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Exclusive: After Romeo Shake Things Up Onstage And In Classrooms

Mike Nied | PopWrapped Author

Mike Nied

09/10/2015 10:18 am
Exclusive: After Romeo Shake Things Up Onstage And In Classrooms | After Romeo
Media Courtesy of Bjoern Kommerell

Hailing from Las Vegas and Athens (by way of Georgia, not Greece), After Romeo is a Los Angeles-based pop group with some serious ambitions. They aren’t asking for much; they just want to be the “biggest pop group in the world.” Comprised of Blake English, Drew Ryan Scott, Jayk Purdy, and TC Carter the group is well on its way to greatness!

This summer After Romeo toured the United States with nine other up and coming acts on Johnny Wright’s Pop Nation Tour, and we at PopWrapped had an opportunity to chat with the group during their Cleveland performance. While together we discussed their experience on their current tour as well as how it compared to their previous tour with their self-created charity, the Bully Proof Tour. After Romeo also discussed their plans for after finishing up the show, and it sounds like new music is on the horizon. Buckle up, because we have a lot of ground to cover with this impressive act!

Before joining the Pop Nation Tour, After Romeo had just spent about a year and a half touring the United States with the Bully Proof Tour. The tour was in support of a charity the group funded after some brainstorming. “We talked about a concept that we all had in common growing up, and it was bullying.” Today some numbers estimate that 1 in 7 students experience bullying of some sort while at school while others suggest that the numbers could be much higher.

With these stats in mind, the group decided to travel to schools across the country to help make a difference. “We visited probably ten schools a week.” During the tour After Romeo scheduled things so that they could visit schools during the week, sometimes hitting two or three a day, before performing in the city on Saturday.

Sundays were set aside for traveling, and the tour had them covering a lot of ground. “It was an everyday sort of thing. We did 60 some cities, and it was exhausting but worth it.” One thing that the band noticed was just how prevalent bullying really was. “It’s amazing how many people really deal with bullying. From the quote, unquote ‘popular kids’ to the ‘nerds.’”

While touring the United States, After Romeo also squeezed in a series of appearances in Japan. In fact, after finishing everything up the group had to decide whether or not to continue touring Japan or to join the Pop Nation Tour. “We wanted to do this and to see our fans that we had already made.”

Since joining the Pop Nation Tour,  After Romeo have definitely had the opportunity to interact with many of the same fans they had met in the past, though in different cities. “Some of our stops are close. Like we did Toledo, Ohio, but not Cleveland. There are some familiar faces in the audience.”

After spending so much time on the road solo, the prospect of the Pop Nation Tour was a welcome concept. They described the much more crowded environment as “a lot of fun. I mean the Bully Proof Tour was just us, but getting to go on a tour with other acts is really cool for us. It’s like summer camp; that’s what it feels like.”

Based on our observations backstage, summer camp or a big family get together are both perfect ways to describe the atmosphere on the Pop Nation Tour. There is a lot of mingling and fun to be had as the acts wait to hit the stage, and After Romeo frequently found themselves in the heart of it all! Once it was time to hit the stage, though, the guys are ready to get things done. After all, the group’s favorite part of their job is performing (second only to the comfort of hotel beds).

One thing that is central to an After Romeo performance is some killer choreography. These guys like to move, and they were quick to give a shout out to their choreographer Richy Jackson. Fans of Lady Gaga are most likely familiar with Jackson because he has worked with the Artpop icon as a creative director on many projects. As evidenced by his impressive clients Jackson is a true professional, and After Romeo was quick to sing his praises.

After performing 15 song sets on their Bully Proof Tour, After Romeo only had four days to perfect a much shorter set. “We made the show in four days” the group revealed, and that’s where Richy Jackson comes in.

“He knows how to work with artists who sing and dance, and that’s how he tried to work with us.” It can get pretty tough to serve exceptional live vocals and breath-taking choreography at the same time, so Jackson makes it so that “it’s not all just intense, intense dancing.” Better yet After Romeo claims that Jackson excels at “accenting people’s strong suits and letting them shine at whatever they’re best at doing.” And shine they do…

Before hitting the stage for a performance (whether it’s a fifteen song set or a three-song performance) the guys have their own special and secret pre-show ritual. Although they weren’t willing to spill the details, they did let us know that they follow it up with a quick prayer before hopping onstage.

While performing, they try to gauge their success on how involved the crowd seems to be with things on stage. “As long as the crowd is getting involved, then we know it’s going really well.” This isn’t a fool proof method, though because the group’s choreography can be so encompassing. “Sometimes our dances are really complicated, and people will just sit there and watch.” With a laugh, the guys revealed that people’s reactions can make them a little nervous. “We think we’re like sucking, but in actuality they’re just watching and taking it all in.” It’s a struggle, but they work through it and continue to serve excellence.

Once they finish up, it’s all about vegging out for the guys. “I think we all love just getting back in the van, getting on our phones, and relaxing.” The group changes out of their stage costumes in favor of the more comfortable basketball shorts, hit the showers, and call it a night.

Since we have chatted with After Romeo the Pop Nation Tour came to a close with a sold-out show in their hometown of Los Angeles. Although they’re currently off the road, things haven’t slowed down for After Romeo! Shortly after finishing up their stay on the Pop Nation Tour the group released the music video for their current single “Where The People Go,” and they are currently discussing how to continue the concept of the Bully Proof Tour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwdy18J0w-Q

The group shot the visual for “Where The People Go” in East Jesus, an artist commune in the desert outside of Palm Springs. “It’s an artist commune, so these people who want to live outside the grid go out and create art to live on the property.” As a result, the set was decorated with “sculptures and things that they [the artists] created.”

The colorful visual also continues the message they perpetuated with their Bully Proof campaign. “We wanted it to be all about everyone having individual cliques, but to have them be able to come together and just have a good time.”

The group has also discussed plans to release more new music once they hit the road again, and there has also been talk about the future of Bully Proof. The band is still in contact with many of the fans they met on their tours, and they want to help their project expand.

After Romeo expressed a desire to “keep it going and to involve other artists as well.” They explained a desire to “create something down the road” that continues to perpetuate the most important elements of what they stand for.

With ambitious goals like that, it is easy to imagine the group achieving their goals and becoming the biggest name in pop music! Here’s to hoping that they can, since these are a group that is committed to making a difference.  Keep an eye on After Romeo at their official website as well as their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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