiple bands. She last fronted<br />

and sang for the band The Best Week Ever. Lacey<br />

thrived on the high-energy atmosphere of being in<br />

a band and valued the effort of teamwork, though<br />

she recognized that everyone has his or her own<br />

approach to writing music. “There’s no straight<br />

formula,” she says.<br />

The upside of being in a band, she describes,<br />

is the ability to bounce ideas off other people. “I<br />

got to work with people who are very creative,”<br />

she says. Bands hardly fall short of finding ways<br />

to fuel creativity among one another. But like any<br />

relationship, being part of a band also demands<br />

a willingness to compromise. “There’s a lot of<br />

different hands on a project. It can get far removed<br />

from what I originally started,” Lacey explains, which<br />

brings her back to being a solo artist. “In a band you<br />

have a bunch of co-pilots and friends. Being a solo<br />

artist can get lonely,” she laments momentarily. “But<br />

you get ultimate control,” she says, grinning.<br />

Lacey clarifies that she’s not trying to force<br />

herself into any one genre, noting that what people<br />

listen to doesn’t necessarily determine what they<br />

play. She likes pop-punk and is a longtime fan of<br />

Blink 182, but more recently she’s taken a strong<br />

liking to folk music. “I’m concentrating on my<br />


lacey caroline<br />


sound now and what I write naturally,” she says. She<br />

received formal training in classical cello — her first<br />

instrument — at age eight, but learning guitar and<br />

how to sing was a matter of self-experimentation.<br />

“My songwriting process is literally me, sitting<br />

in my room on my bed with my guitar, strumming<br />

chords for hours and hours,” she says. “It’s a matter<br />

of when the words I’m thinking about click with the<br />

melody that I’m humming and the chords that I’m<br />

playing.” This process takes patience but if you allow<br />

yourself to be inspired by anything, as Lacey claims<br />

to be, the rate at which something clicks should<br />

increase. “It’s that level of going a little bit deeper,”<br />

she says of songwriting, “in what you can probe and<br />

poke at that’s a little more heavy, that you just don’t<br />

see on the surface.”<br />

Lacey is insightful and her lucidity is reflective of<br />

an Ivy League graduate. She graduated from Cornell<br />

University last spring with a degree in Industrial<br />

and Labor Relations. Although this isn’t her focus<br />

moving forward, she’s glad to have successfully<br />

completed school and is excited for the luxury and<br />

freedom it’s granted her to pursue music.<br />

Now she’s ready to record. She says most her<br />

time over the next few months will be spent in the<br />

studio.<br />

“I want to write my own songs and grow into the<br />

artist I eventually want to be,” she says. What the<br />

music industry has in store for Lacey is still unclear.<br />

Though she has the hearty and versatile voice of<br />

a contestant on The Voice or American Idol, Lacey<br />

verifies that you won’t be seeing her there. “With<br />

those shows, everything can be calculated and<br />

controlled by other people,” she explains. On that<br />

note, she said she’d consider X-Factor, but the only<br />

certainty is that she’ll be directing her own future.<br />

So look out.<br />

NKD<br />



56<br />



Words: Christine O’Dea<br />

Photos: Catherine Powell

When Tyler Ward uploaded his first video to<br />

YouTube, he did not imagine that a full-time<br />

career would result. Today, just four years later,<br />

Tyler is an internationally known musician and<br />

YouTube sensation.<br />

I catch up with Tyler recently at one of the last<br />

few shows of his U.S. tour. We sit in the green<br />

room at the Studio at Webster Hall in New York<br />

City before his set, where he shares his past as<br />

a football player at the Air Force Academy, his<br />

present as a successful musician and what he<br />

hopes is in store for his future.<br />

For the last three months, Tyler has been on<br />

tour both in Europe and the U.S. His indie and<br />

acoustic rock songs have made their way into<br />

the ears of people around the world. After 23<br />

shows in Europe followed by 28 shows in the<br />

U.S., he looks back on the days he began posting<br />

YouTube videos and still can’t believe how it<br />

led to his current success.<br />

After graduating from high school in his<br />

native Denver, Tyler played college football at<br />

the Air Force Academy. “It was more to please<br />

people,” he says. “And then I realized how kind<br />

of idiotic that was because I was so unhappy for<br />

six months. But it was a good decision. I learned<br />

a lot of discipline there and I learned how to<br />

work out regularly. Then I took that discipline<br />

and just applied it to the music world.”<br />

During his time at the Academy, he got<br />

together with two other students, a bass player<br />

and a drummer, on their time off to make music.<br />




Tyler can play the piano, bass, drums and guitar,<br />

and is also a vocalist. “The Air Force Academy<br />

band,” he says with a laugh. “It was so fun. We<br />

were so bad, but it was fun.”<br />

After dropping out a few months later, he<br />

continued his college football career at another<br />

school until he finally decided to focus on music<br />

full time. Now, he gets fewer concussions and<br />

has more time to do what he loves. “I started off<br />

as a football player, and now here I am singing<br />

pop songs,” he says. “The YouTube thing just<br />

started working and I never looked back since.”<br />

Tyler’s father supported him in pursuing<br />

his dreams, providing him with the basement<br />

where he first began filming videos. “‘I’ll give<br />

you two years,’” Tyler recalls his father saying.<br />

“‘You can live in my basement, I’ll pay for your<br />

rent, and you take care of everything else.’” On<br />

the weekends Tyler played shows at local bars<br />

and saved a little of his earnings while also paying<br />

his student loans and bills.<br />

In February 2010, he watched one of his<br />

videos go viral and has since made a life out of<br />

YouTube. Fans grew attached and began asking<br />

for more music. This led to tours and eventually,<br />

the release of his first album. Tyler laughs as<br />

he reveals that until this day, his father doesn’t<br />

understand the concept of how Tyler came to<br />

be a popular musician from his basement. “He’s<br />

coming to terms with the fact that it’s working,”<br />

he says.<br />

Tyler is glad to have YouTube as a platform<br />

to share his music. “With YouTube, you can be<br />

global,” Tyler says. “You can have pockets of fans<br />

in different parts of the world and when you<br />

want to go out there, they all want to come because<br />

you’re only really there once every couple<br />

of years.”<br />

Tyler describes himself as lucky. After all,<br />

he was one of the first YouTube acts that now<br />

has global success in the music industry. He<br />

recognizes that he had two years of YouTube<br />

exposure before the trend caught on. For Tyler<br />

and many more musicians in today’s generation,<br />

YouTube is a network that could make or<br />

break a career. “I think honestly the biggest part<br />

is the original music,” Tyler says. “People connect<br />

58<br />


with that more than the cover songs. Otherwise<br />

you’re just a karaoke singer.”<br />

Of course, he has proven to be much more<br />

than a just a karaoke singer/YouTube coversinger.<br />

In addition to writing and playing music,<br />

Tyler has also expressed a passion for artist<br />

development. “I want to be able to make a living<br />

doing touring but honestly my passion is<br />

producing and working with up-and-coming<br />

talent. I love developing,” he says. “It’s kind of<br />

like having an online record label, helping artists<br />

develop and making fewer mistakes than I<br />

made.”<br />

Along the way, Tyler has also made new<br />

friends. After he posted his cover of “Airplanes”<br />

by B.o.B and Hayley Williams, Hayley Williams’<br />

mother reached out to him to say how great his<br />

cover was. “We became friends,” he says. “We<br />

email each other all the time and she came to<br />

the show in Nashville. We’re buddies, just because<br />

of that one video.”<br />

In addition to his YouTube helping him to<br />

make friends (and millions of fans), the site is<br />

a building block for his musical endeavors. “It’s<br />

been really amazing to see the change,” he says<br />

when asked about current YouTube acts. “I can’t<br />

wait to see what happens two or three years<br />

from now. I want to see who the first one is that<br />

gets to that superstar level. Are we going to be<br />

able to break that mold?”<br />

Right now Tyler’s goal is to reach that next<br />

level of superstar-dom. “The only way you can<br />

do that is with a great original,” he says. You just<br />

can’t stop a great song.” Regardless of where it is<br />

discovered —YouTube or the radio — he believes<br />

in the power of a good song.<br />

Tyler is well on his way to reaching this goal,<br />

but he remains humble, especially to YouTube<br />

and the community that helped him get where<br />

he is now. He calls YouTube is his “bread and<br />

butter,” his “core.” “I’m not going to stop doing it<br />

until it goes away,” he says. NKD


Every<br />

Avenue<br />



62<br />


>> 2008-2011


“What am I not going to miss?” Frontman David<br />

(Dave) Strauchman says when I ask what he won’t<br />

miss about life on tour. “Funerals, birthdays, weddings,<br />

holidays, eating breakfast, getting three<br />

meals a day, showering, having a closet. I could<br />

sound really bitter right now,” he says, laughing.<br />

I get the joke — he doesn’t have to miss these<br />

things anymore.<br />

“That’s probably the best thing we can say about<br />

taking a break when people ask us why. It’s like<br />

seriously, we have missed all of these things for so<br />

many years on tour,” he says.<br />

I meet up with Dave and guitarist Joshua (Josh)<br />

Randall on the New York leg of their Last Call Tour in<br />

Irving Plaza’s dimly lit lobby. Josh sits beside Dave<br />

strumming an acoustic guitar quietly. Around us is<br />

chaos, people coming in and out, photographers<br />

setting up equipment, merch tables being unfolded<br />

— so we are all forced to speak up. The hustle and<br />

bustle doesn’t seem to faze the guys, however. They<br />

are in good spirits, joking with me from the start.<br />

This is it for the guys, at least temporarily. Every<br />

Avenue are going on a long hiatus to pursue other<br />

music ventures and, for some, to take a break from<br />

the touring lifestyle for a while.<br />

“We’re all just kind of figuring it out really,” Josh<br />

says of new possibilities. “I think we’re all going to<br />

continue pursuing music.”<br />

“I’m not doing anything,” Dave says, interjecting. He<br />

and Josh laugh. “I’m goin’ on a break.”<br />

Dave might have the most need for this break.<br />

He explains that he was already recovering from<br />

surgery when he was hit by a car recently. Before the<br />

Last Call Tour he was going to six doctor’s appointments<br />

a week, and will have to continue doing so<br />

afterward. He says this tour has been a break for him<br />

simply because he has had time away from all the<br />

doctors and appointments, but now it’s time to do<br />


nothing and recover fully.<br />

Every Avenue have been around for 10 years — they<br />

formed in Michigan in 2003 when Dave was just 15<br />

years old. He says he made a personal pact that he<br />

would quit if they were not signed by the time he<br />

was 21. Luckily, the band signed to Fearless Records<br />

in 2007 and released their first album on the label<br />

in 2008. They released their latest record, Bad Habits<br />

(2011) with Fearless.<br />

“There’s bands that are celebrating their 10 year<br />

anniversaries, and we’re just like ‘Hey, we’re done.’”<br />

Dave says, laughing.<br />

In all seriousness, the guys have had a great run.<br />

They both reflect on how lucky they are to travel the<br />

world on tour, to play on Warped Tour and record in<br />

different cities. Dave and Josh say they have formed<br />

lasting bonds with their fans and others they have<br />

met over the years.<br />

“This tour has been cool because a lot of these cities<br />

we are getting to play in we didn’t know anyone the<br />

first time we played,” Josh says. “And now with these<br />

last shows, there’s people we’ve grown to love over<br />

the years and it’s kind of like a big family in every<br />

city.”<br />

“Yeah, there are a lot of fans,” Dave says. “I mean<br />

they’re older now and they have jobs so we don’t<br />

expect them to jump on every tour, but like Josh<br />

said we have kind of created a family on tour, and<br />

there are certain people that we expect to see at<br />

each show.”<br />

Some fans are going above and beyond to show<br />

their appreciation for the band over the years.<br />

“We had some friends from Buffalo make a scrapbook,”<br />

Josh says. “And they had people from all over<br />

the world send in letters to them, and they made<br />

a scrapbook out of it which was really nice to go<br />

through and read all of the letters and see all of the<br />

pictures from over the years.”<br />



64<br />



The guys also reflect on the bigger impact their<br />

music has had on many of their listeners.<br />

“There’s been a lot of fans that have told us that our<br />

music has helped them get through some really<br />

hard times, and kept them from killing themselves,”<br />

Dave says. “And, you know, helped them learn from<br />

our songs and I think that is the biggest compliment<br />

we could ever receive.”<br />

I interject, because I have spoken with quite a few<br />

bands who have felt a bit uncomfortable with fans<br />

using them for a therapy session, but Dave doesn’t<br />

see it this way.<br />

“For us, I think the reason we play music is because it<br />

is therapy to us,” he says. “If someone relates to that,<br />

that’s pretty awesome. There are a lot of bands I can<br />

put on to change my mood, and if we can do that<br />

for someone, that’s pretty awesome.”<br />

Even though most of their fans are great, no band is<br />

without their fan horror stories. Dave jokes that he<br />

tries to forget most of them.<br />

“I feel like for the most part people are really cool<br />

and respect your personal space,” Josh says. “Here<br />

and there you get someone who’s like ‘Can I have<br />

your coat?’ and it’s like ‘No, I need this.’ And then they<br />

get mad at you, but for the most part everyone is<br />

pretty awesome.”<br />

Both say that they will most miss playing live every<br />

night, and playing in other countries.<br />

“We’re not going to stop writing and playing music.”<br />

Dave says.<br />

A lot of the members are already working on other<br />

projects. Guitarist Jimmie Deeghan has already put<br />

out a solo record. Drummer Dennis Wilson is in a<br />

band called Like Crazy, a singer-songwriter venture.<br />

Josh is currently working on a completely new<br />

project called Rebel and Rose. He describes it as a<br />

sort of country music venture.<br />

“I just want to say thank you,” Josh says. “To anyone<br />

who has come to our shows or bought our music.”<br />

“Or stolen it,” Dave says, laughing. “We really don’t<br />

care.”<br />

“Anyone who’s showed our songs to one of their<br />

friends,” Josh says. “They gave us this opportunity<br />

to travel the world and do what we love, so I think<br />

that’s pretty fucking awesome.” NKD<br />









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