Found Vegas Chats With RnB While On The Mood Tour With Jacquees

Part serious, focused, talented musicians , part hot boy band, part  that funny, cute guy in your chemistry class, Found Vegas brings a lot to the table and can deliver a high energy performance on stage.  RnB Magazine caught up with them for an on the spot impromptu interview right after they were leaving the stage on the Mood Tour with Jacquees.  Off stage these guys are still energetic, positive and love to joke around and laugh–sometimes at each other, but all in good fun. You can next catch Found Vegas opening for  Talib Kweli on July 23rd  in their hometown of New Jersey and be on the lookout for an EP release this fall!

Surrounding Jacquees, from left to right on cover photo -Ethan (Vocals), Jackson (Keyboards), Tom (Lead Guitar and Vocals), Mike (Bass), Alex (Drums) and Johnny (Vocals)

How long have you guys been together?

Tom: We’ve been together for a year.

Ethan: And change.

Tom:  Yeah, like one month over a year.

Ethan: April 2015, give or take, April 20th, something like that.

Did you guys go to school together? How did you guys meet?

Mike: I go to school with Ethan. That’s how he met me.

Ethan: I rescued him in the hallway one day. He was with a group of weird looking kids. I said which one of you plays bass guitar?

Mike: I was like, “take me, take me!”

Tom:  Me and Jackson go to college together.

Jackson: Yeah, I’m new.

Tom : Yeah, he’s brand new. The other keyboard player, well…

Johnny: He wasn’t cut out for it.

Alex: It happens.

Tom: Yeah, he was still in high school. So there were some issues, so I called Jackson.

Jackson: A few days before I’m going home for the summer, Tom’s like, “hey—you wanna go on tour?”  I was like, “Yeah, I wanna go on tour!”

Ethan: And if you want to talk about high school…

Johnny: I’ll go to the starting point–so yeah, it goes back, way back Ethan and I were in a rap duo and Tom and Alex were in a rock band and we actually ended up  having a little collab back then. Little did we know it was a foreshadowing, since now we got together and have Found Vegas.

Ethan: Alex used to record me! He recorded my verses. And Johnny’s.

Johnny: All of our verses.  In his room.  (They all laugh) Anyway, it just so happens that we were all in the basement and Tom and Alex’s band were thinking about breaking up—

Tom:  It was broken up.

Johnny:  Yeah, and me and Ethan, our rapping was broken up– for reasons–

Ethan : It happens.

Johnny: –and we ended up just saying why don’t we put our minds together. We Found Vegas.  We gave birth to Found Vegas! (They laugh)

What does that name represent? What does Found Vegas mean to you guys?

Ethan: It represents that place in your soul that’s real special–( They are laughing )

Tom: No, tell her how it happened.

Ethan: Alright, it’s nighttime, it was real dark, in the park, and Alex, John and I were hanging out—

Johnny: We were swinging. (More laughter)

Ethan: We were just hanging out at the park in the playground and we were like, so what’s cool and what represents us as people, so we’re thinking of something real clever, just a phrase that really expressed something real cool.  A clever flip on words. And we were thinking Found Angeles, a play on Lost (Los) Angeles , but that just didn’t cut it. So then it came, I said it– Found Vegas!

Tom : Honestly, I didn’t really like it. At first. But then I couldn’t think of anything better. (Laughs)

Ethan: We would go all night texting on group chat trying to find a name.

Tom: Yeah, it took like a month.

Ethan: I got some good laughs out of it.

Johnny: I felt like it was the right name.

Alex: Yeah, I agree.

Johnny: Hey, we stuck with it, right? (Laughter )

Found 1

You guys have kind of a different sound, it’s like a fusion of music styles, so what did you guys grow up listening to and what do you listen to now?

Jackson: Alright, so for me I grew up with the Beatles, Bob Dylan. Recently Arcade Fire, indie rock stuff, more electronic.

Alex: For me it was hard rock, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, classic rock.

Johnny: For me it was I started out listening to rap, grew up on hip hop, old school rnb, some good old Prince, Michael Jackson, little bit of Jodeci, all that good stuff. Then I started to get into rock and then everything else and so I just listen to everything.

Tom: I was really blues rock influenced, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, all that kind of stuff, then I got into Jon Mayer really hard, then I got into the band with Alex and became more like a singer/songwriter type of guy.

Ethan: I grew up on a lot of metal. (They laugh) Bands like In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Trivial, Slipknot, Korn—bands like that. Then I started listening to hip hop and then I kind of shifted where I was going with it (Johnny hi-fives him), THEN I started listening to rnb—

Johnny: Oh, yeah!

Ethan: –then it got really real!  And now I listen to a lot of Bryson Tiller, a lot of Drake, sometimes I like to listen to a little bit of Unearth –

Tom: What’s that?

Ethan:  It’s like a hard core metal core band. So you know, fast, I like to keep it that way.

Mike:  I grew up with a lot of jazz, Jacques Pastorious , ( guys are all laughing) –oh, is that funny?

Ethan: I never heard of that.

Mike: Okay, more recent stuff, I really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, more stuff of that genre, something funky—I’m a bass player. Funk rock. And Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles…

Tom: So we got everything. Except country.  

I heard you guys play a lot places, you guys will play anywhere—subways, bars…

Ethan: You give us enough space to stand, we will figure out a way to perform.

Johnny: Yes, we will perform!

Ethan: Pretty much.

Tom: Two weeks before this tour we were in Washington Square Park in New York City.

Alex: What about the meatball competition?

Tom: Yeah, we were at a senior citizen meatball competition. It was really awesome actually.

Johnny: The food was! They let us eat.

Ethan: We love it when they give us free food! We found our ways to finagle the situation where they just give us free food for performance, it’s just like amazing!

Johnny: We definitely did a lot on the streets of New York , that is how we got to here.

Ethan: We did some stuff like that in New Jersey too, we’d set up on college campuses and just play acoustically and kids that would walk by would see us and follow us on Instagram.

Tom: And then we got hooked up with Prince Marketing Group, and they were able to hook us up, get us on this tour. Do what needed to be done.

You guys are all so young, what does it feel like to be on tour?

Johnny: It’s a dream come true!  (They all nod and talk at once in agreement)

Tom: I was in college studying for finals and on Monday night I get a call from this dude (points to Alex) and he says we’re going to DC tomorrow. I go to school in New York. So I was like, “uh, okay… I have to make some calls.” I call all my professors, so I basically dropped out of college.

Ethan: I dropped out too. Smart decision. Dropping out for tour. This is better than college!

Mike:  I passed all my classes.

Tom: I DID pass all my classes too.

Johnny: I was taking a semester off , so when he called me up I was like ecstatic—

Alex: Ready to go.

Johnny: Yes, let’s do this!  Of course, this is what we were waiting for. The funny thing was when we first started the band we were like this is the plan; in a year we are going on tour. Year comes around…

Ethan: It’s not local anymore. This is California. We are out of the comfort zone. Coming back to New Jersey from a California tour, it’s a whole new experience.

Found Vegas 2

You guys do a really high energy performance, how do you keep that up on tour—mentally and physically?

Tom: You know honestly, a lot of my energy goes with the crowd, and we’ll play for two people, we’ll play for 2,000 people, 20,000, whatever, so we’re just going to put on the best performance possible.

Jackson: I think shows like this have taught us no matter what –cause we played San Diego yesterday — we just got to give it everything we got each time. If you don’t give it everything, you fail.

Ethan: You just run off your emotions. You got to have that pure emotion in you where you know it’s motivating you, whether its happiness, sadness or anger take that and somehow make it —–

Johnny: (finishes) –what you do on stage.

Ethan: Yeah, make it what you do on stage. Just let it allow you to be yourself on stage. People are going to like you as long as that is what you do.

Johnny:  Getting up there and just doing it –it’s like your house; it’s like your home– you get there, kick your shoes off—just be loose.

Tom: I’ve never taken my shoes off on stage.

Johnny: (laughs) Well, no. Me either. Metaphorically, I meant.

Jackson:  Yeah, and physically, in the long run, we have to keep our bodies in shape.

Johnny: I mean we definitely been working out lately.

Ethan: Yeah, no McDonald’s, so we’re good.

Tom: I haven’t had McDonald’s in three months.

Ethan: But I make an exception for the hot fudge sundae.

Johnny:  And the McFlurries.

Ethan: Yeah, those too. Those are awesome!


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