For more than three years, a band of boys from Monmouth County – Holden Glazer, Jake Farbman, Evan Hemwall, Drew Stevens – spent countless hours refining, performing, and promoting their pop - rock sound to anyone who would listen, hoping to finally catch their big break. Whether they were winning over crowds during shows at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, performing during a live stream to a worldwide social media audience or performing around the country, Monmouth County’s own The Catching did all they could to organically gain many fans.
Little did they know they would catch the ears of two major music industry giants, manager Tim Byrne and producer Matt Squire, who have worked with superstars like Simon Cowell, One Direction, Katy Perry, and many others. The Catching, now managed by Byrne, are fresh off the release of their newest single produced by Squire: “Do It All Again.” The video to the catchy, melodic song, with lyrics about post-relationship emotions that all ages can relate to, garnered more than 10,000 views on YouTube in the first two weeks after its release. Now, the four-piece band of young adults that conquered the Monmouth County music scene
seems poised to take an even bigger step in the coming months and sign with a record label, and dive head-first into the music industry by moving to Los Angeles.
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes,” lead singer and bassist Holden said during an interview with Living in Media at a restaurant in Red Bank, that just happened to be next door to an old School of Rock location some of them played at when they were learning their craft.
During our conversation, as Holden and the other members of the band, guitarists Jake and Evan, and drummer Drew, shared the story of the band’s founding and its growth, the cohesion of the group became apparent, as did their dedication to gaining more fans, exposure, and willingness to learn from seasoned music professionals.
The band regularly checks in with the lead singer from Plain White T’s, who they toured with briefly last year, and was open to refining their sound from their first EP, “Teenage Fiction Part I,” to produce, as Jake put it, “more mature” songs like their latest single.
While the band members admit that it took them several years of slowly building up to the point they’re at now, before long, they hope to take their pop-rock sound that originated right here near the Jersey Shore to arenas throughout the world.
LIM: Thank you all for taking the time to talk today. You just released a music video for your new single “Do It All Again.” How has the response been, and do you think it might be picked up on the radio in the future?
Holden: There’s nothing yet on the radio end. It’s pretty tough to hit on that end as an independent artist. For us to get a radio hit, it’s like the last step. Our goal right now is to just build the new single and get it to as many new people to listen to it, and fans and followers, as we can.
Jake: The response has been nothing but amazing. The fans love both the song and music video and have been very supportive.
LIM: Is there a full EP that will be released after “Do It All Again” is out for a while?
Holden: There’s no EP, really. There’re a collection of songs that we’ve been working on, but we haven’t discussed packaging them out as an EP or an album. Our goal eventually is to put out a debut album. Some articles recently said we’re putting an EP out, but I think that’s because our first CD was called Teenage Fiction Part I. Some people were expecting a part two, but we called it part one because we picked the best songs from a 14-song spread, and then if we wanted to drop another five from that spread, we were going to put out part two. In the end, we’ll probably put out a record by the end of next year.
LIM: Do you have any songs on tap that you want to release between now and then?
Holden: For sure. We’re really proud of all our new ones. We’ve been working with Matt Squire, a producer from Washington, D.C. He’s worked with Katy Perry, One Direction and Panic! at the Disco. He really understands us because of his pop and rock background, and that’s what we are.
We’ve gotten great advice from him. We’ve gone to Los Angeles and done a couple of writing sessions and gotten some good stuff out of it. We have about seven or eight new songs in the past couple months that we have in our mix, plus what we’ve been writing on our own.
LIM: How did working with Matt Squire change your music from what you put out on “Teenage Fiction Part One?”
Jake: The songs are more mature and modern. Matt calls himself the music plumber. He takes on a lot of new bands and helps them find their sound and then helps them share it with the world.
Evan: He helped us find our true sound.
Holden: And we’re still finding it. It’s like on every song, we’re learning something new about ourselves. “Do It All Again” was the first one we did with him and I think that really was a staple for us. The ones we’ve done after with him have gone into different sound areas but still have a similar undertone to them. “Do It All Again” set the tone for the other songs. He’s so casual. He’s like one of the bros. It’s a fun time when we’re with him.
LIM: And what was the experience like of being on the road at such a young age when you did the High School Nation tour?
Holden: It was the best thing ever.
Evan: We had wanted to tour for so long and when we finally got to do it, we said: ‘This is the life we want.’
Holden: At first, I’m pretty sure we were all on the same page. We were excited but didn’t know what it was going to feel like. We didn’t know if we were going to be scared, homesick, or really into it. But, honestly, we were really sad when we got off the road.
Jake: It was fun. You learn a lot about yourselves when you’re on the road together for that long.
Drew: A lot of our inside jokes come from being in a van for hours on end. We definitely got closer.
Holden: We didn’t get into any fights on tour. Instead we get into dumb arguments, like why are you sitting in my seat? Why are the Gummy Bears over there? In the moment they’re really serious, but the next day, we ask, why was that important? In reality, the most important thing on tour is the show and killing it every night in front of the crowds.
LIM: How long were you on the road for?
Holden: Between the three tours, it was four or five months. It was a constant process. We did 35 states, more than 70 shows, and 26,000 miles in the van. It was crazy, but a lot of fun.
LIM: How did that experience measure up to your expectations? Was it more or less than what you expected?
Holden: It beat expectations.
Drew: There were a lot of last-minute problems that we had to solve in order to put on the show. We learned that things change and you have to go with the flow.
LIM: Like what?
Holden: Sound guys don’t show up for two hours that are supposed to be at the venue, or amps not making sound. That was some stuff that we learned to deal with on our first tour because we went on, probably, the most do-it-yourself tour possible. A year ago today, we were on this tour called Camplified, where we went to sleepaway and day camps and we’d set up anywhere, whether it was on a tennis court, or in a gym, and we’d play. We did all the sound ourselves, with some help from some sound guys. We learned a lot, so by the time we went on a tour that was playing real venues, it wasn’t anything crazy that we had to get used to.
Drew: Shockingly, Camplified is no longer a tour.
Jake: But it was a perfect first tour.
Holden: Yes, it was super-important for us, because if we jumped right into High School Nation, it wouldn’t have been good. It gave us some experience as to what to expect when we were out on the road.
LIM: On the High School Nation tour, you played with the Plain White T’s. What was it liked being in a tour with them?
Holden: We were with them for the first week or two, yes. That was amazing. It’s still our favorite tour to date. We’re pretty friendly with the Plain White T’s now. We text Tom [Higgenson], the singer, from time to time.
Jake: It was our best tour for exposure, as well. We got more followers and fans from that tour than from any other one.
Holden: It was so much fun. The crowd was going nuts almost every day. The only time it wouldn’t happen was if they had to put us on early because of a time crunch and not everyone had walked out yet.
Drew: We played at 8 a.m. in Chicago one day, but there were still 3,000 people there watching us at 8 a.m., which was hard to believe.
Jake: One of my favorite memories of High School Nation was peeking through the fences and seeing everyone that excited to see us.
Holden: Yes. We wanted to win over every single kid in that audience. And the other bands and professionals were also big fans of us, which always gives us more confidence. We’d walk off the stage and they’d say, “I really like this. That was your best set yet. You should do this next time.”
They’d give us advice. The head of the tour and his co-workers would tell us that they could see us playing arenas in the next couple of years. They didn’t have to say anything, so that meant a lot.
Drew: We had played shows in the past where people would stop paying attention to us, and it would be us playing to no one. And then, to go on a tour where people were paying attention, it meant the world to us. People are listening to our music. That’s the great part of the tour is that you get to expand your fan base and see people being into you from other parts of the country.
Holden: Probably one of the most satisfying things is people singing back our songs after hearing them for the first time, or hearing people who for some reason already knew us, and would say, “I love this song,” or say that they heard it already, somehow.
LIM: How did it make you feel to see people your age looking up to you and really getting into the music you were playing?
Holden: It’s not really real, to be honest. I feel like just a normal kid. We’re all just normal kids that grew up normal.
Evan: Drew was telling me the other day, “It’s so weird that people look up to us because I just think of each of us as this dunce that doesn’t know how to drive, or do this or that.”
Holden: To me, Jake is just this kid that grew up around the corner from me.
LIM: What was the best advice you received on tour?
Drew: To take opportunities as they come to you, because each one will lead to something better than what you’re doing now. That’s one thing that stuck with us, that’s what we’ve followed and why we’ve taken the management opportunities that we have, which has been one of the best decisions of our lives. We’ve had our best recording sessions of our lives. We’re on our way, and we’re taking every opportunity we can and are grateful for all of them.
Holden: We went on a tour last winter called the DigiTour. We were told by our prior management that it was the perfect tour for us because of our engagement on social media. We went on the tour and it wasn’t the best tour we had, but we still got about 1,000 followers out of it, got to play real clubs for the first time and we found our current manager, which was great. So even taking that opportunity helped us.
Jake: We were one of the few real bands or musicians on the tour. At the time it made sense for us because we were broadcasting on a social media site called YouNow and we were consistently number one in the world, but it didn’t really translate to the tour.
LIM: So how did you end up with your current manager and working with Matt Squire?
Holden: Matt is close friends with our current manager, and after hearing our music, he immediately wanted to work with us. I thought it was just some guy, but he said he had 30 years of experience. I looked him up and found out that he was the person who was the creative director at Simon Cowell’s company Syco Entertainment at Sony Music. He creatively oversaw America’s Got Talent and The X Factor and had a big role in creating and launching the careers of One Direction, Fifth Harmony, Leona Lewis, and Emblem 3. He was a TV producer and major record label executive; he’s done so much. We said, “Wow, this is a legitimate guy.” We gave him a FaceTime call, and afterwards we said he was awesome and just what we needed. The next week, he flew to New Jersey to hang out with us. We had no agreement with him, nothing signed, he just came here and we played for him.
Drew: He told us at a later date that the night he messaged us on Twitter, he couldn’t sleep because he had a crazy kind of gut feeling about us.
Holden: So he hooked us up with Matt. We signed a management deal with Tim in January and in February we started working with Matt. Then we made “Do It All Again” and Tim was blown away because he said he thought it’d take so much longer to get a song like that. Even though he had high expectations, we exceeded them.
LIM: What a compliment. What did it feel like to know that you impressed him that much?
Holden: We’re honored, and it makes us feel happy because he’s going to help us move the dial.
Evan: It said to us that we’re on the same page and when we put out our best product. He believes in us as much as we do.
Jake: He’s really down to Earth. We value his opinion, and we look at him like a friend as well as an authority figure. He values us individually and collectively.
LIM: You mentioned before about your sound being both pop and rock. Was that what you envisioned the band being when you first started?
Jake: We might have envisioned it, but we never created music in the past like we did in our new songs.
Holden: I think we actually thought we were way more alternative than we are. When we started, we were going for a Kings of Leon sound. They’re one of our favorite bands. We were picturing ourselves as more of an alternative band. The cool thing about the early stages of ourselves is we weren’t really trying to do anything. We would just write songs and however we played them at rehearsal at our house, that was how it was. What happened was, we were given the opportunity to go record what was going to be an album in Nashville, at Blackbird Studios, with a producer named Skidd Mills, who is an awesome guy.
We did “Teenage Fiction Part I,” and all these other songs that we didn’t get to put out. That was when we were like, ‘OK, we’re pop and rock. That’s the vibe.’ It became even more so when we worked with Matt, and it evolved from there.
LIM: How did the band form?
Jake: Holden and I started right next door, where the old School of Rock originally used to be, in the basement of the church. And we lived right down the street from each other, so we knew each other. And then we all met each other at different points at School of Rock.
Holden: I was 7 years old when we met, Jake was 6, and I met Evan at 10. And then Jake met Drew first.
Drew: I had met Evan first, and we had a different guitar player. I was talking to Evan and realized that we were from the same area, and he said, ‘If you ever need a guitar player, let me know.’ We were under a different name at that point, and after our first guitarist left, I immediately thought of Evan.
Jake: Our first practice together, Evan was under the impression that he thought it was an audition and that a few other guitarists were bidding for the spot. We played along with it for a little while, but that wasn’t the case.
Holden: We officially became The Catching three and a half years ago.
LIM: Where does the name come from?
Holden: We were already going to change our name before our old guitarist left, because we started recording the music and we sounded different. From there on, it was a constant list and discussion and sometimes arguments back and forth, asking, “What should we be called?” We came up with so many names. But, in my mind, I always wanted to have a name with “The” in it, because some of my favorite bands have it in their names, and I think it sounds so much cooler. We tried thinking of names that are related to each of us, like the name of the street we live on, something like that. And then, I was sitting around thinking, my name, Holden, comes from Catcher in the Rye. It’s one of my favorite books. At some point, I said, ‘What about The Catching’? I liked that one a lot, it sounded so cool. Jake liked it.
Jake: At this point it kind of defines us. At the time, I was so ready to just choose a name because I just got so tired of the discussion. But I’m happy with where we are and what it is.
LIM: And when you played locally just starting out, you won the Rock To The Top competition at The Stone Pony. How did that go?
Holden: The competition, it took a long time and we got through every round. We just brought it and sold tickets.
Evan: It did take a long time. We started as one band and ended as another.
Holden: By the time the second round came in, we had Evan and we were like four months in. The last round came around almost a year after the first round. After performing there so many times, we became super tight with the Pony people. We’ll walk by there just on a casual Asbury visit and they’ll shout at us and ask if we want to come in for free. It’s definitely very cool to have a local place like that where we’re close to them.
That’s where we come from.
LIM: So it sounds like you built your band late during your high school years. How challenging was that to manage all of your time and commitment to growing as a band?
Holden: It builds slowly. When we started practices, there would be times where we only practiced like once a week.
Drew: It worked out pretty well because our first manager we had, he basically offered to be our manager right around the time that I was deciding whether or not I was going to go to college. I knew I couldn’t fully dedicate myself to college, knowing that later on I would be thinking that there was a band that could have been. I didn’t want to be the Pete Best of The Beatles, the guy before Ringo Starr, so I stayed with the band, and that’s really when we started to get serious, when we knew that college was on the line.
Jake: I’m the youngest, so I just graduated high school. While we were on the road last year, I had to do school online. My high school, Colts Neck High School, was very accommodating and supportive of me.
LIM: Was there one moment when you guys all thought that you had a serious chance to break through and connect with a wide audience?
Drew The release of “Do it All Again.” It was one of first times that I’ve ever felt like, ‘Oh my God this really could catch on and work.’ To see the amount of support that we’ve gotten in the four days that we’ve had it released has been a very validating feeling.
Jake: For me, it was the first FaceTime call we ever had with our manager Tim, because he really believed in us.
LIM: Do you think that you’ll be able to sign with a label soon?
Holden: Yes. We’re talking to labels in October. We don’t have a specific date, but around the fall of this year, we’ll be talking to labels and people.
Jake: Tim is very confident that we have a great shot at getting a deal, so that boosts our confidence.
Holden: I always felt that we were good as a band when I came off of a stage after performing. We just needed the right people around us.
Jake: When you put a great manager with a great band, only good things can happen.
Holden: Yes. Managers are like the quarterback of the football team.
Drew: It’s a huge incentive to be in the position that we’re in. The people that are backing us are the right people, so it makes us work harder to be great and be the best band that we can, because we know that we have an actual shot. It’s been a waiting game for a while to get to this point.
Holden: It’s been a waiting game, but everything has built up to this point. I wouldn’t change a thing at all.
Evan: We can look back on the experiences that we’ve had, and be really happy that we’ve grown and have become the band that we are now.
LIM: How do you think you were able to stand out and get noticed, being a young, independent band?
Holden: We tried to get a lot of exposure, and YouNow was a hot platform and it was a way to distinguish ourselves. There weren’t a lot of bands doing it, and we wanted to take advantage of it and show everyone our talent. We did that, and it was a good fit for us. It got thousands of social media fans to notice us. Going on tour was great, and then YouNow started to die down and we felt like we were forcing ourselves to do it. We felt like our priorities needed to be somewhere else, which was with writing music.
LIM: Where did you shoot your music videos?
Holden: All three of our videos were shot in LA. You can shoot videos anywhere, but LA is the best. The directors, the locations, they are all great. “Do it All Again” was shot in 11 hours and we gave it all we had.
LIM: What can people expect to see or hear from you in the near future?
Evan: The thing we’re going to focus on is expanding our brand and exposure and getting as many people as we can to be a fan.
Holden: We’re looking at moving to LA sometime in the next year. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it. We’re working hard on new music. We have one more song to do before we start pitching to new people.
We have a lot of new songs, and we just want one more to sweeten the pot. “Do It All Again” was the first song where I thought it could be a hit and that it could be the song that people know us by. It’s not cheesy or a sellout, it’s just us. You can’t really equate other bands to us. If you listen to “Do it All Again,” you can pick out little inspirations, but there’s not really anything where you can say, ‘Oh, yea, that sounds like that.’ It sounds like The Catching.
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