I'll admit it: when I hear the phrase "boy band," I'm one of those people who cringes. But I recently chatted with Big Time Rush member James Maslow, and he changed my mind a little bit.
BTR (consisting of Maslow, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena, Jr. and Logan Henderson) is a boy band that was born out of the Nickelodeon TV series of the same name. In concept, their origin is reminiscent of The Monkees. Since 2009, the foursome have been acting in the half-hour musical/comedy series as well as releasing two albums. They'll be touring across the country this summer.
The group's origins might lend themselves to a certain stereotype, but for his part, James is well-spoken and incredibly polite for a 21-year-old. He has a clear idea of what he wants to do and what he's a part of in this crazy Hollywood world at a relatively young age.
I sat down with him to talk about that summer tour, as well as interacting with BTR's many fans on Twitter and his own thoughts on the association with the "boy band" label.
Was there a moment when you realized that you wanted to be a performer?
The closest I came was when I went to my first performing arts school in the eighth grade. I had so much fun. I never really got to hone my skills [so] as soon as I was surrounded by 1500 kids who loved performing, I was inspired.
Is there something that's the most fun about being part of Big Time Rush?
Touring is a lot of fun, but having spent the last six weeks on the road, I'm looking forward to filming. Filming's like a movie that never ends. I think if I did one or the other the grass is always greener. Touring is maybe more fun on a daily basis.
Your character on the TV series shares your first name. Is that strange for you?
Sometimes it's kind of easier. A pet peeve, once in awhile, after the director yells cut, he gets so into it. He calls me James Diamond. Sometimes it's frustrating in that sense. But it's easier to transition.
What's the biggest challenge of working on the show?
The pace. We not only film and film single-camera, 12 to 20 hours a day, but obviously we record [music], and write a lot of that music, and then record. There's a lot of different jobs that go into BTR. It's non-stop. It's a trade-off. I'll make it up to my dad and brother. (laughs)
You'll be touring this summer from July 5 to September 10. What can fans expect to see on the tour?
We're going to be playing 60-some arenas, including Cricket Wireless [Ampitheatre in Chula Vista]. We're going to take the existing tour and amp it up. A lot of choreography, the stage is going to get bigger, most importantly more songs. [We'll] play all the hits. We really want to just have a fun experience for the whole family. We want it to be entertaining and pretty non-stop.
Teen-oriented shows have tended to have some pretty vocal fans. What's it been like for you to interact with your fans on Twitter?
Twitter's pretty sick. I used to not take it that seriously. I've realized, mostly through angry tweets, that people love it. (laughs) I love being able to share things I do with my fans and respond directly to fans.
A lot of people ask what it's like to be famous, and I never think about that. I really do have a cool job and so many people in this industry do have a cool job. We're so lucky to be doing what we do. I could not do this without all the fans. I want to say how grateful I am, and as long as fans like what I do, I'm going to keep doing it.
Are you concerned about the association with the "boy band" label, given how people either seem to have loved or hated bands like N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys?
I don't loathe the term boy band. If you're going to put us at that level, it's a compliment. They were amazing. They were that big and that successful. You don't get there without a lot of hard work. The boy bands really are coming back.
Do you have any specific goals for your career going forward?
Moving past BTR, I've always wanted to do film. I think TV's an amazing start but film has always been the ultimate goal. I'm excited to play something more serious. I'd rather play fifth lead in a movie that's great than be the lead in something that wasn't good.
What music do you listen to? What would I find in your car's CD player?
You'd find [BTR's last album] Elevate. (laughs) Everything from Jack Johnson reminds me of San Diego. [I listen to] Maroon 5 and Skrillex, Adele, a lot of the new house music that's becoming a little more mainstream. There's so many people who don't know who the Beatles are.
What TV shows are you a fan of?
I love Archer and Family Guy. I used to love Entourage when it was on. Californication is a great show [and] Justified.
My thanks to James Maslow for this interview! For more information on BTR, and to check out summer tour dates near you, visit the band's official website.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.