We met the band Allstar Weekend: Michael Martinez (drums), Zach Porter (vocals, guitar), Cameron Quisang (bass), and Nathan Darmondy (guitar, vocals) before their recent concert at Irving Plaza. We stayed for the show and it was awesome!
What inspired your new song “Come Down With Love”?
Zach: We wanted to write a love song and we hadn’t really written just a simple plain love song yet. And we didn’t want to make it a ballad, we wanted to make it a dance song. We put our disco influence to use and we wrote “Come Down With Love.” Just a simple song about love, that feeling when you just lose control and almost come down with a sickness.
How is your life different now than it was before you became famous?
Nathan: It’s completely different. Before we took the band very seriously, we were all going to college. We just did normal things and then we ended up getting signed up with Hollywood Records. We started touring the country, and had to take a quick break from school, had to say goodbye to our jobs and now we have fans, which is insane. We get to travel all over the place and see all these amazing girls and guys that come out with posters and shirts to see us and we love to see them and we’ve gotten to be a lot better musicians and we’ve been in the studio writing, just released an album now. It’s insane. Our world is completely different.
When you were younger was it your life’s ambition to be a singer or something else?
Zach: I think I wanted to throughout my life, but music has always been, if not on the front of my mind, but in the back of my mind. Somewhere in my mind I’ve always had the dream of being a rock star. It seemed like the coolest thing you can ever do.
Cameron: I wouldn’t say I always wanted to be a rock star, but ever since I was little I've always known I wanted to be an entertainer. My dad got me -- when I was 3 years old, I got a drum kit, and I wasn’t feeling it so I picked up a plastic guitar and started jamming on that. It wasn’t until high school that I picked up a real guitar and realizing then that being a musician was a lot of fun.
Nathan: I think for a large portion of my life I definitely wanted to be a musician. I’ve been playing guitar for 10 years now. That’s been a huge part of my life since fifth grade.
Do you guys have a team that helps you get ready for a concert?
Zach: No, not really. Just get ready ourselves and usually we do a pretty bad job. It’s hard on the road to always be the cleanest people, but we try our best.
Cameron: I wouldn’t say it’s very glamorous, but we definitely get a lot of sleep, inasmuch as we can. Like Michael and I both took an eight-minute nap before we did the interview. But no, we don’t have a team of people, just by ourselves.
Do you like being compared to other boy bands?
Cameron: Like the Jonas Brothers? We really respect the guys. Our music is completely different, but we get compared to them all the time. And we don’t mind it because of the relationship they have with their fans. We really look up to them and strive to be as close as they are with their fans to our fans. We want to make it that they could come out to the show and be able to see a band that they like, a band that they could look up to, good role models and guys that just really enjoy what they’re doing.
How did the name of your band come to be Allstar Weekend?
Zach: One of our favorite songs in there was “All Star” by Smash Mouth. It was a big song in 1989. So we named ourselves after that song, and then, weekends are fun. So we added weekend.
How did you feel the night of your first concert?
Zach: We were extremely nervous. Our first show was in our hometown of San Diego. There was this venue we used to go as kids and all our favorite bands played there. There was like probably about 30 people there, but we were just so shaky.
Nathan: The scariest part of the show was, we didn’t have fans at the time, so we had all our friends and family there. So it was like having our toughest critics in the crowd there watching us. It turned out really well, so now we’re playing in front of a bunch of people.
What were your reactions when your song “Come Down With Love” sold over 100,000 copies and topped Disney’s 30 countdowns?
Zach: It was really, really exciting. We had no expectations. We didn’t expect it to do anything. And when we had an actual reaction to our music, and an actual fan base that was, kind of all of a sudden, was here, it was just we were really thankful and excited.
Who is your favorite musician and why?
Zach: Bruce Springsteen for me because he was the first, what I consider a rock star, that I ever heard. My mom showed me Bruce Springsteen when I was 5. She played “Born in the USA” and I just love all his music, his songwriting and the way he performs on stage. He’s just the coolest.
Michael: I would have to say Prince because he really changed a lot of things in music. I like a lot of what I hear on the radio today, which was influenced by that. A lot of things I listen to have been influenced by that; so that’s me.
Cameron: I would have to say a guy named Jack Johnson. (A) because he’s an amazing surfer and (B), his music is really mellow and feel-good and every time I listen to him, it makes me happy. But on top of that, he’s a really good guy. He just released a new album and he’s touring the nation, all of the proceeds of the tour go to charity. And I think that’s really cool that he’s doing that.
Nathan: For me I think it’s more like a genre of music. I like indie rock, I like pop. Something that really moves you and sends a message.
Who was your inspiration to start Allstar Weekend?
Zach: I don’t think it was anyone in particular. When we were kids we always went to shows, we were always fans of the bands that came to our town. And it seemed like the coolest thing to do. Start a band and maybe get to tour the country. That was kind of a star dream and we kind of went for it from there.
Have you ever had stage fright and, if so, how did learn to overcome it?
Michael: Actually I had stage fright at the beginning, but a good way that I overcame it, and I didn’t figure this out until later, chewing gum actually helps me when I’m playing on stage. I don’t know why, but it relaxes me. It’s kind of — when they’re playing you get nervous, but chewing gum is something you do all the time. For my body and my mind I’m doing something natural when I’m playing. So it’s easiest for me to play without getting stage fright.
Cameron: I used to get stage fright at the beginning. I still get it once in a while. On random shows I still get it, but playing on TV is very scary. I think at this point we’ve been touring a really long time now, we’ve been playing shows for 21/2 years. It’s gotten to a point where I feel most excited when I’m on stage. I feel that’s where I’m supposed to be because there’s a bunch of fans out there that are stoked to see our music and we’re stoked to there with them, and we’re stoked to have them there. It’s like a big party. So there’s no reason to be nervous. It’s a lot of fun.
Nathan: I think it’s more I’m just excited to be there. I wouldn’t say it was something I was born to do, but it’s kind of comes natural to me, I just like to be on stage and entertaining for people.
Zach: Yeah I definitely get nervous, but I think just getting ready, I warm up my voice, stretch and kind of just get ready, it kind of gets me in the mindset on stage. Whatever nerves you have just kind of melt away. Do and just play the show.