PRETTYMUCH On the Record

PRETTYMUCH On the Record

V caught up with Edwin Honoret, Brandon Arreaga, Nick Mara, Austin Porter, and Zion Kuwonu to discuss their latest single, their recent tour with Khalid, and how they grapple with stardom in the age of social media.

V caught up with Edwin Honoret, Brandon Arreaga, Nick Mara, Austin Porter, and Zion Kuwonu to discuss their latest single, their recent tour with Khalid, and how they grapple with stardom in the age of social media.

Text: Gretty Garcia

PRETTYMUCH restored my faith in boy bands. Or, rather, they ignited that faith. Never having understood the accolades attained by such young teenage singers or the frenzy they sent my sister into whenever a member so much as Tweeted something - no matter how mundane - I only recently appreciated their commitment to building a unique brand, the way they grapple with everything from growing pains to heartaches, and their propensity to strive for perfection under the guide of both managers and parents. The fact that 9 out of 10 times, members of any given successful boy band can harmonize perfectly and dance seamlessly only adds onto this newfound esteem. PRETTYMUCH is the embodiment of all of these amazing qualities. 

The group was founded by music legend Simon Cowell, and has been received with open arms (excuse the pun) by millions of fans around the world. Their music has made a lasting imprint throughout the industry, and they only seem to be getting better and better with time. Recently, I spoke to the members of PRETTYMUCH, who I am fortunate enough to call my friends, and asked them questions about their recent music, life on the road, and any new projects they could tell V about.

Be sure to check out photos including behind-the-scenes images from their latest music video, "Summer on You," which drops today.

First of all, how are you guys?

Edwin Honoret: Good, good. Chilling. Doing our thing.

Amazing. Well, you guys recently just released a single, “Summer on You.” Tell me a little bit about that production process and how that came together. It's such a good song, and my sister plays it all the time. 

EH: Yeah, so our manager is really close with Ed [Sheeran] and that team, so we tried to send him off some videos of us, you know, doing the thing for him to get a feel for it, and he and Steve Mac worked closely to try and encompass a song that really felt like we could just portray our vibe - our summer vibe. And, yeah, we went into London and recorded it really quick actually with Steve Mac. We didn’t really get to meet Ed, sadly, but we went in and recorded it and it was really fun to be challenged, especially so early in our process, by people of that level. And, you know, big names like Steve Mac and Ed - people strive everyday to work with those people, and we’re just blessed to be able to work with them.

Right. That’s awesome. And so speaking of really cool people you get to collaborate or work with, I know you guys just recently went on tour with Khalid. What was that experience like? Because I know you guys were pretty cool with him beforehand, but what was it like to actually be on tour with him? And I know you guys have done tours with other people before, but I guess this was your most recent one, so what was that like?

Brandon Arreaga: It was sick. I mean we’ve had a lot of great opportunities getting to new people who have never heard of us before, and it was kind of crazy to see the change from the beginning of our set to the end of our set for the people who didn’t know us, didn’t know who we were, and were like ‘okay, who is this band’ and towards the end were like bowing their heads and getting into it. They were like clapping and all that stuff. So, it was really nice to see the reach we had. And it was obviously just fun being on tour with our friend, you know? He was super accommodating to us and very nice, and it was a great time.

Yeah. I guess a few of you could answer this, but what do you think the best and worst part of being on tour is?

EH: I feel like the best part is definitely just like Brandon was saying. Reaching people and being able to touch all of these people’s hearts with dope music and just being on stage. That’s my favorite part, at least.

BA: The best part is being in a new city every night, but the worst part is forgetting which city you’re in.

PRETTYMUCH: Laughs

Yeah.

ZK: Big facts.

Wow. Yeah, I mean obviously being musicians, and, again, going on tour has afforded you all some pretty cool opportunities to go to some amazing places. I know you guys recently went to Japan and you came to New York for "TRL" and "Wild n’ Out." What has been either your favorite place you’ve gone to or your favorite experience that you’ve had?

Austin Porter: I feel like Japan was really, really fun as far as the insane culture shock and all of the anime and stuff I’m super into, so there’s tons of that there. The fans are so sweet and polite and it was just a really cool experience. Also, the whole experience with touring and stuff - I loved doing that because it just feels like I’m going camping with all of my homies.

PM: Yeah.

AP: ...and kind of like we’re staying at different campsites or whatever, you know?

Right! Yeah that’s cool. So, I’ve been thinking in general about social media, you know, and the fact that it plays a pretty big role in all of our lives today. Obviously that has made its way into music, and I’m pretty sure it plays into why you’re different from other boy bands and stuff like that, so I was just wondering how you feel that social media plays a role in your group’s identity and in your own life.

EH: Yeah, sometimes it’s hard because everything is on camera for the most part nowadays and a consequence of that is people are aware of what is authentic and what isn’t.  It’s all about authenticity now on social media, on Snapchat, stuff like that, and so because of that accessibility people know the kind of people that we are so we can’t fake it. Also, it’s dope because we get to reach people from other countries and it’s easier for other people in those countries to become fans of ours and wait for us because they don’t have to just wait for the music: they have the music videos and the YouTube videos and the dance videos and the Snapchats, so it makes it easier. It’s going to be really fun to go to those countries and see the kind of reaction that we get, especially like when we went to Japan it was dope because we had fans waiting for us at the airport, whereas had there been no social media, it would have been a little bit of a different story.

Definitely. I feel like it also kind of helps - I don’t know, I watch you guys do like the ‘pretty packs’ is that it?

EH: Yeah, exactly.

And that probably helps with fan engagement and that’s pretty cool and something that probably couldn’t have been done before. So, I’m curious to know who are some of your favorite people to follow on social media?

EH: Mine are like a lot of fashion people, so I like Luka Sabbat and I follow Virgil [Abloh].

Nick Mara: Yeah, you gotta love Virgil.

AP: I follow a lot of the Smosh blogs. They’re funny - I like them a lot. And also a lot of people from Critical Role, and a lot of voice actors.

EH: Word. Yeah, and Austin says Rick and Morty voice actors.

BA: I love and follow Daquan since I love all of the memes.

NM: Shoutout Worldstar!

ZK: Yeah, you also gotta talk to the Ninjas [Tyler Blevins] and the Myths [tsm_myth].

Yeah, well did you guys get to see like a lot of these social media personalities at VidCon over the weekend? In general what was that like?

EH: It was really cool to be there and to have fans - because all of those fans are fans of people and influencers on social media. So, it was cool to see the difference between the fans that are just fans of music and those that are fans of creators and influencers since it’s a different kind of lifestyle but one that is cool to tap into sometimes. It was very beneficial.

Yeah, I bet. So, I guess like a personal question that I have is what is your dream collaboration?

EH: I feel like we have a lot, but right now the most urgent is definitely a collaboration with Khalid because we’ve heard a lot of his unreleased music and he’s heard a lot of our unreleased music, so it would be really cool to just hop in the studio and create something dope.

Austin: SuperDuperKyle!

EH: Yeah, Austin wants to do something with SuperDuperKyle.

I mean he does some pretty cool collaborations. What are some things you’re most excited about working on or any future projects in general that you can tell us about?

EH: Yeah, we’re hoping to go on tour soon this year to see how many fans from the Khalid tour, you know, really mess with PRETTYMUCH, and then we also have a dope line that’s going to drop that we’re really, really excited about so that’s going to be cool.

BA: It’s going to be fire.

EH: It’s going to be fire, fuego!

As long as you guys come to the East Coast! Like when you were all on tour with Khalid, I was like desperately looking to see that you guys were on the East Coast near where I was and you weren’t!

EH: Yeah, went through like Connecticut and Pennsylvania and that’s about it.

Okay, well I hope to see you all soon for sure. Come back to the city! 

EH: Hopefully some time soon.

Amazing, well thank you guys! Love you all! Congratulations on everything so far - really excited for the things to come.

PM: Bye!

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