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today's teen interview. 
10th-Jan-2007 05:17 pm

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Rock Star Stories

Fueled by Ramen recording artists Cute Is What We Aim For took some time to meet with Swept Away TV's The Rock Star Stones and student journalists from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to answer their questions.

From their earliest performances, Cute Is What We Aim For showed a genuine connection to their fans, which can be attributed to the fact that the members of the band are barely out of their teens themselves. Their music speaks of common experiences and catchy tunes. Their huge online presence also fueled the success of their first album, The Same Old Blood Rush with a New Touch.

Cute Is What We Aim For is Shaant Hacikyan, guitarist Jeff Czum, bassist Jack Marin and drummer Tom Falcone.

Gaby (Pinecrest): When you decided that you were going to play music as your career, what was the force that said, "This is for me"?

TOM: For me, it was the scene in the movie Can't Hardly Wait, where he gets up and sings "Paradise City." Anyone else see that? I remember watching that and saying that I really wanted to be in a band.

Gaby: Really?

Kendra: Is cute really what you aim for?

SHAANT: It was something like a joke; we didn't expect to be a real band. It just kind of stuck. It haunts us, 'cause we don't like it.

Kendra: What's your favorite song to play live?

SHAANT: It varies. For me, it's "The Curse of Curves. "For Jeff, it's "Sweet Talk 101" and "Finger Twist& Split."

Kierstin (home-schooled): Where did you get your influence for your songs, and what's the writing process like?

SHAANT: The writing process varies — me coming up with lyrics and just writing the melodies myself, or adapting music with melodies that Jeff writes. The influences vary due to the fact that we all have different musical influences. I'm a big fan of Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, singer-songwriters. The pop element comes from Blink 182 and life experiences; writing about other people, as well. A lot of it hasn't happened to me yet.

Kierstin: Have you named your tour bus?

SHAANT: No, we haven't thought of doing that.

Brittany (North Broward Prep): Do you guys regret starting out so young and not going to college?

SHAANT: (To bandmates) Do you guys? I do. Did you guys go to graduation? (To Brittany) There are certain things that you don't get to experience. You miss out on the normal things: dorm life, messing with your freedom. I went to boarding school for a bit, so I've experienced some of that.

Kelly (BCC): Is it something you'd want to do?

SHAANT: It's not something realistic right now. It depends on how this pans out. If we bomb totally and fall off the face of the earth, then scholastics are the first thing that comes to mind.

Anthony (UM): Do you have any advice for up-and-coming musicians?

SHAANT: You can never forget where you came from. You have to appreciate everything that comes your way, no matter how quickly it happens. Never say never — it proves to be true, no matter how generic. Do things you like, 'cause we did. For a while, we tried to do what I thought kids would really dig.

Anthony: Has getting famous changed your music in anyway?

SHAANT: We're not famous.

JEFF: Maybe to a bunch of kids on the internet.

SHAANT: It hasn't affected us because we wrote our [album] way before anything happened.

Anthony: So you're still in the process of growing and getting better-known?

SHAANT: Absolutely. Word.

Allison (Spanish River): How did you guys get signed by Fueled by Ramen?

SHAANT: John Janick, who owns Fueled by Ramen, called us when we were in rush-hour traffic five months after we got started as a band. I hung up on him because it was too good to be true. He called again, we went to Florida, and played the worst show of our lives. Two weeks later, we were signed. We're really lucky. He came to us; we didn't even send out press kits or anything. Signed to Fueled by Ramen, and now we're on Atlantic Records. It's really weird.

Chelsea (Coral Springs): What makes you guys different from any other band in your genre?

SHAANT: Nothing! Most bands are funny, and we're not funny. There has to be something just because of how fast we've grown, but I think it's good that we don't know what it is. Then you get a big head.

Chelsea: What s the most expensive thing you've bought since you've been signed?

SHAANT: Tom buys a lot of shoes. I buy really stupid things — $300 jeans.

Jessica (South Broward): How have you grown as a band?

SHAANT: Fortunately, we understand that we wouldn't be anywhere without our fans. We try to be on a first-name basis, but there are thousands of people.

Jessica: Did you all have the same dreams?

SHAANT: We all had that same dream of playing in front of thousands of people and kids singing your music. I don't even think that we thought it would happen. We have that same fire inside of us.

Monique (Palmetto): Is there anything memorable from this tour so far?

SHAANT: Not from this tour but the last tour everyone but me got arrested. They started afire in this field.

FRED: It's the fifth of July, we're in Kansas, and we had a bunch of left over fireworks. Tom gets this idea to shoot Roman candles at me. It lands in a dry pile of brush. We get in the car and takeoff. After a few minutes, a cop car comes and takes all of us to a jail cell; got mug shots taken.

SHAANT: I didn't find out about it 'til a month later. They kept it a secret from me.

Monique: (To Shaant) So you're the good boy right?

SHAANT: Totally.

Kierstin: Did you all get your hair cut by the same person?

TOM: [Shaant] cuts his hair himself. I got my hair cut in Chicago.

Brittany: Let's talk about My Space. Has it helped your career?

SHAANT: (Sarcastic) No. That website's a joke. It hasn't showed our music to anybody.

TOM: No, My Space is the biggest thingthat has ever happened to us.

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SHAANT: In the beginning, we used to comment back and forth and thank people for their support. We don't even run it anymore. It's taken care of for us. [Tom] lurks, and I try to log in sometimes.

Brittany: How about your personal MySpace? You all have them right?

SHAANT: (Everyone nods.) I have mine set on private, but things blow up so fast. I have 20,000 friends on one of them. If s not personal at all.

Alana (UM): What do you think has helped your career most? You're laid back personalities or your interaction with fans on MySpace?

SHAANT: We have great teams of management behind us. We try to treat the kids that support [us] above and beyond what a lot of [other] bands do. It's a lot of TIC.

Alana: What's the weirdest run-in you've ever had with a fan?

TOM: Kids buy and make things for my cat. It was his birthday yesterday, and 10 kids brought things for my cat — bling with Swarovski crystals.

JoAnn (South Plantation): Who's your target audience?

SHAANT: Our target audience is anyone who likes the music. Evidently, a lot of teenage girls have taken it upon themselves to enjoy it. When we wrote the [album], we wrote it for us, for the label and to grow and enjoy the music.

Taylor (St. Thomas): If you could take a vacation anywhere for a week, where would it be?


Tommy (Monarch): Is there a genre of music that you guys don't like?

TOM: We listen to a lot.

JACK: I like anything.

SHAANT: We were just listening to the Dixie Chicks. We listen to everything. We're fortunate enough to create music, but we respect the creations of our peers.

TOM: Word!

Emily (Spanish River): I know Jack's the new addition to the band. How did he get the spot?

SHAANT: I met Jack when he was tour manager for Panic at the Disco. He's friends with my good friend who works for Fueled by Ramen. I knew he played bass, and I called him. The next day, he flew out.

Emily: Are you guys best friends or worst enemies?

SHAANT: Well, Jack's new to the band. Jeff and I are best friends; Tom and I are best friends by default. We all kind of have to be. It's not like we grew up together and we've been best friends forever. We live together on a bus; we have to get along.

TOM: We do the same things together every day. You get the same interests from being around each other every day.


11th-Jan-2007 12:04 am (UTC)
hahah @ what fred said, even tho wasn't this done after he left? weird.
11th-Jan-2007 12:07 am (UTC)
Tom and I are best friends by default
i lol'd so hard at that.
it's odd when someone actually says what they really think.
thank you for posting :]
11th-Jan-2007 12:12 am (UTC)
Signed to Fueled by Ramen, and now we're on Atlantic Records. It's really weird.
i didnt know they were on atlantic...
11th-Jan-2007 12:20 am (UTC)
I assumed sort of when they did that video about New Years for Atlantic. It doesn't excite me much.
11th-Jan-2007 12:36 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I remember someone telling me that Fueled By Ramen is a division of Atlantic... so that really is weird.
11th-Jan-2007 07:16 am (UTC)
yeah, indie labels are connected with majors and atlantic is fbr's major, if i got that right.
11th-Jan-2007 12:47 am (UTC)
Atlantic does their worldwide distribution I believe. Fueled By Ramen is US-centric.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.
14th-Jan-2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
I think the other people got it right. I shamefully just bought the paramore cd [old one] yesterday, and it says everywhere Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic. So I'm guessing everyone on FBR is on Atlantic, too, although I could be wrong.
11th-Jan-2007 01:07 am (UTC)
The voice of a generation? Isn't that a little intense?
11th-Jan-2007 03:50 am (UTC)
11th-Jan-2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
LOLOL "Emily (Spanish River)", that's me.

i definitely didn't say ask about them being worst enemies though, idk why that's there.

and i don't know why Fred's in there, he wasn't there haha. i'm pretty sure Jeff said that.
11th-Jan-2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
That is quite weird.
I just copy & paste. Whatevs.

Who is in your avatar?
11th-Jan-2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
"Jessica (South Broward): How have you grown as a band?"

i read that really quickly and i thought it said "have you ever grown a beard"

imagine. haha.
12th-Jan-2007 04:14 am (UTC)
im friends with some people by default.
but ive never really thought of saying it like that.
thanks for posting (:
15th-Jan-2007 03:41 am (UTC)
does anyone know what brand of hoodie that is that jeff's wearing and where i might find it?
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