Marquette Wire

AJR preps for Marquette concert

From+left+to+right%3A+Ryan%2C+Jack+and+Adam+Met+of+AJR.+Photo+courtesy+of+AJR.
From left to right: Ryan, Jack and Adam Met of AJR. Photo courtesy of AJR.

From left to right: Ryan, Jack and Adam Met of AJR. Photo courtesy of AJR.

From left to right: Ryan, Jack and Adam Met of AJR. Photo courtesy of AJR.

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Podcast by Ian Schrank

Indie pop group AJR returns to Milwaukee this Saturday to open for Fitz and the Tantrums during Marquette’s Homecoming weekend. The group, made up of brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met, played at the Rave in July and will come back for a November 30 show with Foster the People and Walk the Moon.

Currently, their focus is their first visit to Marquette and promoting their recently released second album, “The Click.” Marquette Radio had the chance to speak with ground member Adam, who explained what it was he felt separated this project from their debut album, “Living Room.”

“We focused on lyrics,” he said. “While on the last album we focused on production and then built the songs around the production, this time we focused on relatable and as honest and simple lyrics as we possibly could and then built the production from there. So we have songs about bingeing on Netflix. We have songs about nostalgia and feeling like you’re too old and wanting to go back to the time when you were young and in second grade.”

AJR’s second album, “The Click,” features singles “Weak” and “Sober Up.” Photo courtesy of AJR.

He also detailed how their performance style has changed over time. “Our goal in developing a show is to make something that the audience has never seen before. It’s not just a show for us, it’s a performance piece. So whether it’s incorporating bucket drumming which harkens back to our street performing days or creating live remixes that are specialized to each city we go to, we try to do something that’s unique.”

Adam also elaborated on their street performance days in New York as well as their unique situation of being a family band. “We grew up listening to a lot of music of the ’50s and ’60s on vinyl, and a lot of those groups were actually family groups like the Beach Boys.”

After listening to older records and learning to harmonize together, they took it to the streets. They started out doing covers of songs but actually raised enough money to buy studio equipment to produce their own music. “That really gave us both the courage to do this and the financial means,” Adam said.

Due to their speakers currently being broken, the band has been unable to listen to music on their tour bus. However, Adam said that Chance the Rapper and Imagine Dragons are two groups that AJR has been following for a while now as huge fans.

As for what it’s like to be in a band with family members, Adam said everybody has learned their distinct role. “Ryan is really production-based, and he does a lot of the writing. Jack is the front man in performing, and he’s really great at coming up with hooky melodies,” Adam said. “And I do a lot of the business, behind the scenes, management stuff, so each of us respect each other’s roles in a really powerful way. There’s no ego involved; it’s all about what’s best for the band.”

One of the group’s more popular songs, called “Sober Up,” features Rivers Cuomo from the band Weezer. After years of writing and producing their own music, Cuomo reached out on Twitter, and the band, being Weezer fans, decided he was a big enough name to break the trend and collaborate. “We actually wrote the whole song over email, sending things back and forth,” Adam said.

A lot of students are excited to see AJR on campus this  Saturday with Fitz & the Tantrums. The gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. in Central Mall.

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