New York based trio of the Met brothers, AJR, takes DIY to a new level. Adam, 23; Ryan, 19; and Jack, 16, produce, edit and mix all of their own music, including producing their music video for their single, “I’m Ready” (which now has over two million views on YouTube – see the video below).
AJR’s single is climbing the charts. They have already toured with the likes of Demi Lovato and Hoodie Allen. They just signed a joint venture with Warner Music Group and are gearing up for a summer tour and their album’s release later this summer.
I got the chance to talk to Jack about how they were able to go from busking in Central Park and Washington Square to getting their big break after successful singer-songwriter Sia reached out to them for a meeting over breakfast in Soho one morning.
Vinyl Mag: I’m the oldest of three girls, and I could barely share a room with them, let alone collaborate with them. What was it like growing up with your brothers and creating a unique and cohesive sound?
Jack: You know, a lot of people ask us that expecting us to fight and for it to be a difficult situation, but it really wasn’t. Growing up in the same room and in the same house, it gives us a chance to be completely honest with one another. We’ve been so close our whole lives, so when we are writing and producing together, I can be completely honest with Adam and Ryan and say, ‘no, I’m not feeling this tune,’ or ‘I’m not feeling this track.’ We really work together, so this has only brought us closer and able to be honest with each other.
VM: I know your songs are very eclectic; they have a lot of influences and sounds. Are the three of your creative forces similar, or do you each add your own twist to the songs?
Jack: We definitely all have the same vision, but we do have different aspects of the song that comes from each of the three of us. It’s a full collaboration, and Ryan actually writes and produces pretty much most of the music, but we each add our own different styles. We each have our own favorite genres of music; I’m more into singer/song-writer, hip-hop, and Ryan likes today’s pop music. So we take influence from each of those genres and put it into the music.
VM: Your video for your single “I’m Ready” now has two million views on YouTube, and I know you guys produce, edit, record and pretty much do everything. What is it like to be garnering this much success from your own efforts?
Jack: We’re all so thankful for it. Like I said, we started out street performing with absolutely nothing – just the band. We record, write everything from our own living room. For so long, it was just the fans supporting us. We did not have this record label. So, until a month ago when we signed this joint venture with Warner where we have creative control still, it’s just unbelievable that it’s 100 percent our work. We are just nothing but thankful, and just so surprised and shocked and happy every single day that this has happened to us.
VM: You’ve been compared to Imagine Dragons and fun. – you’re also being called “The Next Big Thing” and getting attention from Billboard and VH1, among others. Are you ready? Excited, nervous?
Jack: I am absolutely ready for this, but in the meantime, I have no idea what’s coming. We have no idea what could happen next. Right now, we’re watching the song climb the iTunes charts, and we never even imagined that could happen. So it’s just been a new surprise everyday, and it’s been nothing but enjoyable. So I’m so ready for this to happen.
VM: What do you feel like most influences your music now?
Jack: We try to include a bunch of different genres, ranging from music from the 50’s and 60’s to today’s pop music so anything from The Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel to today’s music such as fun., Imagine Dragons and even Kanye West. We try to include a bunch of different sounds.
VM: You hear stories about how bands get their big break, but what was it like when you heard back from Sia just from tweeting out your video. Did you think that that would be successful, or was it just a shot in the dark?
Jack: Well, for about seven years before that, we had been trying to make it with no success whatsoever. So, when Sia tweeted us, it was a huge surprise but at the same time we were [wondering if it was real]. So we actually didn’t know what to think of this, but a couple days later, we met up with her downtown, and she actually got things going for us. It was a real thing. It blew us away. Things started happening; she introduced us to people in the industry — it was just a shock to all of us, and it still is.
VM: On your previous tours, you got to open for Demi Lovato, Hoodie Allen and The Wanted, so I’m sure you got exposed to the stardom that you’ll most likely be receiving soon. Did you enjoy touring and being out on the road? I guess being out with your brothers makes it a little easier.
Jack: Yeah, I was homesick at times, but I’ll give you something; Hoodie Allen’s tour was unbelievable. We went onstage expecting to be booed off the stage, but we got on stage and we started playing, and they absolutely loved us. Hoodie Allen’s audience is 60 percent boys and 40 percent girls, and we just realized what a wide diverse audience we have. So it really opened our eyes and made us realize our age range and style is just incredibly diverse. So, touring has been a great experience for us.
VM: You’re also going on tour again this summer, with some already sold out dates.
Jack: We’re going on tour with Lindsey Stirling. We’re doing a bunch of dates starting with Montreal and going down the East Coast into Louisiana and Tennessee and then Texas. So I’m really excited; she’s incredibly talented. I’ve seen a bunch of her videos, and her style is so unique, so I’m very excited to see her show and to perform.
Jun 16 Metropolis w/ Lindsey Stirling Montreal, Canada
Jun 17 House Of Blues w/ Lindsey Stirling Boston, MA
Jun 18 Terminal 5 w/ Lindsey Stirling New York, NY
Jun 20 Starland Ballroom w/ Lindsey Stirling Sayreville, NJ
Jun 21 the Space w/ Lindsey Stirling Westbury, NY
Jun 24 Echo Stage w/ Lindsey Stirling Washington, DC
Jun 26 The NorVa w/ Lindsey Stirling Norfolk, VA
Jun 27 Fillmore w/ Lindsey Stirling Charlotte, NC
Jun 28 Ryman Auditorium w/ Lindsey Stirling Nashville, TN
Jun 30 Track 29 w/ Lindsey Stirling Chattanooga, TN
Jul 01 Masquerade Music Park w/ Lindsey Stirling Atlanta, GA
Jul 02 Jannus Landing w/ Lindsey Stirling Tampa, FL
Jul 03 Hard Rock Live w/ Lindsey Stirling Orlando, FL
Jul 05 Sunset Cove Ampitheatre w/ Lindsey Stirling Boca Raton, FL
Jul 07 Iron City w/ Lindsey Stirling Birmingham, AL
Jul 08 House of Blues (18+) w/ Lindsey Stirling New Orleans, LA
Jul 10 Bayou Music Center w/ Lindsey Stirling Houston, TX
Jul 11 Stubbs w/ Lindsey Stirling Austin, TX
Jul 12 Southside Ballroom w/ Lindsey Stirling Dallas, TX