BoyMeetsWorld, a pop-rock band hailing from Cincinnati, OH, took to the iHeartRadio stage on day two of Fashion Meets Music Festival.
The Indie Sound was able to sit down with the band after their energetic performance to talk about their growing success, what its like to tour with bands like The Maine and how crazy life on the road can get.
The Indie Sound: You guys haven’t been around that long, but you’ve got a pretty solid fan base. Are you guys still unsigned?
Craig Sulken: Yes! (laughs)
Ryan Sulken: Yeah we are but, sign us whoever you are listening to this.
TIS: What’s it like touring with big names like The Maine and Motion City Soundtrack?
Ryan: (To Andy) Motion City was your first show! Tell them how it was.
Andy: My first show was with Motion City Soundtrack! It was a nice experience because I’ve never played Bogart’s and it was like one of those places you’d go to and you’d see all your favorite bands play there. To actually play with big name bands for their farewell tour, you know, it’s exciting but it’s nerve wracking at the same time.
TIS: What are some of the struggles that being an unsigned band brings on that people really don’t get to see?
Drew Richter: Breakdowns. That’s the worst part.
Craig: Oh vans breaking down! Being a small band and having your van breaking down, just going show to show sucks a lot. Cancelling shows suck and you wish you could do something about it but you really can’t because that’s just the nature of it, you know? You’re small and you got a shabby vehicle…
Drew Thomason: No matter what show we go on, we got some kind of issue go on.
Craig: And its hard when you’re doing your own tours, your own headlining tours, drawing people out because when you play with bands like The Maine and Mayday Parade, obviously it’s the built in crowd. When you go city to city by yourself and you’re trying to do it by yourself, it’s hard to draw people out. It’s a challenge but we’re doing the best we can!
Ryan: It’s frustrating because we know we’ve got what it takes to be a successful band and we’re looking for that one person or few people to be like “Hey! Here’s our album check it out” and maybe do something with it.
TIS: You guys have to do catering before you can play on a stage right?
Craig: Well you don’t HAVE to do any of that stuff. It’s just the step we took. We were the catering band in 2014 which means we didn’t get paid anything, we volunteered, each of us were in there for 4-5 hours a day, just serving bands food and cleaning up for the catering company. Meanwhile we’re selling our CDs in the lines every morning, and that’s how we made gas money to go city to city.
Ryan: We definitely made awesome connections.
Drew Richter: Basically you can be one of two people in the music industry, you can be the kind where things just kind of happen to fall together, or you can be that guy who started from scratch and work their way up. You know, do the stuff that no one else wants to do, and we like to think that’s what we’ve been doing. By the way this is Drew a.k.a Lil Chubbs, in the cut (laughs)
TIS: Does everyone have a nickname?
Andy: This is P-Nut (points to Drew Thomason)
Ryan: I’m Ron…
Craig: I’m Crane, they call me Crane.
Ryan: That’s Andy but that’s also Andy (points to Drew Richter) so we’ll take him (Drew) as Andy and him (Andy Meister) as Porkchop.
Drew Thomason: We’re dabbling with Porkchop
Drew Richter: I’m Drew, and he joined (points to Drew Thomason) and he’s Drew so they started calling me Andy. And then he (Andy) joined and he’s Andy, so it’s just turned into a mess real quick.
Ryan: Do you guys think Porkchop is a good name?
Andy: No. I’m not a porkchop. I’m skinny, I feel like a porkchop has to be something wider…I don’t know.
TIS: So in 2013, you guys played on the Ernie Ball Stage during Warped and it was in Cincinnati! What was it like playing Warped Tour in your hometown?
Craig: So 2013 was when we won Battle of the Bands which is when each city has local bands submit online and it’s a contest and we won that, and I can remember back then it was crazy! It was just really surreal being apart of Warped Tour.
Drew Richter: I remember the post that was like ‘Here are the bands that are playing in Cincinnati!’ and seeing BoyMeetsWorld on there and my comment was just “ohhhhhh” I was just so excited, I didn’t see that coming at all!
Craig: It was just really surreal you know? And that was before we knew what was going to come after that.
TIS: I remember hearing that you guys played Battle of The Bands at The Underground, was that a connection?
Ryan: It was just another Battle of the Bands.
Craig: That was a really good time, that was basically when we had first started.
Ryan: That was a big kick starter.
Drew Thomason: The first show was a Battle of the Bands wasn’t it?
Craig: We had a couple of shows before that I think. That was when we first really started, we were like we’re gonna start this band and we’re gonna win Battle of the Bands. And we did, and it was really cool.
Ryan: We were pretty confident and we succeeded and it was awesome. Then we had a bunch of local recognition and we just went up from there.
TIS: Do you like the battle style? A lot of bands are like we don’t like the competition, we just like to have camaraderie.
Ryan: Well yeah, at the same time its just like if your music is good, people are gonna come and listen to you and support you.
Drew Thomason: I feel like it’s something that goes around, like our town a lot that I don’t necessarily disagree with, but I feel like it’s getting too out of hand is people just have this idea that the only thing you need to do to thrive is be super supportive of everyone. People will make posts like “why doesn’t anybody come out to our shows I come out to everybody else’s shows,”
“You can’t depend on other people for your own success. You have to work hard, have your own good music, have your own good promotion. You can’t just expect that since you’re nice to other people, people are going to be nice back.”
Ryan: When it comes down to it, nice solid music. Music that people can enjoy and support.
TIS: So Craig and Ryan, I know you guys are brothers. Does being brothers in a band or having brothers in a band change the dynamic?
Ryan: No but it did before. We had a troublesome bassist. Craig and I…we’re perfect.
Drew Richter: You guys get into it sometimes but it’s not that bad.
Drew Thomason: But the more of them you get together it just starts building and building. But yeah, this lineup right here has been really good, we all have lots of fun together. Not that we didn’t before but it’s just when you put all 3 of them together…awh man. It’s a terrible chemical mixture.
TIS: Is it like a sibling rivalry kind of thing?
Ryan: Alright I’m not trying to bash him but, our old bassist, he was our older brother Brad. And he was older and he thought himself as more wise and you should listen to me and blah blah blah. Craig and I were just like what? He just did some stupid, not stupid stuff, but he would just like contradict himself all the time.
Drew Thomason: He was the biggest talk about it and not be about it dude. He would be like “We should’ve done this and this” and he never did anything to actually help our situation, he was just like Captain Hindsight guy. Like “Oh we should’ve done this” like cool Brad why didn’t you do it? (laughs)
Ryan: Real love Brad! Nothing but love. No but him and I (Craig), we’re fine.
Craig: It’s cool to have him in our band, you know brothers, it’s cool.
Ryan: Because Craig and I started playing music together in 5th grade 6th grade, you know? And we’ve always been together and written music together, so I think it enhances our band. Craig is a really awesome song writer. Him and I sit down and just start jamming and like “okay lets work this and work this.” We just have great chemistry and I think its more positive than negative for sure.
TIS: Does it feel more of like a family instead of just five guys playing music together?
Ryan: Oh yeah for sure! But it’s crazy cause him and I are the only original lineup left.
Drew Thomason: Even when you don’t get along it still feels like crazy to know you’ve been through what you’ve been through together. Just like when we go home and were sick of each other and then in a week were just like having a blast together again, just looking back like man all the crap we went through were still just fine. Just realizing they’re memories that’ll just last you a lifetime. Everybody gets sick of each other when you’re trapped in a van for a few months at a time.
Ryan: It’s just like any other relationship.
Andy: You just gotta have your time alone it sounds like.
TIS: So Cincinnati has a bunch of music venues, is there a huge scene in Cincy for the kind of music you guys play?
Drew Richter: I don’t even know honestly.
Drew Thomason: It’s changed a lot over time, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of bands playing the kind of music we do. There’s always been a pretty big metalcore scene, and everybody wants to play like heavy music with a little bit of singing in it. Back in the day there was a pretty big hardcore scene but it’s changed with the times. There’s a few more bands now that are music like us.
Ryan: We always try and play shows together cause if we sound the same as them their crowd is gonna like us and our crowd is gonna like them you know what I mean? So we try to continue to play shows together and stuff like that. But I don’t really think, I wanna say like four or five bands out of Cincinnati sound similar. But most of it’s pretty metal.
Drew Thomason: There’s some good bands out there.
Ryan: It’s funny cause like four out of the five of us like metal, and we play this style of music. I grew up with this style of music, but after like high school I went to the dark side and started listening to metal. We all enjoy what we play and that’s that!
TIS: So one final question, who are you guys excited to see today?
Drew Richter: I’m gonna say Passion Pit.
Drew Thomason: We toured with the band Seven Minutes In Heaven and they’re really cool guys. We were super excited to see them, they just played, and it was cool to see them play again but we’re really excited to hangout with them later tonight.
Andy: We heard that they talked about playing Stump…
Drew Thomason: If you don’t know, let’s get it on the table to spread to the mouses. Stump is where you take a tree stump and nail a bunch of nails into it. The nail represents you as a player and the object of the game is to spin the hammer in a certain way, I can’t go into that right now, it gives you an allotted amount of hits and you try to drive everybody else’s nails into the ground.
Craig: It’s really confusing unless you see it.
Drew Richter: If you watch it, it makes a lot of sense.
Ryan: Last nail standing wins. We play that a lot with them on tour. It’s a Canadian game.
Drew Thomason: Before we leave we have to play it with everybody, in both bands.
Drew Richter: Oh yeah I’m trying to convert as many people as I can. Shout out to Seaway. They taught us how to play.
Drew Thomason: I met a German dude who played it in Germany and they called it hammerschlagen. We just Americanized it.
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