Posted On 13 Apr 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, All My Exes Live in Texas, allaccessmusicnicole, Americana, Ariana Grande, Artist Interview, asia, Big Machine, Big Machine Agency, Big Time Rush, Burning Man, Central Entertainment Group, Coachella, Disney, Disney Channel, Dustin Belt, Exclusive, Exclusive Interview, Festival, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Heffron Drive, Interview, iTunes, John Mayer, Journey, Kansas, Kendall Schmidt, Martina McBride, Musician, Neal Schon, Neil Schon, Ngoni, Rain Don't Come, Randy Travis, singer, Songwriter, Soundcloud, Spotify, The Offspring, The Weeknd, TOLBooth Records, U.S., United States, Vince Gill, Wichita, Zedd
What began in 2008 as a passion project in a bedroom studio in Burbank, California has now become a whirlwind endeavor, with energetic and dedicated fans across the globe. Kendall Schmidt is founder of the passionately-adored electro-pop band, Heffron Drive.
Kendall’s passion for music began when he was just a child. As a youngster, Kendall would often recite whole songs after hearing them just once on the radio. Ever the singer, Kendall soon wanted to broaden his musical horizons. One day, however, he borrowed his brother’s guitar and from that point forward, he was hooked. Kendall taught himself how to play guitar and eventually released a number of covers on YouTube, which garnered him his first fans.
The initial encounter between Kendall and Dustin Belt, a future Heffron Drive member, occurred at a screening for Kendall’s brother’s movie in Los Angeles, California. The two became instant friends; learning that each was a musician, had been born in the same hospital in Wichita, Kansas, and currently lived on the same street in Burbank, California. That street? You guessed it, was Heffron Drive.
With money he earned from an acting gig, Kendall purchased some recording gear and the two friends embarked on a musical journey, knowing only to trust their ears and passion for music. The band started uploading songs, to the then-popular Myspace, and soon thereafter began receiving an overwhelming amount of interest. The Internet was buzzing about the new band’s unique music and it wasn’t uncommon to find the play counter hovering around 20,000 plays on any given day.
Around mid-2009, however, and soon after the release of Heffron Drive music, Kendall was asked to become the lead singer of the band, Big Time Rush. He accepted, and BTR rapidly became a global phenomenon, with tens of millions of fans across the globe, millions of records and tickets sold, and performances across three continents. Not wanting Heffron Drive to fall apart during his BTR success, Kendall helped secure Dustin a position as a tour guitarist for the group. Although extremely busy, the two still found time to create music for Heffron Drive.
With constant forward momentum, Heffron Drive is now preparing a full-scale launch into the world of irresistible electro-pop music. Infusing infectious melodies, unforgettable hooks, and beamingly beautiful lyrics, Heffron Drive promises to bring that lovable, relatable, missing-piece-of-the-puzzle to today’s music scene!
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with KENDALL SCHMIDT to chat about HEFFRON DRIVE‘s new single, “Rain Don’t Come” and much more. Enjoy their chat below!
Hey there Kendall! I know you and guitarist, Dustin Belt are currently in the midst of your 2015-2016 World Tour, so where does our interview find you and what’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
We just got done with a sold out tour in Italy and yesterday we did an interview with Playboy Radio. We will be celebrating the album release with a huge party at an L.A. hotspot (top secret until closer to the release April 15th)! Then we are working on our next song!
So, first things first, for those that are not familiar with HEFFRON DRIVE and your music, who or what was the catalyst (inspiration) for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
For me, I’ve always been in entertainment, so I guess I always just considered it part of the job. It’s exciting getting to travel and be out of your comfort zone for a bit. You learn a lot about yourself. I mean, if you get to travel the world with your best friends and make a little money all the while, isn’t that a dream job?
You guys will be releasing the video for your latest single, “Rain Don’t Come”. Did you help come up with the treatment for the video as well? What was the inspiration for the look of the video?
We talked about the video for over a year, coming up with different ideas and aspects of the video. It really became a collaborative effort with the team behind it too. We have a lot of very talented friends and family that all pitched in and brought the video to life. We couldn’t have done it with out them.
“We were up at 2:45am and drove 1.5 hours into the desert and were shooting from 5am to 9pm at night, with really only a 30 minute lunch break. Everyone busted their butts for it and I think it really shows with the quality of the video.”
Heffron Drive is taking new risks everyday, constantly trying to advance your own unique sound. What was the inspiration for your new single, “Rain Don’t Come”?
It really just stemmed from a sound that we heard that we liked (the plucky “ngoni” at the beginning of the song) and then we went wild from there.
“We kinda joke about it, but in hindsight we used a lot of instruments that don’t normally get used or heard in songs. The whole song starts with a flute! This also marks the first HD record with all live drums on it. AJ, our drummer from tour came in and knocked it out in like, 3 takes, and we went, “Yep, this is gonna be great!”
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
Journey. Neal Schon was such an inventive guitarist and virtuoso. Plus, I mean come on. It’s Journey. Who doesn’t like Journey?
Kendall, I know you’re a big fan of music festivals and the last time we spoke was when we were chatting about Coachella. Will you have some “down time” to attend this year?
“We will definitely have some down time, and we plan to go to Burning Man and Cochella again this year. We love of those festivals!”
If you could collaborate with anyone (I’m talking dream / bucket list) who would it be and why?
Zedd, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and John Mayer to name a few.
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you push a button and it’s yours a la Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album you saved up your money as a kid and bought for yourself? (That you can remember…or what album had the most impact for you growing up?)
The Offspring – Americana.
What was the first song you fell in love with (that you can remember) and why?
We both grew up listening to a lot of country, so probably something in that world. Dustin loved Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis and Martina McBride. “All My Exes Live in Texas” by George Straight was definitely one of the first!
What’s on tap next for you?
“Musically we’ve tapped into a whole new methodology and sound for Heffron Drive. This song is very different than our first record, which is another reason why we think it’s so unique. We’re still in the pop realm of things, but this song is definitely more rock than our last stuff, especially live.”
We just love to write music. Sometimes it’s a little poppy, sometimes its funky, and sometimes its a whole different thing we haven’t even touched on before. That’s what makes it fun! You never know what to expect, other than knowing that whatever we do put out its going to be 100% us. We stand behind it or we don’t release it, it’s that simple.
What are you most excited about for this year?
We’ve got some dates were working on in Europe, Latin America, Asia, the U.S. all over the world really. We’re excited to get this new music out and play it for whoever wants to hear it. We’re just excited to be playing for our fans!
Stay connected with KENDALL SCHMIDT and HEFFRON DRIVE via the socials below!