BIG TIME RUSH’S KENDALL SCHMIDT TALKS ’24/SEVEN,’ TOURING WITH VICTORIA JUSTICE, + DUMPSTER DIVING
Kendall Schmidt is a busy guy. When he isn’t out promoting his awesome two-man band Heffron Drive, he spends a lot of his time performing with a little group called Big Time Rush.
With a new album entitled ’24/Seven’ on the horizon for BTR, Schmidt stopped into the PopCrush headquarters to discuss the quartet’s latest LP (due out June 11), some of the new tracks, the band’s upcoming summer tour with Victoria Justice, dumpster diving on TV, and much, much more… including what’s in store for Big Time Rush’s future. Check out our exclusive chat with Schmidt below.
So, ‘Like Nobody’s Around’ is your first official single from ’24/Seven.’ Yeah, well it’s the first official single because it’s in the first episode. I don’t think the band would’ve picked it as the first single – it’s not just our decision though, there are all kinds of powers-that-be, including us, who have to make these choices.
But it’s a great song, and the message is unbelievable. It’s pretty much, be yourself and don’t judge people. I think a lot of music today is just about drinking and having a good time, which is great, it’s fine! But, kids need to have positive messages. It’s supposed to send the message that you can have fun being you and being creative. I have tattoos, why? Because I wanted to get tattoos and I’m myself. I’d never think I’d have a skull, but I do … Well, it’s a sugar skull, so it’s not that hardcore. [Laughs]
Watch the Big Time Rush ‘Like Nobody’s Around’ Video
And I think the second one that everyone’s feeling is ‘Song for You,’ and that’s just an awesome song. But it’s weird, the two songs that are coming out first are ones that we didn’t do. We wrote 13 out of 15 songs, and those two songs are the ones that came out first, which is fine, but I almost like to think we’re saving the best for last.
The very last episode has two songs in it, and they were both ones that I wrote, so I’m super stoked about that. The president of Nick actually came up to me and she said, ‘What’s that Ryan Tedder song you guys have on your CD?’ I asked, ‘Which one?’ and she said, ‘We Are.’ I said, ‘I wrote that!’ She was like, ‘You wrote that?! It sounded like a Ryan Tedder track!’
That’s a pretty big compliment! Yeah, it’s a sick compliment. He did one of our songs on the second album. I remember working with him, and he was a pure genius. Having somebody say that my song sounded anything even remotely like something he would write was a huge compliment.
I think another great song is ‘Confetti Falling.’ It’s old, we’ve wanted to use it forever and we’ve never gotten the chance to do it. It was in consideration on the second album, but we did 16 songs for this one. It’s hard. Songs that I adore didn’t make the album, but I also know that since I did them, I can always use them for Heffron Drive.
Hear a Snippet of ‘Confetti Falling’
Oh, you can? Yeah. I think it’s a certain length of time after. They have to give me an option to use it for six months or something like that. It’s contractual stuff. But after that it’s free and clear again and I can use that song. So if they don’t want it, it’s like, ‘Fine, don’t take it. I’ll keep it!’ [Laughs]
Have you ever thought about selling your songs to other artists? Yeah, I’d love to sell songs. I’ve been looking to get a publishing deal soon. That’s a big dream of mine as well. I’ve actually written a song for this girl named Ellen Levann. She’s an Australian artist and I think it’s gonna be either her second or third single, which I’m pretty stoked about. She does all dance music and I was in sort of in a rasta mood that day, and it just so happened that they were playing that kind of music in the studio that day.
I remember I was late for the session and I came in and was like, ‘I don’t have any ideas.’ Then I remember thinking about that song ‘Chain of Fools.’ I was thinking about this girl and she seemed like a beach-y girl, and I got this image of a girl hanging on a guy, like staring up longingly at him. I got to the session and I was like, ‘I had this idea. A girl hanging on a guy and at the end you say, ‘All I wanna do is be hanging on you like a chain, chain, chain.” And they were like, ‘Yeah!’ The song kind of just flowed out.
So, have you guys started preparing for the Big Time Rush summer tour yet? NO! *laughs*Laughs] No, no, no, we actually had a meeting yesterday morning, talking about set lists and stuff. I saw pictures of the set, and it looks really cool. We’re not bringing a band this time, we’re gonna have be a DJ. Ultimately because there’s four of us on stage, we take up so much of the presence anyways, that the guys [in the band] never really had a chance to shine.
But [our guitarist] Dustin is still coming, he’s going to play acoustic. We’re doing like a middle acoustic section, and he’s gonna come out and play with me. So, I’m supposed to be putting a set list together, I was going to do it on the flight but I fell asleep.
Watch Kendall + Dustin Perform ‘Quiet Please’ Together as Heffron Drive
Oh, you guys get to put it together. That’s fun! Yeah, like I’ll send my idea, and then Carlos will be like, ‘I like that, but let’s do this.’ And then Logan will be like, ‘I don’t like it all, let’s do this.’ And James will be like, ‘Uhhh, sounds good.’
But all I know is that we have to switch it up from the last tour. I think we’re gonna try and do six new songs. You know, when you go to concerts and they’re like, ‘We’re gonna play a new one for ya!’ Well, we’re gonna do six. And I think … everyone should know [the new songs] by that point. And hopefully have bought the album!
We’re sure you will have no problems there. You guys shot way up on iTunes when ’24/Seven’ first went on pre-sale. Yeah, it’s cool that the pre-order is up like that. When it first came out, it went to No. 5 on the Pop Charts pre-order. I only consider us in the Pop Chart realm. I don’t look at the overall chart, because it’s like, I’m not competing against Toby Keith. You know what I mean? We’re only gonna be the best pop band that we can be.
We saw a picture of you and the other Big Time Rush guys on Instagram, and you’re all in a dumpster wearing ball suits. What was that about? That’s just typical Big Time Rush. Don’t worry about that. Dumpsters with skintight ball suits… I find myself questioning my career sometimes. [Laughs]
['Big Time Rush' writer] Scott is a kooky guy, you know? I can only imagine what it’s like to write a script from nothing, so the ideas he comes up with tend to be wacky, especially since he’s a bit of a human cartoon himself.
[That episode] we were doing a video game in the world of Big Time Rush. The boss thinks it’s gonna make a lot of money, but we had to wear these ridiculous ball suits, which is completely unrealistic to the way they actually do motion capture. Then we get locked out of the stage and it’s really cold and we’re running around the city, and everyone thinks that we’re aliens. The whole city clears out and they’re looking for these four aliens, but it’s really just us. So, we hide in a dumpster. We jumped in multiple times.
There’s also been some rumors about another Big Time Rush movie coming out. I would love that. I think it would be great, but Scott would still have to write it. By the time we’re done with tour, I know that there are gonna be plans. They haven’t destroyed the sets. The sets are in storage, so as far as I’m concerned, we’re definitely gonna come back and do something. It might not be thirteen episodes again, but it might be like a mini series. We might do four hour-long shows, or one hour-long movie with three regular episodes to lead up to it.
But whatever it is, I’m in. I think we’re going to South America after [the summer tour]. We haven’t announced it, so don’t put that in there. [Laughs] Honestly though, put it in there, ’cause it puts the pressure on them! But that would be in August. We’d go to South America and would be back in the States in late September.
The tour’s gonna be really great, though. Victoria’s coming out with us. I haven’t seen what she’s doing yet, what her set is like. Apparently, she’s putting her own little place on stage with LED screens. It’ll be like a show within a show. She’s got a band — it’s kind of funny that she has a band and we don’t. We were kind of weird about it, but honestly there’s four dudes on stage. You don’t need any more dude on stage. That’s enough guy.
Do you think you’ll perform any songs with Victoria on tour? We did ‘[I Knew You Were] Trouble’ when we did the tour announcement. ‘Song for You,’ Amy [Heidemann ofKarmin] raps in it. It’s a really fun rap. I’ve learned it, so if I’ve learned it, then [Victoria] can learn it. And if not that, then maybe when we do our acoustic thing on ‘Trouble’ with her. I have a great time playing that song, it’s awesome. It’s got so much energy in it, especially when it builds into the chorus. I had fun at the House of Blues. I’d be down to do it again.
Watch Big Time Rush + Victoria Justice Cover ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’