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ATP! Interview: Allstar Weekend

California-based band Allstar Weekend may have risen in popularity thanks to the Disney Channel, but prefacing anything dealing with this band with that sentiment just feels wrong. They’re so much more than that, and have certainly done the time and worked far beyond the title of “Just Another Disney Band” given to them by the pop-hating crowd. In fact, they’re such a hardworking band that when they announced their indefinite hiatus, it came as quite a shock to loyal fans. Luckily, the hiatus is only for the alias Allstar Weekend; the same members are continuing forth under a still unnamed new project with a brand new sound. They aren’t putting AW to rest without a bang, however, as they are currently on their last headlining tour with a summer long stint on Warped Tour following close behind. So amongst the touring and working on their next album, the boys of Allstar Weekend found the time to sit with us and talk about the new project, what they would (or wouldn’t) do differently, and that awesome ‘Hey Princess’ video that no one is ever going to see.

Alter The Press: So to start off, you guys are on Warped this year and that’s really exciting. Are you guys stoked for it?

Cameron Quiseng (bass): Yeah, it’s gonna be rad!

Zach Porter (vocals): Yeah, I’m really excited, I’ve never done it before.

Michael Martinez (drums): Zach almost cried when we found out.

Cameron: We’re playing the whole tour which is pretty nuts. I heard it’s going to be really hot.

ATP: Is that the only horror story you guys have heard?

Cameron: I’ve heard some interesting things about Warped.
Michael: Some people have said it’s the worst thing ever.
Cameron: But then other people have said it’s the best thing ever. They said there’s amazing parties after the shows and that there’s just a ton of people there.

ATP: Definitely. I went to the one in Atlanta this year and it was really hot and tons of people but it’s so cool.

Zach: You don’t have one in Austin?

ATP: They don’t have one in Austin, they have it in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. Not Austin. I wish they had it here, it’d be a lot easier to get to.

Cameron: You’d think they would, this place is huge for music.

ATP: Right! We have tons of big open parking lots too so go for it.

Cameron: You guys have South By South West though.

ATP: We do have South By. And we have Austin City Limits so that’s pretty cool.

Cameron: Yeah, I went running by the park where that takes place. It’s cool. Forgot the name of the park but that way [points off].

ATP: Zilker Park?

Cameron: Zilker! Cool place.

ATP: So check it out! And run there.

Cameron: There’s turtles.

ATP: There are turtles! Tons of turtles.

Cameron: Tons!

ATP: [laughs] Well, back to you guys. You get a lot of backlash, I guess, from the Warped Tour crowd because of your Disney background and pop ties. Did that factor into your hiatus and forming a new band?

Zach: No, it had nothing to do with our hiatus, that’s totally different, but-

Cameron: I can understand why they think that.

Zach: It’s expected.

Cameron: We’re probably the only band that was ever on the Disney channel to play at Warped Tour ever in the history of Warped so we’re just changing the game up a little bit. Even though we’re not a Disney band and that was back in 2009 but it’s all good [shrugs].

ATP: Definitely. And you were on Next Big Thing, right? That’s how you got your start?

Cameron and Zach: Yes.

ATP: With the reality shows like that, bands get a bad rep for because people think that they get stuff handed to them on a silver platter, do you think that that’s what happened with you guys?

Cameron: I just think people don’t take us seriously because they all assume we were just put together, don’t know how to play our instruments or do anything that has to do with music, but we were in a band probably a year before any of that stuff.

Zach: Years before, actually.

Cameron: You were in the band for years. I was in the band for a year.

Zach: I don’t know. Obviously there are really talented musicians out there that never get a break but there are definitely a lot of people that get really easy jumps to overnight success. We’re somewhere in the middle.

Cameron: Yeah, we’re in the middle. Like, I see musicians better than me all the time, for sure. But I definitely know how to play my instrument. I mean, it’s what we do every day.

Michael: We work hard. When we went out on our first tour we had no money, went out in a van and just handed out flyers for a whole summer.

Cameron: We were in our garage practicing for like 12 months before we even played a show.

Zach: I mean, every band does that, but yeah. We paid our dues, for sure.

ATP: When you announced this hiatus, you said you wouldn’t erase anything, but is there anything you would have done differently?

Zach: No, anything I did that I would do now would be because I didn’t know better and it’s just that everything happens.

Cameron: You have to make mistakes to learn.

Zach: Yeah, totally. I don’t know. I’m excited to move on. I am definitely ready to do something else with my brain, I guess.

Cameron: I would have taken more pictures. That’s what I would have done.

Zach: Yeah, I would have taken a lot of pictures.

ATP: And in that same letter you said that the fans are probably never going to see the video for ‘Hey Princess,’ so can you let them know what happens in it so they can envision what it is they’re missing?

Cameron: Yes! We can talk about it!

Michael: Zach actually-

Cameron: No it starts out in an arcade-

Michael: Oh, I was just going to make something up!

Cameron: Oh, we gotta tell them the real story because it’s pretty genius anyway. So the ‘Hey Princess’ video is one of the most epic videos ever made which is why we can’t release it. But it takes place in an arcade and it’s Zach just trying to flirt with this girl but the girl didn’t really know how to flirt back.

Zach: It was just awkward.

Cameron: It was really awkward. And then this guy that looks like Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat comes out of nowhere and he’s like super big and ripped and in real life would totally beat down Zach but in this music video all of a sudden Zach has these sick fighting skills! And he’s fighting basically Jackie Chan in this video and then wins but it’s like there’s weird 3D gamer effects-

Zach: There’s actually a martial arts instructor that came on and taught me the moves.

Cameron: Yeah, it’s pretty intense. And then there’s this one scene where Zach’s like, on a couch with the girl, flirting, and they like, go into the game.

Michael: Yeah, that was weird.

Cameron: Really weird. I have so many shots of that - of them just going into the game but after that I don’t- Oh yeah! There’s parts where Zach’s in front of a green screen, singing, and there’s random punch signs coming by his face. It’s really weird.

ATP: So it’s very Tron in its approach.

Zach: Yeah, it was like a bad attempt to make a bad ‘80s movie.

Cameron: Yeah, it was basically Tron, like you said, but not anywhere near as cool.

Zach: It’s horrible!

ATP: Well, it sounded like it could have been cool.

Cameron: That’s what we thought when we went to make it! We were like “That could be sick!”

ATP: Like you said, everyone has to make mistakes!

Cameron: It’s nobody’s fault, it just didn’t turn out.

Michael: Actually, if I could take something back, it would be that, now that you mention it.

Cameron: We were in Sacramento though, so that was pretty fun. No. San Francisco?

Michael: I don’t know where we were, I just erased that part of my life.

Cameron: I think you had a lot of fun that day. I have pictures of you having fun that day.

Michael: Alright, well let’s move on!

ATP: Do you guys have any ideas yet on what the next band name is going to be?

Zach: We haven’t even thought about it. We’re still finishing up the record and I just really just haven’t thought of anything yet.

Cameron: I’ve got a good one!

Michael: We don’t really care about names, to be honest. How long did it take for us to make Allstar Weekend?

Zach: Like, a year or so.

Michael: We just didn’t want to think about it, it’s just a name.

Cameron: If you guys have suggestions though, we’ll take them! Just shoot them our way. Tweet us the suggestion so we can just not do any work.

ATP: We’ll just ask people on like, tumblr and Twitter for names.

Cameron: Do it! I mean, we could work and try to figure it out but why when you can just have other people do it!

Michael: We really just want a name that has nothing to do with us. Just like Allstar Weekend. It has no significance to it. It just sounded okay.

Cameron: Anything? Like... Walrus Club?

Michael: That actually sounds really cool.

Cameron: Hey everybody, we’re Walrus Club!

ATP: You could actually probably get some good merch out of that.

Cameron: Yeah, the merch would be awesome!

Zach: Yeah, that’s kind of how we picked Allstar Weekend.

Cameron: It was that random.

Zach: We were like, “Yeah, that sounds okay.”

Michael: Then we just kind of finalized it.

ATP: It has a nice ring to it. It could have been worse!

Michael: Yeah, I think it had a nice ring to it because there’s the NBA Allstar Weekend, so that’s why it sounded familiar.

Cameron: Yeah, so we were like, this is sick, because people fly in the NBA, ya know? I wish I could fly.

ATP: [laughs] Yeah! So, you mentioned being almost finished with the record, can you tell us anything about how it’s sounding or if you have a favorite track that we can look forward to?

Zach: I don’t have a favorite track yet. There are 10 songs and it just doesn’t sound anything like Allstar Weekend. That’s pretty much all I can say for now. It’s not totally done, it just doesn’t sound like Allstar.

Cameron: It sounds like Walrus Club.

Michael: It’s kind of like Jessie J and Elton John, mixed together.

Cameron: Basically. A little bit of ‘Starships’.

Michael: Ellen Degeneres.

Zach: We’re excited, so hopefully you’ll listen to it when it comes out. I think it’s really cool.

ATP: Lastly, you guys have a song called ‘Catching Up’ and you mention how once you get to 23, you didn’t want to look back and have “a lot of catching up to do.” Since you guys are around that age, did you accomplish what you wanted to by this point?

Cameron: They are 23! You guys are old! Sucks!

Zach: Yeah [laughs]. I don’t feel like a total waste. Ya know, I feel like I’ve done something really cool with my life.

Cameron: Wow, that’s so weird to think about. We really said when we are 23 in that song.

Zach: Yeah, it’s really weird.

Cameron: Wow. You guys are 23.

Michael: Dude, you’re about to be 23.

Cameron: Old men! Old men! I’m in my prime right now!

Zach: It’s nuts how much has changed in those couple years.

Cameron: Yeah.

Michael: I’m only eight months older than you, bro.

Cameron: You wish, dude!

- Victoria Patneaude