All the Right Moves wins week 5 of Press Play, sits down with ALIST
When a television network sets out to redefine Asian American entertainment, expect the unexpected. That’s exactly what Myx TV has delivered with this season’s Press Play, the audience-driven show that we reported on earlier this year. Going into the fifth week of its second season, Press Play, with help from fans, has selected an alt-rock band with a Chinese-American frontman, a Filipino-American female songwriter, a cross-country Asian American rap group, and an R&B boy band that loves K-pop songs to continue on to the next level — professional recording sessions at Myx TV headquarters.
Week five’s winner makes an even bigger splash. All the Right Moves, a pop-punk band from Minneapolis who’s worked with some of the industry’s finest, made it to Myx TV’s studios in California after beating out several other acts. The band features the mild-mannered but masterminded frontman, Brandon Daly, along with violins, pianos, and their signature three-part vocals.
We sat down with Brandon after their week five win to talk about stepping into new markets, winning on Myx TV, working with Asian Americans in music, and the business of running a band.
ALIST: Myx TV and Press Play cater significantly to the Asian American audience. What does your band think of that?
All the Right Moves (Brandon Daly): It’s great, actually. We’re very grateful to have had this opportunity because we feel like it’s totally opening us up to a new market. We didn’t know what to think when we entered the contest. We thought most likely we won’t get this and we ended up winning. It’s been an awesome experience.
And actually, just for the record, our old violin player before this was Asian. So we’ve had experience <laughs>. It’s been really good. I hope this whole broadcast on Myx TV is going to set us out there in new areas of the market that would have not normally heard us.
What are the challenges and advantages you’ve encountered of going up against Asian American artists and bands?
The biggest challenge would obviously be penetrating that market. We’re going to get people who watch us and go “What is this?” We could also possibly get people who watch it and say “Hey, this is really good. I’m going to look these guys up.” I think it’ll be a good thing. I guess we’ll see.
Your band has won several competitions in the past and also did stints on the Warped Tour. Was your experience on Press Play any different than the competitions you’ve done in the past? And if so, how?
It’s completely different. We never did a television show before or live broadcast of any kind. So that was really fascinating to us. We got to get out to California and experience the whole Silicon Valley thing. It was really cool for us because all the other contests we’ve done were either local battle of the bands contests or the Midwest stuff like the Warped Tour.
On a lot of television shows, you’re asked to act a certain way or you have to compromise your true identity. Did you feel like yourselves on Press Play? You were out in the Silicon Valley area. How does All the Right Moves fit into that scene?
Well we were obviously new there. We’ve been to L.A. before but we’d never been to San Francisco. So it was interesting talking to everybody there. We were joking around with Anthony Garcia, just picking his brain about what to do with social media and Youtube. We told him “we might be a little behind the times.” We’re up in Minnesota, so we’re still kind of in a scene where we set up shows locally. We were laughing at ourselves saying, “we’re kind of lumberjacks.” <laughs>
You guys are based out of Minneapolis now, which does have a diverse population. Did you have a significant Asian American turnout before? And now, after your stint on Press Play, do you expect faces in your audience to change? How do you react to that?
We do have a pretty strong presence in the Asian community, especially online. We get people from lots of different countries who write to us — even in broken English — saying how they found us on Youtube and loved it. Even in the shows, there’s a lot of Asians here as well. And hopefully from the Myx TV thing it increases. It would be awesome! It would be great to come back and tour in San Francisco or Japan or wherever.
How do you continue the success you’ve gained with the Asian American audience? Are there any things you plan to do?
If it goes well and we see a big surge in that audience, we may try to tailor some of our new music towards it. We might also try to hit areas when we go on tour — areas like San Francisco — and really try to engage with people online as well.
You’ve worked with some really big names in the music scene, producers like Jordan Schmidt and Rob Freeman. How is it like working with those guys?
It was amazing. It was seriously like a match made in heaven for us. We worked with Jordan on our first two CDs and Rob for our most recent one. Both experiences were equally awesome. Both people are extremely talented. We meshed really well with them and they’re magical people. I’ll just say that <laughs>. We’ll be trying to think of an idea and trying to explain it and they’ll pick up the guitar and go “Something like this?” Yes! Exactly that. We were headed in the same direction the whole time and I think that’s why we have such a great product now.
Especially working with Rob, we went up to New Jersey for two weeks to do our full length. The best way to say this is: we had an acoustic song we were going to do as a bonus track — a three-minute acoustic song. Rob loved it so much, it ended up turning into this 10-minute long outro to our CD. It was just this huge, epic thing. It was honestly a masterpiece for us.
5-10 years. Where do you see All the Right Moves?
I would hope we’d have a bunch of new CDs out. And I hope we get to a point where we can sustain and do music full time. It’s tough these days in this industry to have enough revenue to do just that and focus solely on music. Hopefully we can find a good manager, an indie label, or someone to help us out. On the other side of things, I think it’d be okay to stay independent. As long as we can cover all the bases. I’d like to also go on some bigger-name tours, open up for a national act.
Besides amazing musical talents, what’s the differentiator with the All the Right Moves brand?
We’re always trying to be different and set ourselves outside the box. That’s the whole reason we even started with the idea of having a violin and piano in the band. What we’re trying to achieve is when you see our logo and you immediately know that font that’s used is All the Right Moves. We want to be the band that does crazy things in our music videos like smashing our equipment. We’re trying to be very creative like Mute Math. They do all these crazy things. There’s no one else like them.
One of the first things that caught my eye was your cover art (the cover features a hand-drawn ship in turbulent waters). Who did that for you?
Her name’s Risa Maria. She is a local artist. She’s super super good. She does everything by hand. We do a lot of stuff with artwork and concept albums. You open the [CD] up and it’s like the inside of a ship. The CD is like a lifesaver hanging on the wall in the cabin of the ship. The backside of the CD is the opposite angle of the ship and all the track names are in the stars. So, we’ve always been known for doing very story-like, cinematic-type themes for our music.
What’s a band that you definitely don’t want to end up like?
Oh man! I’m going to throw a band under the bus. I just saw them on Jimmy Kimmel. Boys Like Girls. I used to love that band to death. I loved their first CD. I guess a lot of people — maybe it’s just a Minneapolis thing — were kind of like what the hell happened? They played some of their new songs and I just feel like they’re maybe being controlled too much by other people. I’m not sure who was involved with the songwriting on their first album but that was so genuine. It’s like they’re lacking, they’re trying to hard to be this marketable image and songwriting was the last thing they cared about.
What’s a band you can look to as role models and hope to end up like in 5-10 years?
I think the best example would be Yellowcard. I know they fell off the face of the planet for a while a few years ago but they came back in the last two years. It’s almost like they were never gone. They just have this ongoing presence. They just keep doing their thing even though they’ve been around forever. Now they’re playing festivals and going all this big stuff. If that ever happened to us where we took a break and came back, I’d hope we can rebuild things just like they did.
When it comes to leadership for All the Right Moves, how do you guys deal with that? Do you try to make sure everyone heads in the right direction or do you have a more democratic way of going about it?
I try to do my best to keep the band like a Paul McCartney / John Lennon-type relationship between Braden and I. Braden’s the other singer and he writes some of the songs. We do try to keep it democratic where we all get our say and make everything equal and fair. But there’s a lot of things that I do take leadership role on, especially on marketing aspects. I do a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the band. Creatively we try to keep it equal.
What’s next for All the Right Moves after Myx TV?
We’re currently working on a couple music videos. We just got our van fixed, so we were thinking of setting up some shows, trying to branch out of Minnesota a bit. I guess depending on how all this goes, if we suddenly see a huge surge and big demand for us in San Francisco or another area, we’re going to try to hit that market. We’re just trying to get our CD out to as many ears as possible.