Q and A with First to Eleven

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First to Eleven is a band out of Erie, PA that has steadily been building a great following and community on YouTube. Aside from their own original music they very consistently release cover songs and albums. Check out what the band had to say when they sat down with BareBones Ent!

Take a look at the bottom after reading the interview for our “Fave Five” covers on their YouTube, and let us know what your favorite is.

Photo by Alex Zarek

BBE: How would you best describe your music?

FTE: I’d say we try to keep guitar, bass and drums alive in today’s pop music.  We try to present an alternate version of popular songs.  Our goal is to hopefully change the minds of some people that claim to hate pop music or rock music.  

BBE: How did First To Eleven come together?

FTE: In 2007, Ryan Krysiak, the bass player in First to Eleven, began giving private music instruction to all of the former members of the band including Matthew Yost, the guitarist. He eventually decided to put all of the kids together and start a band, and get them rehearsing once a week! One thing led to another, and the band began to play shows and write originals. As members came and left for other commitments, we were left with the current line up for about the past 4 years. 

BBE: As a band, how do you approach the song writing process? Is there a typical way or is each song created differently?

FTE: Each song definitely brings its own creative challenges. We tend to switch up how we write a lot to see if we get any results that we deem better then how we wrote the last song. Sometimes we scratch out just the bare bone chords on the guitar, write lyrics and vocal melody and then build the song up from there, other times we find ourselves writing entire songs instrumentally and then just adding the vocals at the end. We try not to limit ourselves to one way of writing, always looking for a new way to do things.

BBE: This past year has been very difficult for many people around the world. How has this affected your creative process?

FTE: I think it’s been a real source of motivation for us to continue and even expand on what we are doing, not only on Youtube but on all platforms. Seeing all the amazing responses we get on how our music can help really pushes us to continue to broaden our horizons. We increased our video production to two videos a week for the first two months of COVID, we started live-streaming every Thursday on our Youtube channel, all to strengthen our connections with our audience and give them more of what we can do to help at this time. 

BBE: You have built an awesome YouTube catalog of songs and videos with a great community, what has that meant to you?

FTE: YouTube has afforded us so many opportunities, it’s hard in a way to imagine what we were doing before we decided to hit record on a camera. Perhaps the greatest perk of our journey on YouTube has been getting to collaborate with other creators. YouTube has given us a great community of highly creative content creators that we have become amazing friends with, not just coworkers. We play games together, go on podcasts together, and hope to play shows together one day. This is especially meaningful considering our careers exist really only on the internet, where you rarely get to ever meet or interact with your community. 

BBE: What has been your favorite video you’ve ever made?

FTE: Although our answers change over time, I think some of our favorite videos have been the ones that we have done with Kurt Hugo Schneider! Kurt is such an amazing producer and creator, that it was extremely informative to see his workflow. I think we all aspire to be on his level of video quality, so to get a little behind the scenes peek of how it’s done was truly memorable. Not to mention Kurt is such a kind and interesting person! 

BBE: You recently released a video for your cover of “Stairway To Heaven”, how did that come about?

FTE: Stairway was actually an idea we had when we were thinking about the last song of the year, since it was released on New Year’s Eve! We wanted to do something big for the end of the year and also to celebrate 1 million subscribers, so we thought teaming up with the other girls. Addie Amick from Halocene, Lauren Babic, and Violet Orlandi, would be the perfect way to end 2020! Plus, we hadn’t done a Led Zeppelin song yet!

BBE: How has the response been for it?

FTE: The response has been amazing! I think people really enjoy seeing us all work together and it makes the content that much better and more fun to watch! Seeing so many YouTube artists be able to come together and put out content like this during a pandemic is SO cool to us, and we think people enjoy it just as much!

BBE: People may not know but you actually have 7 volumes of covers. What made you want to start doing covers?

FTE: We have always used covers as a learning tool.  Trying to dissect, reproduce and replicate the songs we love has taught us a lot about what we want to incorporate into our own originals.  It’s really helpful to just be a bit more well rounded of musicians too.  We can find a cool part in just about any song.  

BBE: Do you have a dream song to cover still? What would that be?

FTE: I think we all want to get our channel to a point where we can cover the songs that we grew up listening to, regardless of their popularity. We would love to expose our fans to more “underground” music that we love! Some artists that we all really would love to cover include The Juliana Theory, Thursday, and Hum.

BBE: On the opposite side, is there a holy grail song you refuse to touch? Why is that?

FTE: We each have artists that we are scared to cover but I don’t think anything is completely off the table.  Some songs deserve our absolute best effort and until we’re confident we can give that it’s just not going to happen.  I think we’re getting better at what we do every day so we also don’t want to have already done all the good songs when we still sucked.

BBE: How is the approach to recording a cover song and an original song different or similar for your band?

FTE: The way we record our covers and originals actually have a lot more overlap then one would think! We take a lot of our covers and change them instrumentally in so many different ways, whether it be making a guitar that’s already there fit better into a different genre or writing a completely new part, we go about it much the same. It all starts with a musical reference of ours, we listen to alot of music when we write. Once we have a good idea of what we want to put there we just keep looping the song and trying different things until we like what we hear! We just continue to repeat this process for the instruments until the song is over and then we will do it all over again with the vocals.

BBE: What new original song plans do you currently have?

FTE: We definitely are going to make a big push for original music in 2021. Music videos, touring, album release, we have high aspirations for 2021 and the possibilities are endless.

BBE: After this past year, what are you hoping to do in 2021?

FTE: We have so many ideas for 2021! Obviously we would love to get out and tour/start playing shows again as soon as we’re able to. We also have some super cool new collaborations this year with some new people and we’d love to be able to make our YouTube livestreams much better! We’d love to be able to give live electric “concerts” basically, on YouTube every week!

BBE: What is the best way for fans to reach out to you and follow your music?

FTE: You can find us on all social platforms @firsttoeleven, our YouTube channel “First To Eleven”, and you can find our music on all streaming platforms!

BBE: Anything else you would like to add?

FTE: “Hector is going to be running 3 Honda Civics with spoon engines. And on top of that, he just went into Harry’s, and he ordered 3 T66 turbos, with NOS. And a Motec exhaust.”

Bryan Swann

Bryan Swann

Hello, My name is Bryan Swann and I am the owner and operator for BareBones Entertainment.

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About Me

My name is Bryan Swann and I run this entertainment site, BareBones Entertainment. Based out of Dallas, TX we focus solely on the music, art, and other area of entertainment, and none of the gossip or fluff. That is why our motto is “All Entertainment, No Fluff.” Any bands or artists that may be interested in doing an interview please follow us on Twitter @barebonesent, or like our Facebook page and message us.

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