Four and half years ago, New York-based trio Against the Current formed a quick bond when longtime friends guitarist Dan Gow and drummer Will Ferri met singer Chrissy Costanza through mutual friends. “They came over one day, and we just played some songs acoustic in my basement and kind of went from there,” Costanza recalled during a recent phone interview.
The young band took their brand of pop-rock to YouTube and have amassed over 1.2 million subscribers. Their social media success, along with independently released EPs, Infinity (2014) and Gravity (2015), led to signing with label Fueled By Ramen earlier this year. The band is currently on the U.S. portion of their Gravity World Tour with labelmates Vinyl Theatre.
I recently spoke with the band about signing with Fueled By Ramen, their goals for the U.S. leg of the Gravity World Tour and what’s lined up for them heading into 2016.
Your band name, Against the Current, is from The Great Gatsby. How did you decide on it? Is that a favorite book of the band’s?
Well, we were all in school at the time and we were all reading it. It was like that time in your high school career when you read it. [laughs] So I guess it was like in the back of our minds and we just thought it was really cool. Every day the meaning becomes more fitting to us – like the way we do things in our music and everything. We just try to bring something different to the table.
You have accumulated a lot of subscribers (over 1.2 million!) on YouTube. What was behind the decision of using that platform to promote the band?
At the time, our manager was managing another YouTuber, Alex Hughes. We were also in high school, so we couldn’t do the traditional touring aspect of being in a band, so it was a great way to get our music out there online and doing covers at the same time … it just worked out really well.
One of my favorite covers of yours is Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You.” How do you go about selecting what songs to cover?
Thank you. We’re not really looking to always cover songs. If a song hits us, and we really love it and we’re really passionate about it, that’s usually when we’re inspired to do a cover. So we just really love the songs and just like good timing, I guess in doing so. That’s usually the process. … There’s not too many cover videos out there. We’re pretty selective.
You were signed to Fueled By Ramen this year. How has life in the band changed?
Now there’s more parties involved with the band – like we have to get deadlines approved and actually have to follow them. When we were independent, we never knew if something was actually going to come out; it would just randomly get released. I guess it’s a lot more organized now, which is nice.
We have way more opportunities now, when it comes to being creative. Like the amount of awesome, incredible songwriters we got to work with on our record and everything, it’s just like amazing. We would never have that opportunity if it wasn’t for being able to partner up with Fueled By [Ramen] and their whole team and everything, so that’s been pretty awesome.
“Outsiders” is your new single. What was the inspiration behind the song?
It’s kind of just us, really. The whole song is just kind of about being yourself might make you an “outsider,” and sometimes you’re going to have that feeling of being alone, but it’s also trying to say, even though you might be alone right now, there are so many other people that are having that same feeling of following their own path and kind of feeling alone because of it. You truly aren’t really alone, because there’s all of these outsiders and we were kind of just saying, yeah, we’re all outsiders, and even though we’re all doing all different things, why should we be doing them alone? We can all support each other type of thing.
So you’re on the Gravity World Tour with Vinyl Theatre right now. How has it been going?
It’s been great so far. This is only the fifth show – we did the overseas part already. We’re actually in our third month of touring [on] this tour right now, and it’s just been incredible.
Do you have a specific city that you’re looking forward to playing?
I’m probably looking forward to our hometown show in New York City, because it sold out and it’s always a lot of fun to play home. All of our friends and family come and everyone at Fueled By Ramen will be there too, because they’re based in New York, so everyone will be there. It’s always fun.
You mentioned that you already completed the overseas portion of the tour. What was a favorite country that you played in?
Japan! We went to Japan for the first time. The overseas part was just really amazing. There were so many amazing countries and cities we got to play, I really couldn’t even start to make a favorites list, because there were so many that were amazing.
How has the response from the fans been during this current run?
I think it’s been awesome, considering these are places we really haven’t played before or we’d only played like once, or at least we never headlined. I think it’s just a good chance to get into these smaller markets, reach the fans and give them an awesome show. And just grow.
Would you consider that to be one of the goals for this leg of the tour?
Yeah, the U.S. is definitely our biggest focus right now. Building our fan base here and headlining as much as possible and touring here. Yeah, one of our goals is to get this fan base up to like the level it is overseas and in Asia. We’re going to keep working at that here in the U.S.
Do you find online streaming to be beneficial as you look to grow your audience in the U.S.?
Yeah, for sure. Spotify, now with like the playlists and all those different things, the pop charts and everything, it’s kind of become another form of social media almost. And it’s another way to get exposure, which really isn’t the case as much from somewhere where you buy music.
You have the Gravity EP out and there’s a full-length record in the works. Is that something you’ve been able to work on during the tour?
We were out recording it and writing it all summer. Right now, we’re in the mixing and mastering stage. We get mixes while we’re on the road and kind of make notes, but for the most part, it’s just about done, which is exciting.
For fans that have picked up the EP and that are excited about “Outsiders,” what can they look forward to on the full-length record?
It’s definitely a big step. There’s live dynamics, there’s a lot of up and downs, which is what we wanted. We wanted the record to be an experience. So hopefully [fans] get that from that. Just a lot of strong messages and hopefully they can just connect. It’s pretty diverse.
Following this current tour and the release of your full-length album, what’s next for the band heading into 2016?
Just the record release and a whole bunch of touring. Going everywhere, all over the world again just promoting it. Just a lot of stuff. [laughs] We will be everywhere at all times.
For more information on Against the Current, please visit atcofficial.com.
11.07 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues – Voodoo Room
11.08 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock
11.10 – Houston, TX – Walters
11.11 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues – Cambridge Room
11.13 – Nashville, TN – Rocketown
11.14 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Purgatory
11.15 – Orlando, FL – The Social
11.17 – Vienna, VA – Jammin Java
11.19 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
11.20 – New York, NY – Marlin Room @ Webster Hall
11.21 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Photo courtesy of Fueled By Ramen.
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