This month, we’re celebrating the release of our own Jennifer Niven’s newest YA novel, Holding Up the Universe. Her main characters, Jack and Libby, are known to take part in spontaneous dance parties, and what better way to get the party started than with everyone’s favorite fictional boy band: Boy Parade.
You may remember Boy Parade from Jennifer’s first YA novel — and the inspiration for Germ — All the Bright Places. In ATBP, the main character, Violet, mentions her love for the One Direction-like band, which is further chronicled on the website she kept with her sister, Eleanor.
So, in celebration of Jennifer and her wonderful books, we bring you the first and only Boy Parade interview! Miles (bass) and Justin P. (rhythm guitar) couldn’t make it because they had an event to attend, but I got the chance to speak with Danny (lead vocals), Eric (lead guitar/lyricist), and Justin T. (drums) about their experiences as a band with a large, devoted following, their upcoming movie (Broadway Baby: Taking Broadway to the Streets), and their latest single.
Germ Magazine: Hello, and welcome to Germ — a magazine started by, no doubt, your biggest fan, Violet Markey, who is busy at NYU and so upset she had to miss this! Still, thank you so much for agreeing to this very exclusive interview.
Danny: Yeah, we got emails from her at least once a month for the past 3 years, so we figured we had to do it.
GM: That sounds like our Violet. I’d like to start with how you all got into music and then got together to form Boy Parade.
Danny: Well, personally, I’ve always loved performing. I was always in talent shows and plays and anything else that got me on stage, so when the rest of the guys started the band, I knew I’d be the perfect lead singer. And the rest is history!
Eric: I started writing poetry — which was very meaningful to me — in high school, and after awhile, I started putting it to music, the next logical step. I called up Justin P., my cousin, and he got some of his friends who became the rest of the band.
Justin T.: They needed a drummer, so I learned.
GM: You guys had a pretty quick rise to stardom. How have you been able to cope with all that fame and success?
Danny: I’ve never really known anything different. I was always treated like I was special, and now it’s just by even more people. I’m not complaining. I love the rush of being onstage, and it’s always fun being recognized in public. Wherever we go, there’s always at least someone who will be pointing at us and whispering to their friends or asking for a selfie. It’s a crazy experience.
Eric: It’s definitely surreal, but I always feel like there’s something more to achieve. I never want to be comfortable in where we are. We can always do better.
Justin T.: It’s pretty great.
GM: As many boy bands do, you’ve received what seems like equal parts criticism and praise. How do you keep a level head in all of that?
Danny: The fans! We get tons of emails from people who love us and the music, and it’s just the best.
Eric: If we’re ever feeling particularly down or questioning our music, it always helps receiving emails from our wonderful fans. It reminds us that we are making at least some difference in people’s lives, and there’s really not anything more we could ask for.
Justin T.: Eric and Danny keep us balanced. Danny is always pumping us up about how great we are, and Eric will be the one to bring us back down to earth, sometimes a bit too hard. So, our biggest supporter and our biggest critic are both in the band already.
GM: What’s it all about for you: the fans or the music?
Danny: The fans! For sure.
Eric: For me, the music. It’s about the next thing that we try and really presenting ourselves, delivering a message.
Justin T.: We couldn’t do one without the other.
GM: Isn’t it also about the top hats, Danny?
Eric: Top hat. It’s just the one. He refuses to get rid of it — no matter how it starts to smell.
Danny: It’s my lucky top hat! I could never get rid of it.
Justin T.: Everyone’s got a security blanket; some have teddy bears, others actual blankets. Danny has a top hat.
Eric: It might go missing.
Danny: Don’t you dare!
GM: So, tell us about your upcoming movie, Broadway Baby: Taking Broadway to the Streets. What should we expect?
Danny: It’s basically a 2-hour long music video!
Eric: But, with a plot and characterizations and a few fun twists.
Justin T.: So, like a musical… with surprisingly little Broadway.
Danny: Yeah, but it’s better than all of that! If you’ve seen the trailer — I think everyone has by now — you’ll know my character’s name is Billy, which is like an homage to Billy Elliot, and we’re all in it singing and dancing, and it’s great!
GM: What were your favorite and least favorite things about filming?
Justin T.: My favorite part was being a DJ. It was kinda fun, actually. That’s something I’d consider doing more of.
Eric: My favorite was doing the music and learning more about that process in a different setting.
Danny: The whole thing! I loved the food, the fans, the songs. It was all so fun! But, my least favorite was that they didn’t let me have my top hat in the finale.
Justin T.: My least favorite was that I didn’t actually get a name, and Eric had, like, 3.
Eric: Oh, yeah! My least favorite was having to do 20 takes on every scene because Danny kept calling me the wrong name. Also, we could never find Miles and Justin P. when it was time for their scenes. It would take half an hour to track them down, and they had just been practicing lines. But, they really didn’t even have many lines to begin with. I guess they were just really nervous.
GM: Yeah, I have to ask, Eric. Is your character’s name in the movie Chris or Eric?
Danny: Eric and Chris are very similar names. Both have those “k” sounds. Very easily mixed up.
Justin T.: Danny kept calling him Eric while filming, and the director eventually got tired of re-shooting.
Danny: It could happen to anybody.
Eric: I was billed as Chris.
GM: You also have a new single just out, “You Make Me Feel Beautiful,” and it’s a little different from what we’ve heard from you before. Is this the new Boy Parade sound or just a one-off?
Danny: I wrote it!
Eric: We wrote it together. I wrote the chorus.
Danny: And I wrote everything else.
Justin T.: There was a bit of backlash on some of our past songs, specifically “Staring Through Your Window,” and Danny really wanted to write, so we figured we’d give him a shot. We’ll see how it goes.
Danny: I also wrote our next single, “I Love That You Love Me,” and you can hear them on our next live album, Love on the Road: LIVE!!!
GM: Sounds great! And where can we find you guys on social media?
Danny: Oh, no, we’re not on any social media.
Eric: We’re doing a sort of fast, currently.
Justin T.: It was causing a lot of rifts in the group. Apparently, that’s not a kind of pressure we can maintain.
Danny: But, the fans can find us! They’ll know.
Justin T.: Hot on me… not on Danny.
GM: Well, guys, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. We can’t wait for everything you’ve got in store! And, if you’re in the mood for a laugh, you should check out this old blog post from Violet where she and her sister spotted you in a Denny’s after a concert! Thanks again!