Big Time Rush was made for television, but James, Carlos, Logan, and Kendall formed into a band that can survive together long after their Nickelodeon show runs it’s course. Musiqtone had the chance to interview James Maslow of Big Time Rush on one of the band’s dates from their Better With U tour with special guests, JoJo and One Direction.
Hailey Sager: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us at Musiqtone! Would you please introduce yourself?
James Maslow: Hey, what’s up guys!? This is James Maslow from Big Time Rush!
HS: Big Time Rush was formed through an audition process. Did you know going into the audition that it was for a TV show as well as a touring band?
JM: Yeah the audition process was pretty crazy. It was two years long, and that’s basically all we knew. We knew it was a TV show on Nickelodeon and a record deal with Sony, but we really had no idea as to the specifics until we got through the audition process.
HS: What was it like coming together as a band to rehearse, perform and travel together without knowing each other previously?
JM: At the beginning, rehearsals took a long time. The first time we ever performed, [he laughed] we took like five days to rehearse and then put together an entire tour in a couple of weeks. So it’s definitely been a learning process for all of us, but now touring is, you know, the best part of our job. We get to see the country and the world and just have fun playing for our fans.
HS: Does Big Time Rush the show have any real life parallels to Big Time Rush the real life band?
JM: A little bit. The creator of the show, Scott Fellows, really likes to, especially now, kind of write the episodes before our real life. So obviously its not exact, but it most definitely reflects life in that kind of sense, it stays correct. I mean even the first episode, even; we went through you know a crazy audition process where it was my character’s dream to be a pop star and Kendall came in and took me and then we all went and it was similar to real life where it wasn’t one person and the whole band was created, but all of us went through years and years of auditioning and rehearsing and going through all of this American Idol type of rehearsal. So in that sense it’s similar, but the show obviously characterizes it and takes it all and makes it over the top.
HS: Big Time Movie is going to be released in March. Along with it there is a soundtrack coming out of Beatles cover songs. What is it like going into the studio to record covers of legendary songs?
JM: At first we were all a little bit nervous. I mean, obviously you go in with apprehensions because they’re the greatest band in the world and we were all fans of them beforehand and became even bigger fans when we realized how intricate the music they did with only eight tracks was, but we’re really excited for people to check it out. I hope that everybody thinks we did a good job, but more importantly passing the Beatles on to a whole new generation of kids that frankly don’t know who the Beatles are. And it’s kind of shocking how many of our younger fans didn’t even know who the Beatles are and don’t know who the Beatles are. So the fact that we get to now extend the longevity of the music is amazing. So hopefully people think we did a good job, but either way we’re really proud of what we’ve done and more proud that we get to share the Beatles with kids.
HS: Your second album, Elevate, has been receiving huge success, and your singles are being played on mainstream radio. What was it like the first time you heard your music on the radio?
JM: You know the first time I heard my music on the radio was on the road doing radio interviews and most of them would play it and that was pretty cool, but I guess the biggest moment that hit me was I was on my way to the airport one time and I casually asked the driver to turn on Kiss FM, you know,102.7 in Los Angeles. So he put it on in the background and the next song that came on was “Music Sounds Better With U,” and to hear that being played in my hometown on, you know, Ryan Seacrest, Kiss FM to me was like a whole other level. To me it almost felt like one of those moments you realize “Hey, you know, we’ve made it, we’ve done really well.” It’s unbelievable and really a dream come true to hear our song on the radio.
HS: Better With U tour is well on its way and a handful of major market cities have sold out! I can only imagine how great that feels! Are there any plans to broaden the tour to more cities after these first sixteen?
JM: Definitely, you know, this first eighteen stops on the Better With U tour is almost just a taste of what we are going to come back with after we film the third season. We’re definitely, I think filming after the first eighteen, but since it’s successful this far, I am confident after we film the third season we are going to be able to go back out on the road and play a lot more dates, so guys, if we haven’t come to your city yet keep writing those letters and we will try our best to add it to the next tour!
HS: That’s great because I know I am driving up from Florida to Nashville to see it, so it will be a lot of fun!
JM: Wait, hold on, how long of a drive is that?
HS: A few friends and I are taking a bus, it’s going to be twenty hours.
JM: Well, right on! Well be safe on that road trip! And hopefully where we are playing in Florida you won’t have to drive as far next time!
HS: Yeah, we are also going to Universal to see you guys, but we wanted to also get the full tour experience.
JM: That’s awesome!
HS: How much downtime do you get throughout the year, between touring, recording, and filming? And how do you spend your downtime?
JM: Well if we’re not touring, we’re recording, and if we’re not recording we’re filming, shooting the show or the movie, so downtime is pretty minimal. The last vacation I got, I went snowboarding for a week. And really the only downtime we get is on the road, which is really unique opportunity of having days off in different parts of the country. A lot of the times I try to focus on more of our writing on guest starring on a show, but other than that I like to surf, snowboard, and write music and relax!
HS: Is there anything you are looking forward to coming up on the Better With U tour? Either a specific city coming up or something that you have planned for any of the off dates?
JM: We’re going to a lot of great new cities! I’m looking forward to Radio City [Radio City Music Hall, New York City]. I was born in New York, so going back there and playing such a famous venue is pretty awesome, and I have a lot of family coming that live in New York and New Jersey coming to that show so it’s the last stop of the tour so we’re all looking forward to Radio City!
HS: Whether or not you will be visiting it on this tour, where is your favorite place to perform and experience with Big Time Rush?
JM: Oh, you mean so far what has been my favorite?
HS: Yes! And if you could go anywhere where would it be?
JM: Mexico City was unbelievable! All of the fans were so dedicated that was a lot of fun! But, I know I would actually like to go into Latin America and play Brazil, or go to Spain. To be able to play there and also relax on the beach there a little bit would be amazing!
HS: That’s so cool you get to experience the world! Is touring everything you expected it to be?
JM: You know, truly some days are what people think, or stereotypical. You get to wake up late and play in the city. Today was a pretty easy day, I got to wake up late, I went boxing and went to the gym and I’ve been playing basketball for a good half hour. So it has been a pretty awesome day, so all we have to do is play the show tonight. But other days are really busy! We wake up super early, go do a morning show or radio interviews throughout the day and keep busy, so it’s more work than people realize but frankly, I’m not complaining, none of us are. We love what we do!
HS: What is something your fans don’t know about you that you could share with Musiqtone?
JM: I went boxing this morning, that’s one of my favorite hobbies to do! I don’t usually talk about it, the fans probably wouldn’t know that. But I’m not very good, [he laughs] I just enjoy doing it. And actually one of my buddies in the crew is actually a really good boxer and he’s been training me throughout this tour.
HS: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us at Musiqtone! I look forward to seeing Big Time Rush in Nashville and Florida! Have a great rest of the tour!
JM: Right on, it was fun talking to you. I will see you in Nashville!
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