After forming in 2013, After Romeo have made it their mission to entertain their fans with some rather good tunes. But they're not stopping there. Instead, they've supported an anti bullying campaign, have a huge tour planned for later this year and (get this!) managed to get a costume from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video in their one for new single "Where The People Go." With a busy few months ahead of them, the LA based quartet kindly agreed to this EXCLUSIVE chat with our staff writer Rebecca.
PW: How do you all know each other?
AR: Jayk and Drew grew up together in Vegas, and they moved out to LA to do music right after high school. T.C. met them during a game of basketball. T.C. then introduced his long-time friend, Blake, to the other guys and we started the group in 2013.
PW: When did you all realize that you wanted to make music?
AR: We all knew we wanted to make music at a very early age, but never thought this would work as well as it has as a group. Drew’s dad is an Elvis impersonator, so he was surrounded by that type of life since he was a kid. Blake was forced to audition for the school musical in 3rd grade. He didn’t want to because it wasn’t the “cool” thing to do but as soon as he started rehearsals, he loved it!
PW: Who were your musical and artistic influences and have they changed much over the years?
AR: We all have different tastes in music, and try to incorporate all our influences into our music. We love everyone from Justin Timberlake and Jason Derulo to David Bowie and Stevie Nicks. We are constantly evolving as people, and our music is an ever-evolving entity. We appreciate all genres of music and try to integrate what we love from each song into our own personal style. Jayk and Drew are heavy listeners of radio whereas TC listens to underground EDM music and Blake likes classic rock and 70’s/80’s pop.
PW: Who would you say After Romeo are most like?
AR: We aspire to have harmonies like The Beach Boys and we’re into theatrics like Panic! At The Disco. Mix that with some urban/pop choreography and you have us four!
PW: What would you say makes you different from the many bands out there?
AR: We are extremely self-sufficient. We write all of our songs, and design our staging and choreography - we’re extremely focused on the art and process of creating and inventing. We are also extremely dedicated to our fans and want to create a zany world where no one has to grow up or be serious. We can all just have fun and be whoever we want to be at any given time - that’s what After Romeo is all about!
PW: The video for your new song “Where The People Go” was shot in California with 50 of your fans. What was it that made you want to get them so involved?
AR: We have always been independent outside the major label system, so our fans are our marketing team, our radio staff – our everything! We don’t want to do anything without them, so we don’t even try!At the core of it all, we are a fan-focused band. So any opportunity we get, we find ways to involve them. For the video, we did a social media contest that spanned over 4 states and the winners got to be a part of the video. The winners were chosen based on interaction and involvement with us online.
PW: How did you manage to get hold of a dress used in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video?
AR: When we created the concept of the video, we brainstormed on how we could create this weird world and knew the costumes had to be eccentric. We researched tons of videos for inspiration, and “Thriller” is one of the most iconic costume-oriented videos of all time. We never knew our manager had this historical piece tucked in a closet at his house. He’s a huge fan of Michael Jackson, bought the dress at an auction and surprised us with it on set! It definitely brought that Michael Jackson magic on set with it!
PW: You were warned by the locals not to remain on location after sunset as the area gets dangerous – did that bother you or would you have happily stayed?
AR: It was definitely sketchy - we saw some people there that I’m sure are battling demons and have little respect for what the police have to say. We were on their turf for sure. Most of the people stayed inside their tents but some ventured out and watched us film. The funny thing is that we weren’t dressed abnormally in comparison to them. We actually fit in believe it or not! There was this man with a green beard helping us out that lived on the property. However, as it started getting darker in the evening, the eerie feeling took hold of us because more and more people that lived on the site came out and watched, but in a non-conversational manner. They did have shotguns so we knew that it was getting time to leave.
PW: You formed in 2013, so how do you think you’ve evolved and grown since then?
AR: Since we formed the band, we’ve grown as performers and also place a higher level of importance in finding our own sound. We’ve challenged ourselves more than ever to be relevant to our next chapter in life, and not just continue on the existing path. Our topics are more mature than before. The production and lyrical content will pull our old fans to a new lane they may not expect from us because we are not the same as we were a few years back when we cut the earlier music.
PW: What are your key influences when it comes to your writing and performing?
AR: Our influences are true individuals who might first get rocks thrown at them, but eventually the confetti comes. We get some flack for changing our styles, but we’re evolving as musicians and people. Musical influences range from Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Panic! At the Disco and The Beatles.
PW: You’re strongly against bullying and completed a 400 school and 35 mall tour last year to support the cause. Have any of you been victims of bullying?
AR: Most people who go in the arts are bullied. It’s not a common path, but from those experiences, we draw from them and it drives us to prove everyone wrong. We always keep in contact with fans we’ve met. We’re on Twitter chatting every day, keeping up with people and fans that we hope we made a difference with.On this tour in particular, we were walking down a school hallway and a kid yelled “faggot” at one of the opening acts and then ran away. The group was mad and offended. But as a group that sings and dances, we’ve heard it before and know that this is part of the world we live in. We told them to shrug it off because they were looking to fight. Later that day, several kids apologized for their classmates’ behavior, and said that they had to deal with it, too.
PW: How important and useful has social media been for you? Would you agree it’s a necessary tool for bands today?
AR: It’s probably been the most important tool for us! We are so strange and out there. It allows people to step inside our world and we love that.
PW: Any tour plans you can tell me about?
AR: Always! We are planning a tour throughout the U.S. for later this year.
PW: Are there any other plans in the pipeline you can tell me about?
AR: We’re always working on music and trying to create something unique and special. Can’t wait to show you. We are in the studio right now with a HUGE song and if all goes well, it will be our next single!
PW: Whose career would you most like to emulate? Where would you like to see yourselves a few years down the line?
AR: We’ve always respected Justin Timberlake because he always keeps it real, cool, and classy.. We will always be creating: music, art, dance, photography. Hopefully in five years we will be selling out stadiums and seeing the world and meeting even more of our fans.
PW: Finally then, for anyone wanting to find out more about After Romeo, what should they do and where can they go?
AR: If anyone wants to find us, we’re on Facebook,