If you think sixteen-year-old Justin Bieber has a lot of talent for his young age, maybe you should brush up on your music history. Björk began studying classical music at age five and released an album at eleven. Nathan Young, drummer of rock group, Anberlin, and Zac Farro, ex-drummer of Paramore, both joined their bands at age twelve. And who could forget Michael Jackson at the tender age of five? He was already in the big leagues with his older brothers and sisters in The Jackson Five. He had his first song reach number one as the lead singer of the Jackson 5 at age eleven and another song as a solo artist at age thirteen.
Just like the other young prodigies, thirteen-year-old pop punk group, Alter The Ending, are working their way into the industry, and kicking butt while doing so. The four young gentlemen from Berkeley Heights, NJ, have only been playing together for a year and have already established more than a lot of people their age. They’ve played at well-known venues such as Starland Ballroom, The Stony Pony, and plenty of music festivals in the local New Jersey area. “I think it's awesome how we've been able to do that after just a year of being a band,” says guitarist Billy Manning on playing at venues where his favorite bands have performed. They’ve also recorded with Jon Santos, former singer/guitarist of Seven Wiser and owner of 1176 Studios in Whitestone Queens. “Jon is an amazing guy to work with,” says Andrew Pacheco, lead vocalist and guitarist. “He really brought the best out of our music.” The band recorded two tracks with Santos, and will be recording a few more to complete the Gone Again EP, which will be released in mid-2011. Until then, you can catch the young lads at The Break Contest, in which they will be competing with many bands for a spot on Bamboozle 2011’s main stage.
AP= Andrew Pacheco (Vocals, Guitar)
BM= Billy Manning (Guitar)
DQ= Dylan Quesada (Bass)
LB= Luke Blecker (Drums)
How did the four of you meet?
AP: Billy and I were playing at a talent show in the 5th grade and Luke happened to be in the same show, [only he was] playing guitar at the time. We started taking and he mentioned that he played the drums, so we got together and started our first band, which [consisted of] me, Billy, and Luke [called Toxic Sludge]. …a few years later [when] I was ready to switch to guitar, we started looking for a bass player and pretty soon after that, I got a message from Dylan saying he'd like to join the band. …we knew it was the perfect lineup right away.
LB: I've been playing drums for five years, but at the time it wasn't my main instrument. Now it has become my favorite interest and such a big part of my life.
DQ: I've been playing bass for five years as well, but once I joined the band I got a lot more serious about it.
BM: I began playing guitar when I was seven, but when I was nine, I started working a lot more towards it and started to improve my performance.
AP: I had tried to teach myself guitar up until when I was about ten, [which was] when I started taking lessons. I've been singing since I was really young, but I've never actually taken singing lessons.
Because you are so young, is there a certain expectation for you guys when you jump on stage?
AP: Definitely. People are usually surprised, but I don't think there's any extra pressure on us, we just jump on stage and do our thing, and hopefully the crowd likes it.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a musician? As a band?
BM: Playing venues that some of our favorite bands and influences have performed at, such as Starland Ballroom and The Stone Pony. I think it's awesome how we've been able to do that after just a year of being a band.
LB: I think just being able to have people listen to the music that we've written ourselves is an accomplishment to me.
DQ: Kind of like what Billy said, being able to play on the same stage as the bands that we love have played on is really cool.
AP: I agree with Billy, Luke, and Dylan. The fact that we've been able to play the songs that we've written at these cool and legendary venues is awesome. Especially when the crowd is into it, it's an amazing experience.
How did you wind up working with singer/songwriter/producer Jon Santos? Will you be releasing an album anytime soon?
AP: My cousin and her band Stelladeora had been working with Jon. We were looking for a studio to record in and she recommended his place, 1176 Studios. Jon is an amazing guy to work with and he really brought the best out of our music. As for an album, we released two songs "Tear Me Down" and "Gone Again" for free online, and we're working on getting a few more done so we can release the "Gone Again" EP.
DQ: I see us improving and hopefully getting some more fans.
LB: Hopefully we can play some bigger shows, getting a larger fan base, and having a larger selection of songs to play.
AP: Right now we're trying to get ourselves out there, so I see us hopefully getting as good and tight as we can be, and bigger and better.
BM: Hopefully we'll be playing some more shows and have a full-length album out around then.
What does Alter The Ending bring to the table that no other band does?
BM: We play a wide variety of music, from our calmer songs, to our punk and heavier side, we cover basically every genre of rock and alternative. We think that’s important so we can reach out to different audiences.
Anything you’d like to plug or tell people who have never heard of you before?
Everyone: Search us on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter so you can stay updated with the latest Alter The Ending news and download our songs. Hopefully you can follow us through an exciting journey.