We met Zach Porter (singer) Nathan Darmody (guitar) Cameron Quiseng (bass), and Michael Martinez (drums) — members of the band Allstar Weekend, right before they had a show in Manhattan recently. Their album, “Suddenly” was just released last week. We love their song “A Different Side of Me.”
How has being on “Next Big Thing” changed your life?
Cameron: Being on “Next Big Thing” has complete flipped everything we know about the world upside down. We were going to school. We had jobs. We were doing the same thing everyday. And now it’s a mystery. Our lives are crazy. We fly to different states all the time; we get to play these awesome shows like the ones we’re going to play today.
Nathan: Yeah it’s cool. Like a year ago we were in a garage practicing. Now we open up for great acts like Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato], Selena .
Cameron: Justin Bieber.
Nathan: And it’s cool that we get to do that. It’s a great opportunity.
Do you play in the band for the love of it or the money?
Zach: I think anyone’s dream is to do what you love for what you’re living in. So that’s what were getting to do. It’s always been our dream to be musicians in a band like this and we’re going to do it and we’re getting to make it a career. So it’s just a dream come true.
Cameron: Because we love it. Just pure love.
Is being in a band harder than you thought it would be?
Nathan: It’s definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be. You wake up. We got like a schedule. Your whole day is planned. You got to rehearse, super, super hard. You can’t miss rehearsals because you want to sound great when you perform for people. We’re writing a lot and we’re working on an album. It’s definitely a lot of work. You don’t get much sleep, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Michael: I think being in a band is actually a lot of hard work, but all the hard work you do really accumulates into more fun that you get to have. The more you work, the more fun you get to have.
What is your inspiration for your music?
Zach: We’re inspired by all kinds of things. We’re kids just as you guys. We grew up and we’re learning everyday. A lot of our music is about growing up, going through high school, going through lots of changes, becoming adults sort of kids. It’s like a weird awkward in-between. That’s what our music’s about. Not only the lyrics, but the style is influenced by that too. The instrumentation, the beat, the BPM , it’s all about a kid growing up.
Can you believe all the people you have that support you including your parents and fans?
Cameron: We’re just now starting to believe it because what we were seeing. Before we didn’t think we had fans until a couple of weeks ago. Certainly getting a bunch of fans on line, people actually listen to our music. All these shows that we were playing, people know our songs. It’s still weird to us because I feel like no one knows who we are. Our parents have always been there, they’ve always been fans, but we didn’t know we had fans outside of family. It’s kind of shocking for us, but it’s exciting.
Why do you use things from the Middle Ages in your music video “For A Different Side of Me?”
Nathan: It’s like every kid’s fantasy. You’re a super hero, I’m a super hero in a purple leotard, I’m courageous. Everybody wants to be a super hero. Like when you’re kids you want to be a knight. You fantasize about being a pilot, an astronaut, or anything. It’s kind of what we always fantasize about and then we incorporated that into a video.
Zach: We’re dorks. We love fantasy. We love knights and castles and that’s just, it’s cool. When we’re making a music video we want to do something fun like that what we actually like. It’s cool because the video — it really shows us who we really are.
Cameron: I’ve been waiting to make that music video my whole life.
How long does it take to write a song?
Zach: Writing a song, it totally depends. You never know if you’re going to be super creative or have a great idea or not. Sometimes it takes an hour; sometimes it takes days or even a month. It’s fun to see some of the best songs are created in half-hour and some of the best songs take weeks to write. It’s different every time.
How did you come up with the name of your band?
Cameron: We had a few different names. I guess I’ll say the Allstar part and then you can take the Weekend. We decided we were going to name our band after a song that we all liked. So we were looking up awesome bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and all these super cool rock bands. But we couldn’t find anything, and our buddy had this poster of a band called Smash Mouth. So the band Smash Mouth had a song called “All Star” and we’re like Oh! We all love that song. Hey we’re Allstars.
Zach: The only problem with Allstars . . . it’s a very popular word. We didn’t want to get into legal trouble. So the Weekend was just another word to add. We wanted to keep Allstar because we already kind of built a fan base on Allstar and we wanted to keep the same fans. And so we added the Weekend because weekends are fun.
Cameron: Who doesn’t like the weekends? It’s cool.
How did you learn how to play the instruments that you do?
Nathan: I started at a very young age. My dad introduced the guitar to me. He just showed me some basic guitar theory. Some chords like that and pretty much there on I’m just self taught.
Cameron: I started playing guitar years before we joined the band. But as far as bass goes, this guy taught me how to play.
If you had any other job, what would it be?
Nathan: Great question. A dancer.
Cameron: At your school do you have an afternoon program where kids can go and wait for their parents to pick them up? Well, I worked with fourth- and fifth-graders at this thing called ESS, which is Extended School Services. And I really wanted to become a teacher because I love working with kids. That’s why I knew you so well. I knew you were fifth-graders.
Nathan: I definitely still go to school for music, of course. I don’t know. I would probably start a band again. This is pretty much what I’ve always what I wanted to do. I’m still pushing for it.
Zach: Being in a band is definitely what I always wanted to do, but when I was a little kid I always wanted to be a pilot and I went to college for a year before the band and I majored in journalism. Kind of like you guys. So I think it would be cool to be a reporter. It would be fun.
Michael: If I wasn’t in the band I would probably have my own TV show or talk show or a soap opera or my own TV channel about myself. That seems kind of unrealistic. So maybe I would want to be something like a paleontologist. People that dig up bones and stuff.
Cameron: I can’t picture you digging anything where’s there dirt involved.
Michael: Well I didn’t say I would be doing the digging.
If you could perform with any band, who would it be?
Nathan: I would love perform with Lenny Kravitz. It would be completely the exact opposite genre and the band would probably not work out. But I think it would be a lot of fun. I really would enjoy doing that.
Michael: If could perform with anyone it would probably be Prince or Michael Jackson.
Cameron: If I could perform with anyone it would probably be Smash Mouth. Random, right? Just because I think it would be cool.
Zach: I would love to do backup vocals for a Fleetwood Mac revival tour.
Do you guys still go to school?
Nathan: Nope. This is a full time job.
Zach: Being in a band is tons of fun but also takes a lot of work. We’re working 12-15 — all day, seven days a week. It’s our job now; it’s our life. I went to college for a year before I was in the band. And of course, when I told my dad I wanted to be in the band and not go to college back in high school. He thought I was crazy . . . so we made a deal. He said, all right you go to college and if you get signed to a major record label then you can stop going to college. Come spring of my first year of college we got signed Holly Records and we got the deal. And then I stopped going to school. I held up my end of the bargain, my dad had to hold up his and it worked out pretty good. And I think it’s been a good thing for my family. We’ve really grown from the experience.
Cameron: We all graduated from high school. Nathan didn’t go to college. Michael, Zach and I all went to college before this happened.