Cute Is What We Aim For are Shaant (Vocals), Tom (Drums), Jeff (Guitar) and Fred (Bass). They have recently been rocketed into our lives by the Floridian record label that brought us Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, Fueled By Ramen, even though they formed not even two years ago. I caught up with Shaant on tour with Paramore in Birmingham to see how he is.
Shaant: Oasis, when I got their CD '(What's The Story) Morning Glory' when I was...nine.
How was the band formed?
Shaant: The band formed...I was in this other band, and I decided to leave it. I was in it with Jeff, and I decided to leave that band and have a solo project, and then I just kind of recruited everybody to play around, and that's how it worked.
What would you be doing if you weren't in a band?
Shaant: Be in a band? (laughs) Trying to be in a band, or maybe going to school, but most likely trying to be in a band because school sucks, y'know.
How did you come up with the band name?
Shaant: It is something that is owed to my friend back home, so it's kinda like an inside joke kinda thing.
You're signed to one of the most high-profile record labels of the moment. How did you get yourself signed?
Shaant: John Janick, the president just called us about six months into being a band when we were just randomly driving around in the traffic, and I hung up on him because I didn't believe it, and then he called me again and was like "No, no, it is, we want you to play for us", so we went to Florida and we played for him, and then a month later we were signed. Pretty cool.
Do you think you'd have had to work a lot harder for recognition if you'd signed to a different label?
Shaant: Absolutely. Yeah. For sure. Fueled By Ramen. For one, it's just such a great label and they know what they're doing and they do a really good job at putting music out, but on top of it when you have bands like The Academy Is..., Panic! [At The Disco] and Fall Out Boy to just kind of break, it definitely has a buzz and gives you kind of credit on those lines, yeah. Good question. Yeah, I like that.
What do you dislike most about the music industry?
Shaant: The aesthetic side. Everyone's concerned with how people look a lot of the time. I mean, here it's not so bad, in the US it's very bad. If you look good in your one song you're okay, but here, they kinda need a little bit more, they need good music, and kids care. So I'd definitely just say about the whole visual aspect and how everyone has to look a certain way and shit.
Do you find it easy to write songs or does that depend on personal events at that time?
Shaant: No, it's easy. I'm always writing. Always. Like, I wrote this morning, I'll write tonight, I'll write on the plane tomorrow. Like, always. And as a band, musically, we wrote the majority of the record in the studio. I think we wrote seven songs in a week. So, yeah, pressure definitely helps. It's not...I dunno, I mean, a lot of the stuff that I did was written in the booth, too, just singing into a microphone, like, off the top of my head, and then we're like "Okay, that works". So I just had a full legal yellow notepad filled, and, like, during each take, I'd, like, rummage through and you'd hear paper and everything like that, just trying to find a line of lyrics I liked.
What's the most interesting experience you've had as a band so far?
Shaant: Well, other than me, the whole band got arrested (laughs). I wasn't really a part of that but when I found out about it I thought it was great. But, they got arrested for setting a field on fire in Kansas, around 4th July, which is the Independence Day in the US, and so they had fireworks and dry grass and it doesn't really work. But they fled, and then they were caught (laughs).
What are the best and worst things about being on tour?
Shaant: Best is, I mean, just that, getting to tour and getting to go around and playing music. And, I mean, look at it, today was a different day but back in the US, we have a bus. I can wake up five minutes before we play, and then I play, and then I hang, and then I go back to sleep. Or, like, I'm online or watching movies or writing. So, like, it's fucking fun. Like, it's so easy, you know what I mean? The worst, all of us are so young. We never really lived on our own, and so it's kinda like a shock to go out there and kinda be able to take care of yourself. But you miss things, you know? Like you miss your bed, you miss your girlfriend. We all have girlfriends, so that's one thing. But other than that, it's great. It's good. But getting sick on the road sucks, because a two-week cold can take two months on the road, or three months. Like, it's insane. Yeah, I think that's it.
Who are your heroes?
Shaant: My grandfather's a huge hero. Oasis, just all of them, well Liam and...Liam and...um...
Shaant: Noel, thank you, left me. I have way too many, you know? Like, just because I like when people influence, you know? There are a lot of people who are like "Oh yeah, let's do our own thing", but I like taking pieces from different people and, kind of, like, forming it into what I am. So, I'd say my grandfather and...way too many.
Which question do you wish someone would ask you, and how would you answer it?
Shaant: I dunno. I liked...what was that question you asked before that I liked?
About how it'd be harder for you to get recognised if you were on a different label.
Shaant: I liked that. I liked that one. I'd say the label one. I wish people would ask interesting things. I don't necessarily have something on the tip of my tongue now, but, I mean, I do this every day, sometimes I do it five times. And that's why I liked that, because I've never heard that before. And a few other questions like that as well. They're refreshing. So I'd just say, kinda things out of the ordinary. Even personal questions would be great, or something like that.