For the next installment of The Other Gig, we caught up with A Boy Named John, a New Jersey-based alternative punk band. In between recording music and touring for their debut album So We Live / So We Die, the members of A Boy Named John all work second jobs, and some are also students. Continue reading to see our interview with the group, and make sure to check out their latest music video for “Gentlemen” below!
Start off by telling me a little bit about yourselves and your band:
Hey there! We’re a band called A Boy Named John from New Jersey and we live double lives! We’re constantly balancing band life and everyday life.
Did you attend school while making music/touring? If so, why did you pursue other studies?
Most of us go to college at the moment, yes! I can’t speak for the others but I personally have chosen to stay in school because I don’t think that there’s anything more important to a person’s development than a solid education. I also have learned a lot of important industry skills and things of that nature through my schooling, so that definitely contributes to the growth of the band. – Josh
What is your Other Gig, and why did you pick up this second trade?
We all have outside jobs, some of which are music related and some of which are not. Obviously the non music related jobs are solely intended to make us enough money to be able to sustain this kind of life. I am a garbage man, Nick and Jack deliver pizza, Christian works in an office and Paul works at a school for children with special needs. However, the rest of us have outside musical endeavors, mainly for the purposes of gaining experience in our craft and meeting new people. For example, I am working towards becoming a registered piano technician. I also teach guitar lessons and work sound at our home venue, Boontunes. Christian and Nick also have separate music jobs; Christian works at Barbershop Studios and Nick works for PVRIS’s management company. All of these outside gigs are meant to help us gain experience and become more well-rounded musicians. – Josh
How does your Other Gig both help and hinder your band?
Josh, Chris, and I have internships in the music business that have really helped this band. Josh and Chris intern at Barber Shop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ. While interning there, they have developed a relationship with our current producer/engineer Brett Romnes and other producers and bands coming into the studio. This spring I interned at ADA, a distribution company under the Warner Music Group, and have learned a ton about radio and music distribution. I love the behind the scenes of the music business and seeing the work that gets put into it. This summer, I am interning for Iron Management. They manage PVRIS and a few other artists. It’s awesome because I get to experience what it’s like to manage a group like PVRIS and all the work for promoting an album. The connections that we’ve been making at these internships as well as the experience that we’ve been gaining will bring this band to new heights. Also, Josh and I are also attending William Paterson University to pursue an education in the music industry.
Some aspects that hinder this band’s progress are our busy schedules. It’s tough to book tours and rehearsals while we’re at school and working full time. That’s the biggest struggle for us. Dropping out or quitting jobs isn’t an option just yet for this band! – Nick
If you work your Other Gig while on the road, how do your bandmates react to your work?
I will be still interning for Iron Management while I’m on the road for our summer tour. Luckily, I just need my laptop and wifi! The guys in ABNJ won’t mind at all since they are on the grind all the time and understand that work still needs to get done even when you’re on tour! There’s been a number of times where one of us had to write a paper on the road and even off stage during the show! – Nick
Has a fan of your music ever recognized you at work? If so, what was that interaction like?
I have gotten recognized for being in ABNJ a couple of times at Montclair State, whether from seeing Facebook ads or from being on a discover weekly Spotify playlist. The interactions have always been really funny because everyone is so taken back that I’m in a band, I’m personally pretty laid back and don’t really talk a lot in class, so when someone puts the pieces together they just have a hard time believing that I front the band. We both love it. – Chris
Has your band/music ever cost you a job?
Not yet, but hopefully soon – Paul
Some bands working Other Gigs might feel stuck. They potentially feel worried about making money, finishing school, not devoting enough time to their music, etc. What advice would you give to these musicians?
It’s okay to feel swamped with everything coming at you in life in addition to touring and working on music. Don’t let it get to your head, keep a clear mind and focus on what’s most important. The more you worry about everything going on, the less you will be able to focus on what matters. Follow your heart, but be smart about it and never give up. – Jack
Any additional thoughts if you have any!
Just to follow up some more on what Jack was saying. I’ve listened to a number of interviews of successful musicians and bands and the number one piece of advice that I’ve gotten is that in order to make it as an artist/band, you need to make it you Plan A, Plan B, and Plan Z. What I mean is that you should treat your craft as a priority and to not have a backup plan, otherwise it won’t happen! Hard work goes a long, long way!
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