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Slowly but surely, Trace Cyrus is putting together the pieces to a musical empire. After wrapping a successful stint with Metro Station
and laying the groundwork to his solo project, Ashland High
, he began crafting a formula that would allow him to create music independently while still generating worldwide recognition. So far, it's been working. Now, armed with the goal of producing 10 music videos within the year and mapping out tours for Ashland High, he's tackling the industry with a newfound maturity and vision that is sure to drive all of his plans into full-fledged success stories. We're premiering his latest video venture for the summer-ready tune "Sippin' On Sunshine" and offering up some insight into his aspirations for AH in our PV Q&A. Check both of them out, be ready for more videos in the near future, and grab a free download of his new album, Geronimo
, on his website
PureVolume: “Sippin on Sunshine” is such a perfect summer song and you definitely play that up in the video. Can you talk about your vision going into it?
Trace Cyrus: I’m actually shooting 10 music videos within the next [few] months, and this is the first one we shot. Like you said, it’s definitely a summer track, and since it’s such a feel-good song I just wanted people to be able to see what I do in my day-to-day life here and I feel like I captured that. All the locations I wanted [to shoot], we got — we got the pool party scene, my friend has a skate park in his backyard and that’s where we shot the last half of the video — so the only thing that I’d like people to take from this is to just listen to this song and have a good time.
PV: Can you expand on each of those locations you shot at?
TC: Well, we took about three days to film, and we did the big pool party scene at a house in L.A., we did the skate park scene kind of on the outskirts of L.A. in a friend’s backyard, and then the first day we filmed my solo stuff — we have a shot of me at the airport, there’s one of me in a taxi, I rode [past] the metro station to kind of make it symbolic of leaving the metro and showing the past’s in the past. We did three days of hard work and I’m really proud of it. I can honestly say that I had no budget for this video, I payed for everything out of my own pocket, and everyone who’s in it or doing things for it is there because they believe in me. That’s the most exciting part about that video — that I did it with no record label.
PV: Can you share any interesting or funny behind-the-scenes moments that you took away from the video’s making?
TC: I was so busy working and everyone was partying the whole time — don’t get me wrong [laughs] I had fun and I was partying too — but when I wasn’t on camera I was as much involved in the directing as my director was. I was just working hard and trying to make sure that everyone had a good time. Like I said, we’re doing 10 music videos and I’ve already shot three within the past six weeks. I feel like the music video is one thing, but I’m just trying to throw a party and capture that on film more than anything. On and off camera everyone’s just drinking and having a good time. The momentum doesn’t change as soon as the camera goes on. There wasn’t a real funny, behind-the-scenes moment that really stood out because every day was just fantastic in its own way. I had a good time and I look forward to shooting the rest of them.
PV: You mentioned that you’ve played a very hands on role in directing these videos. Considering the fact you’re most often the one on camera, what has been most interesting to you about taking on these videos from a director’s point of view?
TC: These videos have been fun because the guy that I’m filming with [Tyler Davis] is also directing it, so I come up with the concepts and then we make it happen together. It’s really laid back and fun because I’ve known him since I was 14 years old and I grew up with him in Tennessee. I’m learning a lot. The goal is to try to start my own record label, using the same formula for other artists that I’m using for myself — get them in the studio with my producers, make their records, shoot their music videos for them, take them on tour with me. I think what I’m learning right now is just building-blocks for the empire I hope to build with my record label in the near future. So that’s kind of what I’m focusing on every day. When I’m filming and watching my director edit, it’s just a learning experience for me and kind of just seeing the potential of how big this can be not just for me but for other artists. I kind of feel like I’ve figured out a formula of doing things that other artists don’t know how to do without a major label, and I realized that you don’t need thousands of dollars. If you have a computer, and you have people that want to work hard that’s all you need.
PV: What is the next video on your agenda?
TC: Last weekend we shot a music video for a song called “Ecstasy,” and that song’s just about a girl who makes you feel as good as drugs do — if not better — and that was shot at a club’s VIP lounge so it’s very intimate. Before that we shot another party video at my house for a song called “Overload.” My house was trashed the next day [laughs] but it was definitely worth it for the video shoot. And then this Friday we’ll start shooting the fourth video for a song called “Satellite,” so I have my hands full. I’m shooting two more videos while I’m here in L.A., I leave August 1 to go to Nashville and I’ll be touring
with Forever The Sickest Kids
, and then I’ll be shooting five more music videos in Nashville.
PV: That tour with Forever The Sickest Kids has a nice route mapped out. How are you feeling about going out on the road with them?
TC: The first tour that I ever did with Metro Station was with Forever The Sickest Kids, so I definitely love their music, but more than anything I look up to them as friends. So I’m excited to be back on the road with people I know. It’s going to bring back some good memories and will definitely be the right fan base for Ashland High so I’m excited for that. We’re also getting to play some major cities that I haven’t gotten to play yet with Ashland High — we’re playing Nashville, Toronto, New York City, so I’m excited for that.
PV: You’ve also been offering your album Geronimo as a free download. How has the reaction from fans been? Have you found that many of your Metro Station fans have latched onto this new project?
TC: I definitely feel like a lot of the Metro Station fans gravitated and I think that a lot of people are still finding out about Ashland High, that’s just one of the beautiful things about the internet and [these] videos. I’m just trying to let the whole world know that I’m not working with Metro Station anymore. But I definitely think with Ashland High that I’ve gained a lot more of an older fan base. I just wrapped a tour with Breathe Carolina
, and even shooting these music videos around L.A., it’s just cool to see older kids around my age listening to the songs because when I did Metro Station, I felt like it was directed towards a much younger audience. But that’s kind of what was expected. I made the album when I was 17 so even though I didn’t want to admit that I was a kid, I still was. So now I think people have just realized that I’ve grown up, I’ve matured, and I think it’s going to add a whole new fan base with an older range of kids.
PV: What’s the overall goal for Ashland High and for yourself as a relevant figure in the scene?
Stream Geronimo in full
TC: Well, the goal is to make music that will be heard by the entire world. I’m not trying to make music to be cool, or to be indie or anything. I’m an independent artist, but still the goal is to get worldwide recognition for my hard work. I hope to be touring the world again, I hope to be back on the radio. All I really want in this business is longevity. I don’t want to be one of those artists that are around for a second and then just die down. I’m trying to do this until the day that I die if I can, so that’s the main thing. As long as I have my fan base, and can go on tour and do what I love, that’s all I can ask for.