Before You Exit is currently on the Paradise Tour with Cody Simpson and Ryan Beatty. The Orlando-based band made up of brothers, Toby, Connor and Riley McDonough, sat down with AVG Girl Lindsey before their show at The State Theatre in New Jersey to talk all things music and what their fans (or Exiters, as they told us) mean to them!
You’re brothers, so did you always know you wanted to be in a band together?
Connor: We started playing music a long, long time ago. I started playing music when I was around three years old when I got my first keyboard. Our dad kinda got us started in music and over time, all of us started performing. From there, we started the band. We’ve always been doing shows and writing songs together.
How are you enjoying tour so far?
Connor: It’s been awesome so far.
Riley: Tour has been really an incredible experience for us, mainly because, obviously, all the fans and the fact that Cody and Ryan are similar ages to us and we’re usually touring with people who are so much older than us. So, this tour’s been really cool. It’s been like a long summer camp almost.
How did you land a tour with Cody Simpson?
Connor: Actually, our manager knew his manager. And we’ve known him and Ryan from YouTube. It’s pretty awesome. When they asked us to do it, we were super excited.
Do you have a favorite song to perform on tour?
Connor: Probably “I Like That,” which is the current single.
Riley: It’s the most energetic.
Toby: Like, people jump on the acoustic set—that’s the coolest part. “Soldier” too, because they put their phones up.
We saw you guys got to hang out with 5 Seconds Of Summer in Canada, super jealous by the way, how did that happen?
Connor: We heard that they were going to be on the One Direction tour and I was checking them out, seeing who it was and I realized they all followed us on Twitter. So, I hit up one of them—Michael—and we became friends and started DMing and before we knew it, we were at lunch with them, hanging out.
Can we maybe expect a Before You Exit and 5SOS tour in the future?
Connor: Maybe! Who knows, it’s top secret!
Besides your music is there anything else you want to do or achieve “before you exit?”
Connor: Make a positive difference in other people’s lives. Hopefully help other people to make the right choices.
Riley: What is positive and negative about that statement is that there is no limit on how much of a difference you can make. You always have to keep trying to influence people. But obviously one person is better than none.
Toby: Yeah, even if we made one change in somebody’s life that’s positive.
Have you had any fan stories, like fans come up to you and tell you that you changed their life? Is it a good feeling?
Connor: Yeah. All the time. It’s really awesome, it’s what keep us going because it’s really cool to hear the different stories.
Toby: People giving you letters, girls saying, “you saved my life, it stopped me from cutting.”
Is that a lot to take in?
Toby: It depends. Some stories, they’re really harsh.
Connor: Definitely, it’s really cool for us because that’s what we do it for. The girls that are coming out to our shows for support, even the girls that are happy with their lives and whatnot. It’s awesome. Maybe that’s a different way we can affect them. We try our best.
Toby: Maybe they can go and inspire somebody to not do it too.
Riley: Our fans are like family. The way that we might help them out with our music, they help us out by coming to a show.
Connor: Even though we might not get to meet them at the show, hopefully through songs, we can connect.
Do you have any embarrassing tour stories?
Connor: Riley tripped the other night on stage. It was really funny.
Riley: Off stage.
Toby: Nobody saw it.
Riley: I tripped on the way to running on stage. Nobody saw it except Connor. It was right as our intro was starting, so I had to keep going. I fell and then I was like “what’s up?” and ran out. Nobody saw it though because it was in the back of the stage.
You guys do a really cool bus party after each show we’ve never seen any other band do it. how did you come up with that idea?
Connor: It kind of happened over time. We used to do little private performances at people’s houses. All except one or two sold out on this entire tour, which is amazing. It’s pretty much our private VIP—that’s what we call it.
Riley: So we started doing private performances on the bus and we’d be like, “Oh you and a couple friends can come.” And we’re like, why don’t we have more people? It’s cool. Some other bands heard that we were doing it and were like, “oh that’s a good idea!” so they did, too. We started a trend.
Toby: Before we knew it, we’re packing 30 kids on the bus.
You put out your first EP earlier this year when can we expect a full-length?
Connor: We’ve been working on a lot of music on the road with the little studio in the back lounge—working hard, trying to get some more music on the shelves, lot of different songs.
Riley: We’ve been writing a lot. We have a lot of songs that we have on the back burner right now. Hopefully this August and coming up during the fall, we’re going to be pulling out all those old songs and dusting them off and working with new songs and seeing where we are.