On Saturday night at Cat’s Cradle, electronic pop-rap group Timeflies is throwing a rager.
Cal Shapiro and Rob "Rez" Resnick formed the band in 2010 while students at Tufts University. The two grew their fanbase with a weekly tradition titled "Timeflies Tuesday" on YouTube where they covered and debuted songs. Since then, the band has sold over 150,000 albums and gained more than 4 million Spotify monthly listeners worldwide. Staff writer Laura Shanahan spoke with Shapiro and Resnick about their tour.
The Daily Tar Heel: You kicked off the first show in Atlanta on Wednesday. What can fans expect from this tour?
Cal Shapiro: As is typical at our shows, it's definitely like a rager. But we stripped it down — Rez has a lot more options on stage to play instruments during songs. We added a lot more instrumentation during the show.
DTH: You guys met at Tufts University. What was the transition like going from a college dorm, to having a large YouTube following, to then selling out concert venues across the U.S.?
Rob Resnick: I feel like most of that actually happened while we were in college. So I remember flying with Cal to go play some huge college show and then coming back having a class the next day. We kind of got used to that being our life for a semester or so — and then, that's all we've really known is doing music full time. It's been great. So, we're really blessed to never have had to have a desk job.
DTH: So making this transition from a digital platform to live audiences, what's the greatest challenge you guys have faced?
CS: That's a great question. I think that's what actually made us so successful is that you know people are watching us on YouTube, and then they feel like they know us. So when they come to a show they're prepared to hang and just think, "Oh, those are the dudes that we watch every week." The live show is a lot more energy than a YouTube video.
DTH: Working in pairs can often produce the best results. I can imagine that you guys have different skills and areas of knowledge that you both bring to the table. How do your differences keep each other going?
RR: That's something that's very true — something that we've developed over the years and honed our craft because we both complement each other and we realize each other's strengths — so let the other person who's better at this continue doing that. So, it's a balance. You have to figure out what you're good at, what they're good at, and let them excel, but obviously two brains are better than one. We're firm believers in the duo.
DTH: Who are your inspirations? Have they evolved from when you started?
RR: Definitely. I think in the beginning of Timeflies we were sort of inspired by other duos, to be honest. Chiddy Bang was really cool... We were sort of just like seeing other artists that were sort of just chill, regular dudes being successful. And we said, you know, we're going to be able to do that. Now since we've been in the industry for longer, we're often really inspired by both extremely obscure electronic artists and then by really great pop writers. I think right now Julia Michaels is somebody that we often talk about and say "Man, how can we get on her level of being such a natural and easy-sounding writer, and then on a production standpoint with a mix of really weird stuff?"
DTH: Did you ever think you'd become Billboard-charting touring artists?
CS: There wasn't like a day that we said we wanted this, or this is going to happen. It's been a ridiculous ride, and each thing that comes along is mind-blowing. We definitely have goals — we want to win a Grammy and do all that stuff, but it's just like a product of working hard and being out here and then showing up every day and doing it. It's pretty amazing.
DTH: So you've had some new singles come out in the past few months. What's next for you guys?
RR: We have an EP dropping tomorrow, tonight at midnight, so today's gonna be really hype. That's kind of everything we've been building towards. We put out the "Too Much" EP late last year, and then we wanted to have a foil to that EP. So, the first was "Too Much." Tonight at midnight "To Dream" is the foil EP that drops. "Little Bit," "Are you Down" — those were big records for us, and then we have one coming out called "Be Easy," which we're super excited about. We played it last night. Even though the fans had never heard it, they were still wildin' out to it. It's weird because you have this. You're holding on to it. Then the moment comes where you gotta let it go. So, we're hype. It's what you do it for.
DTH: Do you ever see yourself exploring out of the realm of pop electronic dance music?
CS: I think we try not to, when we go into a project, say, "This is what we're gonna make it sound like," or, "This is the vibe that we think we need." We try to just write a good song, and then later decide around those vocals. But I think typically, we do like catchy melodic reading from time to time. I think we've done a few acoustic songs that we really really enjoyed. We're a little in the country game right now. We've been enjoying that a lot.
RR: Yeah, it's always been a blessing and a curse for us that we didn't start out and make a hip hop song, or an acoustic song or something like that, just because we do love all music. So when you're at a party, you're probably turning up to dance and Lil Yachty or something like that — we do too.
DTH: Craziest moment on tour?
CS: We had a show on Long Island where the building lost power. It was like one song into our set. Thank God we can also rip on acoustic, and we usually do that. So, they were able to fire a mic up, a hard line mic, and we did like a medley singalong just live — kind of free-styled a bunch of our older songs and the whole room was singing along.
You can't recreate that moment. A moment like that in Long Island, where the power goes out, those are just the moments that stick with you — everyone singing along going crazy.
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