They went from the most popular live-action program on Nickelodeon to a chart-topping band and now they’re selling out stadiums across North America. Their name, Big Time Rush, describes their big time career pretty accurately. BTR recently hit up Toronto’s Air Canada Center and created quite the crowd with their tour buddies, One Direction.
While in town, The Mag got the chance to speak with Rush member Carlos Pena Jr.! Here’s what he said about performing in Toronto, writing songs and how he’s more like Logan’s character than his own…
So how was your show at the ACC?
The show was crazy; so much fun and there were so many people there. The energy was awesome for our first time being in Toronto.
How are you enjoying Toronto?
I love it. It’s very quaint and very clean!
How would you say the Toronto audience is different from any other audiences you’ve performed for?
Well, the energy was just crazy last night and we could tell that the fans were really excited, which was awesome.
How has the tour been going overall?
The tour’s been going great! I mean, we’re really lucky to have so many venues [unclear?] everywhere. It has just been a really cool experience to go from a TV show to doing it in real life.
What’s it been like performing with One Direction?
Oh, they’re great, some really great dudes and they have such a strong fan base. I really hope that we can feed off of each other and make something of it.
How do you guys maintain your energy and your drive to perform in between traveling and being jet-lagged?
Well, you know, sleep is very important. I try to get a lot of sleep, but mainly it’s just the adrenaline of performing keeps me going. Just knowing that I have a big show that night and I’ve got to really do my best, suit up and take part in this ongoing tour.
What’s your favourite part of being a member of Big Time Rush? Would it be performing live, or is it recording the show, or recording the music?
Well, we’re so lucky that we don’t have to choose. But I would have to say that performing live is definitely my favourite, but I love acting as well. The show is such a treat so I don’t know—they’re both awesome. Touring is definitely amazing thus far.
So with your latest album, ELEVATE, how do you think you guys grew as a band on that album?
Well, nowadays, a lot of people go out and get five songs written by awesome writers, record them and put them on an album. Our first album was sort of like that and our music was catered towards the show, but with the second album we got a little more freedom and got to find our own voice. I took on a lot of the writing, actually, and all of us were writing a lot of stuff. So we actually ended up writing eight of the 12 songs on the album.
Yeah! So now it’s not only about the show, it’s about making music from our minds, too. All of us thought that was so cool.
What were your song writing sessions like?
We had a book from our summer tour and we just wrote in the book. It was actually a lot of fun.
And you guys just announced your summer tour, so does that mean you’ll be coming back to Canada?
We are definitely going to be spending a long time in Canada, which will be awesome. Our summer tour overall is going to be huge! We’re adding a lot of stuff and it’s about 60 days so we’re super excited. We’re [also] probably going to add several more songs to the songs we already have.
On the show, your character is sort of the weird, funny, “out-there” guy—would you say that’s a lot like you as a person, or not so much?
No—I mean, I’m weird and…I try to be funny, but I’m more like the dad of the group. I like to make sure everything’s under control, in its place, that we’re all on time, and I try to keep everyone together.
That’s really funny. Is there any character on the show that acts, in real life, like a different guy’s character?
Well Logan on the show is cast a nerdy type of character, but he’s actually really crazy and loud. He and I are just like the other guys character.
You guys wore Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys, which is really fitting to our city and who you guys are in the show. Is hockey something that you like in real life or do you have different sport that you enjoy?
I love hockey, I played it when I was younger at like eight. I got into soccer for a little while and then snowboarding I really liked as well.
Have you been able to get out snowboarding at all this winter or not?
We actually went snowboarding in Utah. That was part of the tour, and it was awesome.
What’s your personal favourite song on ELEVATE?
I’m gonna say…”No Idea.”
Do you have a favourite song that you like to perform live?
I would say “No Idea” as well. It’s one of those songs where you can just stand there… Direction is so lucky that they can mostly just stand there and sing. I mean, I love jumping around and dancing, but sometimes I wish I could just stand there because it’s so much easier. [For us], we’re running up and down on stage.