'My Firsts' with Alejandro of Boyce Avenue!
Hailing from Florida, Boyce Avenue has almost two billion views on YouTube and seven million subscribers, making them the “most viewed” independent band in the world. I’ll let that sink in for a bit…
The band is made up of brothers Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano, who have been making music together for as long as they can remember. They realized they loved it, are obviously exceptionally good at it, so they threw some vids up in YouTube and became the incredibly successful band we know and love today.
They're currently gearing up to headline this year's Nickelodeon SLIMEFEST, so we stole frontman Alejandro (AKA the baby bro) for a chat. He's not only pumped to touch down in Australia 'cause it's in his "top three countries," he's also looking to get slimed, along with some of Australia's biggest names in the biz... ahem, At Sunset, Samantha Jade, Reece Mastin, we're looking at you!
So here you have it, 'My Firsts'... with Boyce Avenue...
The first song that I fell in love with… was probably ‘End of the Road’ by Boys II Men. I was about 5-years-old. It was one of the first songs that I would actually try to sing along to whenever I would hear it.
The First album I ever bought… I’m a Boys II Men fan. It was an album called ‘Cooleyhighharmony’, which I think was their very first album. This was all at age five. It was a big year for me.
The First time we started making music… We’ve been playing music and just singing for years and years. It started organically, in person, like at home, probably around 2005-2006. We would go to different places and play together and we would play a lot of covers, especially the timeless classics like ‘Iris,’ ‘Fast Car,’ ‘Wonder Wall.’ We’d be playing these at these pubs and at these bars. A couple of years later, I think about 2007, we had the idea of ‘why don’t we do what we’ve basically been doing live but just post it online, just do a video of it…’ We were very fortunate that everyone seemed to enjoy it and shared it with their friends, and we just kept at it.
The first time we played a gig in front of our peers… was a big deal for us. I think I was thirteen, (eighth grade for me,) and we played our school talent show. It was funny because I hadn’t started playing guitar yet, but I signed up. I auditioned with this instrumental track so that they would allow me to perform, because I was pretending! The whole plan was for us to learn how to play the instrument and we used that performance to force us to learn how to play these instruments, in like a few months. It was actually a song called ‘Now and Forever’ by Richard Marx, which was this ballad and within this three months there was this intense pressure that I had to learn how to play the guitar, at least to play that song. That was definitely the first big performance of all three of us in front of like 400 other students, friends, peers, parents—everyone—and it was a really positive response. Even the feeling of being on stage, as nerve-racking as it was, it was also inspiring and we loved it. We loved playing together and we kept at it ever since then.
The first [Cover] we posted on YouTube was… a Goo Goo Dolls cover called ‘Before its Too Late’—it was like the main theme song from the very first Transformers movie. That was the first one we uploaded.
First original material… The second video we ever posted on YouTube was an original song called Hear Me Now. From the beginning, even at this pub in college, a big part of it was this original music that we’d written because we loved doing it all, we love doing the covers but there’s no more gratifying feeling than when we do these tours and play these original songs and hear the crowd sing back your own message that means a lot to you.
First concert experience… One that I can think of, is when we saw Fuel at the ‘House of Blues,’ Orlando. We recently ended our fall tour in Orlando ‘House of Blues’ and that was like a tribute, because I can so clearly remember at age fifteen being in the crowd watching my favourite band perform on that very stage that we were closing our tour on.
The first time that I felt ‘legit’… It’s interesting, because legit depends on your own definition of success, but it was definitely a moment that blew our minds - the power of YouTube. Where we knew whether it was gonna go on a label or if we’d stay independent or whatever the future had for us, YouTube was clearly a powerful tool to get our music out there. February 2009, we went to the Philippines and they’d booked us to play at this acoustic mall show, because they have some of the biggest malls in all of Asia in the Philippines, like four levels and just thousands of people. We went there knowing that we had a fan base but you never know or can predict how many people will show up. There were thousands and thousands of people that showed up to these shows to hear us play, and they were there from sound check up until the very last song that we played and that was one of those experiences that when we flew back home we were like dang this Is at another level.
First MTV memory… I feel like I’m digging myself, like ‘dang I’ve become much older than I thought.’ But I remember when I was watching ‘Thriller.’ It’s before my time, but they played it for several years, but I do remember them playing that music video when I was younger. I remember Janet Jackson music videos like, ‘That’s The Way Love Goes.’ I have a few memories like that. Then when I was more in middle school, which is like age twelve/thirteen for us, I do remember watching TRL with Carson Daly.
Nab yourself a ticket to Slimefest 2015 and see the Boyce Avenue guys IRL! head to nick.com.au for more deets!
Sydney will be slimed on Friday, 25th September for two shows – 11am and 6pm and Melbourne on Sunday, 27 September for two shows – 11am and 6pm.