October 22, 2014 Interview – Fabian Manzano of Boyce Avenue
Sometimes the paths we take in life may be full of hesitation and uncertainty, but following dreams are never a sure thing. For Floridian three-piece Rock band Boyce Avenue, taking the risks of pursuing a music career panned out as only some dream with international touring, building a strong fan-base, and starting their own record label. Actively creating music now for seven years professionally, Boyce Avenue is Alejandro Luis, Fabian Rafael, and Daniel Enrique Manzano, three brothers with unique skill sets which have mixed together magically complementing their unit as family and band. Learning the tricks of the trade, while growing as musicians as well, Boyce Avenue look to take things to the next level as they push the limits of their abilities musically. Recently we sat down guitarist/vocalist Fabian for a personal look at the early years of the band, their growth as artists, touring, their chemistry as brothers, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Boyce Avenue has seen a lot of success since the band’s formation nearly a decade ago. As of 2014 the band has garnished over one-billion views on YouTube, released two full-length records, and toured internationally. What has the ride been like for the band?
Fabian Manzano – It has been a little bit crazy, especially the last couple years. We have been playing together as a band and brothers for a really long time. We started to take it serious around 2007, it is crazy that is seven years ago. All along the way there have been these milestones that have constantly kept us inspired and pushing forward.
The first time we ever played the Philippines and thousands of people were screaming our names, that was a huge milestone for us. It reminded us of why we love doing what we are doing. When we got signed to the label and when we got off the label were both huge moments for us. When we received over one-billion views, that was a huge moment for us.
I am just fortunate enough to share these memories, not just with my wife and family, but my brothers. A lot of people ask if it is tough to be in a band with your brothers, but I actually think it is a blessing. We are all on the same wavelengths mentally and we have the same passion for the band. It has been really great to share a lot of these memories with my brothers.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like everything has been extremely positive. It is wonderful to hear you have such great chemistry with your brothers.
Fabian Manzano – Yes, we just basically get along. We will have times where we fight, like anyone does as siblings. We squash it quickly and are pretty good at quickly forgiving each other and move on. We are all on the same page. When we get off stage, when we play a show, we just sit back stage together and talk about what happened, all the fun moments, or did you see what was happening in the crowd. We will just talk for hours back stage about how fun it was. Those are the kind of little moments that I really appreciate and love.
CrypticRock.com – It is always those special little moments that mean so much. Now you each attended college and graduated with respective degrees. In hindsight it is probably easy to say it was a great decision to pursue a professional musical career, but at the time were you at all skeptical and was your family supportive?
Fabian Manzano – Yes and it is just crazy how much things have changed over the past seven years. The whole music industry and world has changed. The internet is so much bigger now; there are certain websites that dominate our culture now, which were not even around back then like Facebook. Back then we thought there is a rite of passage; you go to high school, college, and you get a job. You try and be a lawyer, architect, doctor; I had a completely different way of thinking of life back then. I remember having that conversation with my father. He said, “Ok, you are artistic and creative, maybe you should be an architect or in advertising.” I went on and obtained a four year degree in architecture because that is what I thought I had to do. As soon as we realized times were changing, there are so many opportunities on the internet, that we could make a living being in a band, then it was a no brainer. The thing we loved the most was art and music, but we thought, “Can I make a living?” As much as I love music, if I cannot actually put food on the plate and provide for my family, then it was not a realistic option. The moment we realized there was YouTube and a possibility for us to do this, then we had to jump on it and we could not just let that pass us by.
CrypticRock.com – Obviously talent plays a huge part in that. You made a great decision and you were extremely savvy in that aspect. Things have really taken off since then.
Fabian Manzano – I think that it helps that there are three of us. We each had our susceptive role, talent, skill set, and we knew how to just focus on that. I would do all our bands graphic design, CD covers, tour posters, and our t-shirt designs. Daniel would help out with business and legalities, such as booking shows; he used to help with management. Our younger brother, Alejandro, would do a lot of music stuff. He is the most talented musician out of all of us. He is the leader when it comes to singing, performing, and songwriting. Between the three of us we have business, music, and art. That allowed us to start our own record label on our own because we have the distinct skill sets. Fortunately it all worked out.
CrypticRock.com – It definitely has worked out. You recently released a new EP titled No Limits in April. The tracks exhibits the band’s growth as songwriters and sees the style broaden as well. With this release out, what can fans expect from the full-length studio record to follow?
Fabian Manzano – What I think is cool about the music industry now a days is there is a lot of freedom to try new things. I grew up listening to bands that were much more pigeonholed into genres. If you were a Punk band, it was a Punk band, and if they ventured out and did anything that was not Punk they would be chastised. I think now a days it is a lot different. You get collaborations with Hayley Williams of Paramore who is doing songs with B.O.B. of the Hip Hop world.
There is a lot more of collaborations from all types of genres. I think fans themselves are indeed more lenient and open-minded, giving you the freedom to try different things. That may be because it is more a single driven world right now, where people are not really buying full-length albums, they are just buying track by track. They may buy one track that is EBM and another that is Rock. It is really cool that we have that freedom and flexibility now a days. No Limits is what it says, we have no limits to try basically what we want to try. Fortunately a lot of our fans appreciate us for that, they are not going to stop listening to us and unsubscribe.
No Limits is basically how far can you push the boundaries, how unique, and different we can get with our style. On No Limits, you get a song like “I’ll Be The One” which is EBM-like, a song like “Speed Limit” which is Pop, or you get a song like an acoustic version of “One Life” that is very sort of somber and an inspirational ballad type of track. We basically just tried to diversify our sound on this EP. That is not to say the EP will not be more unified and be different. I listen to more Alternative Rock like Pearl Jam, Cage the Elephant, Manchester Orchestra, and Foo Fighters. I would like to do an album that is a little more Alternative or Heavy Rock. That may happen, you never know.
CrypticRock.com – It is good to keep your options open. You do not want to limit yourself or box yourself into a corner.
Fabian Manzano – We are trying not to lean toward a full twelve song album every two years, but maybe a seven song EP every year. So you get more opportunity to try new things and get a different sound on each EP. If the fans are not feeling it, then we will have a new EP coming out soon, so there is a lot more freedom.
CrypticRock.com – That sounds like a good plan and it keeps things fresh. You recently conducted a European tour and are now embarking on a North American Tour with Kris Allen. Having spent so much time on the road and away from home has to be draining. How do you manage to keep everything balanced gearing up for this tour?
Fabian Manzano – Very excited, especially because it is a USA tour. It feels like as of late I have more of an appreciation for the US and where we come from as an American Rock band. When we first started a band, you do not even understand how obsessed we were with wanting to go to Europe, Brazil, and the Philippines. I had this itch to travel and see the world, I still love doing that, but I have a new found appreciation of where we come from. Going to Europe is cool, but North America has so much to offer. There are so many cities that have such a rich style and culture. I am so psyched to go to Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. North America is great, what a beautiful place to live. I am excited to get on the road in the US again, New York especially. Our first show there was Mercury Lounge, then we played Bowery Ballroom, then Williamsburg Music Hall. We slowly worked our way up, playing all these legendary venues around New York.
Crypticrock.com – Right, when you come back to New York you will be playing Terminal 5, which is a really great venue.
Fabian Manzano – Terminal 5 is amazing. I saw Young The Giant there. I have see bands I follow playing Terminal 5 and I say, “One day we are going to rock that venue.” It is going to be epic, it is just a legendary music venue as most New York venues are, to be honest. That will be one of the highlights of the tour.
CrypticRock.com – Terminal 5 is a really nice place and many great bands have played there in recent years. Now you have spoken a little about your diverse music tastes. Tell us some of more about your musical influences?
Fabian Manzano – What is cool about us being three brothers is we all bring something different to the table. My older brother is very interested about the message and lyrics, so he is into singer-songwriters like Train and John Mayer. Alejandro has more of a country sensibility. I think that is because when we first started he grew up on singer-songwriter and Country. He comes from a more Pop Rock world, but even back then I remember we used to listen to Saliva, early Goo Goo Dolls such as the Superstar Car Wash(1993) and A Boy Name Goo (1995) albums. I typically tend to listen to more Groove or Alternative Rock; people like Jack White, stuff that is a little bit heavier. I really loved Interpol’s lastest album Elpintor. Just the gritty thick Hard Rock music; there are all kind of Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk Rock, but I like the Alternative Rock.
CrypticRock.com – It just shows as you grow as a person you grow as a musician. It will be interesting to see where Boyce Avenue goes in the future as well.
Fabian Manzano – For sure, I always appreciate that our fans allow us to grow and change. We just come out on a live set really hard. We come out with a lot of energy trying to make a great first impression, then in the middle of the set we chill out with a couple of acoustic songs, then we try and pick it up at the end of the set with a high energy Rock vibe. There are some dynamics in our live show where we really try and touch on everything. We try and make every show a little different.
CrypticRock.com – It is good to keep things balances and different. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Fabian Manzano – I am a movie buff and Alejandro is a movie buff too. I think all three of us as a band are not really into Horror films. I remember as a kid seeing some scary stuff, not being able to get to sleep and thinking why am I scaring myself where I am afraid to walk down a dark hallway without looking over my shoulder. I remember trying to stay clear of that genre of movies, but I am always open to good recommendations though.
CrypticRock.com – Horror is a very broad range to be honest. Some Sci-Fi and even Fantasy can be thrown into the Horror genre.
Fabian Manzano – That is really good point. Alejandro is a huge Sci-Fi buff, some of those films really get you thinking and can be pretty scary. I remember as a kid, one of the films that scared me the most was Alien (1979). The concept of monsters was not as scary to me, but Aliens can be real. Beings coming to visit would scare me. I remember a lot of alien and Sci-Fi movies really scaring me.