I met the band at The Sutton Place Hotel, which, if you know the selection of luxury hotels in Toronto, is a modest choice. Not too fancy. Pretty low key.
The band just finished a show last night at the Sound Academy, one of the last legs of their Canadian tour before heading up to London, ON. I ask how it went.
“It was really awesome seeing how many kids came out,” says Zachary, the lead singer and guitarist. “Toronto just seems like a cool city for bands, all the kids are really into it which is really exciting for us. We can’t wait to come back.”
“Fans here know our lyrics more than in America, it’s crazy. They know all the words,” says Cameron, the bassist.
Leave it to us crazy Canadians to leave an impression on them. The band also paid a visit to the MuchMusic studios a day earlier, which was of course, met with a sold out audience.
So between sold out television appearances and a passionate, driven fan base, how does the band prepare themselves for their shows?
“I like to light a bunch of candles, sit in a dark room. I’ll put on the Spice Girls,” says Nathan, the guitarist.
“I literally just get my sleep on, you know? I think it’s refreshing to wake up and just go on stage right after,” says Cameron.
“Yeah, Cameron pretty much sleeps till about 10 minutes before we go on,” adds Zachary.
“I gotta get my body flowing, so I jump rope, I warm up and do some singing. Stay calm, be quiet until 5 minutes before the show,” says Zachary, “then we all listen to rap music and get pumped.”
“Chris Brown. Anyone that’s black,” adds Nathan.
The band’s drummer, Michael, doesn’t say one word during the interview. He doesn’t share his pre-show rituals. The strong silent type, I presume.
The band got their major break on the Family Channel, where their music videos are constantly featured. Their latest hit, ‘Not Your Birthday,’ is synonymous with the release of the film ‘Prom.’ Guaranteed you’ve heard the song or seen the commercial.
Although this kind of coverage implies a certain pristine image onto them, the band isn’t rebelling or bothered by this image just yet though. Miley Cyrus, you could learn a thing or two from them.
“Our whole career kicked off from the Disney channel, so we owe it all to [them],” says Nathan. “We can’t be like ‘Screw that!’”
“It’s amazing the opportunities they’ve given us. A lot of people wouldn’t know about us if it weren’t for what they’ve done. So people can have a weird perception of us, but all you have to do is come to a show and see what it’s all about,” says Zachary.
That’s right – the band actually plays their own instruments, the singers can actually sing, and they aren’t a manufactured image. I would know – I’m a good judge of character.
The band has actually been touring solo for a quite the while now. After this tour, they are embarking on yet another tour, but this time with teen-favourite Selena Gomez & The Scene. Their lives are literally spent on the road. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s crazy because, when we’re at home, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We’re so used to having a schedule and doing one thing after another, so when we’re at home we’re just so bored,” says Zachary.
Although the band admits that touring has its ups and downs, like being away from family and friends, they also say it is never dull. Especially in Canada.
“I remember the first time we came here. Cameron and I had to be Superman at one show and save Zach,” says Nathan.
Nathan refers to a time when Zachary got pulled into a crowd during a concert by some more-than-excited Canadian fans.
“Those girls are vicious,” says Zachary. “I had a small t-shirt on, and they were starting to grab so much that it was like a big shirt.”
“He went to a size small to a size XL,” adds Cameron.
So with girls constantly throwing themselves at them, you’d think the gig is as glamorous as it can get, right? Guess again.
“Honestly, it’s not that as glamorous as people think. It’s mainly a lot of work and a lot of driving around and just a lot of roughing it,” says Zachary. “I remember the first tour we were on. We spent all our money, got this used van and drove all around the country… we had 30 dollars to our name. There was a time where I was literally eating half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a day, that’s all we had.”
“We had Chef Boyardee,” adds Cameron.
“I’d say every three days I’d treat myself to Chef Boyardee,” says Zachary.
See – nothing manufactured about that. In fact, the band is thankful for this experience, as it apparently helped them grow better as a group.
“I’m so glad we did that because now, we’re so appreciative. We literally started from nothing and did it all ourselves,” says Nathan.
Because of this hard work, the band is now up for some big things in the future. They’re releasing a new album in the summer, they’re touring with Selena (who is a good friend of theirs) and they are doing an appearance on ‘Live With Regis & Kelly.’
“Are we doing an interview with Regis?” asks Nathan. “Because I feel like he wont be able to handle us.”
“He might explode,” says Cameron.
He just might.