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The Hot Sweat
Boyce Avenue
Ashlyne Huff
By Stephanie Mora-- Regional Head, Pacific/Southwest

Three musically talented brothers from Florida make up the band Boyce Avenue, and they are well known for their strong acoustic rock sound. In 2007, Boyce Avenue decided to uploaded some of their own music and covers of Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Coldplay songs to youtube. Needless to say, they became a youtube channel sensation with over 100,000 subscribers and millions of views. While their success on youtube grew, the brothers of Boyce Avenue released an independent album in 2008 called All You're Mean To Be, and had their first show in New York in 2009. The show caught the attention of a lot of potential labels but Boyce Avenue decided to sign with Universal Republic Records. Now they are set to make their major label debut with the album All We Have Left, due out June 15th, 2010, and they will be touring the United States this summer with singer/songwriter Tamar Kaprelian. For more information on their debut album and summer tour dates, check out the band's myspace: www.myspace.com/boyceavenue

Stephanie Mora: Introduce yourselves and your roles in the band (ie, instrument you play, etc) to the Musiqtone readers.
Daniel Manzano: I’m Daniel Manzano, and I play bass and percussion.  My youngest brother Alejandro is our lead singer and plays guitar and piano. And Fabian, our middle brother is our other guitarist. 

SM: For those who have never heard of Boyce Avenue before, how would you describe your sound?
Pop rock, I guess, is what you’d call the genre. But, really, at the end of the day, that’s just to say that our music is rock music that goes down smoothly. We like strong hooks and melodies that stay with you, and we are huge fans of the acoustic guitar and the piano, which feature heavily in our music. But, artistically, I would say we like to push the envelope the most with our drum arrangements and guitar riffs. Musically, it's in those parts, that I think we distinguish ourselves most from other bands in our genre.

SM: How was Boyce Avenue formed, and what is the meaning or inspiration behind the name, Boyce Avenue?
DM: We're all brothers. So this is always a difficult question to answer.  Alejandro likes to say that the band was formed on October 4, 1986, the day he was born (he's the youngest).  But, we don’t put up with that.  No, but, really, we’ve always been best friends, so we all just jumped into music when Alejandro was 13 and he and Fabian started playing guitar. And then when I graduated in 2004 from law school, we were all finally older and in the same place geographically, and in the following years we started writing music and playing out locally.  I’d say things started to get more “serious” in about 2006 and 2007, for sure.  And when that happened, the name Boyce Avenue just felt right. It was a combination of the two streets we had grown up on.

SM: Who are your musical influences and how have these influences impacted your own music/music career?
DM: We are very big fans of the Goo Goo Dolls.  "Iris" is my favorite song of all time, and the Dizzy Up The Girl album was just huge for me.  We've all also been really moved over the years by the music of Train, John Mayer, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, and Journey.  I think a lot of our sense of melody is rooted in these influences.

SM: All of you were fairly young when Boyce Avenue was first formed (in year 2000) and began playing. There was even a period of time where you went off to college and only collaborated sometimes. How have you grown since then (year 2000- the beginning) as musicians? Did you guys always know that music was what you wanted to ultimately do?
DM: When we started playing music we were pretty young, so we were mostly pop-influenced at that time.  I think the biggest change for us over the years has been a steady increase in our diet of rock and indie music. Being able to blend those two sensibilities--pop and rock--I think, has been one of our strong suits.  Also, on a more practical level, none of us have day jobs anymore, which is a big change and an even bigger relief. In our former lives, I was a real estate and corporate attorney, Fabian was an in-house art and design guy at a private mp3 player and accessories company, and Alejandro was a student. So, we’re all grateful every day to have had amazing fans follow us and support, so that now we can do what we always hoped from an early age we’d have the chance to do, which is to write and play music together.

SM: Now let's talk more about your music and your albums. You guys are pretty accomplished and talented songwriters, being honored in several songwriting competitions. What was it like to be honored/win awards for these
songwriting competitions? And with this kind of songwriting experience behind you, how has it helped when creating original songs for your own albums?
DM: It’s always a huge honor to be recognized in national competitions, especially for songwriting.  But, in the end, we don’t put too much stock in it, and we don’t factor that in when writing songs

SM: Your debut album, "All You're Meant To Be" was released in March of 2008. What was it like to record your very first album?
DM: Well, All You’re Meant To Be at this point feels more like an EP to us. But those songs have been reinvigorated and supplemented in the form of our upcoming full length album, All We Have Left, which to use is really our debut to the world.

SM: What was the inspiration behind the song, "On My Way." I had to sneak that in here because it's one of my favorites.
Well, that’s a huge honor that you like that song. I know that for Alejandro that is one of the most personal songs he’s ever written.  So that will mean a lot to him.  It’s a song he wrote for his soul mate, who he knows is out there but hasn’t met yet.

SM: Now you are getting ready to release your sophomore album, "All We Have Left" on June 15th, 2010. How was the writing and recording process different and similar for both albums? How has your music evolved? How was the recording process in general?
DM: The creation of All We Have Left was, well, an adventure. [Laughs.] There was a huge learning curve, as you can imagine, because we did just about everything ourselves.  And I mean just about EVERYTHING.  We wrote all the songs, we produced them, tracked them, wrote all the instrument parts (including drums and strings), lined up all the engineers and studios, financed the whole recording of the album, and oversaw all of that and everything in between.  It was the most amazing education we could ever get at this point in our lives.  And even though it’s taken us a few years (and more in some cases) to be able to get from where we wrote the songs to where they are now on the album, it’s all been worthwhile because we know in listening to the album the fans will be sharing with us in one of the most personal undertakings of our lives.  We’ve really poured ourselves into the album, because we think that’s what the fans deserve.

SM:Now let's talk about tour. You're getting ready to tour here in mid June. I will actually be at your show on June 25th at the Epicentre with Tamar Kaprelian. I'm excited to see you guys perform live. What are you most excited for with this upcoming tour? Are there any particular cities you are really excited to see?
DM: That’s amazing! You’ll have to say hi. It’ll be our second time in San Diego, and we can’t wait to be back. We are always excited to tour in the US, because it’s home to us.  And because the fans are always so supportive of our music. Every city has something unique to offer. So we really don’t have any favorites.  But, I will say that because I spent a lot of time in Boston when I was in law school, I always look forward to playing there.  And this summer we’ve also got a lot of new cities we’re playing, like Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, which we’ve heard amazing things about.

SM: Will you be playing songs from both of your albums on tour?
DM: The bulk of our set will be the music from All We Have Left, but we’ll also throw in some of our big YouTube songs for fun.

SM: Now to kind of wind this interview down. What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
DM: Great question.  Hmmmmm.  Not sure.  Well, I guess I’d have to say being away from family so much.

SM: What is the ultimate direction you want to take with Boyce Avenue? What do you want to accomplish as a band?
DM: We just want to continue to have the opportunity to write and perform our music for as many people as will care to listen.  It’s an honor to be able to share your message with others and to connect on that level.  We just hope to get to do that more and more in the years to come.

SM: We really appreciate you guys taking the time to answer these. Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the Musiqtone Readers?
DM: Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. We hope to see you on tour!
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