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We caught up with the boys minutes before they went on stage at The Long Road festival to discuss new projects, performing in the UK and The Beach Boys!
D - David, M - Maxim C – Chris, P - Preston
D: So, coming over to the UK, it’s a very niche and loyal following, quite different to the US. How do you find it coming and playing over here?
P: Well this is our very first time in the UK ever. We came a week early so we could introduce ourselves to all the media and make it feel like home a little bit. C: We've always been like, 'How in the world have we not been here yet!' We tried! We had great success on an independent label, but with that success the music was coming over here but we couldn’t get over here, the money wasn’t right yet. So when we got to BMG we told our new label, 'Hey, we need to get over here to the UK, get in front of those fans and show them what we have been doing in the past couple of years!' They finally got us over here, we’re excited! I love the loyalty, you definitely see it. Our friends, like The Cadillac Three, told us that the fans know every word to every song, not just the hits that we write, and that’s refreshing to hear.
M: People sometimes talk about how UK listeners are different. Maybe in America there’s more of an emphasis on just having a good time, playing to the bar crowd kind of thing, whereas we maybe focus more on the lyrics over here. Is that something you’ve found?
P: Well, from what we’ve heard so far that’s what it’s going to feel like today. For Chris and I, one thing that’s always been true, is that when we hit that stage we want to make sure everybody is having a good time; they’ve got their hands up and they’re singing along and they’re engaged. That’s what we try to do, we try to connect. C: It’s their show too. It’s our show but it’s their show too. They purchase the music, they listen to the music, they love the music and that’s why we write it.
D: So, being a music and mental health magazine, we often ask people we work with if they could name a song that means the most to them in terms of mental health. Could you each name one? Is there one that you’ve written that means a lot to you in particular?
C: I could tell you one that we’ve written that’s on our album. I know from the US a lot of people come up to say, ‘Hey, this song changed my life’, ‘this song puts me in a good mood when I went through a bad depression’ or ‘when I went through cancer and fighting it’, and that’s ‘I Love This Life’. It’s a song that has really done that for us and to hear that from people makes us want to go out and sing more. That song has really pushed that envelope and really helped a lot of people. For me in particular, I just think music is life and that can change in two seconds when that good song comes on. I know those songs like when Huey Lewis comes on, or when The Beach Boys come on I’m like, ‘Yeah, alright!’ It puts me in a good mood! All that music like that for me, but ‘I Love This Life’ has done that for us and is showing us what we can do. P: We’ve had people come up to us and tell us that ‘I had cancer, I was driving to my next chemotherapy treatment and ‘I Love This Life’ came on and it made me smile’. That’s the kind of stuff that, when we wrote the song, we weren’t thinking about, we were just trying to uplift people to sing along and have a good time. We had no idea it would help somebody in their darkest days. C: We had a four star general of the United States, a very good friend of ours now, he said he was going through a really rough time and he said ‘I Love This Life’ is one of his favourite songs. He actually hired us a few years later to do a USO tour with him! P: We still pay him the $20 to say that...!
M: The song that epitomises what you said for me is the song you recently did with the Beach Boys, which is awesome and it’s so uplifting. I was just wondering how that collaboration came about?
C: We wrote a song called ‘Beach Boys’ and we were writing this beachy song. Nobody in America has written and used the OGs of beach music and the Beach Boys are it man. They’re the positivity and the beach surfing and the girls. We wrote it and did our own little harmony on it, but we had to get it approved by Brian Wilson and Mike Love and we did not think that was going to happen! So we were trying to change the music and Mike ended up calling Preston and saying, ‘Not only do me and Brian approve of this, we want to sing on this’. P: I didn’t know if he was calling to sue us or if he was calling to work with us! Thank God it was to work with us! C: It’s been a blast. Those guys are amazing. They’re always telling us stories. Actually, they were just over here and they were telling us their favourite place to perform is the Royal Albert Hall, they love it there! They were really good friends with the Beatles so they could tell us stories about how Brian and Paul and Mike and Paul would write, and Mike went out with Lennon and Harrison to a meditation trip. Dating girls and going on double dates - just incredible stories! P: Bruce was telling us one time he asked a girl to go on a dance and the Beatles were at the dance. The band started playing a slow song so Bruce asked the girl to dance. They were 20 years old or something; they were young cats! He closed his eyes to savour the moment and when he opened them the Beatles had locked arms around them swaying, just having fun like we would do! Those stories are priceless. They’re teaching us, they’re an inspiration to us and I’m glad we are bringing them back on the radio!
M: You talked about the Beach Boys being the original for that beachside style of music. I think it’s interesting because when you think of the beachside, Gulf and Western style of music you maybe think of Jimmy Buffett or Kenny Chesney. It’s interesting that this brings in the idea of genre fluidity in that the Beach Boys haven’t already been integrated into a song in this way before this. Why do you think that is?
C: That’s a very, very good question. I mean they did some stuff with Willie Nelson. P: Yeah, they did a little country project where they sang the Beach Boys songs and had a bunch of country artists duet with them, but never like this. I just got a text message from Mike the other day as soon as the song hit 50 in the charts and was still climbing. It said, ‘You boys just got us back in the record business’. It gave me goosebumps! These guys are 80, and they’re doing 180 shows a year but they don’t really have a current single on the radio right now like they did back then, so it’s exciting for all of us. C: They don’t need it, you know what I mean? They have a new album with 80 songs on it, monster songs. They don’t need to do this but I think they feel it’s fun and it's keeping them young. They do 180 shows a year still. But yeah that’s a really good question, and that’s what we thought when we were writing it, why hasn’t anyone worked with the Beach Boys? We’re glad to be the ones!
D: Sometimes in other genres we see a lack of respect for the past, sometimes the new guys come in and want to take over. I love that in country music, people pay homage to the past and the people before them. When you get to a point when people are paying homage to you, how do you think that’s going to be, and of the up-and-coming artists now, who would you want to be the ones to reach out to you in the same way that you have to the Beach Boys?
P: Well, we’d be really old, but man, that would be the coolest! C: There’s Restless Road, they’re a great band, they’re great dudes and they want to do some stuff with us. They want to do some sort of mash-up of maybe all boy-band songs. P: I love those guys! I mean, we’re going to be 80 when all this happens - those dudes probably aren’t even born yet! I think we’d be flattered by anyone reaching out to us and saying that they’re an artist and they appreciate what we do. I don’t care who, solo, group of boys or girls - as long as someone called and said we influenced them in any kind of way, then I know we’ve done a good job.
M: You recently put out an EP, and I wanted to ask if there’s any new music coming, or any big plans you can tell us about?
C: Yeah, the EP ‘Woods and Water’ is out and we are pushing that right now. We've got some new stuff coming up, maybe at the beginning of 2023. The EP has the Beach Boys song, ‘Sipping Sunset’ and ‘Chillionaire’, there’s some good music just packed onto that little EP. We’ve also been talking about doing this 100 song drop. P: It’s kind of a secret - well, not anymore, I think the secret is out!
D: Can we claim the exclusive?
P: Yes! C: We would essentially drop it, and then everybody decides what they want to make into the next album. You can listen to all 100 if you want, or you could make a top ten of your favourites and make your own album. P: It’s never been done before, we want to market it with the 100 emoji!
D: Simple but effective!
P: Right!? C: Yeah, you can make your own greatest hits or do whatever you want with it!
M: Awesome guys, thank you so much, we really appreciate your time. Good luck with your set and we will see you on stage!
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