» Interviews » AJR Brothers brought a whole lot of fun to the Moore with Ingrid Michaelson + interview
AJR Brothers brought a whole lot of fun to the Moore with Ingrid Michaelson + interview


Brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met of AJR are no strangers to showing an audience a good time.  They’ve opened for an impressive list of artists – Demi Lovato, Train, Andy Grammer  to name a few – but I’m pretty sure we’re going to see some pretty big names opening for them someday. 🙂  I was lucky enough to connect with the guys just before their opening set for Ingrid Michaelson in Seattle and learn a little bit about them.

Their current tour with Ingrid Michaelson was no accidental matchup – Ingrid saw the band’s video for “I’m Not Famous” at a radio convention and immediately knew they were perfect for her upcoming Hell No Tour.  “She just looked at it and said, ‘I want these guys to open for me,’ so it wasn’t even a pitch situation.”  Jack continued, “She called us and, of course, we said yes.  And then she came over and we wrote a song together to perform on stage every night and that was the first time we met her.”


It was a great choice.  AJR got the crowd hyped and excited for their show with Ingrid at Seattle’s Moore Theater.

Getting people excited, even if the people don’t know their music yet, is a skill the three brothers honed while growing up and busking together in New York City.  “I think it was super important for our growth.”  Adam shared, “We don’t really get nervous anymore going on stage because the most nerve-wracking thing was – when [Jack] was 8 years old and I was 13 – we would go out on the street and we had to convince people who were walking by to come to our show who had other, better, things to do.”

“In a show like tonight, people are here to see music so, whether or not they care about us as an opening act, they’re here to see music.”  Adam continued, “But when you’re performing on the street, it’s that much harder to convince people to either participate or come and just listen to the show.”


Busking wasn’t all the brothers did with music.  They also wrote and recorded their songs in their living room.  “For the first 8 years of us doing this, we were making music in our living room and our thought was always that we were just making demos and that eventually we would go into a real studio and reproduce them,” Ryan shared.

“Then we met Steve Greenberg, our Manager, and he was the first to tell us – after he heard “I’m Ready,” our first single – he said, ‘this is good enough to be on the radio.  This has a charming, almost amateur, quality that makes it stand out because you made it at home as opposed to going into a studio.'”


AJR’s latest EP, What Everyone’s Thinking, was also recorded in their living room and the band says they’re not interested in changing up that approach quite yet.  “We’ve gotten pretty used to the living room.  We still have done every song in our living room, even with this new EP that we just dropped.  It’s so nice being able to wake up whenever we want, be in our boxers and go out and have no one there to rush us or tell us how much we’re spending on studio time.” Jack shared, “It’s really freeing.”

Ryan added, “We write for other artists too.  We wrote a couple of Andy Grammar singles and we’ve written for Rachel Platten and American Authors and often we work in big studios.  It’s a very different energy because you’re looking at the clock because the studio time is adding up and you’re paying for that.  In some ways, it’s really liberating to come back to the living room and know that we have as much time as we need to make exactly what we want to make.”

“I think we’ve grown in a really organic way as a band because we haven’t been forced to work with a thousand different producers to figure out our sound.  In this way, just the three of us – we’ve been able to develop our sound organically.”


What I find very intriguing about Adam, Jack and Ryan, is that they have a rare and unique ability to write songs based on an emotion or feeling that they get from other artistic mediums.  “We’re really inspired by film – really beautifully made films.  Often we write a song and as we’re coming up with it, we’re like, ‘this would work really well in this kind of scene of an indie film,’ and then we’re able to develop the song and make it exactly what we’re picturing in our minds,” Ryan shared.  “Every cool, unique movie we see, we’re kind of like, ‘how can we make a song that, through audio, represents how cool that was visually?'”

Adam added, “If we find a certain emotion that’s portrayed in a different medium, we try and bring it over to music and see how we can convey it through production and lyrics and music.”

These guys are amazing.  You can learn more about them on their website or on Facebook.

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