Honing their musical skills throughout the years it wasn’t until middle school that Garrett Perales entered the picture. When the trio graduated high school they decided to make music their careers and Disco Curtis was officially born. Soon after Brendan Barone joined the band making it an official quartet, that is, after he finished high school early! (And who said musicians aren’t scholarly!)
Likening their sound to the pop rock stylings of All Time Low and Fall Out Boy, Disco Curtis recently won the chance to play at Warped Tour. While this was their first time playing the tour, it’s probably far from their last!
The band took some time to talk to TheyWillRockYou.com and to offer up some insight into who they are and where they’re going…com along for the ride.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | July 2009
Let’s start out with the basics, for our readers who are being introduced to you for the first time, can you give us a brief history of the band?
Well it all started when A.J. and Tanner first met in the fourth grade. A.J. had moved to Texas from New Jersey and the two instantly became best friends. A.J. had been drumming since he was ten and Tanner had experience playing piano, yet he had never sang a note in his life. Tanner and A.J. decided they wanted to start a band together and Tanner picked up singing and guitar like it was nothing. It was like Tanner had this great voice his whole life that just needed to be prompted to come out.
In middle school, the duo became a trio when they met Garrett, the lead guitar player. He had a passion for playing guitar and his skills at such a young age were very impressive. In August of the guys’ senior year, after six years of playing together in various bands, they decided to get serious about their musical careers and Disco Curtis was formed.
Brendan Barone was added, contributing his solid bass playing and smooth back up vocals. Brendan was actually a Junior, being the youngest one in the band at the age of 16, but that problem was quickly fixed when the guys meshed as best friends and Brendan decided to graduate high school early.
Since the band has been formed, the guys have been playing with bands such as Forever the Sickest Kids, The White Tie Affair, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Metro Station. They have released singles such as “Surprise Me,” “Breaking Hearts,” and “Ashley,” and have received a great response from fans. The fans have been incredible and have been the driving force behind the band.
Usually I stay away from asking bands about their names because I know it’s constantly asked but..yours is quite unique so I’m dying to know the story behind it.
We have a good friend named Curtis who is basically a disco master. He plays disco beats on drum set, teaches disco dance, and he loves disco music. We named the band in honor of him.
If you had to file yourself into a section of a music store what would Disco Curtis be found under?
Pop/Rock, near the All Time Low and Fall Out Boy CDs.
You recently won a battle of the bands which offered you the opportunity to play at Warped Tour, can you tell us what that experience was like for you?
Incredibly hot, tiring, but so worth it! It was great to be in one huge venue with all of our favorite bands. The fans were incredibly supportive and stood out in the heat just to watch our show. It was a great learning experience and now we are prepared to play a full leg of the tour next year.
What bands were you most looking forward to seeing at this years Warped Tour?
A Day to Remember, 3oh!3, Lights, Hit the Lights, The Maine, A Rocket to the Moon, and Attack Attack!
You’ve worked with producer Geoff Rockwell (known for his work with Forever the Sickest Kids) can you tell us how that collaboration fell into place?
We actually played a show called Mayfest with our old band and we met Forever the Sickest Kids there. They watched our whole set and called up Geoff, asserting “You have to record this band.” Geoff then contacted us and we have been working on music together ever since.
You’ve said that you want your music to break down the wall between the artist and the listener, can you tell us in your own words what you mean by that?
Basically we just want people to be able to relate to our music. We want fans to be as passionate about these songs as we are, making a show not about just us, but about everyone involved.
On your MySpace fans can hear a cover of the Lady Gaga song Just Dance…..what made you decide to cover that song and what kind of twist did you put on it?
Our guitar player Garrett came up with the idea to use that song. We wanted to use a current popular top 40 hit to make our own. We made the song more rock and less electronic based. The lead guitar plays the synth parts and in the bridge we break the song down into a hardcore rhythm played by all instruments. The drums are big and acoustic instead of electronic. But we still keep some of the electronic sounds.
You all look pretty young, can I ask how old you are and where your music roots came from and how you became musicians?
A.J. (drummer) is 18 and began playing when he was ten. In order to get his first drum set he had to convince his parents that he would stick with it, so he drummed on pots and pans for a whole year. He put a pot upside down as a drum and tied the lid to a string, hanging it as a cymbal. He was heavily influenced by classic rock drummers, such as Keith Moon from The Who and Bonham from Led Zeppelin.
Brendan (bass guitar) is 16 and began playing when he was ten also. He started out playing guitar and immediately got a band together in tribute of Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica after learning just a few of the basic power chords. Brendan’s experience on lead guitar made the transition to bass easy when he joined the band.
Garrett (lead guitar) is 19 and has been playing guitar since he was 10. His friend across the street inspired him to first pick up guitar, but as soon as he started playing he fell in love. He has been influenced by classic rock music and blues, which transfers well into the pop genre by providing extra flavor in solos and riffs.
Tanner (vocals/rhythm guitar) is 18 and started off just playing piano. H e picked up guitar fairly quickly but singing was not so easy. He was very shy to fully commit to a note, but as soon as he left his comfort zone he blew everyone away with a powerful voice no one knew he had. He was influenced heavily by Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional and Max Bemis from Say Anything. They both contribute to his song writing and his unique vocal tone.
Your MySpace mentions an EP but I couldn’t find any info on it, is it out yet or is it still in the works and when can we anticipate it?
The EP is still in the works but it will definitely be out in the Fall. It will have 6 songs. Three songs are already recorded and the other three are in the works.
What is the overall message that Disco Curtis is trying to relate through their music?
Every song has a different message. Some are about hope, some are about just having a good time. Some of the songs are about relationships and the ups and downs involved. But overall, we just write about our experiences that we know everyone also goes through in their lives.
Your calendar lists some upcoming Acoustic after shows for some of the Jonas Brothers dates in Texas, can you tell us a bit about that? Are you just heading out there and playing after the show?
The Jonas Brothers shows are a great place to meet people. Jonas fans are fun, open, and tend to like our music as well. So just by going out to the shows and playing acoustic in the parking lot we get to establish relationships with a lot of people that might not have found our music on their own. So yes, we just head out there and play a chill show in the parking lot but it is always a good time.
What current bands would you consider your biggest mentors out there today?
Sing it Loud, The White Tie Affair, and Forever the Sickest Kids. We have played shows with all of them and they have all shown us a lot of hospitality and love.
With so much new music out there these days, why should music fans check out Disco Curtis?
We try to produce music that is favorable and catchy to the listener while still making it unique and different. Our pop/rock sound also has a bit of edge in our songs, such as broken down rhythms played between the guitars and drums as well as a bit of grit in Tanner’s voice. All of our different influences and musical backgrounds come out in our songs, such as Garrett’s clasic rock solo in breaking hearts. Our songs contain emotion and are easy to relate to.
Thank you so much for all of your support. We have the coolest fans and we would be nothing without you. We will be touring in the Fall so we look forward to meeting all of you personally. And check out our music on itunes!