Q&A with singer-songwriter-guitarist Nick Anderson

Making the move from college in San Diego to living in L.A. and pursuing a dream as a musician was a risk for Nick Anderson.

But things happened fast for the 21-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist. His new band, The Wrecks, just had their single Favorite Liar reach 1.5 million listens on Spotify and they are not only on regular rotation on Sirius XM's Alt Nation (Ch. 36) but in the middle of a 33-city North American Tour.

As the Wrecks were forming, Anderson had songs picked up and played on CBS and NBC shows and a Lions Gate film. A cover of The Hills by the Weeknd not only became popular on Internet radio and YouTube, the video was ranked the top video to watch one weekend by Z100 in New York City.

Many of the shows on the current tour with Nothing But Thieves are selling out, and Tuesday, the Wrecks headline a show at Alfred State College with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Here's a question and answer session with Anderson, where he says a show at Alfred State while in high school gave him some inspiration and he reveals a new tour the band has been asked to go on.

Was there a time you thought of giving up, that a music career was not in the cards?

Nick: Honestly, no. I think it's important, in anything that you do, to have a "by any means necessary" kind of mindset and work ethic. Since high school, I had my dreams and goals set, and I was willing to exhaust every option to make them happen. I've been very fortunate thus far, and I have the amazingly talented and hard working people around me to thank for that.

Spectator: The song Juke Box Hero by Foreigner sums up how most kids dream when it comes to being in a rock band and touring the country. What was your Juke Box hero moment as a kid?

Nick: Interesting enough, it was a concert at Alfred State. It was in 2009, and I hadn't been to many concerts yet in my life. Alfred hosted the Bamboozle Roadshow, which was a tour featuring pop-punk/pop rock bands that were popular in the "Myspace scene" at the time. While it's not really the music I currently listen to, or perform, it was a show that made me realize that I wanted to be on stage. I immediately began watching tour videos, backstage footage and researching what it takes to succeed in a band of my own.

Where were you when you first heard your song on the radio and what was that like?

Nick: The first time Favorite Liar played on the radio, we were on stage at University Wisconsin-Stout in May. It just so happened that no one checked their phones as we loaded out all our equipment and headed back to our friends apartment for the night. Once we got back to the apartment, I noticed that our band's Snapchat account was flooding with messages and videos showing our song being played on Sirius XM's Alt Nation. Let's just say we celebrated that night.

Tell us about the other band members and why you all work so well together.

Nick: I got so lucky to find such a talented group of guys to go into this with. The minute we started jamming together, everything clicked. Everyone has different styles in this band, but they compliment each other really well. Other members include Nick Schmidt (guitar), Harrison Nussbaum (guitar), Aaron Kelley (bass guitar), and Billy Nally (drums).

What are some of your favorite moments from the current tour?

Nick: We just played a sold out show in Milwaukee and over half the crowd was singing Favorite Liar. At one point, I stopped singing, and let the crowd take over. It was amazing. We all kind of looked at each other and shared this "what the heck is going on ... " moment. We also had the opportunity to play in Austin, Texas as part of an ACL Late Night show with The Struts and Nothing But Thieves. We all instantly fell in love with that city, and the crowd that night was amazing. We've also had a few nightmares though, including a couple van issues and being stranded in the middle of the woods in Canada. I guess that story will be for another day.

Did anything fun happen your first tour and what were the points that put you on the tour and solidified the band for the second tour?

Nick: The first tour was such an amazing and important experience for us. We learned how to get along together on the road, how to interact with people from all different cities and backgrounds. It's all still very new for us, but we love that exploration and seeing so many beautiful places all over the country. We were put on the first tour with Nothing But Thieves after we had played with them at the Troubadour in L.A., and the band asked us to come along for their first US tour. About halfway through that tour, they invited us along again, but this time for a full US tour - spanning over 30 cities. We owe so much to Nothing But Thieves and their crew. Not just for bringing us on the tours, but also for being so helpful and working with us every night and offering advice from what they've learned tour over the last few years.

What was it like signing with a manager and an agent and how good are they?

Nick: We signed with War Road Management around the time the band was conceived, which has helped us tremendously. Having someone with decades of experience and expertise helping you navigate through the music industry makes such a big difference. We love our management team, and we trust them a lot. Having a good relationship with everyone in your camp is really important.

What was it like to have songs placed on TV and in movies and the experiences in LA?

Nick: Los Angeles is the weirdest place. No one cares who you are, but at the same time, everyone wants to know who you are. I've been lucky enough to meet and surround myself with hard working individuals who make the job fun. And that's what music is a lot of the time: a job. In order to make ends meet while developing The Wrecks, I was writing songs for TV and film and was lucky enough to land a couple placements, which then allowed me to pursue the type of music I'm passionate about.

Who are some of your early and current influences?

Nick: The first band that grabbed my intention as a child was Journey. I mean, hit after hit, Journey's greatest hits discography is such a great example of incredible song writing. As I got older, I grew to appreciate lyrics a lot more, and studied bands like Say Anything, Brand New, The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball and other very lyric-driven acts that can tell a story in a way that make you feel like you were there. As far as our influences as a full band, we lean toward acts like Pixies, The Killers, Led Zeppelin, Cage The Elephant, and many more. We love loud, fun, energetic rock music with a lot of heart.

The day of the Alfred State show was originally a travel date, by adding the show you now play 14 straight shows from Kansas City to New York City, Nashville and Charlotte. Are you excited for the show and how do you keep performing each night for 35 shows in such a short time?

Nick: I drink a lot of tea. Specifically 'Throat Coat' with a spoonful of honey. We've never played this many shows consecutively, so it'll be an interesting challenge for all of us. I'm excited to see how we do.

Are you looking forward to seeing familiar faces at the Alfred show and how has it been meeting new people? There are videos where people are singing back your lyrics.

Nick: We started this band only 11 months ago, on the opposite side of the country from home, so most of our families haven't even seen us perform before. That's what I'm most excited about. I'm excited to show my friends and family what I've been up to, and present a show that I'm really proud of. Meeting new people on the road is always so fun. Because we're the opening act on this tour, we're playing for a lot of people who don't know who we are, so having a lot of people buy merch and take photos with us after the shows means a lot. It shows that we're winning over the crowds a bit and doing something right.

The last tour, the Wrecks sold a CD, shirts and stickers. What does the band have for merchandise this tour and is a new album in the works?

Nick: We're carrying four different T-shirt designs, a crew neck sweatshirt, our We Are The Wrecks EP, posters, and once in awhile we'll be giving away prizes at our merch table at the end of the show. We're currently writing a lot of music and after the tour, we're going to put together our plan for getting these new songs out for everybody.

How close is the band to signing with a record label and is there a process?

Nick: We pride ourselves on our independence, and love the idea of proving what can get done on your own. But sometimes your needs exceed your means, and at this point, a record label would really help us out as far as getting in the studio to put together some new songs and pushing those songs to your local radio stations all across the nation. We are currently in talks with a few labels, but nothing is certain at the moment. As far as a process, I would say it takes putting out a product that people want, putting on a show that people wanna see. After that, your management and lawyers get involved and figure out the rest.

What are future plans for the band?

Nick: After this tour, we're joining Alt Nation's Advanced Placement tour for 4 dates at the end of November. After that, we'll be figuring out our plans for the new music we'd like to put out and possibly look at hopping on another tour in the new year. But those are just our immediate plans. Our longterm plan is to be the biggest band in the world. That's not asking too much, is it?