Nearly two years ago, this band became the first boy band to be formed on a competition show by having viewers vote for their new favorite boy band. The band, named In Real Life which consists of Brady Tutton, Chance Perez, Conor Smith, Drew Ramos and Sergio Calderon. The guys of In Real Life went onto have success after competing on the show, Boy Bandon ABC. Since then they have performed on multiple shows such as Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning America and even performed at Arthur Ashe Kids Day. The guys have had success with songs such as “Tattoo,” “Eyes Closed” and “Tonight Belongs To You.” Their debut album, which includes three new songs, is set for release on August 23rd, their two year anniversary as a band.
ECHO had the chance to talk with In Real Life about their journey, their memories, their music and more.
How have you been since we last saw each other at your Boston show?
Chance: We had a break until mid January, then we came back and lived in a house for three months after the Philippines.
Sergio: It’s been a lot of learning and figuring out where we want to go as a group. We’ve also been writing a lot of new songs. We’ve been very involved in creating in the things that are going to be coming out and what we’re going to be doing soon. It’s been a lot of developing, getting better at our craft, which is the most important thing for an artist because now a days, an artist development isn’t really a thing that is focused on but it’s something we’ve been doing the last few months.
You guys are releasing your debut album soon as well. What can we expect from your first album?
Brady: On this upcoming album we have seven of our previously released songs/fan favorite ones, and then we have three new tracks. Our thinking about it was kind of is, this is a great way to wrap up this first chapter of IRL, we’ve been working hard for two years and it’s been fun but we have big dreams. It’s a perfect summary of what we’ve been working on these past two years plus three new songs and what it’s going to be like going forward, more things we enjoy.
Conor: We just think it’s time too, it’s been a minute and our fans have been waiting to have something. They’ve been waiting for an EP and all this other stuff. So we we just thought that it was only right to give them what they’ve been asking for.
Why do you guys think it took two years?
Conor: It takes so long to develop and figure stuff out. Especially with a group, if it was just one of us it would probably be a little easier, but with us that’s five different goals and definitions of success, so how do you find one way to get everyone on the same page? Especially sonically, because that was probably the biggest challenge or us. Some of us would really like one song or some of us wouldn’t. Just kind of finding that balance, we’re finally getting to a point where that’s becoming easier. We get it, we finally understand what we’re doing, we’re not scared like we got this shit.
You’re about to celebrate your two year anniversary! What are you guys planning to do for your two year anniversary?
Brady: We were actually talking about that.
Drew: We wanna get lit
Chance: And quote (hahaha)
Sergio: No, we actually want to throw a party with all of our friends and people that have helped us out.
Brady: We should get an AirBnb in the hills and go crazy.
Sergio: No yeah, we should throw a rager, we’re serious about that (hahaha).
Conor: That is one thing though, since living out here, we’ve developed a lot of friendships and we met some really cool people that are gonna stick around with us for a minute, We’re really glad to have friends out here. It’s scary coming out here, especially since we’re from different places.
What are some of your favorite memories from the past two years?
Sergio: The TBTY Tour hands down.
Drew: The TBTY Tour was crazy man.
Conor: While my favorite memories are on tour and it’s the nights where we do the show and then we’ll go out into the city and take pictures and stuff. Even though random days in Utah or Idaho, or Kansas City where you have a rest stop. Kansas City was a place where there was really nothing around and we just walked for miles.
Drew: We legit walked down this one road noting on it.
Chance: There was once this little flower shop and they claimed that they had the best water in the world and it was awful.
Brady: We also saw a dog standing on top of a truck and the truck was driving. It was a pickup truck and literally while this car was ‘whipping’ the dog was chilling in the back and then jump on top.
Sergio: We saw it later that night too because it was a very small town
Chance: The Phillipines were good and the three months we got to live in a house together because we didn’t have too much to do, it was more about getting to know each other.
You guys were thrown into the industry in a way. Most bands are formed naturally where you guys were from a competition show and were put right into the spotlight.
Drew: It’s kind of like a rollercoaster. It goes up and then it goes down and then it goes up, makes a turn, makes a loop.
Brady: What you’re trying to say is?
Drew: What I’m trying to say is say though is that we always have our ups and downs but we know that we’re in this together, we’re going to ride through the whole ride.
Sergio: It’s hard. We were talking about this earlier, Brady was saying a lot of bands develop and get to know each other and do all that, before they release music or anything. For us, it was like we had a lot of our fans already and then we signed with our label and then put out our music and we were touring and while that was happening we were still getting to know each other.
Brady: It’s usually a cause and effect thing. When Shawn Mendes was coming up he was on Vine, he had some fans, but obviously his performance style then was not the same as it is now and as his fans got larger, he was able to adjust to it slowly because it was overtime. Our’s was just like one day you’re in High School, one day you have 200 girls in the lobby wait for you.
Conor: That’s also kind of tough because you also kind of have expectations like oh if this happens so quick, then it’s just going to keep going and when you get hit with reality. Once Hollywood picked us up, once we were put on the radio tour and the actual tour. You then realize how much goes into it more so than what we originally thought. When we were on Boy Band singing and doing shows, we were like “alright we got this,” and then when you actually do it, it’s a whole other thing.
Do you have a favorite song off the album?
Brady: My favorite song is also Loveless
Sergio: Also Loveless
Chance: I might have to go with Loveless
Conor: That’s crazy, my favorite song is Don’t Go.
Sergio: Even though Don’t Go is the first original song that we’re putting out that has all of our talents, it’s a great song. But Loveless is just crazy.
Chance: I think for me, Loveless is one of those timeless songs. I feel like it’s one of those songs where you can listen to it again in five years and you can still say it’s a great song.
IRL: She Do is great too, I mean that’s the title.
Are you guys excited for the Jonas Brothers reunion tour?
Chance: I’m a huge Jonas Brothers fan. Before Jonas Brothers I listened to Michael Jackson and the Jackson5 and stuff but the first boy band I really listened to was Jonas Brothers. I just thought they were super cool when I first heard their music. Them getting back together and releasing the full album of stuff that I feel like will carry them for a while, it’s really cool, it’s really amazing to see them take over the world.
Brandon from PrettyMuch co-wrote your song “She Do,” what are you relationships other boy bands like?
Conor: It’s sick, we were just in Boston and we went to the FOMO Tour and saw them there. Sergio and I went to the Why Don’t We show when they played at Microsoft in LA. We did the Teen Choice Awards with CNCO. We’ve had some dope interactions with each of the boy bands and I think that all of us kind of have that mutual respect for each other. We’re all running a different race. I look at them as kind of inspiration, the ones that are really killing it right now. I think there’s a lot to be learned and I think that seeing someone else do the same thing as you is reassuring.
What’s it like being apart of todays Boy Band Era?
Sergio: Dude, I always talk about this to my friends because there’s always those eras of different boy bands and we don’t realize it but we’re going to look back and people are going to be like “oh yeah that was when In Real Life was part of the boy band era.” It’s almost like being a part of history. Which is crazy, it blows my mind, I can’t believe it.
How have you guys stylistically changed since being on Boy Band?
Chance: I think if you just look at a picture of when we first started you could easily tell. I think we take fashion into account a lot more than we use to. It makes you feel more confident.
Conor: It’s such an important part of it. That’s one of the things we’ve learned over the past years is that a lot of it has to do with social media. You see a lot of people who are your peers who are wearing certain things, elevating their game. You see this person wearing this and you’re like “oh I didn’t even know that was cool to wear.” I’m not use to seeing what people wear out here in LA, so it kind of gives me a lot of inspiration.
Chance: Back in Middle School, I bough these DC shoes and they were multi color; yellow, green, blue, red and I never wore them. I was always afraid to stand out and have people look at me and now I’m wearing a shirt with all different colors on them.
You guys are very diverse, you have a rapper, Spanish singer and a violin player. How are you guys making sure that you’re not forcing those elements into your music?
Sergio: As dumb as this sounds, we vibe it out and if it sounds natural or not. For example, Don’t Go is a track that has both of those things as well as Michael playing violin, which is cool. That was a last minute thing but Michael was like “yo how crazy would this be if I just threw violin in while I’m rapping” and we were all for it and it sounded dope. It’s just the song.
Conor: You can’t be juicing it and also you gotta know. From a fans perceptive if you hear the same thing over and over like if I’m just rapping on every song then you’d expect it every song, it becomes predictable, it becomes less of a moment. I think that’s the balance we have, especially with Spanish and the raps.
Sergio: We also don’t have a song that doesn’t have a whole lot of it too.
Chance: I think Don’t Go is really the only song that incorporates everything into the song.
Conor: I think ideally, throughout the years, we’re going to figure out how to really make a dope system where we can incorporate everything.
Brady, you’re musically trained, have you ever thought about doing a musical number with the band?
It’s funny you say that. I don’t think I’m the only one who appreciates that style. It’s all the maximalists, the crazy harmonies, as many things as you could fit in a song at one time. I feel like a lot of us in general have an appreciation for that. I don’t know if that’s reflected in the current music but I feel like that’s something we’ll appreciate and that’s something fans should keep in mind while we go forward.
Chance, how does Brooklyn keep you grounded in the music industry?
Honestly, there’s a lot of things you encounter in the music industry. I’m not going to say everything that you do, but meeting different people, they have different morals and definitions of success. I think Brooklyn keeps me grounded by when she’s learning new things I have to remember that I’m still learning too and I’m not always going to have the answers but she’s the one who makes me remember the important things. She just had her birthday and she had gotten a bunch of toys and clothes and we went out to dinner two days later and she asks to go inside this store and buy more things and its one of those things where you got to say material possessions are not the most important things, it’s things like that, that keep you grounded.
Conor, do you still struggle with autism?
Man, it’s so interesting because I feel like as soon as I was able to be in my own element, I didn’t really run into problems, you know what I’m saying? When I was in school, 100%, that was one of the hardest times of my life. I moved schools a lot as a kid and I would constantly be taking half days, skipping class all day, finding a different excuse to just not be there. I feel like as soon as the show happened, it came at the perfect time, I had just turned 18, where I was thrown into a situation that I could actually thrive and be appreciated and I think that was just the biggest thing. I always say that if it wasn’t for school, if I never struggled in school, people would have never labeled me as autistic, just because I struggled in that structure, I think that’s what it was. As far as now I think that there’s definitely some social things that I still have to work on, I know that I struggle with eye contact, that was one of my biggest things but I think that’s something that’s easy to overcome, at least for my situation.
Drew, talk about the East Coast VS the West Coast.
There’s such a difference. The people are different, the styles are different, they talk different. Everything is pretty much different. Growing up I didn’t really have a lot, I met a lot of people that see the world differently over here. Now that I’m in the position I am, I can’t picture where I was two years ago before everything happened. I have absolutely no idea. There kind of like that where I’m from too, that’s there life. It’s crazy.
Have the past two years felt like Real Life yet?
Brady: It hasn’t settled in for me at least. I don’t know how to describe it but I feel like you cant, or at least in my situation I never process things until way past. I don’t know I would have furthered lived that experience. I feel like I don’t process things very well enough. Especially the show I was sitting and was like dang, I forgot that we did that, it was whole thing. I didn’t realize that so many people watch that and I just saw it as an experience and that led into this. It’s kind of hard to not see those
Conor: I think the moments that make it feel like life is when you actually have the freedom to live. The fact that Chance has Brooklyn, to look back on, he has that foundation that kind of separates him from this and home. For some of us, like I don’t really get to travel back very often. I was with my family recently and it’s those moments where you appreciate it more and then you’re like ok, you kind of remember how you got to where you are, instead of just like thinking that you have to grind and keep going and going, because it’s easy to get lost in that.
Brady: That’s exactly what it is, the fact that you’re never done, it always feels like a constant process.
Drew: Like Brady said, it takes me a while to process certain things too. Just recently someone told me that they were like “oh you were in High School four years ago” which made gasp. That’s crazy like, I’ve outside of High School longer than I was in High School, that was hard for me to put together. Like it’s crazy how fast life moves. The past two years have gone by super fast.
What’s one inspiring quote you’ve heard over the past couple years that you want to ECHO out to your fans?
Sergio: Somebody probably said this but I’ve never heard anyone say it, I just told myself. Always make it happen, nothing is going to come to you, which is naturally how I got to where I am, and where we all got to where we are because we put in the work and we put all of our energy and life into this and because we want to make this happen for ourselves as a group and that’s just something for me that will always stick with me for the rest of my life. It’s always important to just put in the work. Sometimes it’s lucky but even the people who do get lucky then they realize they have to put in that work too.
Conor: I don’t have any quotes but something I live by is if the thing every feels like a chore, you need to readjust, you’re not doing it the right way. I think you should put yourself in a position where you’re constantly excited. I think it all starts with you, treating yourself right and when your glass is full, then you can give to others.
Drew: One thing I say always is don’t every tell anybody that they can’t do something they want to do. I don’t to ever be the person that says no to someone, that they can’t do this or something. Be the person who motivates and tells people to chase their dreams.
Chance: Kind of a note for mental health. I think people think that they have to be happy all the time and they see other people who are smiling and feeling like “oh why aren’t I happy” but I think it’s important to remember that it’s ok to not be ok sometimes. It’s ok to feel that and then let it pass. Not everyone is going to be happy 100% of the time.
Conor: When you’re going through stuff like that, those moments will always ultimately bring you to where you need to be. You can’t go through life just being happy every single day. It’s literally impossible and some people have to accept that so when they’re feeling down on yourself, it’s not necessarily the problem, it’s how you’re looking at the problem.
Brady: I don’t have a quote, I just always think about the alternative. Like if I don’t spent this two hours working this hard then what would I rather be doing, sitting in my room on twitter? Sitting on Netflix is cool but then I’m like oh in a couple hours I’m going to regret that so badly.