TMI – First, how are you girls, how was your summer, any highlights?
Paxton– We are great, thanks for asking!! Our summer was incredible we gigged a lot and had some very memorable shows like the Stagecoach 2018, LA County Fair, Gold Country Fair & opening for Morgan Wallen! We also had the amazing opportunity to open for Toby Keith!! It was incredible but also nerve racking playing for a sold-out crowd of 12,000 people. We had never sung for that many people before, but it was SO fun.
TMI – You’ve been wrapping up recording for the first volume of your EP series. Mustang Vol. 1. Can you tell us about your writing and recording process?
Kristen– Our writing and recording process varies depending on the song. More often than not, our manager/producer will start a music concept and the three of us will sit down and decide what we want to write the song about. We’ve had cases where we will just say random words then somehow find a phrase that sticks, or we’ll go into the session already having a clear idea about what we want to say. One of the best parts about being in a group with 2 of your best friends is that you’re already going to talk about the guy you like, the movie you saw that made you cry, or even your family so we can always pull inspiration from there. A lot of our songs come from conversations between best friends which is why if you listen to our songs, you know us as people. Recording is a journey in itself. With a few songs we’ve recorded we’ve set the mood in the room by turning out lights, lighting candles, closing curtains, etc. We’ll do whatever it takes to get the perfect environment for the song. We record without any autotune on our albums too, so we hear “Sing it again” from our manager/producer quite bit, but it’s always worth it in the end.
TMI – Your new single, “Outlaw” has a charming country pop feel, what was the inspiration behind the song?
Alicia– All of us either have or have known someone who’s fallen for the “bad boy” before. Wanting what you shouldn’t have when it comes to relationships is a pretty relatable issue for most people, unfortunately! We wanted the music to feel dusty and heavy but also young and fun, so that’s where the rock sounding guitars and the pop sounding drums were a perfect mix! And of course, there’s a country twang throughout the whole thing!
TMI – Your songs are very emotional and uplifting, but also energetic and direct. How do you manage to combine these different aspects of your creativity?
Paxton– It’s all about balance. We’ve done some living since our last EP ‘Fancy’. We are just your average young adults who still like to have fun and goof off. However, we’ve grown up a lot and gone through different experiences like break ups, and our lives changing that helps us balance the energy. We put those experiences into our writing, so there’s a song for every mood and something for anyone to relate to no matter the age. Even though we are young and can sing fun songs we wanted to make sure there was still a depth to our music that can draw in anyone.
TMI – You released your debut EP Fancy when you were in high school, how did you manage to do that in-between high school and homework?
Kristen– We were very lucky to have parents that helped us transition into a homeschool program called Horizon Charter School once we started traveling a lot and spending long nights in the studio recording “Fancy”. School has always been important to all of us so in-between recording sessions we would log onto our classes and get our work done. We couldn’t have done it without Horizon. They made it possible for us to follow our dreams and maintain a solid education.
TMI – Your music is a diverse blend of country and pop influences–can you tell us what brought you to this genre, instead of going with a straight pop sound?
Alicia– All three of us grew up listening to different music. Even now we all listen to a wide range of music, and I think that really shines through when we write and even when we sing. When we first started, our manager taught us how to sing together with gospel music. For a long time, that’s all we would sing, so of course later those gospel influences still shine through in our harmonies. Although music wise, country made the most sense, it also made the most sense to who we are as people. We love the stories country music gets to tell, and we love the integrity of it.
TMI – Is it hard to bring the different energy of country and pop together while still retaining the hallmarks of a good “pop” song or a good “country” song?
Paxton– I don’t think so because we all grew up listening to pop and country music. We like to take the traditional sounds and lyric ideas from our country influences and then mash them with the fun/youthful feel from our pop influences. We take what we like from both and create the Auburn Road sound while making sure to stay true to each genre.
TMI – What does it mean to be a country artist in 2018, with the genre itself blurring so many musical lines, especially when it comes to young female artists?
Kristen– Country music is in an interesting place right now. With more and more pairings with artists of different genres happening, the music itself is evolving in a really cool way. It’s no secret that being a female in a male dominated genre can make it a bit harder to breakthrough, but the bond that the women in country music have been displaying is nothing short of amazing. Women are finding their voices in their music and seem to be diving in deeper, songs are no longer just about falling in love and having your heart broken. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good love song, but women are so complex and it’s great being able to hear all the different emotions and life experiences our fellow women in country are sharing through their music.
TMI – You’re all 19 and 20 years old now, but you’ve been singing together for quite a while, since you were 11 and 12 years old, that said, how have your group’s dynamics changed through the years?
Alicia– We met when we were about 8 years old. We were taking a performance class together and we were all extremely shy on stage (especially me). I remember Kristen and Paxton trying to talk to me, but I was deathly shy and probably hid behind my mom’s leg lol. We started getting closer when we were around 11, and that’s when we joined a group called “Pop Academy” which included us and about 10 other girls. We had a great time performing in Disney Land and opening for artists like Cher Lloyd. We were having so much fun and we thought we might as well do our own thing together! We didn’t think much of it and it was all just in fun until we met our manager, Michael Anderson. Michael had already had a long history and success in the music business, he’s the former bass player and musical director for Christina Aguilera and Chris Brown; with production credits that include Ashlee Simpson, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler and David Archuleta. Things got serious pretty quickly after we started working with him, and before we knew it we were doing some really amazing gigs and writing and recording our first album “Fancy”. We’ve only gotten closer over the years and I feel so blessed to be working my dream job alongside my best friends.
TMI – In addition to writing your own music do you three also play instruments?
Paxton– That’s something we’ve been working on, hopefully sometime soon you’ll be hearing us play and sing our songs live!
TMI – If you had to pick one single song from your group to introduce your music to a new listener, which one would you choose, and why?
Kristen– That’s such a hard question!! It’s like a parent picking their favorite child! If I had to pick one single song off our album to introduce to a new listener I’d pick “Outlaw”. That’s the song I’d go with because it can resonate with absolutely anyone. We’ve all had a crush on or fallen for someone we know shouldn’t but we do anyway and that’s what that song’s about. Even musically it has elements from different genres so no matter what kind of music you find yourself drawn to, you’ll find something in “Outlaw” that makes you want to dance.
TMI – So, 2018 has been a big year for Auburn Road, you’ve been recording the songs for your new EP’s Mustang Vol. 1 and Mustang Vol. 2, you played Stagecoach Festival and your new song “Outlaw” is being played on Radio Disney Country. I want to also mention you are teenage girls, doing this on your own, DIY, which is a pretty amazing thing. So…. What’s next?
Alicia– We’re going to keep pushing our new song “Outlaw” as long as we can! We want to get it spinning on as many radio stations as possible, and we’re hoping there’s a radio tour in that mix. We’re also already planning for an official music video somewhere in the near future, so we can really bring “Outlaw” to life! During all of this we’ll be gigging as much as we possibly can, and we have two EP’s, Mustang Vol. 1 and Mustang Vol. 2 coming out in 2019. We can’t wait to get the rest of our new music out to you guys!
Thank you so much for spending some time with us at TMI!!