Heffron Drive's Kendall Schmidt Talks Touring!
Kendall Schmidt is a singer-songwriter and actor best known for being one quarter of the boy band Big Time Rush, but this summer Kendall is heading out on tour with his other band, Heffron Drive!
We spoke with Kendall about the how Heffron Drive got together, the anticipation of their first big tour and more!
"Technically, the formation of Heffron Drive happened 4 or 5 years ago," Kendall said.
Using the money he had saved up from being a kid actor, including appearances on shows including Gilmore Girls, ER, and Frasier, Kendall bought music equipment and taught himself how to use the music production program, Logic.
"I looked at it, and it made sense, so I started making music," he said. "I realize now that I knew nothing about mixing, but the ideas were there."
Kendall also had a fateful meeting with future bandmate Dustin Belt.
Kendall's older brother, Kevin Schmidt, is also an actor. When Kevin appeared in the Cheaper By the Dozen films, the local theatre hosted an autograph signing. There, Dustin met Kendall and Kevin's mom.
Later, Dustin also attended a screening for Kevin's film The Butterfly Effect.
"Dustin was awfully shy," Kendall said. "My dad asked him if he was with all of us, so I was like 'Alright, dude. You can hang out with me."
As they became better friends, Kendall and Dustin realized they had a lot of remarkable things in common. They had both lived on a street called Heffron Drive, were from the same city, and were both born in the same hospital.
"There are a lot of freaky similarities between us," Kendall said. "We've been friends ever since. We love the same music and appreciate the same kind of stuff. That's why we work so well together. It's nice to be around somebody like that."
Kendall and Dustin started making music together and uploaded their music to MySpace, and from there their popularity grew.
"Then I did Big Time Rush, so Heffron Drive had to be put on the side burner," Kendall said. "But it's been 4 1/2 years now, and we had a little bit of time to play around and make some music."
Now that the Big Time Rush television show is over, Kendall has some time to focus on his other passions, including Heffron Drive.
Kendall said that the band has some eclectic influences, and that their sound reflects that.
"Dustin and I both have eclectic tastes," Kendall said. "It's sort of a hobby of mine to make songs from the beginning, and whenever I come up with stuff it tends to be pretty quirky. It as little things in it that are signature Heffron Drive."
He described Heffron Drive's sound as electro-pop-alt.
"I love pop music because it's what I grew up listening to, and I love alternative because of all of the ideas that are conveyed in it," Kendall said. "I try to combine everything, and my goal is to make the songs catchy and memorable and hopefully to have a message in it that people can relate to."
From November 23 to December 22, Heffron Drive will be setting out on their first tour, the Heffron Drive Winter Tour, playing in more intimate venues across the U.S.
"I think the thing fans are going to be happy with is that they're going to be so close," Kendall said.
For the last three years, Big Time Rush has played in massive venues that hold tens of thousands of fans.
"It's been hard for anybody but the people in the first rows to get close," Kendall explained.
Now, Kendall's fans will finally get the chance to see him make music up close. He expects to see a lot of familiar faces at these new shows.
"I'm sure a lot of the fans are the fans I'll recognize from past shows, and no matter what they want to be there," Kendall said. "Doing any sort of independent project when you're still in a band like Big Time Rush is intimidating. I'm just trying to make it happen."
The end of the Big Time Rush show on Nickelodeon means Kendall now has the freedom to make music not just with Big Time Rush, but also with Heffron Drive.
"I don't want people to think I'm not focusing on Big Time Rush. Fortunately in music it's easy to do two things at once," Kendall said. "When we were doing the TV show and we were also touring, there was zero time to explore anything creative outside of Big Time Rush, which we didn't mind."
4 years later, the boys of Big Time Rush are all in their early to mid 20s.
"We all want to explore new opportunities," Kendall said. "I think it's going to be great, and I think the fans are going to be super happy to actually watch 4 guys who are dedicated to their careers."
Kendall added that he is super grateful for the loyal fans that have stuck with Big Time Rush throughout the years.
"We're lucky to have the fans," Kendall said. "Without them we wouldn't be able to go out and do our own stuff. Big Time Rush is always going to be a band. It's just a matter of time, but it really depends on what everyone wants to do."
On Heffron Drive's upcoming tour, Kendall and Dustin will be joined by two additional musicians to assemble a four-piece band.
"The cool part is technically I'm going to be part of the band," Kendall said. "It's electro-pop and there's a lot going on, and I want to make sure it sounds good."
Kendall said he's a stickler about making his music the best it can be.
"You can have a crack in your voice every once in a while, but if it just doesn't sound good, it's not worth it," he said.
He's also excited to be debuting a ton of new Heffron Drive tracks.
"There were only 6 Heffron Drive songs that Dustin and I put out," Kendall explained. "We need to definitely play some new music. I've been working my butt off writing it while planning the tour, and out buying the equipment for the tour."
We absolutely can't wait to see Heffron Drive on tour, and Kendall can't wait to be playing with the rest of his band onstage!
"I'm excited," Kendall said. "I'm still trying to decide what songs I'm gonna play. We might want to do a cover or two. I'm just trying to make it fun."
Supporting acts on the Heffron Drive Winter Tour include Ariana and the Rose and Eric Dash. The tour begins on November 23 in Houston, Texas, and concludes in Los Angeles at the Roxy Theatre on December 22!
Also be sure to check out our latest on-camera interview with Kendall Schmidt here, and stay tuned for interviews with Ariana and the Rose and Eric Dash about the upcoming tour!
Will you be joining Heffron Drive on their upcoming tour? Join us at Sweety High to share your favorite Kendall moments in photo and video!