Exclusive: The Downtown Fiction Talk About Their Debut Album and 'Going For It'
The Downtown Fiction have only been a band for a few years, but with two EPs and a hit single under their belts, the Virginia rockers are proving that they're a band that's here to stay. The trio has been blazing up the airwaves with their debut song, 'I Just Wanna Run,' and are now in the studio writing and recording their first full-length album.
But that's not the only thing Cameron Leahy (vocals/guitar), Eric Jones (drums) and Dave Pavluk (bass) have on their plate right now. The band is also gearing up for the 2011 Glamour Kills tour with The Ready Set, Allstar Weekend and We Are the In Crowd, kicking off on February 23.
While taking a break from their recording session in New York City, we got to talk to Cameron about The Downtown Fiction's forthcoming album, upcoming tour and why it's important to "go for it" in life. Read what the singer had to say in our exclusive interview below.
JSYK: What made you and Eric want to start a band initially?
Cameron: We were desperate to have a band, and that's all we really wanted to do, but all we had ever known was our high school music, so we wanted to do something brand new. The Downtown Fiction was an opportunity to do that. We started the band in the summer of 2008 -- I started writing some songs just on my own during the summer, and then we launched our MySpace page in the fall. We met David at Jammin Java, which is this music venue in Virginia that he had been working at. The band started in a very organic way, a pretty common tale, but we launched the site, and within a week we were already getting a lot of good feedback from people. We kept releasing songs independently until Photo Finish (record label) reached out to us.
JSYK: Did you ever expect the kind of response you got?
Cameron: No, definitely not, and we're still very taken aback by the response that we have gotten from this EP. It's an EP! I mean, when you're talking about a single or having any kind of radio play, you usually associate that with a band that has a full-length record out. So, its kind of an anomaly how all of this happened. It's really exciting, and were definitely just honored to have the opportunity to get our music out to so many people. We feel really lucky to have that chance.
JSYK: What kind of music did you grow up with?
Cameron: My parents were always intorducing me to band that they loved growing up. My dad is a Rolling Stones nut, so I grew up in a Stones household. My mom liked a lot of Motown music, so that was another thing I heard a lot when I was growing up. Then I discovered Blink-182, and just like a million other kids in my generation, we immediately went out and bought guitars, learned power chords and started writing songs about girls. I fell into that group of kids who all wanted to start a pop-punk band and wear their hats sideways -- that cool stuff. So, I think that combination of music influence still holds true to how I write a song and how our songs have developed. It's this weird combination of '60s/'70s rock music, combined with the fun of a pop-punk band like Blink or Green Day, which is what I discovered on my own as opposed to being raised on by my parents.
JSYK: What inspired your single 'I Just Wanna Run'?
Cameron: The song, in a nutshell is about a relationship gone bad, where one person is a victim and the other is a victimizer. People often feel like they're trapped in a relationship and there's no way out. This song is about that urgency, that feeling that you want to get out, but you don't have a way out, because you are trapped in love and you've fooled yourself into thinking you want to stay, but you're miserable.
JSYK: And do you find that you write about personal experiences or write from a fictional approach?
Cameron: I'm definitely much more inspired by personal experiences. I used to write a lot more songs where I would try to tell a story that I didn't really know anything about, almost an attempt at fiction, but I think the songs of mine that I like the best have all been about personal experiences. They're a lot easier to write, and they are a lot more honest.
JSYK: I hear that you guys are writing for your full-length album now. What can your fans expect from the new album?
Cameron: The record sounds more like The Downtown Fiction than we ever have sounded like The Downtown Fiction before. I love what we've done in the past, but I think we've only gotten better. Over the past year, I've had a lot of great inspiration to write, and I think the concept of the record is really coming together. Fans can expect songs that really tell a story about who I am, and what I've experienced in my life in the past year. The record is very much an autobiography.
JSYK: What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't playing music right now?
Cameron: I get tripped up on that question, because I don't know what else I would be doing. That's kind of the reason why musicians are musicians -- they can't picture themselves doing anything else. It's one of those professions where you have to have this level of patience and tenacity that I don't think is required in a lot of day jobs, because I feel there's a lot of security built into jobs. Being a musician is a risky venture. You have to have a lot of determination in order to get anywhere, I think.
JSYK: What kind of advice would you give to those who want to start a band?
Cameron: If you're in high school and in a band, I think you should give it your all, like it's the only band you'll ever be in. Even if your high school band ends up not working out, you're going to learn some invaluable lessons in those early years as a muscian that can't really be taught at school. I feel as if, when you're growing up, there's a lot of people telling you that you need backup plans and you need to start your 401K and all these things that you're going to have to do, and I think it gets in the way of the dreamers. I think that our society is being built up to create a race of really boring people, because everyone is getting this agenda shoved down their throats, like, you're going go to college; you're going to get married; you're going to have a baby; and then you're going to die. You just can't live that way. If you want to start a band and you aspire to be a musician, then do it. Don't sit around waiting for someone to tell you, 'Okay, now you can go and be a musician,' you have to make your own agenda. Whether or not that includes going to college, I won't even say, because of course there's time, but for me, at that moment in my life, I knew that it was now or never, so I went for it.
The Downtown Fiction's self-titled and 'Best I Never Had' EPs are available on iTunes now. To see the band live, visit the official site for the Glamour Kills Tour and get more TDF tour dates at TourTracker.com.
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