Take a look at an in-depth interview with Arizona pop-punk band A Step Ahead below!*
BCP: How and when did you get your start as a band?
A Step Ahead started in 2008 when lead singer Nick Johnson and a friend were at a party and began talking about starting a band different than what they had been a part of in the past. Both came from metal backgrounds, but enjoyed pop-punk and wanted to head down that path. The two eventually moved in as roommates to what would become known as the “Hardy House” where they were known for throwing parties frequented by other musicians in the Arizona local scene. Here they met new members that would create A Step Ahead, including current guitarist and vocalist, Colin Becker. Over the years, the band has gone through member changes but have found their permanent lineup in Johnson (lead vocals), Becker (guitar, vocals), Mike H. Melton (guitar, backing vocals), Brian Iwabuchi (drums), and Matt Seli (bass). Melton, Iwabuchi, and Seli had all been in other Arizona local bands before joining A.S.A. at different times throughout the band’s existence.
BCP: What can fans expect from you in the future?
“We’ve definitely got some things in store for you,” says lead vocalist, Nicholas Johnson. “Not only do we already have new songs recorded, but we have shot another new music video and have re-mixed/re-mastered a few old favorites. You’ll just have to wait a little bit longer before things start dropping.”
To put it lightly, the band is excited for what the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 hold. “It’s going to be awesome,” according to Johnson.
BCP: What was the writing/recording process like for your most recent music?
In 2011, A Step Ahead first collaborated with song-writer/producer/engineer Curtis Douglas in releasing their EP, In It To Win It. Throughout that process, the two parties found a sense of comfort and trust in one another and have worked together on each of the bands releases since. “We approach him (Douglas) with an idea, and each part at a time, we mold that idea into a song,” says guitarist, Mike H. Melton. “Everything from rhythms and leads to melodies and lyrics is carefully thought out and discussed as a group during these writing sessions. Our most recent single, Pretty When, was no different”.
BCP: What is the most meaningful song that you have written and why?
According to lead singer, Nicholas Johnson, the answer up to this point is easy. “Would You Rather,” he says with confidence. One of the tracks off the band’s EP, In It To Win It, the song is a reflection on what really matters in life. “To me personally, this song is all about not getting caught up with all the materialistic things in life.” He continues, “the most important things aren’t the stuff you can buy, but the experiences you have throughout your life.”
BCP: Is there a country you’ve never been to that you’d like to play a show at?
Lead singer Nicholas Johnson chimes in. “I would love to play Australia,” he states. “I think it would be a cool experience to play a festival down there.”
“I think either Japan or the UK would be sweet,” says bassist Matt Seli. “I’d love to visit both places and it seems like both have music scenes that we may be able to fit in to or at least find some ears interested in what we’re doing musically.”
BCP: Who are your musical influences?
From Taking Back Sunday, New Found, Glory, and Blink-182 to Michael Jackson, Outkast!, and Bruno Mars, the band’s influences have always and will always vary. Lead singer Nick Johnson: “I had themed parties as a kid where I would dress up like André 3000 and MJ. These two artists showed me that anything is possible with music, and I credit them in pushing me to become a musician.”
The band all agrees with his assessment that “my influences now are anyone pushing the boundaries on what you can do with music.” Whether it’s a catchy new top-40 song, a heavy-ass local band, or anything in-between, the band finds inspiration from those who do what they do to perfection.
BCP: What’s one necessity that you need on tour with you?
“Baby wipes,” says lead singer Nicholas Johnson. [Everyone agrees]. “Well those and beer,” adds bassist Matt Seli.
BCP: If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
“The ability to fly,” states lead singer Nicholas Johnson. “Like we could fly to play shows in Australia, Japan, and the UK?” asks guitarist and vocalist Colin Becker. “Yes, Colin. Yes.”
BCP: Any last words or advice for fans or those wishing to start a career as a musician?
“Never lose the goosebumps,” says bassist Matt Seli. “Whether you’re just a kid learning your favorite band’s songs and pretending to be them while in your room at your parents’ house or you’re in your own band playing a show in a city far from home and you hear the crowd singing every word to every song, never lose those goosebumps.”
“And make sure you’re willing to grind,” adds lead singer Nicholas Johnson. “If you want this to be a full-time thing, you have to treat it as your own business. Make the necessary sacrifices and never settle.”
Be sure to check out A Step Ahead's recent single, 'Pretty When', here.
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*- Promo photo not by Brooke Champine Photography