Encore Interview: AJR

Aug 2, 2017 Tagged: AJR

The talented band of brothers known as AJR will be wrapping up their SOLD OUT tour in just a few days, but it wasn't always packed shows for the indie pop trio. The Met siblings started out ten years ago, busking in New York City's Washington Square Park before they hit the big time, opening for Demi Lovato. Though they're bonafide successes now, the group still writes and records everything together in their living room, just like they did in their busking days. We spoke to them back in May, a month before the official release of their second album The Click, and we had such a good time chatting with them that whittling the conversation down to mere seconds felt like a damn crime. View that criminally short Tour Update here.

So, because we are the boss of us, we decided to extract a few more magical morsels from that interview. Read about what Adam, Jack, and Ryan had to say about growing their fanbase, embracing mistakes, and the flow of their live show. Also, enjoy some live photos from their Anaheim show!

AJR @ HOB Anaheim – By Chris Molina

Jack, on their first show:

"The first headline show we ever played was in a room that could fit 2,000 but six people came and it was like the worst show ever and we were so thankful for those six fans that came. I mean, this time, if it sells out that would be unbelievable." [Ed. note: It did sell out]

Ryan, on rolling with the proverbial punches:

"I feel like the coolest thing we learned from street performing that we translated is that when you make a mistake on stage, that is sometimes the best thing that can happen because as long as you’re cool about it and make a joke out of it, the audience is like ‘Oh, wow. They’re like cool on stage and they can make jokes.’ And they can get to know you a little bit more. So, once you get that through your mind, it's a totally fine thing if not sometimes a great thing."

AJR @ House of Blues Anaheim – By Chris Molina

Jack, on keeping the crowd on their toes:

"We’re really big fans of like major juxtaposition in music in our album and live show. So, in terms of like sound quality we want to put… like if a song is here, we want to put a completely different sounding song. Like we do a lot of remixes on stage so we’ll do kind of like a ballad and then we’ll go into like an old Pinocchio remix because it’s just like… that just sounds completely different than what I just heard. It just kind of keeps the audience awake. I think we do that in the live show and on the album as well."

Ryan, elaborating on those on-stage surprises: 

"Back when we were making our first album, live wasn’t really on our mind. It was more about ‘Okay how can we make this sound the best possible?’ But since we did this last tour and it sold out and we know okay so we are going to be playing these songs and people are actually going to be listening, I think we’ve started thinking about creating songs in more of a… arcs like, for instance, very small verses and very huge choruses and I think “Weak,” our single, is probably a good example of that where the chorus is very surprising, the verse is very like slow, almost an emotional ballad and then when the chorus drops just we throw every instrument at once and I think that’s kind of a new song that we’re kind of really experimenting with because it’s so much fun to see the audience’s reaction when they get surprised."

AJR @ HOB Anaheim

Ryan, on what they learned as a supporting act:

There’s something really cool and special about doing a song into a different song into a remix into half a song and then you talk and then you know like creating almost a piece of theater as opposed to just a concert so we’ve taken that into account definitely.

So we opened for Melanie Martinez about a year ago. I think something we learned from her was transitions in between songs. For a while when we were first starting… because we were trying to figure it out. We were doing ‘song- talk to the audience- song-talk to the audience.’ There’s something really cool and special about doing a song into a different song into a remix into half a song and then you talk and then you know like creating almost a piece of theater as opposed to just a concert so we’ve taken that into account definitely.

AJR @ HOB Anaheim – By Chris Molina

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AJR Goes From Street Performing to Headlining Tours