As soon as pop-rockers Against The Current dropped their second full-length album, Past Lives, in September, the band hit the road for another world tour. Luckily, this included a stop in Hong Kong – their fourth visit to the 852 – on November 29.
Before the show, the band sat down with Young Post to talk about their journey as musicians, and their advice to young people who want to follow in their footsteps.
The band – lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza, guitarist Dan Gow, and drummer Will Ferri – have come a long way since they uploaded their very first YouTube video – a cover featuring singer Alex Goot – in 2011. They released their debut single, Thinking, the same year, and soon gained a global following that now stands at 1.9 million YouTube subscribers.
Many artists choose to share their work on social media platforms like YouTube, as they allow them to instantly connect with fans and spread their message more efficiently than ever before. Against The Current have taken full advantage of this, moving seamlessly from releasing renditions of other artists’ work to recording their own. While the band’s sound has changed over the years, Costanza’s powerful vocals, and Gow and Verri’s effortless instrumentals, have remained a constant.
“I think it’s just continued to grow and develop as we’ve grown and developed,” 23-year-old Costanza said of their musical evolution. “We stopped listening to rules.”
The music industry is a fickle business, and musicians take a huge risk if they choose not to follow current music trends. Against The Current are no strangers to backlash, but Costanza has some sound advice about not giving in to pressure, and staying true to your own message: “The thing about social media is that someone’s going to hate what you do no matter what you do.
“So you might as well do what you love, because if you’re going to get judged anyway, might as well be happy doing it, you know?”
Unlike many other current pop artists, Against The Current continue to write their own songs, many of which tackle heavy themes – such as Voices, which addresses the pressure social media puts on us to fit in.
The band’s writing process, which is very hands-on and collaborative, “can start in several ways, but it usually starts at home,” 22-year-old Gow says.
“Some of my favourite songs on this record came about this way; we sit at home, and start to make a track, and then we go into the studio with our producer and it’ll just kind of evolve from there to [what we record].”
Costanza adds that the group’s songs always start with some kind of emotion – either from the track, which 22-year-old Ferri usually lays down, or a lyric; “There’s always like a feeling that we go off first more than anything else.”
In the years the trio have been together, they’ve had plenty of practice at balancing different aspects of their lives – family, friends, travel – to reach their career goals.
When asked how they manage it, Costanza at first offers the usual response – you have to work hard, manage your time well – but then adds that she feels having to make choices and sacrifices “teaches you a lot; a music career is always going to be hectic, so learning to balance all of that at once is really valuable.”
She admits that for many artists, having a family life simply isn’t feasible.
“It’s tough, especially if you want to succeed in both,” she says. The band do acknowledge, however that social media and technology are making the music industry more accessible, saying that before they discovered YouTube and released Thinking, “no one knew of us”.
Costanza’s now been in the business long enough to offer wise advice to teens hoping to embark on the same career path: “Keep at it, always be thinking about it, always be developing, always try to grow and learn more – and never stay in one place.”