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Music / YouTube PopWrapped | Music

Boyce Avenue's Fabian Manzano Talks Life On The Road, Life On The Internet, And What's Next For Boyce Ave.

Whitney Alexis | PopWrapped Author

Whitney Alexis

12/04/2014 12:49 am
PopWrapped | Music
Boyce Avenue's Fabian Manzano Talks Life On The Road, Life On The Internet, And What's Next For Boyce Ave. | boyce avenue
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Six million YouTube subscribers, 294 Youtube videos, five cover albums, nine acoustic cover albums, one studio album, and one EP later… Alejandro, Fabian, and Daniel Manzano are Boyce Avenue--and they just wrapped up their “No Limit” tour.  Supported by Pop-Rocker Curtis Peoples and Singer-Songwriter (and American Idol Alumni) Kris Allen on their 35 day tour of North America, Boyce Avenue had their 27th and final show of their tour at the House of Blues Orlando in front of a couple thousand adoring fans as well as many of their friends and family. Just hours before Boyce Ave. was set to take the stage, I got the chance to catch up with Fabian backstage for a little chat. As if being backstage at such an iconic local venue wasn’t enough, Fabian greeted me, smile on his face, with a hug, and donned a super casual pair of cargo shorts and a t-shirt…. He gave me a quick tour of the stage and their setup before we made our way to the Boyce Ave. tour bus to chat.  From life on the road, to side projects, and their love for theirs; I tried to cover all the bases. Florida natives like myself, the brothers of Boyce Avenue are familiar with the House Of Blues Orlando and for us, this venue is a special as it gets. Although the brother hails from Sarasota, a city about two hours south of Orlando, they consider Orlando and this particular  House of Blues their musical home.
“It's going to be cool to see all our friends and family in the audience. It's like we did this for you and we appreciate that you supported us and now look we finally made it because of your support. I imagine tonight will probably be a pretty surreal moment. Almost all of my favorite shows growing up were at this venue... I went to the University of Florida in Gainesville but I would drive to Orlando, see bands like Muse and then drive back and it was worth the trip because this is one of the best Florida venues.”
The sense of pride and excitement Fabian radiated as he talked about having his family here to see him and his brothers perform was priceless. It’s like when an athletic team has the home court advantage, knowing the stands will be filled with friends, family, and loyal fans that have been there since the beginning. With YouTube at the center of Boyce Avenue’s success, there is much to be said about their fans and the continued support that they’ve given the brothers of the past seven years. As crowds began to gather outside the venue for the show it became clear that they weren’t the “fangirling” types of fans; They seemed to be a much more mild mannered and wholesome bunch.
"I think what makes our fans so special is that we have a very broad spectrum of fans. We do have a group of fans that sort of falls into that 14 - 24 year old type group but then we also have a really solid 28-50 year old group. A lot of people are surprised when we tell them that we have almost 50% of fans that are guys and 50% that are girls. I don't know why they're surprised... maybe they think that hard rock bands usually have mostly guy fans or like, three brother bands, they most be, like a boy band and they must have a lot of girl fans. But it's actually pretty evenly spread out... I think there's a lot of guys that like watching our videos online to maybe teach them how to play guitar or there's girls who like Alejandro's voice... who knows.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at Fabian’s reference to “three-brother bands” as images of Hanson and the Jonas Brothers instantly danced around my head. But it’s clear that the Boyce Ave. brothers are different. Their music is different, their message is different, and the types of people they attract to live shows are certainly different as well.
“What I like about our fans is that it's so spread out, we'll look out into the crowd at one of our shows and we'll see a group of fraternity guys having the time of their life; We'll see a group of young kids, maybe seven or eight year olds girls with their parents. I love when I look out into the front row and I see little kids with their parents. I love that we appeal to people of all ages.”
Fabian and his brothers’ love and appreciation for their fans is evident, especially in the way the brothers stress the importance of interacting with fans on social media and staying true to their YouTube cover roots that started it all. Even while on the road, the Boyce Avenue YouTube channel remains a priority to the guys.
"Sometimes we'll just go crazy filming as many (videos) as we can in the couple weeks leading up to the tour and then as we're on the road we'll post them as we go but  that's especially hard because of the amount of preparation it takes to sort of produce, arrange and film those kinds of videos. So, we'll fly in a crew or hire a local crew. The most recent ones we've been filming at the shop I have in Sarasota, which is our hometown... It's a clothing shop but I'll push all the clothing to the back of the room and we'll use the main front space to do a lot of the filming. That's where "Blame" and "Waves" were filmed there."
Balancing life with life on the road and life online isn’t always a glamorous as they make it seem, but they make it work. Anyone who’s browsed the Boyce Avenue YouTube channel knows these aren’t making your standard YouTube videos; They’re not just sitting around their living room huddled in front of their webcam… Their videos are the real deal. Tons of time and effort go into their cover videos, and they make sure they can continue to update their channels even while they're on the road.
“We have to constantly keep posting youtube videos, we have to constantly stay engaged with our fans on social media... So for us to disappear for a month is really tough. We're not the kind of band that will tour for two years straight and then disappear and make an album, we're constantly trying to joggle everything simultaneously and maybe that's why in this month, we packed in so many shows.”
With all the accolades I mention before, I’d say these guys aren’t doing too shabby for a couple of brothers who started out on YouTube. Their list of accomplishments continues to including touring Great Britain and Ireland with One Direction on 1D’s “Up All Night Tour” (2012) and working as vocal coaches on the X Factor. I’m no expert by any means, but I’d say that these guys have ‘made it’… Fabian humbly addressed my compliments, saying:
"I think I can confidently say that I feel like we've made it. It's one of those things where it's a tough question because, yeah if it disappeared and this ended today I would definitely be disappointed because I do think that there is more that we can achieve and we can continue to get bigger and I'm excited to see how we keep growing but on the flip side if it all ended today for some random reason, I could at least say that we've done some pretty incredible things. To have reached six million subscribers, to be playing a hometown show sold out of 2,000 people... to say that we were sort of work reasons not just for vacation and travel we actually, with our band, went to places like Australia, Brazil and Europe. We've done a lot of really cool things that I'm very very thankful and grateful for but I do think we can kinda take it the next level too.”
Just hours before their final show of the tour, I picked Fabian’s brain for one last bit of information;  I had to know what was next for Boyce Avenue… after some much deserved rest, relaxation, and family time.
"We're going to continue to do what we've been doing... the way we've been functioning and operating for the last couple of years has worked well enough, where I think it would be silly to start changing that. If it's not broke don't fix it, kind of thing. It's exciting to see more people coming out to shows, so why change what we're doing. We're going to continue doing what we've been doing, which is just releasing Youtube cover videos, writing and recording original music... We just released and EP but we're also working on a full new album that we hope to be releasing sometime next year, and constantly trying to reply and message our fans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And then,  we each have our own side projects that we're working on... Alejandro and Daniel have a really exciting project that they're working on and I have this little clothing line that I'm trying to start, so we've just got to keep working. Sometimes it's hard when there's no definitive finish line, it's kind of hard to keep it in perspective and to remind yourself to keep fighting and keep pushing but I think I think we're just going to keep working hard.”
To stay up to date on all things Boyce Avenue, be sure to follow them on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. Also, check out a review of the show at the House of Blues Orlando here.

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