AJR Talk “Infinity”, Their Debut LP ‘Living Room’ & Beyond: Idolator Interview

Mike Wass | November 5, 2014 11:15 am

AJR stormed the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year with SpongeBob SquarePants-sampling smash “I’m Ready”. Not bad for a song that was written, recorded and produced in the New York-based brothers’ apartment. Adam, Jack and Ryan followed that up with another great, DIY single called “Infinity” and released a similarly-titled EP.

I caught up with the trio before a promo gig in Hollywood, Los Angeles and they talked about everything from their hands-on approach to pop to their appreciation for all things Lorde. AJR also opened up about their debut LP Living Room (that’s where it was made, after all) and shared their thoughts on the current crop of boy bands. Find out what the Met siblings had to say after the jump.

I read that “Infinity” was based on childhood memories. Can you elaborate? I just think love and that pure emotion that comes with love is best represented by kids and the initial innocence that you see in these young kids. A lot of those emotions we tried to put into “Infinity” and create that kind of nostalgia.

Was there a particular event that trigged it? I don’t think it came from an event specifically, but “Infinity” was a fun one because it was so collaborative. The concept of “Infinity” that we wanted to explore was one that was never explored before, so we were really excited to see what it would mean for different people and put it in that childhood sense.

Have you filmed the video yet? We just filmed it! We worked with this really cool director. He’s a young, up-and-coming UPenn graduate. He came up with this really cool idea that caught us by surprise. It has to do with pencil-drawn animation. It’s a mix of live action and animation. So we’re hoping that the “Infinity” video shows a different side to AJR.

The band is known for its DIY approach. Why is that so important to you? We had such a specific vision for the music at such a young age. We definitely wanted to go into more of a diverse, alternative direction from every other type of music out there. We thought that working with a bunch of producers and writers would kind of hinder that for us and dilute our vision. So we just started doing that and it stuck ever since.

It works really well for us. And moving forward, we’re not opposed to working with other people. But right now our first album is called Living Room and it’s kind of a concept album because the entire thing is written, mixed and produced in the living room on like a $90 microphone and a computer with no sound equipment.

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Is there a song that is particularly special on the LP? One of the songs that’s definitely going to be on our album is on the Infinity EP as well and it’s called “Alice By The Hudson”. Growing up in New York City, we listened to a lot of Beach Boys‘ music but we’re also inspired by the city around us.

So lyrically the song takes inspiration from the city but musically it takes inspiration from the Beach Boys, it puts the production in a more modern setting. There’s a spoke-step breakdown, which is something that we kind of invented. It’s the same way that people make up steps using a baseline and messing it up — we did the same thing with vocals.

When is the album going to drop? As of now it’s sometime in February.

Is there an artist you would really like to collaborate with? I think Lorde would be really cool to work with, she has some really cool forward-thinking ideas. That would be really interesting to see what we could come up with.

Do you feel you’ve escaped the boy band stigma? I hope we’ve escaped it to a degree, I think it’s easy to look at three young guys and say that kind of thing and make an impression without even listening to the music. I think a lot of people, as soon as they listen to our music and hear our story, they get that we’re not that.

Do you have any favorites among the current crop of “boy bands”? Over the last couple of months, 5 Seconds Of Summer put out some songs that are really catchy. Like the hooks are really strong, and I think that was really impressive. But we’re just really big music lovers. So if One Direction puts out something like “Story Of My Life,” then we’re gonna love it.

Have you already started thinking beyond your debut LP? We’ve started writing for album two, we have some concepts. We’d definitely love to do some collaborations — whether we’re featuring other artists or writing with other artists. We’d definitely like to broaden our horizons. We definitely think in a progressive way in terms of our music, like what is a good time to release a certain song.

I saw Kanye West do this interview where he talks about he has to speak with the textures of the time. Like he had to do Late Registration at the time, even though in his mind he was like far beyond that, because that’s what people would get. So that was very interesting.

Are you excited for AJR’s debut album? Let us know in the comments below.

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