The After Party have had a busy past year with the release of their self-titled EP and are gearing up for an even busier 2012. Before they hit the road on January 13 with Allstar Weekend, guitarist Andy Bell chatted with J-14 about their evolution as a band, their latest single, and their hopes for the future.
J-14: Last year you released your self-titled EP. How do you think your music has evolved since your previous music and your EP All the Wrong Places?
Andy Bell: When writing and recording our self-titled EP, we really wanted to do something that was different from what other bands were going for at the time. Growing up we were huge fans of boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, so we incorporated that vocal style into the fun, pop-rock sound we had started to create in our first EP. Our self-titled was more complex and thought out musically, and we are really proud of the outcome!
J-14: How do you think you've evolved as a band since you guys got together?
Andy: Without a doubt, we have matured immensely as individuals and as a band since we first got together. We have learned so much about touring, writing, friendship, and life in general over the last two years, it's crazy. When we started out, we had no idea what we were doing and didn't have a mentor or another band to learn from. Being from Kansas we were very limited in that sense, so we literally went out and made our way completely on our own. It goes to show that hard work, dedication, and trial and error truly pays off.
J-14: You guys have a new single out called "California." What's it all about? What's the story behind the music video?
Andy: Brandon and I wrote "California" after our first few months of being away from home on tour for the first time. We are really close with our friends and families, and going from living at home full time to only being home for a day or two every few months was a huge change for us. The song is about missing a loved one, but knowing you will be home to see them soon. The music video reflects that concept by showing footage of our life on the road while still tying in the underlying meaning of missing home. The video is really moving to me; maybe because it allows me to reflect on the incredible journey we've had so far.
J-14: This winter you'll be opening for Allstar Weekend. What are you most looking forward to about hitting the road with them?
Andy: Yes, we've performed with Allstar Weekend before and we absolutely love those guys. This will be our first tour of this size, so I think we are most excited about having the opportunity to meet a ton of new people and hopefully make a ton of new fans! It also doesn't hurt that we will be in California for five days -- beach party!
J-14: What are some of your goals for 2012 as a band? Is there a new album in the works?
Andy: There is in fact a new album in the works! We've written about 25 or 30 brand new songs since our last EP, and are begging to record material for the next release. I am more excited about these songs than any songs we've done in the past. We are focusing on writing really catchy, fun songs that are a little more personal than songs that we've written in the past. I think our fans are going to love the new stuff!
Photo: Martin Cram