Boyce Avenue

by
Boyce Avenue
Srinandini Mukherjee talked with Boyce Avenue lead singer and guitarist, Alejandro Luis Manzano, who formed the band with his brothers Fabian Rafael Manzano and Daniel Enrique Manzano.

Photo Credit: Variety

The super-popular YouTube cover-band with over 8 million subscribers, Boyce Avenue, have recently flourished even more through their Be Somebody world tour, which brings forth their talent with new, original tracks written by the members.

So, I know you and your brothers attended university for different degrees before pursuing music as a career. Was there a moment when you all collectively decided to focus on music, or was that always part of the plan? What made you change your mind?
Well, it was different for me, since I was the youngest one. I had already been through two years of university and I was a working attorney. But music was always what I wanted to do, and it was the best decision I ever made personally. It’s just not something that I could end up regretting, and it’s so much fun for us as brothers to do it together. Eventually, I gave up pursuing my degree, and even though Fabian and Daniel had other things going on, they could eventually quit their jobs and focus on music with me.

Did you begin to post your videos on YouTube with a specific goal in mind, or was it just for fun?
We definitely did want a platform for exposure. The site itself was very young at the time. We had a page on MySpace, but the site was going under. However, at the same time, lots of social media sites were coming up. We thought we should be flexible and try different platforms, but we had no idea how much YouTube would take off.

I’ve been following your YouTube videos and I noticed that you often cover really current, Top 40 songs, but every now and then you throw in a slightly older track like Blackbird by the Beatles. What determines the choice of song?
We definitely try to keep a balanced approach, since we’re running the channel for the fans’ enjoyment rather than ourselves. Our main goal is usually to add something to the message of the artist in every song, sometimes we don’t feel like we can really improve a song in any way since the original did its message justice already – there’s not a lot we can do to it. So usually, if there’s some emotion which got lost in the message, which can be better expressed through an acoustic version of the song, we try and bring that out.

You are currently on your Be Somebody world tour, how has the experience been so far?
It’s been amazing, we’ve finished the South-East Asia leg of the tour – two weeks in India and the Philippines. We actually visited India for the first time and we had no idea what to expect, but it was great! The fans were incredibly passionate. It was really exciting to see them react to the music, there seems to be a sort of youthful movement in the country. We have just finished our Europe run, and now, we’ll be flying to Dubai, and then to the USA and Canada to complete the tour.

Any specific favourite experiences?
Well, we all are very family-oriented, so a lot of my favourite memories include my family. You know, my three nephews coming out on the road, watching J Park together…it’s such a cosy feeling, to have family on the road with you. I especially loved the show in Dublin, because it was my oldest nephew’s birthday, and the crowd actually sang Happy Birthday to him! So yeah, moments like that…

What should we expect after the tour, will you focus more on your own music or return to covering songs on YouTube, or balance the two? Any specific plans?
Well, we definitely won’t stop posting covers. But at the same time, we’ll have albums coming out worldwide, along with clever, emotional music videos. We’re always wondering how we can enhance the audio, as creating music is only half of the job. With this album, we feel like we’re making some of the best videos we have to date.

Do you all three of you write?
Yes, we all do, but we all have our own roles within the band. Daniel is more involved with the business and emails side, Fabian does a lot of the artwork, and I focus on the musical aspect of things. We recently built our own studio, and it’s great to have this space where we can just go in and create music together.

Any personal favourites from your new original album, Road Less Travelled?
Well, I have two favourites from two opposite ends of the spectrum- one optimistic one, and one that’s more emotional. So…the positive one is Cinderella, and the sad song is Given Up. Both are really great.

Name some artists who have inspired you musically?
Well, the Googoo Dolls have been a very strong influence from the start of my musical career. Some others are Lighthouse, and Wasted. As for more modern influences, I’d say Coldplay and Foo Fighters.