Magic Man just concluded their first headlining tour, and will head back out on the road with Panic! At The Disco starting today! Before they hit The Crocodile stage in Seattle, I had a few moments to chat with Alex Caplow (vocals), Gabe Goodman (bass), and Justine Bowe (keyboards) about touring and life as Magic Man.
Infectious Magazine: Thanks for taking the time to chat with Infectious Magazine, and congratulations on the new record — it’s awesome!
Justine: Thank you so much!
IM: So how do you guys like Seattle so far?
Alex: Love it. Lovin’ all these beautiful west coast cities – chill vibes, chill people, and lots of recycling!
J: Tons of recycling.
IM: Have you guys gotten to do any tourist-y things?
J: Mmm, we don’t really have time in between our shows.
A: But one of our fans gave us this little build your own Space Needle which is pretty neat!
IM: You guys have toured with some pretty rad bands like New Politics, Panic! At The Disco, and Walk the Moon — Have you gained any wisdom from these bands?
A: Yeah, Walk the Moon was the first big tour we were on so we got to see them play every night and they’ve been doing it for years and they’re just at such a high level of musicianship and showmanship. It was like watching pros! You always enjoy the shows, but also observing how and what things they do, steal some of their dance moves, but also becoming friends with the bands. It’s cool because they start out as mentors, then they become our peers, our friends.
G: Something I learned that was really fun from our tour manager was to name the random people walking by you with completely arbitrary names.
J: Haha, “Helen, good to see ya!”
A: “Bridgette!” Haha.
G: That really made things a lot more pleasant on the road!
IM: What has the transition to a headlining tour been like?
A: You know it just happened much faster than I expected, we were opening for bands, then just a few months later, people were lining up at the same venues that we opened at, except now they were there for us. It’s crazy! Both are fun in different ways, when you’re opening there’s a lot less pressure because no one really expects you to be that good and you aren’t responsible for selling out the venue. Headlining is so great because it’s like all these people are here for you.
IM: Your sound reminds me a lot of ’80s alternative/new wave bands. Do you guys take any musical influence from that era? Any bands you all take influence from?
A: Oh yeah, I love The Cure. We also love Bruce Springsteen, who also influenced The Killers, and we grew up listening to The Killers.
G: I love the Talking Heads, New Order, The Smiths, all great bands.
IM: What is your favorite song to perform live?
G: Probably “Texas,” and “Apollo” because I do this little riff. Bass is not an instrument that solos in this style of music so it’s nice to have a moment to shine.
A: I love playing “Texas.” There are lot of songs that have more grooves and I have to think about how I wanna dance and groove to them, it’s all fun.
J: “It All Starts Here” is one on my favs.
IM: As a singer/songwriter myself, I’m always interested to know; which usually comes first, music or lyrics?
A: You know, it really depends on the song, but we’ll usually work out all of the music first while singing gibberish lyrics to get the form of the song down first. Sometimes, we’ll be changing words all the way up to the final takes of recording the song.
IM: Must-have item on your rider lists?
J: Haha, well, we usually don’t get rider lists.
A: We eat a lot of junk food on the road, so it’s always nice to get some fresh veggies to munch on, makes us feel a bit healthier… Oh and we just got this giant carton of Gold Fish from Target, and while we were there, some fans gave us Gold Fish too! It’s funny because the fans often ask what our favorite snacks are.
IM: Favorite music festival you’ve played or attended?
J: White Sands, it was just beautiful.
A: We were interviewed by VH1 on the beach which was great!
J: And I really enjoyed Firefly. Festivals are usually nicer than our usual grind because the festival makes it really special for bands. Catering, lounge areas, it’s great.
A: Boston Calling was a lot of fun too because it was so close to home and we got to play for a lot of our friends and family.
IM: Last song you listened to?
A: I’m a big fan of Jose Gonzales, I listened to that and Iron and Wine.
G: Jamie xx’s newest single, “Girl.”