Searching for a new Romeo to swoon over? Brace yourselves. We have them, right here. Four of them actually. Jayk Purdy, Drew Ryan Scott, Blake English, and TC Carter make up the Los Angeles-based pop band After Romeo. And before you assume they take on the characteristics of your next average boy band, allow them to defy everything you believed in. Haven’t you learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover?
Cliché: For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with After Romeo, can you tell us how you four came together?
Blake English: Drew and Jayk grew up in Vegas together and moved to L.A. to further their music careers. They met TC at a basketball game and really hit if off. A few months later, I moved to L.A. from Georgia, and TC, who was my childhood friend, introduced me to the rest of the guys. We started writing and recording songs and boom—we were a band!
Growing up, did you know you always wanted to be in the music industry or did you see your life going in a completely different direction?
Blake: I had so many interests as a kid and still do to this day. I’m passionate about everything from acting to modeling to zoology to philosophy. Needless to say, my interests span over a broad spectrum. Music, however, has always been a huge creative outlet for me and I can’t imagine doing something that didn’t involve it.
Drew Ryan Scott: My dad was an Elvis impersonator and I grew up around a lot of music, so I always wanted to do music and nothing else.
Jayk Purdy: I wanted to be an athlete, but fell in love with dancing and singing when I was about 13. I couldn’t get enough of it; it consumed me and took over as my passion.
TC Carter: I grew up playing baseball so I wanted to be a MLB player more than anything, but once I got into dancing in musical theater, I knew that my passion had changed.
When After Romeo was in its early days, how familiar were you with the music industry? Was it all a firsthand learning experience or did you have a bit of guidance?
Blake: I was not familiar with the music industry at all. Luckily, Drew and Jayk had been a part of it prior to me joining the band and were able to teach me things as we continued to grow as a group.
Drew: It’s a lot of trial and error. We moved to L.A. to achieve our dreams and we won’t stop until we do. I think, as with most things, you learn as you go. There’s no wrong or right way to do things nowadays because the Internet has created a new place where anyone can become known with one lucky click.
Jayk: We’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of friends and make a lot of relationships within the industry. They took us under their wing and gave us knowledge and we also did a lot of stuff on the fly as well. We wanted to try to do some stuff a little differently.
TC: I definitely had some guidance, but honestly most of it was trial and error for me.
When putting your songs together, how has it been working with one another with so many different ideas, tastes, etc.? What’s the process usually like?
Blake: It took us a little bit to settle into our groove. We all have different tastes in music so it was definitely a process finding the balance that made everyone happy. Truth is, that’s what makes us so different from anyone else. We worked really hard creating a sound that best represents us as a group taking into consideration each individual’s tastes.
What’s the songwriting process usually like?
Drew: It’s complex because we have such an array of tastes between the four of us. Everyone puts in their vibe and style with each song and I think we really show off everyone on our Good Things EP. It has a style of its own. It’s chill, fun, and feel-good all in one. We start with guitar chords and then create melodies. After we have the melodies, we add lyrics. Hours later, you have a new song.
When was the moment you realized After Romeo was gaining momentum and getting noticed by so many people?
Blake: There’s no better recognition than looking out into an audience and seeing 5,000 screaming, adoring fans, which was exactly what happened in Denver, Colorado, a year and a half ago. That’s when we knew we had graduated to the next level.
Drew: Also, the first time we ever did a meet and greet. We didn’t know what to expect and we got there and there were over 500 people and we were like, “Wow! All of this is for us?”
Since your band’s name is After Romeo, obviously based off the epic love story of Romeo and Juliet, which adaptation do you love the best?
Blake: We love Baz Luhrmann’s version, hands down. His amazing visuals and understanding of the details Shakespeare weaves in his writing is what made this version something I think Shakespeare would be very proud of.
Jayk: The styling and creative direction was amazing. It’s one of my favorite movies actually.
You’ve been compared to One Direction and many other bands before you. “Boy bands” sometimes have a stigma in pop culture. What are your thoughts on being labeled a “boy band” and how do you set yourself apart from those before you?
BIake: I think the issue I have with being labeled a boy band is that it has a very contrived perception that goes along with it, like we are a machine created by some all-knowing music guru. For us, that could not be further from the truth. We weren’t put together. We write our own music. We sing live and we dance our butts off. Not because someone is telling us to, but because that’s what we enjoy doing. We are artists at heart, not puppets.
Drew: We have done everything ourselves with our manager, Jonnie. I don’t think any other group has gone through the hard work we have done ourselves.
Jayk: We are obviously flattered to be compared to One Direction, though. They have great music and seem like great guys.
As your fan base is growing more and more, what have you learned so far being in a band or being in the music business that you would have never expected to learn?
Blake: There really are bad people in this world. Seriously, I grew up in a very loving and wholesome environment. That didn’t exempt me from bad people or doing bad things myself, I suppose, but it all came from a place where in the end, integrity shined over anything else. Then I moved into the entertainment industry and you deal with a lot of truly vicious, self-centered people. That’s why it’s been so important for us to make sure we align ourselves with people we trust, and so far, I think we’ve done a very good job at that.
Jayk: It’s a lot harder than it looks and it’s a 24-hour job. There are truly no days off.
With your Good Things EP now out, when can fans expect to hear a full-length debut album or a tour?
Blake: Luckily, we have the album ready. We are still finalizing a release date and tour dates will be out very soon!
TC: We don’t want to keep our fans waiting, but we promise it will be worth the wait.
What track was the most fun to put together? Which was the one that needed more time to work with than all the others?
Blake: Honestly, I love me some club music, so getting the dance mixes of “Good Things” and picking out which ones had the best drops was probably the most fun for me. “Convenience” definitely took the longest to record. It’s a very stylized song and we wanted the vocals to fit that style perfectly!
Jayk: I absolutely love “Shut Up” because we had horn players come into the studio and lay down horn tracks. I’ve never seen that before and it was pretty awesome to watch.
What are your hopes for the band?
Blake: Through all of our differences, the one thing we all agree on and truly bond over is our love to perform. My hope is that we get to perform in some of the biggest arenas in the world to sold out audiences… not for money, but for the rush we all get when we come on stage and do what we love for the people that helped us get there.
TC: We also want to be able to influence people with our music and our success.
Jayk: And hopefully win a Grammy one day.
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Photographed by Michael Becker