Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

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Interview: Big Time Rush

12 min read
We talk career, comeback and UK tour with the lovely Kendall and @1LoganHenderson of US boyband @bigtimerush ..... @HeffronDrive @TheCarlosPena @JamesMaslow

Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos PenaVega and Logan Henderson made a solid name for themselves back in 2009 when they were put together to form Nickelodeon pop group, Big Time Rush. The foursome went on to star in the Nickelodeon of the same name and turned out 3 hugely successful records before disbanding and heading off in different directions to start families and pursue other things.

All four members came back together in 2023 with the release of new album, Another Life – ten years after the release of their last and they have been going from strength to strength once again as they navigate the current pop terrain; this time as adults.

The band recently announced a tour of Europe and the UK with performances in Manchester and Birmingham before wrapping the tour up in London on July 21st at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith and we were lucky enough to grab some time with members Logan and Kendall to talk about their impressive career, their comeback after a 10 year hiatus and the upcoming dates. Here is what the lads had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: You guys are coming over here starting with Poland on June 7th, then you’ve got some dates in Manchester, Birmingham, London – What can you tell us about the upcoming shows and this new tour?

Logan Henderson: The last two years for us have been heavy touring in the States and we had a good time with those shows. Over the last two years we’ve kind of combined everything from those shows that we really love with some special magic moments that no one else has seen so far. It’s reminiscent of some of our shows, but I think in a special way and very different for us.

Kendall Schmidt: Actually, the UK and Europe get the benefit of us being well seasoned after two tours and working the setlist and making it really good and tweaking things. So I think they might get the best of the best!

BV: What’s your favourite thing about getting on stage, getting on the road, and seeing fans?

KS: The beginning of the show! That first moment. We haven’t quite come up with what our first entrance will be on this tour but when there’s that first moment for me that hits all the notes – no pun intended. You’re out there, the lights come up, and everyone’s just like AH! And in that first moment you’re like ‘this is awesome’.

LH: Wherever we travel there’s this certain type of energy. So going to South America and Mexico and all these various places around the States. The UK has a very specific energy, and Europe does, and I think that’s my favourites. Some of these groups haven’t sung these songs in a very long time, especially together as a group, and some of these shows are sold out so they’ll be packed! I think that’s going to be very special to capture that energy.

KS: It’s gonna be sweaty.

BV: What are your fans like in the UK compared to back home in the States?

LH: It’s been a while so we’re gonna have to figure that one out haha.

BV: It’s been a while it’s been, what, 13 years since you toured over here?

LH: It’s been a while yeah, quite a few years. But I remember the energy and the fans singing outside of the shows before they’d even got into the venues. There’s such a fire and something very sweet about the UK and I’m excited! We get a lot of pictures like “this was me 10 years ago when I saw you last, and this is me now” and it kind of blows my mind that people have stuck around a long time with us. It’s a new type of energy now that everyone’s older and can come out to shows by themselves and bring family members and friends from years ago.

BV: It must be great to see, having fans from years ago when you first broke out and seeing these same fans perhaps bringing their children to these shows, perhaps bringing their experience and enthusiasm towards Big Time Rush to their children. That must be quite something?

KS: We’ve certainly seen that! We’ve toured the States so much that we’re very familiar with people from back in the day. There’s also probably a lot of people who we would’ve seen but they would’ve been 9 or 10 at the time, so we wouldn’t recognise the difference. But it was amazing on our tour, and I’m not exaggerating, we would ask ‘who hasn’t been to a Big Time Rush show before’ and like 70% of the crowd would scream. And we’re thinking like how is that possible! We played so many shows 12 years ago, hundreds of thousands of tickets – so surely everyone who’s coming has already seen us and they’re just coming back. But actually it was a new wave of people. We’ve only played a couple small shows in the UK, so there’s a perfect example of everyone who’s coming has never seen us before.

LH: I think new music brings people together. You have the people who are just seeing you for the first time, and then you have fans that have made friends at an early age and stayed friends and come to our shows and that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

BV: You guys started out quite young, through your experience on Nickelodeon and coming together that way, when things exploded for you guys was it a challenge to adapt to life? That must change everything about your lifestyle to all of a sudden be known all over. How was that experience for the four of you?

LH: It’s kind of hard to think about it in some ways. I really try to compartmentalise, as I think if I thought about it too long it would send my head into a spin. I had a lot of conversations with Kendall leaving the set going ‘man, this is crazy’. One day you can be at a house party outside at a little bonfire, and the next day you’re doing it in front of thousands of people! We really stuck close to each other to give ourselves that support. We’re constantly pinching ourselves, even still now, thinking how did this happen?!

KS: Ironically, I think it was the TV show that kept us grounded. Compared to if we’d gotten launched like One Direction, for example. We had to work on the show five days a week, ten hours a day. People were thinking this is all happening overnight, but we were working. Four seasons, 70 episodes, you know it was a lot of time spent on set, so that was more of a job. Then we’d get on stage and do these concerts and it would be insane, and you might be thinking ‘I don’t know how to absorb this’ and then you’re back to the set at 6am.

LH: Yeah people would keep us grounded and bring us back to reality being like ‘Hey you’ve got a 6am call tomorrow so get to work’!.

KS: Yeah you need to be there.

LH: I think that probably was a blessing in disguise.

BV: Going back to those really early years – what are you fondest memories?

LH: There’s so many!

KS: Pulling into Paramount. Even though I was an actor for as long as I can remember and had worked in a lot of different places, having an actual gig where you’d pull into Paramount every morning and see the big water tower and all the sets and stages and park in the special parking lot! It’s so silly but you’re like ‘this is awesome’.

LH: Your next door neighbours are some your heroes!

KS: We were parked next to Chevy Chase almost everyday!

LH: We’d see LL Cool J on the back of his golf cart.

BV: That must be something quite hard to absorb you must’ve been pinching yourself constantly thinking I’m in this moment, you know?

LH: Truly.

So between 2014-2021 you had a hiatus. You guys grew up in that time, quite quickly you developed families, and Logan you’ve got a new daughter!

LH: Kendall does! But I have a new niece, I’m a certified uncle now!

BV: Congratulations! So it’s been a few years since the hiatus but what was it like reconnecting back in the studio or back on stage together? Or was it a hiatus where you kept in touch?

KS: We kept in touch! Definitely not as much as we do now, but I think everyone kept in touch. I have to say getting everyone together it was just as tricky as you can imagine and even just shaking off the dancing rust was something that made me lose sleep. I was worrying like, am I even going to look cool doing this shit anymore?

LH: And I was there to remind him – no you won’t. I’m just kidding. I think the good thing is when we started to come back, we was doing a lot of Zoom sessions, so in a way we did shake off the rust musically. It was a little nerve wracking, you know hoping we’d make good music. If we’re gonna come back it’s gotta be great. It’s wasn’t until we were able to all get into a room together and start writing and finding a sound that things progressed, and we start to see the magic between the four of us in the studio.

KS: And no one was sending us anything either, at the time. We of course wanted to write, that was our prerogative, but we were 100% on our own. We just chipped away at it until we felt good about it.

LH: We had a few very close friends who wanted to help us make an album that was just us and very special. I think it worked out.

BV: So what do you think the secret is to longevity and the pop sphere at the moment? A lot of pop groups come and go, what’s the secret to success for you guys? What keeps you so bonded?

LH: Exercise of letting go of your ego. I would say we all have big hearts and we’re all very passionate and I think just trying to have a mutual respect for each other goes a long way.

KS: I would agree, everyone feels so passionate about each aspect of it. Some people might be like ‘I don’t like getting into the minutiae of the merchandise’, but I know that Logan does. Logan loves making sure that the merch looks cool. So we lean on each other a lot, but basically everybody wants to do everything and that might be the biggest challenge. This isn’t a band where one person is the drummer, one person is the bassist, and everyone has their lane – for us, all lanes are open. That might be the most challenging part because everyone wants to and can fit into every lane so that’s probably the biggest thing. And, you know, checking your ego, making sure you don’t think you’re too special. We’re all regular guys who are just super blessed, but we also recognise that we are putting in the work, which is a lot of effort, and we are extremely passionate about it.

LH: We’re all creative and absolutely mental. So we just try to navigate it as best you can.

BV: So your latest album Another Life came out over here last year, and that seems like a very appropriate title because of the history of the band, all the success and then coming back with this new album. Is it safe to say it feels like a second life or chance for you guys?

LH: That’s definitely part of it, absolutely. We kind of played on that word and that song as it did feel like another life. I think during Covid and when things were locked down it was also really a reminder to not wait for another life to do what you wanna do at the moment. We kind of played on those words quite a bit. And we wanted to see what we were made of again. We wanted to see if we still had that special something and try and find a new aspect of this band that excites us. It’s been a special moment and I’d say almost better than it was before.

You guys do play a part in the majority of putting that record together. You play a part in production, in songwriting. How important is that this time round especially to be involved at that level with recording?

KS: Brendon, we are familiar with every single note of that album. Honestly it’s a little uncomfortable, we know it a little too well. In fact when you’re listening to it you go ‘Oh that’s that thing that I wanted to change’.

LH: There was a time we wasn’t getting much sleep. We’d be waking up at 3 in the morning and thinking ‘wait a second…’ It’s probably not good for people to see what that looks like. We just kept hammering away. We really worked that album hard.

KS: it was basically three producers on the whole album, maybe a fourth as a co-producer, two of which Logan and I spent months with going over stuff. We wrote 30 other songs that aren’t on the album so we’re very intimate with it.

BV: Last question for you, going back to the tour you’ve got coming up. It sold out very quickly over here so you’ve got a very eager fan base. What does it mean knowing that over ten years being here and your first tour in Europe sells out just like that – how does that feel?

LH: It’s heavy but in the best way. Something you can’t quite put into words you know. We’re grateful for the opportunity and always have been. We’re playing shows that some people never get to play in their entire careers – that’ll always keep you grateful. A heart of gratitude is really all I have.

KS: I feel the exact same way. I love live music like in a restaurant or a bar and I’m always watching people play and a lot of times these people are amazing and they’re playing for 20 people at the pub. I just think why is it that we get to do that and they don’t?

LH: We’ll happily play at the pub too and have a couple beers.

KS: Yeah. But like Logan said it is actually kind of heavy. If you didn’t let it weigh you down, then you’d probably get too high. You have to let the responsibility that there are a lot of people out there that love making music and they won’t ever get the chance. So it’s important to stay grounded with that weight. Otherwise you just become so full of yourself if you’re not reminded of it.

LH: It also means that BTR is in the mindset to continue to tour in Europe and the UK and we’ll keep on coming back as long as you’ll have us.

Big Time Rush are touring the UK this month. Full tour schedule below:

 

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