After a hugely successful 2015, The Romantic Era are looking forward to 2016 in a big way. Having already earned themselves critical acclaim from a variety of outlets and with an ever growing fan-base behind them, the band from Pennsylvania have big plans for the year ahead. Vocalist Connor Kimball chatted with PopWrapped about career highlights, tour plans and dream show line-ups.
PW: Please sum yourselves up in five words.
Connor Kimball: Personification of Dance Dance Revolution.
PW: How was your 2015? Any particular highlights?
CK: 2015 was a busy year for us, which I think all musicians strive for; to stay relevant. We were in the studio a lot this year and are really happy with our growth in writing and producing. We played at some pretty sick venues this year, but CollegeFest at Fenway Park was probably a highlight. We are all former athletes and the historicity of Fenway and the RedSox is something we could all appreciate. And Boston is a good time.
PW: To date you've sold thousands of records and played numerous shows, but if you could only do one or the other for the rest of your career, which would it be and why?
CK: Probably shows. Writing music is awesome. I think it'd be hard to give that up. But there's something to be said about showing the stuff you write off to people. There is a certain intimacy to it - vibing off each other and the crowd – it’s a rush.
PW: How would you describe the music you create and what makes you different from your many artistic counterparts?
CK: At the core, we are pop. We write pop songs. We just like to put our own twist on it, whatever that may be at the time. A lot of times, because we come from so many different backgrounds musically, we can bring a lot of different stuff - stuff that you normally don't hear in pop music - to the table. In some instances it works really well and in some it doesn't. But more often than not we get something pretty cool to turn out.
PW: Who or what most influences your song-writing?
CK: Sean Astin. And not Sean Astin in Rudy, but Sean Astin as Drew Barrymore's brother in 50 First Dates. Yeah, he's pretty awesome. In all seriousness, I think what’s cool about our stuff and what separates it from other music and genres is that we all have different influences so we all bring a different perspective to the table when we write. But Sean Astin for sure.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
CK: I'm sure all of us have a different opinion on this one. Adele is going to end up writing the greatest pop song out there. "Someone Like You" is a pretty flawless ballad. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" or Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" are probably topping the list for pop. I also have to give honourable mentions to "Pretty Fly for a White Guy”, The Offspring, "Blue" - Eiffel 65, “Africa" – Toto, "Down Under" - Men at Work and "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.
PW: You've been together since 2012 - to what extent do you think the music industry has changed during that time, and has it changed for the better or worse?
CK: Yeah, this industry is always changing. It seems like all genres - to an extent - are converging towards pop. It's a really great time to be in the mix. There are some artists that have been really pressing the boundaries and paving the way for the rest of us to open up and be creative and different.
PW: You've been compared to the likes of Maroon 5 and The Wanted among others. How do you feel about such comparisons?
CK: We feel great about those comparisons. They are unique in their own way just like we are and they make fire tracks. I'd be even more enthusiastic if we charted like them too.
PW: Which four artists or bands, who can be living or dead would you most like to share the stage with and why?
CK: Michael Jackson - he's a legend in pop music. I think he'd be on almost anyone's list. Kanye West - his live performances are unique. I love the idea that a musical performance can be so much more than just the music. The Rolling Stones - they are by and large one of the greatest live big bands of all time. It'd be quite the learning experience. Wu Tang - just because we like them. Currently though, Chance the Rapper is doing some awesome things and his live performance is exciting and engaging. It'd be great to set something up with him and the Social Experiment.
PW: If you could play any venue, anywhere in the world, which would you choose?
CK: Any of those EDM Festivals like Tomorrowland/world would be an awesome experience.
PW: Your Facebook bio states that as a band you "excite audiences to dance, party and just let go for the time of their lives." Exactly how important to you is it that fans and those who come and see you leave a show of yours having had a thoroughly good time?
CK: It's huge. So much of our energy on stage comes from vibing with one another and with the crowd. It's contagious. We see you rockin’ and letting go and we feed off that. And in turn we try and set that tone on stage so that all our fans feel comfortable having fun being their authentic self.
PW: Do you worry at all about critics or haters?
CK: No, not really. Music is such a subjective form of art. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We're not gonna force our stuff down your throat and say "Like this or die!" Although I like the sound of that for the name of our next album. When it comes down to it, the more people we have talking about our music - good or bad - the better.
PW: How has social media impacted your ability to share your music with a wider audience and grow your fan-base? Do you think you'd be as successful as you are without it?
CK: In terms of promoting your music, the Internet has so many platforms that make you more accessible. It's great for newer musicians like ourselves to promote on a budget, but there is a ceiling to that type of promo. You still have to get out there and play and show your face. I think we'd still be successful without it. Success may be circumstantial but 9 out of 10 times, successful people are not. They just find a way to get it done. We probably would have been on the road a lot more in order to build that same type of fan base, but we would have found a way. We don't like to fail - we are all sore losers.
PW: What are your plans for 2016? Can fans expect to see you out on the road soon?
CK: We have a ton of unreleased music we are itching to get out there and have big plans for 2016 and you can expect to see us promoting this with an east coast tour come spring. We are really looking forward to sharing some more TRE.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate goal as a band? What would you have to achieve in order for you to call it a day?
CK: I don't think anyone in the band right now can see themselves doing anything with their lives that doesn't involve music. As long as we can make money to support ourselves, I don't really see any of us giving this up any time soon.